Boss ME-70 Guitar Multiple Effects
Originally published in Guitar World, October 2010
The Boss ME-70 combines the instant tweakability of stomp boxes with the convenience and power of a traditional all-in-one, foot-operated multieffect unit.
If you're the type of guitarist who is always tweaking effect settings onstage, chances are you’ve opted for a pedal board and an array of stomp boxes rather than a floor-mounted multi-effect unit. While using stomp boxes has its advantages, such as the ability to mix and match any variety of effects, it comes with a few headaches, including the difficulty of switching on two or more effects at once and dealing with a cluttered mess of patch and power cables.
The Boss ME-70 combines the instant tweakability of stomp boxes with the convenience and power of a traditional all-in-one, foot-operated multi-effect unit. While the ME-70 may not have all the features and effects found on its big brother, the Boss GT-10, it forsakes that unit’s streamlined multifunction parameter controls in favor of individual knobs for each effect parameter, allowing you to instantly access and fine-tune any desired parameter without digging through display menus. The Boss ME-70 is surprisingly compact as well, and it even operates on batteries, so you can keep stage clutter to a minimum.
The ME-70 is designed to function both as a traditional floor-mounted multi-effect unit with memory and like a stomp-box pedal board. Effect types consist of COMP/FX (compression and various effects), OD/DS (overdrive and distortion), modulation, delay, preamp, noise suppressor, reverb and Pedal FX. In Manual mode, the Comp/FX, OD/DS, modulation and delay sections can be turned on or off individually via the four footswitches. In Memory mode, the ME-70’s footswitches let you access 36 user and 36 preset patch banks. In Manual mode, each effect’s sound corresponds to the current setting of the parameter knobs, while in Memory mode the sounds will revert to the knob’s programmed settings, although you can modify the settings by adjusting the knobs and save them as user patches.
The ME-70 produces up to seven effects at once, and the order of the signal chain cannot be modified. A rocker pedal at the right edge of the unit works either as a volume pedal (positioned in the signal chain between the noise suppressor and modulation effects) or as a treadle for Pedal FX, including wah, talk box and octave-up/-down whammy effects (located at the front of the signal chain). The Comp/FX section features a rotary knob that lets you select either compression, T.Wah (envelope follower), Slow Gear (slow attack), Defretter (fretless simulation), humbucker or single-coil tones, or solo settings. The OD/DS section offers a variety of overdrive, distortion and fuzz flavors; modulation effects include chorus, phaser, flanger, rotary, tremolo, vibrato, pitch-shifting and secondary delay effects; and delay types feature a variety of delay ranges, analog delay emulation, reverse, tap tempo and looping.
The preamp section has seven amp and EQ models, or you can turn this section off to retain your amp’s character. The noise suppressor has variable threshold settings, and the reverb section consists of a single knob for dialing in room or hall effects at varying intensities. The ME-70 even has a built-in tuner that automatically mutes the sound while you tune up. The rear panel offers a good selection of essential jacks, including a mono guitar input, stereo outputs, a recording/headphone output, a 1/8-inch auxiliary input, a multifunction footswitch jack and a DC input for an optional power supply.
Like Boss compact pedals, the ME-70’s effects have a fat, dynamic sound, and they tend to hold their own with other instruments onstage. The presets are solid, useful stage workhorses, with only a handful of wacky experimental sounds thrown in for the kooks (like me). The phrase loop allows up to 38 seconds of recording time, and you can overdub as many additional layers as you want. Although the unit provides memory for only 36 custom presets, that’s more than enough to get you through most gigs, and it makes it easy to find the sounds you want.
Like most Boss products, the ME-70 is exceptionally easy to use. All of the parameter controls are in plain sight, and only a handful of clearly marked functions require users to press two footswitches or buttons at the same time. If you’ve found most multi-effect units too confusing or complicated, you’ll love the ME-70’s pedal-like simplicity.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Boss ME-70 delivers an impressive variety of great-sounding effects for a surprisingly low price. Pedal purists looking for more flexibility than stomp boxes provide will love how the ME-70 packs a ton of power into a small, portable all-in-one package.
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