ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Review

manufacturer: Boss date: 08/26/2011 category: Guitar Effects
Boss: ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects
Boss expands its famous ME series multi-effects family with the ME-20, a powerful multi-effects unit optimized for live performance.
 Sound: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Ease of Use: 9.4
 Overall rating:
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reviews (8) 84 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.5
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: crywolf383, on december 24, 2007
10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Daddys Junky Music

Ease of Use: Out of the box this thing has got 30 preset settings. They are worth taking a listen to a found a few that I like. For making your own effects it couldn't be easier. You press the button to edit either your OD/DS, mod, delay, or the EQ then you start turning the knobs. The effect setting is instantly changed. Once you make some sounds you like you can then save them to memory mode with the press of a few buttons. I generally leave the basic distortion and effects I like on the real time setings then when I want specific sounds I save them to memory mode. // 10

Sound: My setup is a Ibanez ARC-100 played through a Fender FM 212R and it sounds great with this pedal. You get the same sound as if you were playing with the Boss stomp boxes. You get 6 different OD/DS. Overdrive, blues, distortion, metal, fuzz, and compressor. 5 mods. Chorus, phaser, flanger, tremolo, and rotary. Then 3 delays. A 0-99ms delay, a 100-700ms delay, and reverb. Then you have the expression pedal which can be used as a wah wah pedal or a volume pedal. It defaults to volume but you can save it in memory mode so it defaults to wah. Each effect sounds like the Boss stompbox for the same purpose. It is a very nice sounding pedal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I must say this thing is built like a tank. I stomp it hard everytime and it hasn't given out on me. It is made of all metal and can take what you throw at it. The expression pedal is built the same way. I would gig this thing no problem without even thinking of getting a backup. // 10

Overall Impression: I play classic rock, hard rock, metal, grunge and this pedal covers all the above and more. I have been playing for a few years and used to have a bunch of stompboxes. I was sick of dancing on the pedals so I got this which has them all in one compact unit. If it was stolen I would hunt down whoever took it and if I had too buy it again in a heartbeat. The best feature is how easy it is to use. You don't have to be a rock scientist to get the sound you are looking for. It may not have the same amount of features of some of the more expensive multi-effects pedals but it beats them all in ease to you and destroys the other pedals in the same price range. If you are looking for a easy to use cheap pedal that has great sound and features the Boss ME-20 is for you. // 9

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overall: 9.8
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: cukd7x-a2-, on december 26, 2007
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Music Machine

Ease of Use: Honestly, the most confusing part of the pedal is which part of the main foot-Switch is the front. I have had it for a few hours, and I have mastered it. I'm not very tech savvy, and It only took a quick skim throughout the diagrams and tables to figure out how to work all the effects and memory banks. Finding a good sound really depends on what you like, but if it is rock and roll, you can make it happen! // 10

Sound: This pedal set has a vast majority of styles you can replicate. If you aren't very creative, the friendly people at Boss have mad presets for you to use. The effects are very strong and distinct, and can be tooled to match anything. Your amp is not involved at all with the sound, so you can play it on any amp. There are some recommendations for your amp's treble, middle, and bass settings. The effects overall are amazing! The only problem, is that the feedback is way to overpowering and loud with a high level of Drive on the OSD/Solo channel. The volume can either be adjusted by the Wah/volume pedal or your amp. I recommend that you start out with the volume pedal on max, along with the master volume knob, then adjust your amp volume. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This pedal is extremely tough! You could smash your guitar on the pedal, and it will survive (the pedal). I can't say much for the guitar, except that I hope it can withstand a few crushing blows to a full metal box. I would use this, and only this at a show mainly because it is pure metal, and it has easy access to each setting, and can easily be adjusted by yourself while on stage, all thanks given to the memory banks. If it really came down to it, beat off raging fans with this, it will work much better than anything else taht you could carry with one hand. // 10

Overall Impression: I play a wide variety of music from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Arch Enemy, and I have found a perfect match for that and everything in between. I have been playing seriously for 2 1/2 years, and have a Fender Frontman 25R amp, and an Epiphone Les Paul Standard. If this was stolen, I wouldn't be able to buy another one because I would kill myself. But, if I resisted the urge, I would definitely purchase another one. I just love the fact that it has such a variety of sounds and neat things to do with it. I played scales up and down the freeboard for about 30 to 45 minutes playing scales, only because the delay kept my attention. I looked at the ME-30 and ME-50, but those were a little bit too complex for me. I would sacrifice a few effects for the ability o use my pedal upon opening it. I believe that for an affordable guitar pedal, this is he way to go. // 10

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overall: 9.3
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: ThatGuy177, on december 28, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Sticks and Strings

Ease of Use: This is a really easy to use pedal. It's a little confusing at first, but after a half hour using it is no problem. Creating patches is simple. The manual explains everything on how to use it. Switching between wah and volume on the expression is the only real hard thing. But it becomes easier with practice (you switch it by pushing on the pedal). // 9

Sound: I use the Boss ME-20 with my LTD JH-200 guitar and my Crate amp. The effects on it are rotary, flanger, phaser tremelo, compressor, chorus, reverb, and delay. There are six different distortions (including the compressor, which really isn't a distortion) but some of them sound like the have to much treble, But this can be easily fixed by adjusting the E.Q. There is also a Solo mode which boosts increases the tone and boosts the volume so guitar solos sound great. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The ME-20 is really tough and it doesen't break easily. I know people Who haves dropped theirs and it still works. The expression pedal is really durable. This pedal is probobly the best when it comes to Live performances. It's really simple to switch between patches. It also has a built in tuner which is perfect when switching between tunings Live. // 10

Overall Impression: I play many different styles of music and the ME-20 works with all of them. It has really good blues, rock, and metal tones. If I lost it, I'd would immidiently re-buy it. Before I bought it, I tried out the Line 6 Floor POD, and the ME-20 surpassed it in every way. I wish it had something like the Boss OC-3 built into it. // 9

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overall: 8.8
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: The^Unforgiven, on may 15, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 170

Purchased from: Local music store

Ease of Use: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 9.8
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 08, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 99

Purchased from: Sound Control

Ease of Use: This pedal has GOT to be the easiest thing in the world to use. There is absolutely nothing that can't be understood as every single function is right there at the tips of your fingers. Admitedly, some slower people may get confused by the multi functional knobs on the sound editor but that doesn't take long to get over. Having up to 30 programmable sound banks is brilliant, as if you have as big a set up as I do, you can change between pre-programmed settings depending on your guitar within seconds at the push of a button. The best thing about it is that the pedal will save ALL of your settings, no matter how much you fiddle with it. Unlike other models such as the ME-50, if you put this in a bag then you won't loose your settings if the knobs get moved! I've always got an amazing sound out of this pedal even when using a bog standard guitar. Honestly, there's no effects kit I'd rather have, I would choose this over a Pod anyday. Whether you're recording, writing, jamming, practising, gigging or just playing around with new effects, it's the best thing on the market. To get anything close to this, you'd need to be paying out at least 500, this is by far the best in it's range and even in the professional price brackets. // 10

Sound: I use an old 80 watt Marshall Valve Amp which is without a doubt the most incredible amp I've ever played. My guitars include a 60s Japanese Les Paul copy, Epiphone SG, Custom Fender Strat, Westfield Explorer copy replaced with Gibson pickups, ESP H-250 and a self made one with Fender and Gibson pickups. Obviously with such a wide range of guitars, I can get a lot of different sounds and they're not all good. Or at least that's what I thought until I got the ME-20. Until that pedal I just used a Boss DS1 distortion stomp box along with the amp, but now I haven't touched another pedal in 2 years, I haven't had any need to. With the tone of the valve amp, all the EQ and effects are done from the ME-20 and the guitars themselves. The only time I've ever had any bad fuzz or feedback that I didn't programme myself has been with maximum reverb, powerful distortion and holding the guitar up against the amp on full volume at a gig. The noise thresh-hold on the ME-20 is brilliant, as it can totally demolish any unwanted noise WITHOUT loosing ANY sound quality whatsoever. I've gotta say, the distortion is fantastic as you can get literally any sounds from Jeff Beck sort of old style, to modern fuzz or heavy metal rubbish... The delay and reverb are also fantastic, as they can simulate being in anything from a little practice room to making it like your playing at Wembley. The Precision of the delay is incredible, I've used it in a few songs like Paramore's "Decode" to echo a note from just once up to repeating a melody for several bars. Hand on heart, these isn't a single bad effect on it. // 10

Reliability & Durability: In 2 years I've never considered using backup for this other than possibly having another one standing by. Mine has taken one hell of a beating over the years, being dropped, stamped on in 2 years of heavy gigging, bashed around in bags and cases (but not in my new pedal board fortunately) and other than any cosmetic damage it's still working as great as ever. The only problem I've ever had with this pedal was after about 18 months, the volume/wah pedal decided it'd had enough. Where usually you would have to press fairly hard to turn the Wah pedal on, all that's required now is for the pedal to simply touch the contacts at the top. Obviously when going from muted to full volume this is a bit irritating as you have to quickly recoil and turn the Wah off before playing but it soon becomes normal and in a way makes it easier to use the wah. Everything else has been working 100% perfect ever since it left the shop. // 9

Overall Impression: I play plenty of stuff, from classic rock (Gun's N Roses sort of stuff) to modern rock like lostprophets and paramore, and some more chilled out Acoustic style stuff. The only music I don't play is metal as personally I wouldn't call it music... I've only been playing for about 3 years, but I've come a pretty long way and gained a very plentiful set up of 6 electric guitars that I've listed and a Fender Acoustic to boot. The most satisfying part of this set up, is that every single guitar I've got sounds incredible through my ME-20. Obviously having decent guitars and an awesome amp helps, but my set up would be anything but complete without this pedal. I love the fact that it's so simple and easy to use, as well as spitting out incredible sounds no matter what style of music you're playing. I know a few people with the bigger ME-50, and I've gotta say that although the expression pedal has more features, it's so much worse than the ME-20! It takes so long to sort your effects out as its all visual, nothing comes up on the screen to tell you what you've set it to and with all the knobs being exposed, if they move around in your bag then you've lost it all. The ME-20 is fantastic as it's all saved no matter how much you play around with it, and its so easy to set up your sound just how you want it. Hand on heart, I would never replace this pedal with anything but another one, it's made my playing so much more powerful and given me just the right sounds for every set I've done in the last 2 years. // 10

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overall: 8
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: Bebbo, on november 19, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 200

Purchased from: Local Music Store

Ease of Use: This is multieffect pedal is known for it's ease of use, and it really is simple. If you just can read the short instructions once, you'll get it all right with the first try. And even if you just try it out, it won't take you long to master it. You can edit the sounds in the patches whenever you like, if you just you the WRITE button right. Also there are 30 sounds ready, but I think that they aren't at least too good. Some people have asked about the wah, you can turn it on by pressing the main pedal down hard a moment. // 8

Sound: I use my ESP mh-50 and my very old radio amplifier from the 80's with this pedal. The speakers are from 70's so they might disturb the sound a bit but it's still very nice. The effects are good, but I'd like to have more of them in this pedal (shifter, octaver, better wah... ). The Metal driver is pretty poor in my opinion but I don't even use it very much. Delays are reverb are great. I play mainly Guns n roses, Pantera, Kingston Wall, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix, Zeppelin and other a bit "older" stuff, and I can dig the sounds for those well from this pedal. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I haven't really threw it anywhere but I have heard that it can take a punch, so I do depend on ME-20. It also looks like a tough rock. Anything doesn't make any strange noises of stuff like that. But I still wouldn't go out in the rain with it in any case. // 9

Overall Impression: I play mainly rock, funk, blues and a bit of metal and this device suits me well. I would have added some more features (like different acoustic sounds) into it but have remember that it is still only a 200 pedal. Also there could be more Switch-pedals on it. // 7

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overall: 9.3
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: GuitarGuy4098, on june 08, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 200

Ease of Use: This effects pedal/box is very easy to use and get use to because everything is clearly labelled and its just one button to change what effect you are using. You can get a variety of distortions, MOD's and delays from it and they can all be customised to your liking. It has a memory mode so you can save you favourite sounds and access them again by pressing a few buttons. This is defiantly a very easy pedal to use. // 10

Sound: I am currently using this with a Marshall MA100C and my Gibson Les Paul Studio. I can get a great sound using this setup. You can choose the level of you effect so they can be strong or weak to your liking. You can definitely imitate most guitarists, anything from the "Welcome To The Jungle" intro to a mellow Acoustic sound. All of the effects work well and come through strongly. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This is a very sturdy piece of kit as it is made fully of metal with a few plastic bits and pieces, but nothing major. I would use it at a live gig and not need to bring a backup. It has rubber feet so I can rely on it not to move around while I'm changing effect. // 9

Overall Impression: This really suits any type of playing style as all the sounds are fully customisable to your liking. If it were stolen or lost I would buy a new one without hesitating. The thing I love most about it is that it is very easy to use. The only problem I have found is that when you full close the Wah Wah pedal it changes to the volume control however I cannot compare this to other products because I not owned any other effects units. I would definitely recommend this to a guitarist with any playing style. // 9

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overall: 8.3
ME-20 Guitar Multiple Effects Reviewed by: 95thFallout, on august 26, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Local Shop

Ease of Use: Well for a multi effects pedal it is quite easy to use and is pretty nicely layed out as well as explained in the manuel. It has some great pre patches that allow you to plug in and play that don't sound all to bad. I give it a 9 because nothing is truely perfect and did take alot of reading to understand all features in the pedal. // 9

Sound: Alright so this pedal has been used with solid state and tube amps aswell as passive and active pickups and the end result being it likes SS with passive pickups although it don't hate active. Now when this amp is cranked on stage 4 (metal) it is noisy but with a built in noise gate you can bring it right down to nothing (although this gate does cut harmonics and sustain drastically). I play anything from blues to metal but particullary hard rock like acdc or gnr and old school metal like ozzy dio metallica megadeth etc and it does some good and some bad. Now I find the Overdrive and blues channels are quite lacking are thin sounding making it hard to get a good SRV sound or a heavier AC/DC tone even with hours of tweaking. The distortion channel is quite good although a little sterile sounding you can pull of a pretty mean GNR with this. Now onto the metal channel. This channel is my favourite and I can get a really solid sound coming from it. It is thick and heavy it is just as amazing as modeling goes. As for the compression and fuz I can't comment on as a don't really use them. Now on to the effects. To be honest I don't use these a whole lot but the flanger and Phaser aswell as tremolo seem great but the chorus and rotate seem pretty weak. Now onto my delay section. It comes with a 2 time delay or reverb and each is amazing. Now this is real delay not just some wooshing sound like in other amps. It is great and really adds a nice back to a solo or any guitar part really. The reverb is also quite good but the delay is just better so I use it more especially the secound slower one. Now onto the wah. Now reading other reviews people seem to like it but I hate the Wah pedal. It has the worst transition ever. You don't hear suddle small changes but drastic chop ones. It is barely audible under high distoriton or even regular distortion and don't really do any style very well. So I give sound a 7 do to sh-tty OD, Noise Gate, and Wah. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Now its a Boss there really isn't much more to say. Built like a rock. Its been dropped a few times and don't even dent. Completely metal chassy so I'm sure it would hold up in the worst of gigs. The pedals for OD Effects and Delay as well as the buttoms however are plastic which is a slight draw back but I give it a solid 9 almost ten. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing for 3 years now and this pedal is quite a bang for the buck especially for beginners. If you love tone then I wouldn't recommend it but if you like a little of everything then it is a great value. I would really like to try the newer versions Boss has released just to see how much they have changed and corrected but this pedal offers so much that it will definitely keep you busy for a little while. // 8

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