Tone Report Weekly 194 - Page 45

32-bit conversion and a 96Khz sampling rate, as well as selectable true or buffered bypass among other features, but these claims are little more than marketing hype if the tones can’t back them up. I found that the MD500 has no trouble in this regard, however. Cheap, poorly designed effects processors seem to bury the fundamental guitar tone in a plasticky, effected sonic goop. Boss’s new modulator, on the other hand, has an organic warmth and authentic dynamic quality that we usually associate with the finest classic analog effects. It simply becomes one with your base guitar sound, complementing it and enhancing it without burying it in synthetic muck. In terms of pure sound quality, the MD500 is beyond reproach. As far as the modulation effects themselves, Boss has (wisely, I think) avoided trying to recreate too many of its classics within the MD500. Included are the sounds of just a handful of beloved old and newer units, including the CE-1’s chorus and vibrato tones, the Roland Dimension D’s signature spacial enhancements, the Slicer’s deadly tremolo chop, and the MO-2’s extra-harmonic magic, but all the other sounds are brand new and purpose-designed. There are 12 modes in total, with 28 different algorithms, including all the standard modulation sounds like chorus, phaser, flanger, vibrato, tremolo, some sweet, deeply undulating vibe and rotary speaker sounds, and a superb ring mod. Also available are several types of filter and auto-wah (awesome on bass, by the way), as well as the aforementioned Overtone, Slicer, and Dimension D sounds. It’s a remarkable palette of sounds that could easily replace every other modulation pedal on your board. I found the Boss MD- 500 very easy to use, for the most part. Getting it powered up (with a regular old Boss PSA-120, rather than some clunky, proprietary wall wart) and situated on the pedalboard was accomplished without any challenges, and it’s no problem to just plug in and play without consulting the manual. Scrolling down through banks can be accomplished by holding down two switches at once, the A and B switches, while scrolling up requires holding down the B and TAP/CTL switch simultaneously. You then select your patch by engaging A, B, or both. TAP/CTL lets you alter modulation rate on the fly, among other possible functions. The preset patches sound uniformly excellent and very musical, by the way, a far cry from the usual over-the-top factory presets that bog down most multi-effects. I was able to get the MD500 up and running without resorting to the manual, at least until I wanted to check out the effects loop function. This is an extremely cool feature that lets you place an external pedal anywhere 45