Price paid: $ 199.99
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 9
In short, the sound you can get from this is amazing for the price. This processor possibly has the best bang for the buck. Read on for details! Although most of you probably already know this, I would like to begin reviewing the sound quality of this processor with a disclosure: In case you are buying this to perfectly emulate a tube/valve amp, you will be disappointed! Neither the Boss ME-50 nor any processor for that matter can perfectly emulate the sound of a nice warm tube amp! The PODXT and BossGT8 are possibly the only two that come close to it. Now that that's aside, I can very safely say that you will NOT be disappointed with the sound quality of this processor. The basic effects can be divided up into the three parameters (corresponding to three footswitches) of distortion/overdrive, modulation and delay. Distortion/overdrive. There are a total of 22 distortion effects which are of very good quality and encompass the needs of most musicians. Sounds vary from crunch and Overdrive, to lead metal and much more. Each effect then allows you to tweak it slightly using the Drive, Bottom, Tone and Level knobs, allowing for a fair bit of customizability. Modulation. There are a total of 11 modulation effects ranging from choruses to pan-vibrato. The chorus has a nice rich sound and can be set to a stereo mode if you are using the stereo output. Three knobs allow you to customize the parameters for each modulation effect. What the knobs control are specific to the effect in use. I personally feel that the chorus, flanger, phaser and Boss's unique rotary effect are by far the most useful and well developed in this group. The harmonizer has been a slight disappointment; although claimed to be an intelligent harmonizer that adjusts for the key you play in, it is very limiting and can not be used with chords. The modulation effects allow 'tap tempo' functionality. Delay. The 11 delay effects are great! You can choose from a regular analog delay to a slow echo or a complete reversal of your sound! Once again you can tweak these with the knobs to control the time, feedback and level of the delay effect that you have chosen. The delay effects allow 'tap temp' functionality. Expression pedal. The expression pedal can be switched on or off by pressing down hard on it. The 'wah' was a great surprise after playing through the Zoom 606 and other pedals in that price range. It gives great body to the sound and a decent amount of 'wah' as well. The pedal can also be used in resonance, ring, voice or 2 octave modes. When not turned on, the pedal defaults to a volume pedal. Apart from the effects mentioned above, the ME50 features a knob to control tones. It can be set to any of the 10 tones including, single coil, humbucking, mild, tight hollow acoustic etc. The acoustic simulator is a great feature of this pedal and one of the reasons I chose it over the Korg Toneworks AX 1500G (price being the other factor). The pedal also features noise cancellation, a sustain knob, a reverb and a master volume knob. These are all excellent and useful features. The reverb contains spring, hall and room, with a special mod mode for that extra tone!
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for about 10 years and mostly play classic rock as well as some Indian classical/fusion. For the former, I require a nice tube crunch which I can't afford so I bought this! Yes it's not the sound I'd get from tubes but it is a very good processor and fulfills most of my needs. If I had the cash I might have upgraded to PODXT or Boss GT8 but if you don't have that kinda money this is the way to go!
Reliability & Durability — 10
This is reliable and durable. It's made of a strong metallic case and can be banged around! The pedals are rock solid don't worry about taking this to gigs! It features rubber pads on all the corners and everything on it is pretty much screwed in, so on worries here. This is a definite step up interms of reliability when you move from the cheaper processors which use a lot of plastic.
Ease of Use — 10
This processor is possibly the most unambiguous of them all. It's SUPER user friendly. Three foot switches control the three important effect parameters of Delay, OD and Modulation, and a footswitch for the wah and other such effects. Read on for a more detailed description. The pedal basically wins over the cheaper Zooms and Digitechs for this reason: It allows you to Switch any of the three effect parameters (as well as the expression) on or off at any point in time. This is basically what gives it an edge. Very few pedals in this price range will do the same! The pedal has two modes, a memory mode and a regular mode. The regular mode is the default and the sound you will hear is whatever you have set the effect to; it is a continuous real time sound and will change according to what you do. You can Switch effects on or off as well as tweak them or use the pedal. Tweaking in the middle of a song however is somewhat of a challenge and frankly impossible. This brings us to the other mode of the guitar, the Memory mode. This contains 30 possible effect combinations that can be stored in the memory of the processor, and will not be lost when you Switch off the power. It is essentially what the cheaper pedals offer. The modes are switched by pressing the Mod and Delay pedals down together at the same time. Each bank can hold 3 effects, switched to and from using the Mod, Delay and OD pedals. Effects are easy to create and simple to store; however keep in mind that there is a slight lag while switching effects, which can sometimes prove frustrating during gigs. Another slight issue is that once you are in this mode, you can not just turn off the distortion for an effect, as pressing that pedal will switch to the effect that has been stored under it. Basically, if you're in memory mode, there's no changing your effects. If you're using it to gig that can be a bit of a problem. Another is that if you want to use more than three effects for a song, you have to Switch from one bank to another, which can not be done without pressing a button on the processor, i.e. there is no foot Switch to do this. However you can work around this problem by purchasing the Boss FS5U unlatching footswitch, which can then be used for a variety of functions. It will cost you about another $25.