The ME33 from Boss offers all the usual pedal effects plus key-sensitive harmony generation, guitar tuner, COSM amp/pickup modelling and amp feedback modelling, as well as including a speaker simulator for DI recording. It runs from batteries or an optional mains adaptor and is operated from five footswitches and an expression pedal which is programmable per patch for volume, pitch-bend, wah-wah or ring modulator frequency.
Of the 90 patches, 60 are user programmable. A patch comprises COSM pickup modelling, a modulation effect plus delay and reverb, and up to two pre-effects known as FX1 and FX2. FX1 offers a choice of Compression, Overdrive/Distortion, Wah, Phaser or EQ blocks while FX2 offers Overdrive/Distortion, Wah, Phaser, EQ and Humanizer (a formant filter). Feedback modelling generates a convincing harmonic overtone that builds up in level, while an arpeggiated pitch-shift function can create plausibly flashy runs from a single note.
I was impressed by the clean amp tones as well as the overdrive sounds. Although some of the regenerative effects or highly filtered amp models produced a little noise, the overall quality was impressive. The feedback modelling was surprisingly convincing and the pedal format makes the unit easy to operate live. The effects are consistently good, even the automatic harmony generator, though (as is is inevitably the case) it doesn't sound quite as natural as doing it the hard way. Some of the competing modelling preamps provide more flexibility in some areas, but when you take the UK price into consideration, the ME33 is good performer and should be especially attractive to those players who want a unit that will work well both live and in the studio.
- Combines amp and guitar-pickup modelling with a comprehensive range of stomp-box type effects.
- Good range of both clean and overdrive tones.
- PSU not included.
A cost-effective choice for anyone wanting a guitar effects box to use live and for recording.
Roland UK +44 (0)1792 515020.