Hands-On Review:BOSS ME-70


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Stompbox simplicity meets multi-effects convenience

By Jim Bybee
Roland Technical Writer

 

For grab-and-go guitar tone, nothing beats the venerable stompbox  pedal. It’s easy—just pick one that makes the sound you want, plug in,  twist the knobs a bit, and start wailing. For over 30 years now, BOSS  has been offering an incredibly extensive line of compact pedal effects,  giving guitarists (and other musicians) a well-stocked buffet of  amazing tonal flavors, from distortion and overdrive effects to delays,  choruses, reverbs, and beyond. Our pedals sound so great that it’s hard  to stop at just one…or three…or ten! But as your pedal collection grows,  so does the floor space it starts to take up. For a lot of guitarists, a  large, well-populated pedalboard is a badge of honor, and that’s cool.  But if you’re looking to consolidate multiple effects into a more  compact and manageable package without giving up the immediacy of using  stompboxes, then you should definitely check out the BOSS ME-70.

 

The concept

 

The ME-70 combines over 40 great BOSS effects into a single floor-based unit. Unlike more sophisticated multi-effects processors, the ME-70 has no menus to navigate or numerous displays to cursor through—it was  designed from the ground up to work with the ease of a collection of  stompboxes. The effects are organized into logical groups, and you tweak  the sound with dedicated front-panel knobs, just like you do with your  favorite compact pedals. Like every BOSS stompbox, it’s built to last  with a rock-solid all-metal chassis, and it runs on either AC power or  batteries, so it’s always ready to go where your music takes you.

 

The lowdown

 

There are eight separate effects groups in the ME-70 and all of them can be used simultaneously. Each group contains various  effects and you can select one from each group for a total of up to  eight simultaneous effects. Selecting effects and adjusting the sound is  easy—just dial up the effect type and use the knobs to customize the  tone. You’d think it can’t get much easier than that, but it does. Using  the EZ Tone feature, you can save your favorite knob settings for each  effect type, so when you dial it up, it’s ready to play!

 

The ME-70 has two operating modes: Manual and Memory. In Manual mode, the effects  function like a floor full of stompboxes, and you can adjust any sound  on the fly. There are four dedicated footswitches to turn the essential  effects groups on and off, while the PEDAL FX group has it own dedicated  expression pedal and integrated toe switch. (The remaining three  effects groups are more of the set-and-forget variety, but you can  control two of them with optional footswitches if you like.)

 

When you find the perfect sound with multiple effects, simply use  Memory mode to save that setup as a patch for later recall. You can save  up to 36 user patches, and there are also 36 great-sounding preset  patches to use as starting points to create your own. When you’re in  Memory mode, the four main footswitches are used to switch patches and  banks.

 

Boss ME-70 Guitar Multi Effects Pedal
Boss ME-70 Guitar Multi Effects Pedal

The heart of the matter

 

All these great features would mean nothing if the tone wasn’t there, and tone is where the ME-70 really delivers. Inside are a ton of great BOSS-sounding effects; it’s truly a history of our processing under one hood.

 

The ME-70’s  PREAMP group features our renowned COSM amp modeling technology and  provides realistic models of six classic guitar amplifiers with familiar  controls for gain and tone. If you’re using the ME-70 with a regular guitar amp, it’s likely that you won’t need to use the  PREAMP group (though you may want to use the group’s EQ setting to  refine the tone without adding any COSM color to the sound). But having  preamps onboard gives you lots of flexibility for using the ME-70ME-70 into an effects return or a power amp, or use a COSM preamp to overdrive the front end of your guitar amp. The ME-70’s  headphone/recording output features a guitar speaker simulator,  allowing you to use a COSM preamp to get real amp tone when practicing  or recording, and you can even use this output to drive a full-range  system such as keyboard amp or PA. in other ways. For example, you can bypass an external preamp and run the ME-70 into an effects return or a power amp, or use a COSM preamp to overdrive the front end of your guitar amp. The ME-70’s  headphone/recording output features a guitar speaker simulator,  allowing you to use a COSM preamp to get real amp tone when practicing  or recording, and you can even use this output to drive a full-range  system such as keyboard amp or PA.

 

The OD/DS group offers 10 distortion and overdrive effects—covering  everything from mild to heavy and retro to modern—and it can be used  simultaneously with the PREAMP group for an unlimited number of tonal  variations. The COMP/FX group contains a compressor, as well as other  effects such as touch wah and BOSS originals like Slow Gear and  Defretter. There’s also a pickup simulator—that converts a humbucker  sound to single-coil or vice versa—and a solo boost that bumps up the  volume for lead playing.

 

In the MODULATION group you’ll find effects such as phaser, flanger,  vibrato, and tremolo, as well as rotary-speaker and Uni-Vibe® models.  There’s also an intelligent harmonist, which lets you play diatonic  harmonies all by yourself. Of course, the classic BOSS chorus effect is  here too, delivering the shimmering goodness we’ve all come to love.

 

The DELAY group is all about echo, with delays up to 6,000  milliseconds and sound flavors like analog, modulate, and reverse. But  perhaps the star of this group is Phrase Loop, which is a real BOSS  looper with up to 38 seconds of recording time and unlimited  overdubbing, allowing you to create realtime backing for live  performances and practicing.

 

When the expression pedal’s toe switch is off, the pedal controls the ME-70’s  volume. When it’s on, the PEDAL FX group’s engaged, providing wah and  pitch shifting effects and a unique voice effect. There are even options  to use the pedal to control the rate of the modulation effects or the  level of the delay effects.

The ME-70 also features a great-sounding reverb—with an innovative one-knob  control that adjusts both reverb type and depth—and a noise suppressor  for killing buzz and hum. For the final icing on the cake, there’s a  built-in chromatic tuner, and an AUX IN jack for plugging in a music  player so you can jam along with your favorite tunes.

 

The wrap

 

As you can see, the ME-70 is incredibly flexible and filled with all the features most guitarists  need and then some. Best of all, it’s packed to the gills with great  BOSS tone, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use it! If  you’re tired of plugging in a floor full of stompboxes or lugging around  a heavy pedalboard—or if you just want a ton of BOSS effects in a  single package—the ME-70 could be the solution you’re looking for.