Price paid: £ 149.99
Purchased from: Birmingham NEC Music Live 2006
Sound — 8
I have used it through a variety of amps, and gotten similar strengths and weaknesses from the pedal from all of them. The modulations and delays are world-class, the distortions.. not so much. There's 22 distortion models (they are COSM amp/stomp box models), and I only really use a few of them. Some of them just sound really nasty. Some are usable, though. I particularly like "MODERN DS". I always use the pedal in front of any amp, and it's always performed well, noise-wise. There's never any noticeable addition of noise to the signal chain, aside from when one uses one of the terrible distortion models. There's also 6 really cool expressions for the pedal. Though the wah-wah will probably be your most used one. In a nutshell, it's worth having simply for the mods and the delays. There's 11 modulations, and 11 delays. In my opinion, they are pretty much as good as any stand-alone unit, or so close that the difference is negligible. The built-in reverbs are also pretty good (better than the distortions, but not as good as the delays or modulations). There's an awesome noise gate, which really works great, and a compressor which I can never get to sound any good (that could just be me, though). There's also a tone-modifier that I never usually use. Basically, you can kind of make a humbucker sound like a single coil with it, and so on. I'm going to give the sound of the uni an 8, for while most of the distortion models aren't all that (a few are good, though), the rest of the features more than make up for it. You pretty much could just have an ME-50, and then just buy your favourite stand-alone distortion box, and you'd be rocking.
Overall Impression — 8
For a single item, and a pretty cheap one at that (as effects units go), I've been blown away by the ME-50. It totally adds to your sound and tonal options in many great ways. It even has a really accurate tuner built in. Really the only drawback is the plethora of bad distortions. Though within them are three or four good, usable ones to be found. So if three or four good distortions, a bucket full of world-class modulations and delays, sound features like a reliable tuner, a quality noise gate, a compressor (which I've no idea how good it is or isn't), reverbs, tone modifying, great expression modes on the pedal, and undoubtedy other stuff that I don't even know about, then get an ME-50. It's even at that sweet size that's just before the point where it's too big to take around easily. I can chuck my ME-50 in my shoulder bag. I would heartily recommend this unit to anyone.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The thing is as absolute tank. Metal construction, with heavy-duty knobs and buttons that are made to take a thrashing and still work.
Ease of Use — 10
I've had this for two years, now. It's been gigged, and is rock solid. It's the only Boss item I own (well, you could count my Micro Cube, since Roland own Boss, or the other way around), and it has definitely lived up to their reputation for building robust products made for the working musician. You can edit and store a whole bunch of patches on it, but to be honest, I only ever use it in manual mode. Not because the patch editing is difficult- I've just never bothered with it. The manual mode is good enough for me, since you can dial in things really quickly. Because I've never bothered with patches, I've also never bothered reading the manual. Suffice to say, manually, it is rather self-explanatory.