The Best Multi-Effects Pedals Under $400

Generally speaking, effects aficionados fall into one of two categories. On one side, we have the players with the carefully curated pedalboards full of an always-evolving rotation of vintage and modern stompboxes. This is often the group constantly chasing the zenith of perfect tone, trying to find that inspiring blend of organic circuitry that transcends their sonic capabilities.

The second group is comprised of the players who tend to skip the pedalboard and opt for a multi-effects unit. Instead of single, dedicated circuits for each of their effects in the form of stompboxes, they choose the digital models of the multi-effects processor. In return, they receive many more effects in one package, often with the ability to save specific user-created combinations and the ability patch sounds from the web.

As dedicated gearheads, it is the promise of endless possibility that ignites our curiosity and fuels us to consistently try new things. Whether you’re already kneck-deep in multi-effects processing or are interested in dipping your toe into a new world, check out our list below for some of the best multi-effects pedals under $400.

Model Best For Price On Reverb
Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 Bread-and-butter effects. $190-$250 Shop Now
Boss ME-80 Guitar Multi-Effects Unit Boss lovers. $190-$300 Shop Now
Line 6 M9 Stompbox Modeler Players in multiple bands. $220-$400 Shop Now
Zoom G5n Guitar Effects Processor Boutique pedal lovers. $300-$350 Shop Now
Digitech RP500 Your budget. $170-$300 Shop Now

Tech 21 Fly Rig 5

The Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 is a great choice for stompbox lovers who are just getting into the multi-effects game or want to streamline their pedalboard setup.

Weighing in at just over a pound and under a foot in length, the board is super compact and will easily fit into most guitar cases or a backpack. The board emulates a stompbox feel with five stompbox on/off switches controlling Tech 21’s Boost DLA delay, SansAmp, Boost RVB reverb, and Hot Rod Plexi distortion/overdrive.

The Boost DLA delay section offers a tap tempo, a drift feature (a modulation sort of like a chorus), repeats, and time. The SansAmp preamp does feature amp simulation which would allow you to plug into a DI for an amp sound if you decide not go through an amp. It also allows you to dial-in your sound regardless of what you’re playing through, which can be especially useful if you’re playing through a house amp rather than your own. This section offers a three-band EQ, a reverb, and a drive feature as well. The Plexi section provides you with a Marshall-esque overdrive and a 23 decibel boost – enough to cut through any mix.

This multi-effects pedal is a streamlined, bread-and-butter solution that severely cuts down what a gigging musician would need to carry to a general gig.

Number of Available Onboard Effects: 5

Boss ME-80 Guitar Multi-Effects Unit

The Boss ME-80 is another multi-effects unit that packs an impressive punch. The board itself features stompbox-style knobs and eight footswitches, as well as a volume/expression pedal.

It’s packed with 59 effects featuring loads of Boss’s signature stompboxes – overdrives, distortions, wahs, reverbs, pitch-shifters, modulations, and more – that you can tweak with the knobs just like on a genuine stompbox effect.

You also get nine guitar preamps, and the pedal uses GT-100’s COSM modeling to simulate amps. It comes equipped with a 38-second phase looper, Boss’s Multi-Dimensional Processing (featured in their Tera Echo and Multi-Overtone pedals), and USB audio interface connectivity that allows you to do all of your tweaking with Boss’s Tone Studio software directly in your DAW.

As an added bonus, you get web connectivity with Boss Tone Central which is a library full of free patches you can download to use and modify yourself.

Number of Available Onboard Effects: 59

Line 6 M9 Stompbox Modeler

The Line 6 M9 is perfect for a player who plays in multiple bands that span multiple music genres.

Instead of having to lug around multiple pedalboards or constantly change out your chain for each different gig (or even each song), the Line 6 M9 gives you the ability to create six separate and unique pedalboards directly on the interface. You can also backup your pedalboards onto your computer via MIDI in/out, so you’ll always have your carefully crafted combos.

With 75 effects to choose from, you should have no trouble pairing the right sounds for each of your pedalboard scenes. You can use each effect individually or use up to three effects simultaneously with three more ready for action behind them. The board is packed with all of Line 6’s classic stompboxes, and you can tweak any effect directly on the board with knobs (like a genuine stompbox) rather than having to navigate complicated menus.

Number of Available Onboard Effects: 75

Zoom G5n Guitar Effects Processor

If you’re a stompbox who prefers pedals of the boutique variety, you might be wondering if there’s any multi-effects unit that would suit your tastes.

Look no further than the Zoom G5n, which is packed with 68 boutique-style effects, five amp simulators, and five cabinets.

This board offers the essentials – reverb, delay, compression, EQ, distortion, flange, overdrive, phasers, chorus, and vibrato – paired with more unique offerings like, Gold Drive, Reverse Delay, HD Hall, Seq Filter, and OSC Echo. It offers classic amp simulators like the Fender Twin Reverb, Marshall JCM800, and more with knob tweakability just like the real deal.

Editing these effects is easy with four dedicated editing displays, and you can save up to 200 custom effects chains that are all available directly on the board. It also packs in the Zoom Guitar Lab software, so you can find different patches created by a wide array of respected musicians, new effects, and alternate amp simulators.

It comes with a headphone jack for quiet practice, a standard guitar input, an auxiliary stereo input so that you can connect to your music player or smartphone, and dual outputs for mono/stereo L/R connection for amps, PAs, and audio interfaces.

Number of Available Onboard Effects: 68

Digitech RP500 Multi-Effects Switching System & USB Interface

If you’re not looking to spend very much on a multi-effects processor, the Digitech RP500 is the choice for you. You can pick one up for as little as $175 used, and you can often a new unit for around $200.

Even though this is our budget option, it still packs a wide array of features. It features 20 banks, five separate stompbox footswitches, and an expression/volume pedal that controls the volume, the built-in wahs, and the Whammy effect. It comes with a total of 200 presets – 100 factory and 100 user-generated. It features 40 tone and 40 effects libraries with over 125 effects including classic stompboxes, delays, choruses, amps, and cabinets.

If you don’t want to use the menu on the unit itself, you can use the X-Edit software on your computer for further personalization. Digitech also offers over 400 free patches on their website that you can download for even more sonic capability. This pedal gives a lot of credence to the “a lot for a little” tagline.

Number of Available Onboard Effects: 125

Multi-Effects Pedals and Processors Shop Now
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