Boss ME-80 Multi-Effects Processor Review – 2020 Deep Dive

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If you are a guitarist gunning for a multi-effects processor, have a look at the Boss ME-80. Packing a wealth of features and apt sound quality this is a desirable processor that gives you great value for money. The ME-80 prioritizes ease of use and can, therefore, be used by beginners and hardcore guitarists.

A Deep Dive Into The Boss ME-80

The Boss ME series was launched way back in 1988. The music equipment giant’s first-ever multi-effects processor was named Boss ME-5. Over the years the company has performed numerous upgrades and has finally landed on the ME-80. With each release, the processors became more sophisticated and easier to use.

The Boss ME-80 made its debut at the Winter NAMM 2014. This multi-effects unit achieved popularity as it prioritized ease of use. If you are a guitarist who finds it overbearing to use a multi-effects unit, give the Boss ME-80 a try.

The Boss ME-80 multi-effects processor is a powerful and portable unit combining ease of operation. Coupled with the versatility of digital sound processing and analog stompbox like controls, this processor is a dream come true for all old school guitarists as well as beginners. After all, who wouldn’t like to add some effects to their music?

Who’s It For?

As stated earlier this unit is for guitarists. Many of you must have stacked different effects in one single unit. Instead of handpicking stompboxes and making your own unit you can try this simple but efficient multi-effects unit.

If you are a guitarist who prefers familiar analog controls over complex buttons and menus, you will definitely like this device.

The Boss ME-80 is one of the most recommended multi-effects processors because it is quite suitable for home demo studios, small scale, and informal gigs. This is a powerful add on to your rig. If you are gunning to buy this product from Boss Corporation, this product is reasonable and offers great value for money.

What We Like About Boss ME-80

This multi-effects unit is a treasure chest of features prioritizing ease of use. This is especially helpful for old school guitarists who find it hard to tinker with a new multi-effects system filled with complex buttons and details.

It is packed with a bunch of sounds and an easy layout of knobs and rotary switches makes it convenient to assign effects. Medium gain and classic tones sound great with this instrument. If you are a fan of AC/DC, Hendrix or Led Zeppelin and happen to love your tube amp sound, you are going to love this unit.

What We Don’t Like About Boss ME-80

The device does pack a bunch of effects and most do sound good. However, according to users’ opinions, there are some effects that lack a natural touch. Most notably, the high-gain distortions express a digital tone instead of an organic feel.

PROS

  • Packs a bundle of high-quality sounds
  • Portable
  • Simple to operate
  • Versatile
  • Great sounding delays and modulation effects

CONS

  • High gain sounds have a digital tone
  • Takes time to get used to the controls
  • No power cord included

What’s Included?

Sadly, Boss doesn’t include any accessories with the multi-effects unit. However, the unit accompanies a user manual.

Besides, we can assume that a power cord isn’t packed with the unit because it can be battery powered as well. Changing batteries can be a hassle especially if you are into doing long gigs. Therefore, a power cord is a good thing to possess.

However, you will have to get an extra power cord for this unit if you don’t want it to be battery operated because unfortunately, it packs nothing other than a user’s manual and the processor itself. You will have to buy a power cord for an extra $20 in case you need it.

Overview Of Features

  • Design
  • The multi-effects processor is caged in a metal enclosure and chassis. Only a little plastic has been used in its making including the knobs and switches, therefore, this unit is sturdy and showcases good build quality.

    The interface of the machine exhibits knobs and switches. Knobs are located on the top of the unit while footswitches are placed below the knobs. Moreover, these knobs are topped with silver and outlined with black. The footswitches appear in a combination of grey and black and have a unique design to give more control.

    The side adjacent to the knobs sports all connectivity options including the guitar input, the guitar amp output, and the AUX connectivity. You can connect to your computer via the USB portal and capture the output directly into your favorite DAW to record tones.

  • Hardware
  • If you take a closer look at Boss ME-80, you will see that it is nothing but a little house of stompboxes. Though the device is not light, it is made sturdy with metal enclosure and chassis to make it portable. Being battery powered adds to the portability as you can move the machine from room to room without tripping over wires.

  • Interface
  • The specialty of this effects processor is its interface. It has a set of cleverly built footswitches that can be used in two different ways. You can either use it to change a collection of individual effects pedals or for recalling the complex patches featuring multiple effects.

    The four footswitches that are closest to the guitarist act as bypass switches dedicated to one of four effects groups namely; compression and FX1, overdrive and distortion, modulation, and delay. The rest of the three footswitches located above and to the left of the four main effect switches help activate a preamp simulation section, an EQ/FX2 section, and reverb control. Each effects group has a dedicated set of knobs, including one that chooses a specific amp or effect type.

    To the right is the footswitches is the expression pedal for operating pedal effects. The pedal can also be used to control modulation rates and delay level. One footswitch on the ME-80 is dedicated just for mode switching, so you can toggle between Manual and Memory modes.

    In Manual mode, you can adjust tweak and assign effects via the panel knobs and on/off control with dedicated footswitches. In the memory mode, footswitches are automatically reconfigured to select a user or preset patches and patch banks, letting you play complete multi-effects setups directly.

  • Sound
  • Coming to the sounds, the device has squeezed in a bunch of effects. Apart from all typical effects such as pitch-shifting, overdrive, wah, compression, delay, modulations, reverbs, EQs, etc., there is Boss’s Tera Echo, which incorporates Multi-Dimensional Processing (MDP) technology to produce a range of ambients.

  • Compatibility
  • Another noteworthy feature of the product is its compatibility with the Boss Tone Studio application. Connect the system to your computer and the application will allow deep editing on your computer. The application provides a graphical interface for tinkering with effects and saving them for later use.

    Internet connectivity would give you access to Boss Tone Central. This has an online group for all players that use Boss equipment and you can download free gig-ready patches created by professional guitarists. The website also has artist interviews and instructional videos.

    The ME-80 also has tap tempo, tuner, a phrase-loop function with 38 seconds of recording, and a built-in USB audio interface. The USB interface can be used for recording to a DAW and also opens up the possibility of recording a dry sound while listening to the ME-80’s effects.

    Review Summary

    Overall, the Boss ME-80 is a bang for the buck product. If you are choosing to invest in individual effects pedal, it is definitely going to cost you more than this single unit. Plus, it can be powered by a battery or a DC adapter, promoting ease of use.

    The bundle of effects squeezed into the device makes it desirable for most guitarists. You can run through a series of classic rock tones all the way from Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne, Jimmy Page, to Tom Morello with the processor emitting clean and warm tones all the way.

    This processor can give any effects pedals a run for their money. There are more highly rated devices that combine portability and sound effects, however, the ease of use coupled with analog stompbox like controls makes it simple for the hardcore as well as a beginner guitarist. If you are a beginner guitarist you can download some patches from Boss Tone Central to give you a bit of practice.

    FAQs

    1. How to connect Boss ME-80 to the computer?

    Follow these instructions to connect Boss ME-80 to your computer:

  • Turn on ME-80.
  • Connect ME-80 and computer using a USB cable.
  • Double click the Boss Tone Studio for ME-80 icon from your computer.
  • A dialogue box for the connecting device will appear the first time you run the software.
  • Select ME-80 and click OK.
  • 2. Does the Boss ME-80 have a looper?
    The Boss ME-80 has a looper control which can be accessed using the footswitches.

    3. Does the Boss ME-80 have a tuner?
    The Boss ME-80 has a tuner which can be accessed using the footswitch.

    4. How to get free patches and loops from Boss Tone Central?
    Boss Tone Central (BTC) users have immediate access to an entire portfolio of professionally crafted content. These include multi-effects patches designed to replicate guitar tones from well-known songs, workhorse guitar tone patches by elite guitarists and backing tracks created by top live session musicians.

    To get free patches and loops from Boss Tone Central follow the instructions below:

  • Download Boss Tone Studio Software
  • Go to the Boss Tone Central website. The website will have a description column written about Boss Tone Central. Select the read more option from the description. This will take you to another page containing software for both MAC and PCs for different Boss devices. Choose the Boss ME-80 option and click on download. A zip file will be downloaded to your computer. Extract the zip file and run it on your computer

  • Download the free patches
  • Once you have downloaded the software, click to open the software. On the bottom left-hand corner, you will find a noticeable option – Tone Central. Click on that and you will get an exhaustive list of patches by various artists. There are also patches for album tracks on the software.

    5. How to edit the noise suppressor on the ME-80?

    The Noise Suppressor is used to suppress the noise and hum picked up by the guitar’s pickup. Follow these steps to edits the noise suppressor.

  • Long press the EDIT button. Use BANK DOWN 1 TOP and BANK UP 2 TOP knobs to adjust the noise suppressor threshold.
  • Adjust the noise suppressor threshold in accordance with the level of noise emitted by your guitar’s pickups. Do note that the threshold range of the ME 80 lies from 0-50. If you set this high you might not be able to hear the soft notes that you will play on your guitar.
  • Press WRITE to save changes to your user patch
  • 6. How to edit a patch on the ME-80?

  • Choose the Patch that you wish to edit.
  • Long press EDIT button until “Ed” appears in the display.
  • Press the pedals in the effects category to turn on or off the desired effects. The designated LEDs of the effects will flash if the effect is on.
  • Turn the knobs to adjust the chosen effect’s parameters.
  • When you are finished editing, press the WRITE button.
  • Press the BANK up or down pedals and the 1-4 pedals to select a User Patch location to write to.
  • Press WRITE again.
  • Once you have edited the Patch, you can store it on any of the 36 User locations.

    Boss ME-80 is a worthwhile investment for guitarists looking for a multi-effects unit. In case you are one of those guitarists looking to buy different effects units and making your own effects unit, this processor can save you all the trouble. Instead of going for individual effects units that can be costly, consider the ME-80. With analog-like controls, this suits almost everyone.

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