What is the Best Beat Machine for Beginners?

A beat machine (or drum machine as some may call it) is an excellent tool used to generate beats that simulate real drums so you don’t need to break out a full kit to get a good beat going. This can be invaluable to a musician because you can set up your beat exactly as you want it, then layer over the other parts of the composition or play along live if you’re practicing or performing. Giving you everything you need in one easy-to-use device can elevate your game to new heights, especially if you’re in the beginning stages of learning your craft. Let’s dive into the five options we have found to be the best beat machines for beginning artists.

 
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Korg Volca Drum Physical Modeling Drum Synthesizer
 

Korg Volca Drum

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Alesis SR-16 Studio-Grade Standalone Drum Machine
Alesia SR-16 Drum Machine
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Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine, Black
Arturia DrumBrute
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Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine
Arturia DrumBrute Impact
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Roland TR-8S Rhythm Performer
Roland TR-8S Rhythm Performer
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The Top 5 Beat Machines for Beginners

Korg has always made excellent audio equipment, they have been a reliable member of the music world for many years. Having other renditions of the Volca family, the new Volca drum is a beat machine option that will leave you excited for the sounds it produces. By using a 6-part DSP synth engine, the tones that this drum machine produces are exceptional and quite satisfying. Like other Volca options, it has a 16-step sequencer that leaves all the control at your fingertips to generate all the great beats you need to couple with your other instrumental parts.
It also includes a proprietary step function that can be utilized to further generate drum tones that are exemplary. It allows you to create intricate polyrhythms by putting into play a ton of settings with drum loops and irregular rhythms. This allows for some outside the box beats to give your music a unique touch.

What We Liked
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The Alesia SR-16 is a well-known beat machine that many studios throughout musical history have utilized to generate beats to go along with musical compositions. This beat machine is considered legendary and offers 233 professional sounds that are included with the device. It also offers seamless MIDI connectivity so you can bring new dimensions into your production.

When it comes to drum machines, this bad boy is at the top of the list for many musicians. And it’s a great beat machine for beginners, too, so you know you’re getting exactly what you need. It’s also ideal because it is set up to be compatible with just about any audio setup.

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The Arturia DrumBrute is an innovative beat machine that has a ton to offer. With it’s offerings of awesome sounding analog beats that come with a highly intuitive interface, the DrumBrute is a great option because it is compatible with a wide array of various gear that exists in the world of music. It also has the ability to track 64 patterns with 64 steps of their own, which is a ton of different combinations of beats you can generate. It gives a musician a ton of opportunity to play with new sounds and beats to create that next excellent song to add to your collection.

Arturia has succeeded in creating a unique machine that separates itself from the other competitors that exist in the marketplace. Drum machines of the past used to replicate other beat makers that came before them, but Arturia made sure to manufacture a machine that would be unique in its own way.

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And once again Arturia has made our list with a new evolution of the DrumBrute. The Impact has taken all the great features of the original DrumBrute and elaborated on them in a way that has given this new version an even better reason to check it out for consideration. The Impact includes an aggressive output distortion. Meaning that you can really dirty up your beats with the Impact and add a new layer to your style of beats. It provides an opportunity to compose some really unique songs with beats that you might not hear every day.

The Impact is also compact and lightweight, so if you’re a musician on the go who plays a ton of shows, this is a great option if you enjoy utilizing your beat machine for performance purposes. It’s also well-lit so that if you are playing shows, you won’t have to rely on the lighting setup to see what you’re doing.

What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like

The Roland TR-808 was a drum machine that just about everyone has heard before, perhaps without even knowing it. Musicians like Marvin Gaye utilized its abilities for songs such as Sexual Healing. Now Roland has further excelled the qualities of the 808 and created the TR-8S, which features every option that came with its predecessors. Now with a new, sleek, lightweight design, the TR-8S gives composers a ton of beat options to bring their songs to life.

Roland has created drum machines that are the most reliable and sought after of all time. The TR-8S combines everything that came before and then some, so we recommend this drum machine over all the rest.

What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like

4 Components to Look for When Choosing Your First Beat Machine

Simplicity and Ease of Use

Be certain that your new drum machine is easy to use and simple to set up. Each of the options that we’ve chosen are all beat machines that make things easy to plug in your new device and start playing. You will be creating new beats in no time with any of these options.

Pricing

Although there isn’t a huge variance in the price of the machines we’ve chosen, you will still want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. The Roland device is the priciest, which makes sense because it does have a lot to offer while coming from a legendary brand. But when you’re first starting out, just be sure to do your research and pick the device that’s right for you regardless of the price.

Sound Quality

When you buy a new drum machine, you want it to sound great. Right? There are other instruments out there that may not be exactly what you’re looking for, or may have a lower quality sound than the options we have compiled. Sound quality was certainly taken into consideration when choosing these five drum machines. But if you happen to pick another option that’s out there, no sweat. Just be sure you’re getting quality sound out of your device.

Diverse Beats

Diverse beats are important when it comes to your new drum machine. Having an elaborate library of options to choose from and formulate makes the experience so much greater. It provides a greater opportunity to come up with a uniqueness that can set your beats apart from the rest. And if you have other tracks you want to integrate with your new machine, check out the features on some of our options. Certain beat machines allow you to connect and upload other tracks, which can generate an additional layer in your craft.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all of the options user friendly and easy to setup?

Yes, all of the options are about as easy as a plug and play device. Ease of use is also apparent with these options, as they are all user friendly and excellent for someone just starting out.

Do all of the drum machines use authentic drum beats and tones?

Yes, we made sure to pick options that offer authentic tones so your compositions will have real-sounding beats.

Do all of the drum machine options allow you to import samples?

Unfortunately, not all of the options above allow you to import samples. But most of them do. Check out each option and you can determine which beat machine will be right for you and also allow you to import other samples.

Conclusion

Drum machines can be straight up fun, and they can be an excellent addition to you performance arsenal. Whether you are at home putting songs together or out on the road playing shows, having a reliable drum machine can add a new, exciting element to your songs. When you’re first starting out, there are plenty of options to choose from that will set you up right. We made sure to find the five best options so you can check them out and find the one that is right for you.

The Best DJ Controller for a Beginner DJ

The world of being a DJ can be very exciting. You get to blast out some awesome jams to old friends, new friends, a giant crowd, it’s a great time and you get to be the one who controls which songs get to play, as well as enjoy the music yourself. It’s important to choose the very best DJ controller before you start. It will be your first important priority. It’s also important not to bite off more than you can chew, the DJ controller of a seasoned pro will not necessarily be the best choice for a beginner. So, let’s take a look at some of the best controllers for newbies!

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Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 DJ Controller
 

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 DJ Controller

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  •  – Has whatever you will need to mix your music and set up at any location
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  •  – Pro features such as Hotcues, Mixer FX, and loop controls on a layout that meets club standards
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  •  – Integrated high-end audio interface
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Denon DJ MC4000
Denon DJ MC4000
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  •  – Long-throw 100 mm pitch faders
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  •  – Balanced booth outputs
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  •  – Spacious control layout for optimized work flow
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Pioneer DDJ SB3
Pioneer DDJ SB3
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  •  – Includes 2 channel mixer along with a built in sound card
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  •  – Includes high performance digital to analog convertor
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  •  – The design is inherited from its preceding models
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Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
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  •  – 44.1k audio interface
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  •  – Cue points allow you to mark points in the song to repeat and edit
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  •  – Allows you to create professional mixes at home or while playing a gig
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Numark DJ2GO2
Numark DJ2GO2
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  •  – Built in audio card that allows for headphone cueing
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  •  – Perfect for performing or setting cue points to edit songs
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  •  – Ideal for any DJ while being the most compact design
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The 5 Best DJ Controllers for Beginning DJ’s

The Mk3 is an excellent choice for a beginning DJ. With an intuitive functionality, this 2-deck controller will give you everything you need to start spinning right out of the box. It also has a lot of simplified features to help you get your feet wet until you get the hang of using the controller and its additional features. Just like the biggest stages in the world, graced by some of the most popular musicians, this table also uses Traktor Pro 3 flagship DJ software. When it comes to creating the absolute best product that you can, Traktor Pro 3 is the way to go.

The Traktor software is a play-anywhere, 2-channel DJ system. It has new, large precision jog wheels that include two modes to make things easier. This controller is also iPad compatible, if you’re an Apple user. Native Instruments has taken the liberty of making this DJ controller simplified so it’s easier for a beginner to use while also having all the excellent features of a lot of more advanced controllers. It is a great, cost effective piece of equipment.

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This unit includes Serato DJ control, which is an excellent program that strips back the full version of Serato to give beginners a better edge to feel out the craft. So, you can have a way easier time figuring out how to be the most excellent DJ that you can be. Denon has always offered top-notch audio products, and the MC4000 is no exception. This model has a newer, sleeker design that is more appealing to those that choose to use it over other options. This bad boy is portable, dependable, and the sound quality is exemplary.

When they designed this model, Denon made sure to equip it with a steel chassis that can withstand the movement of a traveling DJ who’s always on the move. All the necessities have been built into the MC4000 so the need for buying additional equipment will be less than other units in the marketplace. Along with the long-term durability, this controller also has an excellent, easy to use layout that will give a newbie the chance to easily get into the craft of DJing so there is less of a learning curve and more fun to be had.

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Pioneer really made a great DJ controller in the DDJ SB3. The style that they created for the unit is one that looks awesome and is a portable unit that can easily be transported from show to show, or party to party, or what have you. This controller is also compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. So whichever operating system you prefer, you will be covered. And even at high input levels, you will still have clear audio with your mic input.

Pioneer also went out of their way to make sure that they meticulously placed each control in a super convenient spot to make the DJ experiencing one that is simpler and more efficient. By creating and manufacturing a design that makes things easier, they created an excellent beginner option for DJ controllers that is also reliable even after a few years of enjoying the craft. This table has a lot of really great features and will leave you with the feeling you made the right choice when you plug this bad boy in to use it for the first time.

What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like

The Mixtrack Pro 3 is a DJ controller that is considered next generation, so it has a lot of excellent, updated features that will give you a turntable you will be more than happy with. The sleek design creates a compact, ultra-portable unit that you can take to each show with ease. Other units can be a bit bulky, heavy, and difficult to transport, which creates a higher level of risk. When first starting out, it’s always better to get a unit that’s going to be easy to move around with less of the propensity to drop the controller. We certainly don’t want that, now do we? And even though you may feel like a newbie who’s just starting out, that’s okay. The units we’re reviewing provide the simplicity of a controller for beginners, while also providing sound quality that makes you sound like a pro. It’s win, win.

The Mixtrack Pro 3 also includes Serato DJ Intro, which is the version for beginners. It strips away all the additional parts of the program to make it easier to use. Serato Pro can be very difficult to figure out if you’re new. But the stripped-down version is excellent when learning all the ins and outs at the start. Then, once you have the intro version figured out, you can upgrade to Pro and get all the additional features that will propel your game forward a ton.

What We Liked
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When it comes to the ultra-compact game, the DJ2GO2 takes the cake. The controller still gives you everything you need to have a reliable turntable to crank out those tunes while having a super sleek, compact design that makes transportation easier than other controllers. This unit is also super affordable while giving you great functionality and a durable design that will last. It also includes Serato DJ Lite, which isn’t quite the beginner version, but you can always get the Intro version and work your way up to the more complicated versions. The software and everything else included allows you to get this puppy running right out of the box without issues.

The DJ2GO2 provides excellent connectivity for any situation, so whether you’re performing at a club or an outdoor party, you will have your bases covered with this controller. A controller like this one can be utilized by the newest of DJ’s and those that have been at it for a few years. It provides excellent sound and makes things easy to use so you can give your audience a professional experience that they can enjoy.

What We Liked
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Features

 – Built in audio card that allows for headphone cueing
 – Perfect for performing or setting cue points to edit songs
 – Ideal for any DJ while being the most compact design

Components to Look at Before Making Your Purchase

Pricing

Pricing is always going to be an important part of the process. And it’s not always that the most expensive option will be the best or the cheapest the worst. A lot of the time you definitely do get what you pay for, but we made sure to include five options that are excellent regardless of the price. Just take a look at the features!

Included Software

Most of the options that we have reviewed come with a program that can get you started, especially if it’s Serato Lite. That gives you the opportunity to start from the ground up, and as you upgrade Serato you’ll get more options with a deeper dive into the craft itself.

Portability

If you’re getting into the DJ game because you want to play shows, we feel you. And we want you to be able to pick a controller that not only gives you all the features you want, but is easily transported from one gig to the next. Believe me, lugging around heavy equipment makes things harder. But most of these options offer a compact, lightweight controller you can take anywhere.

Durability

Having a physically strong product is never a bad idea. The options we’ve chosen are all made of material that will protect your device, but always look into your warranty and options for an extended warranty. It’s always best to have added protection when it comes to electronic devices, but these bad boys are pretty tough as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all of the units easy to transport?

Yes, each of the units that have been reviewed are easily transportable from place to place.

Are some brands more desired than others for DJ controllers?

It’s not necessarily a situation of one brand being better than another, but boils down to what the DJ wants in a controller. Each has it’s own unique features and compatibility, so it depends what you may be looking for.

Do these controllers offer connectivity with other equipment from different manufacturers?

Yes, but be sure to check out the specifications so you know which units are compatible with other hardware and software.

Conclusion

It can be difficult to determine which DJ controllers are going to be best for a beginner. A lot of the time, it ends up being the brand that makes the final decision in the situation. The Denon DJ MC4000 is at the top of our list. Denon has always been an excellent brand in the audio world and their track record is great. Any of the options we’ve laid out are not bad options. Again, check out all the specs and features of each one to determine which one is going to be the best for your new experience.

We want you to become an awesome DJ who loves their art and wants to keep creating, so get out there and find yourself a great controller to get yourself started!

The Best Multi Effects Pedal for Live Performance

As a guitarist, you always want to sound your best. Especially when you get up on that stage to wail out some tunes to the fans. Along with playing your heart out and doing what you love up there, you want to give your best performance every time. Just about every electric guitar player has at the very least fiddled with some effects to get the sound that they’re looking for. Most guitarists utilize their effects while performing on stage with pedals. A lot of the time multiple pedals are used to enhance a performance with a number of different effects and sounds. But what if you could get one pedal board that utilized all your effects right in one place?

 
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Line 6 Helix

  •  Pattern: 5 Polar Pattern Options 
  • Powered: Phantom
  • Price: $
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Boss GT-1000
  •  Pattern: Cardioid/Omnidirectional
  • Powered: Phantom
  • Price: $
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Fractal AX8
  •  Pattern: Cardioid 
  • Powered: Connector
  • Price: $
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Mooer GE2000
  •  Pattern: Cardioid Condenser 
  • Powered: Connector
  • Price: $
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HeadRush
  •  Pattern: Hyper Cardioid
  • Powered: Connector
  • Price: $
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The Top 5 Best Multi Effect Pedals for Live Performances

The Line 6 Helix is considered by many guitarists to be the best of the best when it comes to a multi effects pedal when playing live. There are tons of excellent features to leave you geeked about the next time you get up on that stage. 1,024 preset locations is what you are going to get with the Helix. That is absolutely massive and dwarfs a lot of the competition. They organized the preset locations into 8 setlists, which contains 32 banks that include 4 presets each. There is so much that you can do with this pedal that you can spend literal days exploring every nook and cranny held within one device.

Line 6 has done its users a huge favor by providing editing abilities that are simple. It also includes a joystick and touch sensitive switches that generate a shortcut to parameter changes. The pedal is very high tech with a ton of adjustments and options that create unique sounds while giving its user an opportunity to play with ease. No more will you have to worry about stringing together multiple effects pedals to get all the sounds you want. The Line 6 Helix is our most highly recommended option.

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Boss has had a long line of predecessors that came before the GT-1000. Each preceding model had massive success with many guitarists due to its ease of use and plethora of effects that each has had to offer. Boss took the three prior models that came before the GT-1000 and effectively combined the three to create the behemoth of them all. The design is sleek, modern and the unit has a wide variety of different effects and combinations that can be used to generate the exact sounds you want your instrument to make.

Although the editing features of the GT-1000 aren’t the most intuitive when it comes to effects pedals, a seasoned pro can usually find their away around the device for editing purposes. It can be difficult for beginners to navigate, but if you’re determined to learn how, there is always a way. It includes 32-bit, 96khz sampling that allows the pedal board to generate amazing sound that can be defined as a hard-hitting. When it comes to effects, that is a huge variety of different effects, sounds, reverbs, and more. There is a ton you can do with just one device, and the GT-1000 has a lot to offer in the realm of effects pedal for live performances.

What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like

The Fractal AX8 is considered by many guitarists to be the best amp modeler when it comes to floor-based pedal boards. It also includes 512 onboard presets that you can journey through and discover all sorts of different sounds or effects. The device offers a way to edit your sounds easily so you can generate the sounds you’re looking for while you play. It also makes it simple to set up your board so you won’t have to worry about getting the wrong sounds. It also has editing software that you can utilize when you connect the board to a computer. These parameters can also be physically edit on the unit itself, so you have options when it comes to programming and editing.

The AX8 offers 11 footswitches that you can program and set up exactly how you want so you can make your on-stage experience a smooth one. Each switch can be programmed to hosts of tasks that continue making the live playing experience a good one. Fractal’s AX8 has amp tones that can certainly be defined as realistic and stand up next to any amp rig. It also has rock solid construction so the device will maintain its integrity and physical damage will be minimal.

What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like

Although the Chinese company Mooer may be one of the newer additions to the guitar effects pedal game, they have done a lot to create a name for themselves by providing reliable pedal boards to their consumers. The GE2000 is probably their best option and it has a lot to offer its users. Although they started as a company that offered lower-cost versions of already existing, big name pedal boards, they have since carved their own niche to become an affordable option that’s easy to use. The sounds and effects that the GE2000 can generate are absolutely comparable with other options that can be seen higher up the food chain.

The Mooer GE2000 is the option on our list that gives you the most bang for your buck. It’s the most affordable option while providing legitimate sound to guitarists who choose to use it. It comes with an all-in-one amp and cab modeler. The board also includes an effects processor, as well as a drum machine and looper. This option is definitely worth taking a look at and considering, regardless of the fact that it’s the most affordable option. It is completely capable of performing and providing the effects any guitarist may need.

What We Liked
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The final pedal board on our list is the HeadRush, which includes a ton of effects and a super rad touchscreen. It also includes the best in amp modeling while offering a pedal board that is jam packed with all sorts of different features. The features coupled with the many different effects HeadRush has to offer make it the best option for guitarists looking to have the most options when it comes to combining different sounds for their performance. It features a quad-power, DSP platform that gives guitar players a user-friendly interface that works faster than other options.

It has many different modes that will allow you to generate specific sounds with the simplicity of pressing one of the pedals, depending on how you’ve programmed your unit. One of the best features of the HeadRush pedal is that there is no “fizz”. And what we mean is that the higher you gain you will not have to worry about any unwanted sounds. The closer you get to a clean amp sound it will be even more convincing in its performance. HeadRush is an option that you will not want to miss, even if it’s to do a little research.
What We Liked
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4 Components to Look for When Purchasing a Pedal Board for Live Performance

When it comes to looking for a high-quality pedal board for live performances, there are a few specific features that stand out above the rest and they’ll let you know if you’re getting the best product for the money being spent. 

Compatibility

Just be certain that the pedal board you choose will function well with your instrument and the amp rig that you have set up. Most of the options above will work great with most setups, but it never hurts to double check and make sure that the pedal board you choose will give you exactly what you need while you’re playing.

Pricing

As you will see when you start to peruse pricing for these options, some are going to vary in price compared to other options. Make sure you get the most bang for your buck. We want you to pick an option that has all the features and effects that you personally will want before you spend a nice chunk of change on a new pedal board. All of these options rock, but be sure it’s the option that’s right for your needs.

Ease of Use and Simplicity

Some of the pedal boards we’ve reviewed are going to be easier than others. If you’re a professional musician who plays shows for a living, there is a good chance the more difficult options won’t be as tedious to use than it will be for beginners. Some options are great for beginners and some will be great for guitar players who have been at it for years. There is nothing wrong with any of these options. So, again, just do a little homework and find the best one for you!

Processing Speed

This can relate back to compatibility and combining your already existing setup with a new pedal board. This is where some research can come into play to find the most compatible setup. Most of the boards we’ve reviewed have lightning fast speeds and this will not be a concern, but check out the details and be sure that the board you pick will react at a moment’s notice so you won’t lose a beat while you’re up on stage playing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does each option offer ease of use from beginner to pro?

Although not every option on our list may be suitable for beginners, the Mooer option certainly offers the best functionality for new guitar players.

Can any of these pedal boards be connected to a computer for editing?

Not every option we’ve listed can be connected to a computer for editing, but if you look back at some of our options, you can see which will be best if that’s one of the features you’re looking for.

Is every option on your list a floor model?

Yes, every option that we have reviewed is a floor model that makes changing effects easy by simply stepping on one of the foot pedals.

Conclusion

Pedal boards and guitar effects can be a complicated subject, especially if you’re new to the craft. But taking the time to check some things out before you make a purchase will never be a bad option. If you’re anything like most of the guitar players out there in the world, you love new gear and get geeked out on all the cool features a multi effects pedal board has to offer. So, go get yourself a great new device that gives you a ton of effects to choose from so you can bring a new, exciting element into the shows you play.