Everything you need: unbiased reviews, product specs and great deals.
Boss US BOSS ME25 Guitar Multi Effects Processor (761294411698)
Boss US BOSS ME25 Guitar Multi Effects Processor (761294411698)
Price Range:$193.50 to $199.99
The affordable new ME-25 is packed with powerful Boss features to make you sound like a pro, yet its as fun and easy to use as a stompbox.... Read More
The affordable new ME-25 is packed with powerful Boss features to make you sound like a pro, yet its as fun and easy to use as a stompbox. The built-in SOUND LIBRARY gives you instant access to dozens of classic and modern effects. Simply choose a category, select a variation, and play. Customize your sound with simple twists of the Drive, Tone, and Volume knobs. With COSM amp models onboard, plus Super Stack and Phrase Loop, the ME-25 is a dream processor for upstart guitarists who want great sound and ease of use. Minimize
1 Review from Epinions.com
Jul 23, 2010
Excellent Value, Great Sounds, Fun with NO Regrets!
Pros: Low Cost, Compact, Tough, Sound Quality, USB, Software
Cons: Conceals natural guitar tone, Small LCD display, no AC adapter
The Bottom Line:
For the quality of sounds, portability, ease of use, & Cakewalk bundle, the ME-25 is a great deal. Its fun & useful for all levels of players.Author's Review
The Boss ME-25 Guitar Effects pedal is not my first effects pedal. I have been a hobbyist musician for about 25 years.
I have a couple rack multieffects units and a couple of smaller single effect pedals.
I mostly play a 1970 Les Paul that cost me $100 before prices went nuts and yes, a Squire 'fat' Strat with a humbucker at the bridge.
(btw, this cheap Strat sounds pretty darn great straight into any amp)
I rarely make any income off this stuff, so I am a bit frugal when I buy music gear.
My reasons for purchasing this unit were that I wanted a truly portable multi-effects pedal that was cheap, tough and sounded good.
It only needed to be good enough for practicing on a cheap amp with my son who is taking drum lessons or to take around the house with headphones. But I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality!
I really like the ME-25 for a couple reasons in order of importance to me:
1. It's price after a 20% off online special
2. It's small size & portability
3. Headphone output and stereo input for play along
4. Battery life is excellent (they are 6 AAs and are included)
5. It's tough construction & simplicity
6. It's quality sounds
7. Free Calkwalk software
8. Built in Tuner
Normally the quality of sound is your first priority, but I have many gadgets; some of them give a better sound quality than this.
BUT this product is ALL about portability & value.
There are also bad aspects of the ME-25. In order of importance to me:
1. It masks the natural tonal character of your guitar (even on bypass).
2. The LCD display doesn't show enough detail. You must memorize in your head what your preset numbers actually will sound like.
3. The AC Adapter is sold separately.
4. The free ME-25 Librarian software only allows modifying numerical order of patches & transfer to/from the unit (editing must be done & stored on the unit itself)
5. The free Calkwalk 8.5 LE software only works while the ME-25 is connected to your PC by USB cable
6. Built in Tuner only tunes to standard tuning
The Preset Sounds:
I can't describe all the sounds, there are 60 preset locations, but will try to give an overall idea.
If you are going straight into a high end amp, your guitar means everything.
With most effects processors, it's not so important. Here is another case where that's true.
On almost all ME-25 presets, you can't really hear that you are playing a Strat. The COSM modeling is after all, a digital emulation. So it removes much of the twang of the Strat. I imagine a Tele would be the same.
But the ME-25 really excells with a humbucker and it can even be a crappy humbucker, like the one on my Squire Fat Strat; which normally doesn't sound nearly as 'fat' or chunky as my Les Paul.
The Les Paul gets some calls from the neighbors with the ME-25 running through a large Crate keyboard amp. A super cheap setup with beefy results!
Being a product of the 70s-80s myself, there are some great Gary Moore or Scorpions sounds here. Some good Chorus sounds for the Police. Even some funky reggae or Motown stuff.
Also plenty of kick and harmonics if you like death metal. There are a couple decent octave lead patches. With SuperStack, your two handed tapping will amaze your friends!
There are plenty of clean sounds or with slight edge to them if you like 90s rock or grunge. Some with lots of echo and delay for Coldplay fans.
I wish there was a separate control for Reverb. There are really only two variations of reverb and little noticeable change from tweaking it.
I did not feel there was any 'digital chop' to the sounds.
What I mean is, in other digital effects products, the digital Wah pedal has audible clicking as you modulate the sound.
Some folks say Roland makes sometimes bland, cold tones that are almost too clean. But this is quite nice.
The ME-25 has very realistic and analog sounding effects.
There is one Wah patch that if you press the Solo pedal and press the Super Stack button will make visitors cover their ears & run from the room.
Single coil pickups, though, just don't shine through the COSM. So, it's hard to get realistic Stevie Ray tones (I prefer a single distortion pedal then straight into an amp for that).
With the ME-25, even in bypass mode, the tone is diminished. This is a problem with other manufacturers and has a lot to do with how they wire the circuits.
Tweaking & Saving Your Own Sounds:
When creating your own patches, it's best to start by pressing what I call a category button such as Clean, Drive, Lead, Crunch, Heavy or Extreme. Roland calls this the Sound Library. Then you can use the Variation knob to pick one of ten preset variations of this sound category. Then you can adjust the three modeling knobs for Drive, Tone, Volume. Finally you can Write your modification to a patch number 1-60.
But, there is a way to 'fully adjust' all possible effects to create totally new patch. For example, you may just want a bare clean sound with only reverb or compression.
As is typical for Roland and others, this requires lots of complicated button pushes where one button has more than one label. There really is no way to do detailed edits without the manual next to you. This is where I have complaints with nearly every Roland or Korg product. Yamaha is slightly easier to follow. Plus, the ME-25 needs a larger display to tell what you are adjusting. I was hoping the librarian software would allow patch editing, but no.
The good news, is once you get what you want, store it and you can back it up to your PC. Rearrange the order of the patches, reload to the ME-25, etc. Obviously, you will have to overwrite some of the factory presets to store your own. But it's not a big deal as you can rearrange them or delete the ones you don't like using the Librarian.
For most patches, the volume pedal controls volume. However, not all factory presets start at the same volume. A couple are much louder than the others.
Also, there are a couple patches where the pedal controls Wah effects, Whammy effects, or note holds.
There is a Phrase Looper with up to 38 seconds you can record and play over and over. You can even overlay/overdub using multiple patches (for example, play a long phrase clean with lots of echo, then switch to some chords, then to distortion and play a solo over it).
For some patches with Delay, you can also Tap a Tempo on the fly to quickly define the time of echo.
By default the Tuner only allows standard tuning but you can change the reference pitch. You must press both the UP & DOWN foot pedals simultaneously to activate the Tuner/Bypass mode. Sometimes this hard to do, esp if you have little feet like my kids do.
I have only installed this on Windows XP. [Sorry, no chance to try with Vista or 7 anytime soon as I am not repurchasing all my other music software.]
I had a problem installing the ME-25 driver software when it was plugged into my Ultra aftermarket brand internal front mounted USB hub. The PC didn't recognize the ME-25, so didn't install the driver.
But I have had problems with some other devices with this particular hub.
Plugged into a primary USB port on the back of the PC, I had no problem.
Sequence to install is: Install DVD driver disk, follow instructions. Reboot PC. Plug into ME-25 to USB port. PC will do it's 'new hardware found' routine.
The included DVD installation disk says it is compatible with Win XP, Vista, Windows 7. USB Driver, Cakewalk with some backing track samples included.
You must download the free librarian from Roland's website.
Once done, you can install Cakewalk 8.5 LE.
The included Cakewalk limited edition is actually fully featured multitrack program and allows extensive looping and recording of guitar audio from the ME-25. You can also record from any other audio sources on your PC, General MIDI, sound card, etc. BUT requires that the ME-25 be plugged in to the PC to use the software. Otherwise, it disables recording on all audio channels except General MIDI.
I had some quirks with my motherboard built in audio but there are multiple audio settings in the Calkwalk options I had to tweak. Too many to describe here.
You can read reviews of Cakewalk elsewhere. It is well integrated with the ME-25 in this case and it has not crashed for me. I have even left the ME-25 plugged in and used the software for editing other WAV files.
This LE version doesn't not export MP3. But you can save all work you do AND export WAV files all day long. Then use iTunes or other free software to convert to MP3.
Cakewalk is a nice product and the fact that this is fully functioning version similar to what Sonar sells for $80-100. It adds greatly to the value of this bundle and was a minor selling point for me as I had been using older multtrack software that is very outdated.
You can also download the latest ME-25 librarian software for free from Roland's website along with some additional patches.
It is a very basic and straight forward librarian program that allows you to import or export patches from or to the ME-25 from your PC. You end up with a basic list of patches on the PC where you can add, delete from other patch lists. Then you can sort the list in the order you want them to be in the ME-25. Export back to the ME-25 and you're done. This is handy if you have different patch lists you need in different order depending on where you're playing on the road.
Slight disappointment for me is the lack of ability of the PC software to edit the sounds. You must do that on the ME-25 itself, save them in a patch location, then send back to the PC to save them. So, think of the librarian really as a patch backup/retrieval tool. Very handy though and significantly important addition in this day and age. I do recall the program will only allow one patch list to be open at a time, so I was unable to find a way to Copy & Paste from one patch list to the other. Instead, I had to Save As a duplicate file, then edit the copied file. This is version 1.0 so maybe they will improve it.
Overall, the Boss ME-25 is a great buy. This is especially true if you can get it on sale. But even if you can't, it includes Cakewalk which is nearly fully featured & a USB interface. It is a well built device that is easy to carry for practice or minor gigging. It has very usable sounds for that purpose. But the sound quality is ok for recording if you are not too particular about the native character of your guitar showing up. For some, you may want to cover up the cheap guitar you have, in which case the ME-25 is good for that.
It's fun and there are no regrets owning it.
Back to all reviews