Price paid: € 170
Purchased from: Local music store
Sound — 8
I play the unit with an Ibanez XPT700 and a 90's japanese Jackson Performer, through either a Fender FM 212R or a Peavey ValveKing 212. I always run the unit through input 1 on the amps instead of effects loop. Always sounds great. I was searching for a pedal that could do good metal distortion and nice delay and got what I wanted. Being a digital pedal, the sounds do sound less organic than with tube- or ss-powered equipment, but that's to be expected. And as far as the tech on this piece goes, I think the COSM -models sound a lot better than your average digital modeling. Not really noisy, either. Naturally, everything squeals with enough gain and output volume, but this thing has an inbuilt noise reduction unit in it that does a nice job in cleaning the sound and repelling unwanted buzzing and squealing. It won't work any miracles, though. Too much gain and output is too much, regardless of equipment. I play a lot of metal, so the "Metal" -setting is pretty much my favorite. I can easily achieve heavy sounds that sound like Children Of Bodom, Arch Enemy, Lamb Of God etc. Backing the gain off a bit and scooping the mids gives you an 80's trash sound in no time. I also play a lot of blues, and the "Blues" and "Overdrive" -modes handle that well. I've been getting some pretty good SRV and Hendrix sounds by those modes. The EQ on this thing is quite responsive and tweaking it will give you a lot of different options. Instead of one midrange knob on the eq, this thing has two, one for lower midrange and one for upper midrange. An excellent feature that provides a lot of different voicing options, thus making the pedal capable of handling a lot of different genres. Not all sounds are all that impressive, though. Namely, the "Fuzz"-mode of the OD setting leaves something to be missing. The Fuzz is just a bit too thin on pretty much any setting. The "tremolo" effect could be better too, and the "rotary" effect can't seem to be achieved very well at all. The "reverb" -mode of the dealy setting could be deeper and wetter, as it really can't create real atmosphere as it is. Also, the fact that you can't use delay and reverb at the same time slightly takes away the points in my view.
Overall Impression — 8
As said before, metal and blues are my game, and this unit serves me well. I've been playing for about 5 years or so, and I've had many distortion pedals before this: a Boss MT-2, a DigiTech Death Metal, a DOD Death Metal (it IS a different pedal than the DigiTech), a DigiTech Metal Master. This pedal beats all of those by 100-0. I've also had experience with modeling amps, and the delay and chorus at least are better than in most of which I have tried - The Vox Valvetronix -series is pretty much on par with the ME-20 on that aspect. I really like the distortion and the delay, and the fact that it's capable of doing various eq voicings to suit many genres and styles. I's simple to use and changing the patches is easy, so it would be ideal for Live playing. It might not be the greatest unit of this kind out there, but at 170eur (~$200) it's a pretty sweet deal, as $200 would only fetch you 2 Boss pedal. Many of the modes in this unit sound at least as good as single Boss pedals. I'd especially recommend it for metal/rock players, or anyone looking for a quality multi-fx unit for Live playing.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Well, it's a Boss, so I bet it would easily survive a nuclear strike or two. It's in a sturdy & Solid Metal casing, the knobs don't seem wobbly and the switches & expression pedal seem like they'll last. I'd be able to gig with this without getting worried.
Ease of Use — 9
The ME-20 does not really demand expansive knowledge on quantum physics to get good sounds out of it. The same four knobs are used to set all the various parameters regardless of whether you want to edit your OD, Modulation effect, delay/reverb or EQ. You just choose what you want to edit by pushing a button, and the functions attached to each knob change. There's also a 'easy editing' -function, that lets you combine preset ODs, Effects, Delays and EQs into a single patch. Being simple in the matter of editing your sounds, it's still good to read the manual through, as editing and going through presets is not as obvious. The manual is informative and has some good tips in it. It's also very clear, so it won't confuse players Who aren't used to dealing with multi-fx units. There's also a list of all the default presets, which kind of settings they use and what they are best suited for, which I thought of as a nice plus. Even though the same knobs have multiple functions, which naturally makes it a bit trickier to deal with than with knobs that have just one function, I won't rate it down, because having only a few knobs saves space and gives the pedal an overall neat expression.