Multi FX vs. Pedalboards. What is the best choice?

Multi FX vs. Pedalboards

For all too many years I used to be a tone purist, so to speak. What I mean by that, is that there was absolutely no way I was ever going to use Multi-FX processors. I LOVED my amazing-sounding stompboxes too much.

I had strong feelings and opinions against what I called “the plastic sound” of multi-effects units.
Many of my friends through the years had been ranting and raving about Fractal Audio and how unbelievable their rack units sound. I didn’t buy it, that is, till I decided to take the plunge about 4 or so years ago.

I bought the Fractal Audio AX8. It’s not only amazing, it’s still growing on me.
Here’s what it looks like

Having an extensive collection of stompboxes, and owning the Fractal Audio’s AXE-8, I keep going back and forth between both, but I find that more and more I am starting to rely on the AX8 and less on my pedals.

Multi FX units are really good for recording.
It has amps build in, you plug in directly into your recording interface, and get great sounds immediately.

While the sounds are so good that you can use this for any budget recording, it is especially a great setup for recording sessions with clients who don’t have a lot of budget. You literally have access to a vast amount of different amp and cabinet sounds, which you can freely combine in any possible configuration.

You would like the Vox Ac30 sound of The Beatles? Done!
Do you want the Judas Priest sound? Piece of cake, there’s a patch that has the Marshall Plexi amp.

It’s faster and less work to set up and run than a pedalboard with stompboxes. You plug the cable from the effects unit into the recording interface and done.

One of the drawbacks of multi Fx boards though is that you cannot in real-time access and change parameters.
With stompboxes, you just reach out and turn the knob on the pedal to the desired setting: easy, fast, instant.

On a multi-FX processor: you need to navigate to the settings page, then to the parameters, then push buttons to change those parameters, etc.
It requires much more searching, buttons pushing, and so on.

But, on an FX processor, you can meticulously dial in all the settings and parameters for every song on your setlist for a show, and save it all, and you get the exact precise sounds as on your album, ready with the push of switch on the FX processor’s pedalboard.

Super convenient, and super pro.
You could never do this with a stompboxes pedalboard.

Here’s a fun demo of the AX8


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