Hands-On Review:Screamin' Sounds, Hot Features... and a Low Price!

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In case you haven't noticed, a swarm of affordable, killer multi-effects devices have recently landed in the middle of the music scene. These boxes come in a variety contemporary colors and styles, with so many similar features that it's hard to sort them all out. Some specialize in quantity of effects, some in particular effects types. The Boss ME-30 is among the best of this new breed of multi-effects I've test-driven.

Boss ME-30


Boss wasn't trying to win the "Most effects squeezed into a box" award when they designed the ME-30. Instead, they aimed for the essential guitar effects, then focused on making these essentials as primo as possible. And great effects are nothing new to the Boss crew. Check out any seasoned player's setup, and you're bound to find a couple of Boss stompboxes. Over the years, the boys at Boss have crafted some of the most awesome effects known to man or beast.


The ME-30 starts with BOSS' newest ultra-clean digital signal processing technology. Effects are sampled at CD-quality 44.1kHz, and AD/DA conversion is 20/18-bit. This is pretty impressive, especially compared to some other similar devices. But what does this do for you? It keeps your guitar's signal as pure as the instant the vibration leaves the strings, hit the pickups and resonate through the guitar's body. It ensures that every drop of your guitar's tone and every detail of your playing nuance is faithfully captured. It makes you sound better than ever.

Equipped With Essential Guitar Multi-Effects
No matter what style music you play, you know there are certain effects that a serious guitarist must have to create certain musical textures and launch your audience into alternate atmospheres. Boss knows these guitar effect essentials, and they made sure the
ME-30 has 'em all, plus a couple of cool surprises. The ME-30 comes equipped with a total of 16 premium multi-effects. All of them are great for use on stage or in the studio, but I had my favorites. There's a rich, full analog Overdrive that sounded as warm and gutsy as it gets. The distortion really wails like unchained fleets of total gainiac madness. The coolest was the pitch-shifting "Tremolo Arm" effect. This radical feature makes it easy use the built-in expression pedal to go for insane high-altitude dive-bomb missions and whammy bar pyrotechnics.

The other essential multi-effects are also very impressive. These include compressor, EQ, phaser, noise suppressor, chorus, flanger, pitch shifter, tremolo, delay, reverb and amp simulator, with three additional effects Wah, tremolo arm and ring modulation assignable to the built-in expression pedal.

Editing Is As Easy As Turning Knobs On a Stompbox

The ME-30 is loaded with 30 presets, and room for you to create another 30 of your own, giving you instant access to up to 60 multi-effects. And its easy to edit and program the effects using the a luminous LCD and a super-friendly, icon-driven interface which uses "chained" stompbox icons to to instantly confirm which effects are in use at a given time.

In "Edit" mode, the blinking effect name above each pedal icon lets users know exactly which effect is being edited. And with "virtual" knob editing icons, even beginners will have no problem creating and editing their own effects patches it's as simple as turning knobs on a stomp box. Once created, these patches can be named and stored in any order for practice or performance.

Built-in "Phrase Trainer" Makes Leaning New Licks a Breeze

Ever wish you could master a new riff by slowing it down a notch or two? The ME-30 's phrase trainer function and built-in auxiliary input makes it easy for players to record up to 12 seconds of their favorite CD for "loop"-style playback. Then it lets you slow down the sampled phrase to as low as 25% of its original speed without affecting its pitch.

Rounded out with features like a built-in tuner, onboard amp simulator for "live" sounding late night headphone practice and recording, an adjustable input setting with icons for different guitars/pickups, and optional battery operation (using six AA cells), the
ME-30 gives beginning and intermediate guitarists world-renowned Boss multi-effects at a very affordable price.

BOSS ME-30 Features



  • 16 effects
  • Use up to 9 effects at once
  • Custom icon-based display
  • Phrase trainer
  • 30 preset/30 programmable patches
  • Built-in expression pedal
  • 44.1kHz sampling frequency
  • 20/18-bit AD/DA conversion
  • Amp simulator
  • Built-in tuner
  • Battery or AC operation