ME-80 Guitar Multiple Effects review by Boss

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  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (8 votes)
Boss: ME-80 Guitar Multiple Effects

Price paid: € 200

Ease of Use — 8
The unit is very easy to use due to its knob-based editing. The Boss ME-80 has 2 operation modes: memory mode and manual mode. In memory mode the unit works as a conventional digital multieffect, you can select banks and patches. In manual mode the unit works a real pedalboard where every pedal turns on and off an effect. Boss also offers his Tone Studio to edit patches from PC which works well. It's also possible to backup and restore patches and download new ones from Boss Tone Central. The product has no upgradable fw, the manual is clear and well written.

Sound — 8
There was an actual improvement on the sound compared to the other pedalboard of the ME series. The amps are a fraction of the ones offered on the GT-100 and sound great, the Stack model (my personal favorite) simulates very well the sound of a Marshall Plexi but also other clean, crunch and metal amps are included. Some of my favorite effects are the famous Boss chorus and the intelligent harmonizer that follows the scales using the right intervals. If needed a noise gate is provided. The wah-wah is good either with clean and with distortion.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Metal chassis as all Boss pedals, with rugged plastic switches. It is solid enough for gigging although I will use it for home playing/recording as I'm not a gigging musician. For gigging purpose I recommend buying an AC adapter that is not provided with the unit as is it also battery powered. Jack sockects are also metal and an handy on/off switch is provided. To turn on and off the unit you must hold the power switch for two seconds, this prevents the unit from being accidentally shutted down.

Overall Impression — 8
All the sounds, apart from the overtone, the ring modulator and some distortions are very usable in my opinion. The amps sound great and in memory mode the unit can be used as a real pedalboard where every pedal turns on and off an effect. There is also a 38 seconds looper that works well (the only limit to me is that you can't change patch while looping but only turn on and off effects). USB recording and reamping is also supported. A thing to remember is that there is no cabinet simulation editing option but cabinet simulation is activated when headphones/recording out are connected.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I got one of these things and I really dig it. First off, I should address the most common complaint of Multi-FX from my experience... distortion. The distortion sounds are kind of mediocre, but I mainly play pedal steel and sometimes I'll run the banjo (when I need to amplify) or keyboard through it and so I don't really need those. They are adequate for bedroom practice and rough recording though. But I'm not sure why people actually expect to get $3000 tube amp tone out of a $300 unit. Go figure. Since I mainly play with pedal steel, I had a somewhat unique consideration. Anyone that has ever seen a double neck with 8 pedals up close will know that there is simply no room to put a Multi-FX unit under the instrument in a position that is actually accessible. This means that I am forced to put the instrument on a table, stand, etc in front/to the side of me. This is fine though since it is easier to tweak knobs. But it does mean that I need something where the pedals can be quickly switched on and off with my hands rather than feet, and this works well enough for that. The expression pedal switch requires too much pressure to activate with my hand, but it doesn't matter since I can't really use it in real time anyway (since my hands tend to be busy playing). I really dig being able to use up to three different delays. This means the main delay can be your crazy, fun delay (extra long, tape, reverse, terra echo, etc) and then one of the others can be a basic delay or slapback echo. There are two things I would have liked though... Having stereo ins would have been cool for playing with a keyboard, although this is forgivable since the instrument is obviously intended for guitar which is typically a mono instrument in terms of input requirements. Also having an effects loop would have been nice. Like I said, I mainly play pedal steel. And like I said... pedal placement. This means that I need an external volume pedal (since pedal steel makes heavy use of the volume pedal to the point where it is simply a necessity). The volume pedal should be in the middle of the chain, but with no loop I either have the choice of before, which goofs up the compressor and distortion, or after, which goofs up delay and reverb. Before it is, I suppose. Other than that, the harmonizer is kind of annoying since there is very little margin for error in terms of pitch accuracy and so tracking can mess up if you are a bit out of tune (or, as in the case of pedal steel, using a tuning system outside of 12 tone equal temperament). The tracking in particular does not work well when bending strings with the pedals or levers on my instrument. Also it would have been nice to have the compressor separate from some of the other "FX 1" effects. I pretty much always use the compressor with all of my instruments, and so it would be nice to be able to use that and maybe octave or the defretter at the same time. Obviously the other thing worth mentioning, which I can't tell you how much I love, is the two different modes: manual and memory. I primarily use manual mode since I prefer a "multiple stomboxes" operation, but being able to have the memory mode for patch switching is lovely. So overall... Other than a couple of minor gripes, this is a neat little box with pretty much all the necessities and no silly features that you don't need. I should have really just submitted this as a full review though...
    I really like my ME-80 as well, although through headphones it sounds horrible, probably due to a lack of a decent power amp. The high-gain distortions stomps aren't that great, although the high-gain preamp models do the job for me, but they sound more like a SS such as an Ampeg vh140c as opposed to tube tone.