Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Guitar and bass FX discussion

Moderators: Guitarzan, Grandor, ned

Adam D'Agosto
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:09 pm

Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by Adam D'Agosto » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:11 pm

Hi.

Got a rookie question about multi-effects pedals and how the behave with the Mesa Boogie Express amps.

Ok. So I have a 5:50 2×12. Sounds great and the tone is amazing. The amp actually makes me sound like I know what I'm doing. My son is the real player until I can catch up to him :)

When you connect a pedal like the Boss ME-70 are you in fact bypassing the tonal qualities of the amp? Do all of the ME pedals degrade the amps tone at all or is that not something I should worry about.

I think it would be fun to get a ME pedal, but I don't want to hurt my sound.

How does all that pedal stuff work with this amp or any amp for that matter?

Thank you!!

Adam

User avatar
MesaMonster
Mark II
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:58 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by MesaMonster » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:53 pm

Depends how you put the ME into the amp. Does the amp have an effects loop. Some people run a dirt pedal into the front and the ME in the loop for delays, mods, and pitch. You can also run everything right into the front of the amp. It may sound different. You have to experiment and decide for yourself what you like. Have fun.
Mesa Road King II
Carvin 2x12 cab
Ibanez RG570 Blue
Schecter Hellraiser Black Cherry
Guitar->Morley Steve Vai wah->Fulltone Fulldrive->EHX POG2->Ernie Ball volume->Amp
Effects Loop: Line 6 M9

User avatar
elvis
Donating Member
Posts: 2569
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by elvis » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:51 pm

Everybody hears and feels effect differently with amps, so what works for one may not work for another.

Overall, the most popular way to kill tone (or dynamics, which most people lump in with tone), is to hook up an FX box without reading the manual or knowing anything about how an amp reacts to other electronics. Then they blame it on "A to D conversion" and call it a day.

First, you need to set your FX box for "All Bypassed". Make sure everything, including EQ, gate, etc, are all OFF. Hook up the front part of the FX Box. SET THE LEVELS. Usually people have the FX box set to either boost or attenuate, and of course that changes tone and dynamics. Make sure the levels wind up exactly the same as with the FX box not plugged in. Connect and disconnect the FX box many times to make sure the levels and tone are not affected.

Another gotcha is that most tube amps have high impedance (5k to 25k) FX sends. So you either need to make sure that the FX box has very high impedance inputs after the preamp (More than 1Meg), or use a buffer in between. A good buffer has a minimum of 1Meg input impedance and less than 1k output impedance. An impedance mismatch between the preamp FX send and the FX box will jack up your tone, usually making it mushy and wierd-sounding.

Finally, work with ONE effect at a time. Don't roll to factory preset 32, with every effect in the book, plus gate and EQ, and expect to get anything but jetwash. You will have to dial your own effects, and choose carefully. Less is more. And turn off any amp modeling.

As for the tone of the effects, for boxes like the ME-70, expect similar tone quality to Boss's stomp boxes. If you like the stomps, you're good. If not, then the ME is probably not for you. My experience with Boss is that the pedals are built to last forever, work really well, but tend to kill the high frequencies and sound a little over-EQ'd. YMMV. They're pretty useable, but the 5:50 is a scratchy, punchy, dynamic amp, and it may sound a bit more dead with the effects.

Having written that, I used an F50 with a variety of effects in front and in the loop, and I had no trouble maintaining the wonderful amp tone. Faves for me were OD808, BB Pre, EVH Phase 90, and various chorus and delay pedals in the loop. I also used EQ in the loop as a solo boost/EQ. I ran a G System as well, and again, worked great.
Mini Rectifier blue LED
Recto 2x12 Vertical
Recto 2x12 Wedge

Adam D'Agosto
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:09 pm

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by Adam D'Agosto » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:58 pm

Ok this is good info. I'm starting to get a better feel of the tradeoffs.

So this leads to the next question: what are the best Multi-Effects pedals out there for the Mesa Express amps? What are people having the best success with in maintaining the classic amp tone and still having all the fun effects to play with?

If I knew what effect(s) I really needed and wanted, I might not go the route of ME, but until I learn all that, is why I'd like to go with a Boss ME-70 or a Pod, BUT that's only if I can maintain the tonal qualities of the amp within reason.

So your opinion of what are the better ME pedals to go with would be really great.

Thanks!

Adam

User avatar
elvis
Donating Member
Posts: 2569
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by elvis » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:09 am

I wouldn't go the multi effect route, especially if you don't know anything about effects. Most people would agree on the basic effects that are essential. We all have different opinions on which model or brand, but basically you would most likely want:

Delay
Something swirly (Chorus or Flange or Phaser or Vibe)
Overdrive
Wah

I highly recommend you start with some high quality single effect pedals and dial them in over time until you know what you want. You will NEVER have time to mess around with menus to set up a string of multi effects in a way that allows you to really experiment. You need to be able to turn a few dials on the fly. Remember, playing is priority #1. FX boxes can become an end of their own, and a huge waste of time.

If you REALLY REALLY need to be able to radically change your effects with the push of a button for live playing (like changing amp channel and delay type and time and switching in or out the swirly effect while keeping time with the band), multi effects can be great.

If you want a little flexibility and fun while playing guitar, go with the basics.

I'd start with delay. A TC flashback is nice, as are many other boxes. I'd go digital delay, as analog delays are less flexible and are generally tuned to filter out high frequencies. The Flashback has a tape emulator that does that, so you kind of get the best of both worlds anyway. 4 Knobs, great sound. Don't bother with looper mode on that pedal.

Next, overdrive. I'd recommend something that will give you a little bluesy drive on its own, and more sustain when added to the lead channel. Turns a 2-channel amp into a 4-channel amp. OD808 is about the most popular OD in history, and then there are 500123445564626 copies of it with various modifications. I'd go simple, then move to something more complicated or that you prefer after at least trying the granddaddy of all OD. There is also a 4-knob version of the 808, with many copies, like the BB preamp. Pretty much any decent OD will work well.

It's kind of a tossup between wah and swirly, but I'd lean toward swirly. Which types depends on your taste. Like The Police? Flanger. Like prog rock, Chorus. Classic Rock? EVH Phase 90. Jimi Hendrix/Robin Trower? Vibe. Choose ONE. Any one of them can stand in for the others until you get some experience with it.

Wah is cool if you play stuff that really needs it, but will sit unused otherwise. Probably the most difficult to choose, as there are many that sound almost completely different from each other.
Again, simple. Fewer knobs and switches.

I think you'll get 100X more and better use out of 2 or 3 pedals than you will from any multi effect.
Mini Rectifier blue LED
Recto 2x12 Vertical
Recto 2x12 Wedge

Adam D'Agosto
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:09 pm

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by Adam D'Agosto » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:12 pm

I would say, without having a crystal ball, that is hugely good advice. I've always gravitated towards ME pedals because that's what my teacher has (Boss ME-55). But what you are suggesting makes a lot of sense.

You did say something that was a bit confusing though. You talked about overdrive and how you can take a 2 channel amp and turn it into a 4 channel amp. In the case of the Mesa Boogie Express, don't I already have that with a switch? It comes with a clean, crunch, blues and burn (but on 2 channels, you'd still have to flip a switch). So maybe if you have time, can you speak to that a bit? Does that change the need for an OD?

On that note, when playing through the Mesa on let's say Blues (channel 2), and then you switch to Burn (channel 2), it really sounds quite different. They don't exactly compliment each other directly. I think the intent is one or the other.

In the case of an OD pedal (if I understand things correctly), the OD pedal is an OVERDRIVE of the existing tone and tonal qualities. Is that right? Isn't it like flipping a switch and going on steroids?

Having said that, I can see why still having an OD pedal would be a good thing, plus you wouldn't have to walk over to the amp and flip the switch, just tap a pedal on the floor.

How am I doing here?

You are very helpful "Elvis". Thank you.

Adam

User avatar
elvis
Donating Member
Posts: 2569
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by elvis » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:38 am

You're welcome!

Yes, you are right about the mode switches, but they are a pain to use on the fly, so I would call it a 2-channel amp with 2 modes for each channel. You would probably not use the switches much, if at all, when playing live.

If you set the OD for mild gain, it's a bit of steroids, but not necessarily all-out shred. I recommend setting the OD for just a bit of grease (technical term :lol: ) on clean, and then it will give some nice smooth sustain on the lead channel. That way you get Clean, Bluesy, Crunch and Burn, all selectable from the floor. Add Contour, and you have 8 distinct tones.

Alternatively, you can set an OD for a bit of level jump to add some punch and volume on clean, and more drive on Lead, or set it for a ragged breakup on clean, which would give some sustain and definition on lead.

This is exactly why a ME is probably going to be overwhelming. With just one effect there's lots to try.
Mini Rectifier blue LED
Recto 2x12 Vertical
Recto 2x12 Wedge

Adam D'Agosto
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:09 pm

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by Adam D'Agosto » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:30 pm

Hey Elvis and all,

This is really good conversation because you're hitting on all the good pedal points especially about being overwhelmed by a ME pedal.

But, here's my problem with going with individual pedals. They still cost more than one ME pedal. For the cost of a ME pedal, you can get all the different types of individual pedals rolled up into one package at a lower cost that are the most important and commonly used three or so pedals. Yes I will agree that the ME pedals are more complicated and almost represent learning a whole new instrument, but they seem just so much more cost effective in figuring out what you really want.

Question: do ME pedals like the Boss ME-70 or Pod 500 not sound as clean as the individual pedals that make them up? Is there an inherent lost of tonal performance out of the Mesa Boogie Express amp when using pedals or the ME pedal? If you know going into the game of ME pedals being very complex, does that help in the end?

It just seems to me that cost is the biggest driver for me. So my other question is: is there more going on than cost when deciding to go ME or individual pedals?

Thank you again!!

Adam

User avatar
elvis
Donating Member
Posts: 2569
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by elvis » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:04 am

It's your call.

Having been both routes more than once, if it were my money, I'd buy one pedal at a time. Frankly, even with a G System, I'm still buying pedals. Look at any pro out there with a ME - they have it on a board with about 23 pedals strapped to it. Andy Timmons, one of my faves, uses a G Major, but still has OD, wah, fuzz, delay and tuner pedals. And he probably uses the G Major less than 25% of the time.

Go with the basics, bro. Spend your time on the instrument.
Mini Rectifier blue LED
Recto 2x12 Vertical
Recto 2x12 Wedge

Tone1026
Mark II
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:07 pm

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by Tone1026 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:14 am

It just seems to me that cost is the biggest driver for me. So my other question is: is there more going on than cost when deciding to go ME or individual pedals?
Yup cost is definitely a factor. If you want good quality pedals, individual pedals could get salty. Have you considered a boss gt8-10? If you have a boogie amp, you are all set for distortion tones. As stated make sure you set a patch with nothing on it and compare it to a direct line in. If you don't have highly active pickups you can boost your signal a number of different ways and shape your tone before your pre amp. Optimal tones for multi-effects is in the loop, but whats nice about Multi-fx is that you can move the order of effects around in the chain per patch. you can also turn multiple effects on or off at one time without a line selector, and doing a line dance. I highly recommend the gt10. just picked one up, and the functionality of it is outstanding for what I do. Boss's control buttons with assign features really leave pretty limitless in regards to what you can do. It just depends on how good you are with thinking the effects chain stuff through, and how patient you are in dialing things in. The tonal quality of their effects is great. Built like tanks. Amp models are not quite as good, but you bought a mesa...

I'll sell you my GT3, for a good price ;) runs like a champ, I just upgraded...

ifailedshapes
Single Recto
Posts: 1035
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:31 am
Location: California

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by ifailedshapes » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:58 am

I know this thread is pretty much dead, but as a musician, I have to stress the importance of adding new things one at a time. I would recommend getting a delay pedal first, and then spend some quality time with it. Learn what works and what doesn't. After you know your guitar, amp, and delay intimately, then venture out and try something new.

I used delay as an arbitrary example. My favorite effect is delay, but yours may be wah, chorus, or something else. Regardless of whatever you choose, you'll have better tone and a better understanding of your instrument if you piece all of the building blocks together individually, as opposed to overwhelming yourself with a box that does it all.

Not to mention that individual pedals tend to be masterpieces of the sound, versus multi-effects that tend to be "jacks of all trades, but masters of none".
Guitars --> Pedals --> Amps

Past/Present Boogies
Express 5:50+ 1x12"
Stiletto Ace 1x12"
Electra Dyne Head
Lone Star Special 1x12"
Stiletto Ace Head
Express 5:25 1x10"
Mark IVb Widebody 1x12"

User avatar
elvis
Donating Member
Posts: 2569
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by elvis » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:39 pm

Mildly interesting article. Note that there is no ME on the board or in the rack. He has this all racked up these days, I saw it on YT lasy night. Pretty cool setup.

http://www.performing-musician.com/pm/d ... errico.htm
Mini Rectifier blue LED
Recto 2x12 Vertical
Recto 2x12 Wedge

brand0n
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:39 pm
Location: Charleston, SC
Contact:

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by brand0n » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:07 pm

Truthfully I didn't read all other posts but I'll be up front and honest and say this...


Most multi FX units don't sound too great. You'd be best off just getting a simple delay pedal, maybe an overdrive or distortion if you so choose. The amp has pretty good reverb as it is. Its versatile enough to reach anything you want to do with just that.
WTB: Mesa Express 5:50 head
WTS: Mesa Express 5:50 2x12 combo (no speakers) & 5153 50w ivory head
TheGearPage.net Profile

Cory
Mark II
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:52 am
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by Cory » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:37 am

I agree with Brandon & ifailedshapes - most multi-fx units do not really sound good. You're better off focusing on your amps tone and your playing. Adding too many effects will just muddy the waters. Also, have you tried plugging in the effects unit and playing, then unplugging your unit and playing straight into your amp? You're most likely going to hear a difference in tone. The effects unit is going to color your tone, and not in a good way. I made the mistake of adding effects pedals early on when I was learning and it actually set me back. Learn your amp and use your picking style/guitar volume knob, etc to achieve different sounds/tones. You already have a nice spring reverb built in, beyond that I wouldn't really add anything. Maybe an overdrive or delay - but don't let the extra distortion or delay compensate for your playing - I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but it's easy to mask mistakes/bad technique with effects. Again, I made this mistake early on and it set me back in my progression. I'd say dump the multi-fx unit and pick up a MXR carbon copy delay - they sell for $150 and are true bypass (just one example of a good/cheap pedal).

Here's my board. I used to have a board a mile long, but I realized as my playing got better that I preferred the natural tone of my guitar over effects. I love the simplicity of it and there's zero tone coloration (all true bypassed). I have a tuner and wah pre-gain, and reverb, delay, flange and a looper post-gain...that's it - and I've never been happier! :)

Image

Whatever you decide to do, good luck man!
Image

User avatar
elvis
Donating Member
Posts: 2569
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Re: Multi Effects Pedals and the Boogie Express 5:50

Post by elvis » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:04 pm

That is a thing of beauty.
Mini Rectifier blue LED
Recto 2x12 Vertical
Recto 2x12 Wedge

Post Reply