4 months on - experience with a Headrush MX5 and using a modeller in general

Wodja

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2020
Posts
29
Age
52
Location
Ontario
So I thought I would share my experience of a modeller newbie using an MX5

Why I bought it

I play in a band doing mainly 'Dad rock' picking up lead guitar role for songs like 'comfortably numb' and 'sympathy for the devil'. I was using a pedal board of about 6 pedals and a cab sim pedal direct into a PA to good effect. But I found when working through a set list, the volume levels would get hard to manage. Even though I usually do a sound check with my guitar volume at 7 to give me some space to crank it up if needed. We don't do the same set list each time so in one way its great experience learning to do things on the fly, but I often got into a position where either turning up the volume had no effect (saturated) or I have turned my guitar volume down too far that the overdrive is ineffective. I bought the Mx5 to have pre defined rigs that let me sort out the signal chain effects so I don't get lost in a cumulative build up over errors due to me changing pedal settings as I go.

What I like

The Mx5 really helped me getting some great consistent OD/Distortion tones at changing volume levels. Objective achieved :) - the band likes the improvement.
It expanded my appreciation of different amps and different capabilities/uses for them - so much so I bought some IRs for an Orange Amp and love them.
The user interface is easy to use, settings are easy to modify.
It is small enough to fit into my gig bag.
Once I got the hang of them I found the use of scenes to switch on/off multiple pedals is great (e.g. comfortably numb verse vs lead tone in a specific rig).
I have a consistent set of 'rigs' specifically for the band.
This unit is easily half the cost of my pedal board setup.
Its great for recording/home guitar hero wailing sessions etc..
I don't have to use a PC to adjust the settings


What I don't

There are sooo many options - I'm maybe using 5% of the features. it is easy to get lost in what you have adjusted and lose that great tone you had half an hour ago.
The manual covers some features with most learning seems to be via you tube - if you have a problem at band it feels like you have to go away watch a load of videos and then come come back.
Changing on the fly is possible with the drag and drop interface but it is a bit slower.
I find keeping volume levels consistent across different rigs a challenge - I'm still getting to grips with that - input volume settings, output volume settings, volume pedals at the end of a rig etc..
The volume/expression I find hard to use in its basic physicality - I find it too small and is hard to use on the fly - I have adjusted the movement and the range etc.. but I cant seem to get on with it.
Some days I just miss the stomp and go of a great effects pedal, even if it did cost $300 for that one song its great for.


Overall I underestimated the learning curve to get into the finer nuances of the unit and probably introduced it to the band setting a bit too quickly. An external expression/volume pedal is my next purchase. Right now I have a MXR micro amp pedal to rescue me fro the 'aggh the volume hasn't gone up enough' moments. And yes I'm aware it is not always a volume hike that is needed but a different tone to get through the mix.

Happy with it? Yes
Gonna keep it? Not sure.

Hope some of that rambling was interesting/helpful, comments/tips etc.. welcome

Thanks

Roger
 

MyLittleEye

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Posts
257
Location
Kew Gardens, UK
I feel this! I love the capability of current tech but at the same time I'm aware that it comes at the cost of option overload and decision fatigue. I spend much of my work time staring at computer screens and operating digital user interfaces so when I play recreationally its a genuine relief to get away from that.
My present GAS impulse is towards assembling a minimalist pedal board entirely out of single knob effects; perhaps even making the exercise a practical, hands on learning curve with Build-Your-Own kits.
 
Last edited:

Mike_LA

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Posts
2,053
Location
Just past 11 on the Dial
Hmmm, I use a Zoom G1on.
It has 99 presets and I only use 2 tones, clean and OD but I use 30 presets.
I set it up having Clean then OD then for the next 8 slots I put the same 2 patches plus 20% volume progressively. So same patch but too soft, go to the next louder patch.
Then I use the same set of 10 patches but for 20 - 29 add treble overall, 30 -39 add bass overall. Start in the first bank to choose level for the song, then adjust eq by jumping banks.
Just an idea for more control on the fly
Best of luck
 

Wodja

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2020
Posts
29
Age
52
Location
Ontario
Hmmm, I use a Zoom G1on.
It has 99 presets and I only use 2 tones, clean and OD but I use 30 presets.
I set it up having Clean then OD then for the next 8 slots I put the same 2 patches plus 20% volume progressively. So same patch but too soft, go to the next louder patch.
Then I use the same set of 10 patches but for 20 - 29 add treble overall, 30 -39 add bass overall. Start in the first bank to choose level for the song, then adjust eq by jumping banks.
Just an idea for more control on the fly
Best of luck
That is something I don't think I would ever thought of, thanks I'll give it a try :)
 

TX_Slinger

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Posts
714
Location
The Sticks, TX
I owned an MX5 for about 5 months (got it for $399 before price increase). I ended up selling it (broke even after price increase) and got a NUX MG-30 for $299, which has a PC interface and overall a better UI in my opinion. The MG-30 does "fewer amps better." I found that as a home player I didn't need some of the more advanced features of the MX5 but it was cool to play with running multiple amp chains. MG-30 is more compact but the expression pedal isn't as useful as the MX5. MG-30 seems like it would withstand rigors of gigging better.
 

TheCheapGuitarist

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jul 22, 2022
Posts
871
Location
Maryland
Went I went digital, I only had "decision fatigue" when I was first discovering everything it did. I made a completely different patch for every song (because I could...) and just went to the next patch with each song we played. These days, however, I just picked one sound I like (a Marshall Super Lead 100) and use it for everything, using a boost for solos, and that's it. The nice thing is that if I get tired of that sound later, I can simply choose a new one and use it for everything.
 

TwoBear

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Posts
2,434
Location
oc. CA.
So I thought I would share my experience of a modeller newbie using an MX5

Why I bought it

I play in a band doing mainly 'Dad rock' picking up lead guitar role for songs like 'comfortably numb' and 'sympathy for the devil'. I was using a pedal board of about 6 pedals and a cab sim pedal direct into a PA to good effect. But I found when working through a set list, the volume levels would get hard to manage. Even though I usually do a sound check with my guitar volume at 7 to give me some space to crank it up if needed. We don't do the same set list each time so in one way its great experience learning to do things on the fly, but I often got into a position where either turning up the volume had no effect (saturated) or I have turned my guitar volume down too far that the overdrive is ineffective. I bought the Mx5 to have pre defined rigs that let me sort out the signal chain effects so I don't get lost in a cumulative build up over errors due to me changing pedal settings as I go.

What I like

The Mx5 really helped me getting some great consistent OD/Distortion tones at changing volume levels. Objective achieved :) - the band likes the improvement.
It expanded my appreciation of different amps and different capabilities/uses for them - so much so I bought some IRs for an Orange Amp and love them.
The user interface is easy to use, settings are easy to modify.
It is small enough to fit into my gig bag.
Once I got the hang of them I found the use of scenes to switch on/off multiple pedals is great (e.g. comfortably numb verse vs lead tone in a specific rig).
I have a consistent set of 'rigs' specifically for the band.
This unit is easily half the cost of my pedal board setup.
Its great for recording/home guitar hero wailing sessions etc..
I don't have to use a PC to adjust the settings


What I don't

There are sooo many options - I'm maybe using 5% of the features. it is easy to get lost in what you have adjusted and lose that great tone you had half an hour ago.
The manual covers some features with most learning seems to be via you tube - if you have a problem at band it feels like you have to go away watch a load of videos and then come come back.
Changing on the fly is possible with the drag and drop interface but it is a bit slower.
I find keeping volume levels consistent across different rigs a challenge - I'm still getting to grips with that - input volume settings, output volume settings, volume pedals at the end of a rig etc..
The volume/expression I find hard to use in its basic physicality - I find it too small and is hard to use on the fly - I have adjusted the movement and the range etc.. but I cant seem to get on with it.
Some days I just miss the stomp and go of a great effects pedal, even if it did cost $300 for that one song its great for.


Overall I underestimated the learning curve to get into the finer nuances of the unit and probably introduced it to the band setting a bit too quickly. An external expression/volume pedal is my next purchase. Right now I have a MXR micro amp pedal to rescue me fro the 'aggh the volume hasn't gone up enough' moments. And yes I'm aware it is not always a volume hike that is needed but a different tone to get through the mix.

Happy with it? Yes
Gonna keep it? Not sure.

Hope some of that rambling was interesting/helpful, comments/tips etc.. welcome

Thanks

Roger
I sure hear you in regards to volume, pre, post, etc. I've got a Ernie Ball volume & my old chrome top Vox or Friedman wah + a few FX before my POD GO, using it's on-board pedal for speed on Leslie/Rotary sims, parameters like a Whammy Pedal octave jumps, even delay glitches sort of like repeats/time on a EchoPlex, ect., along w/tap tempo, and a NUX dual footswitch velcro'd to the space above/in front/at top of it's built in pedal.

I'd like to use the built in pedal more, like for synth pads PRE, or volume leveling POST, but it's too much for me to notice if I'm on #1, or #2 so I turned off the Wah's, even tho' I wouldn't mind using a few, not to mention the hassle of powering my own. To help with that, I built a dual 18650 pack, in series, at about 8.5V attached to my Wah's, and a 12V lead acid with voltage regs, fused, w/on/off, in a plastic ammo case, reduced/regulated @ 9.4V @ 3A for the FX, in addition to wall power.

As if that wasn't enough, there's a couple FX in it's loop, another stereo HOF reverb at the outputs, and I was preparing to send my old EB stereo vol/pan pedal to Ernie Ball or Dunlop, or whoever, but
I've just learned they don't rebuild/support the one's with side jacks anymore! I had been using it Post everything, as a master volume, but guess I'll have to source my own dual 1meg, long shaft, or whatever is in there.

Not familiar w/your setup but would it be possible to velcro, or double side tape etc., a larger footprint over your existing expression pedal-something that may give a better feel? I did that with a piece of thin (about 1/8'' or 3/16'') stained figured wood, topcoated and attached to a small built in expression pedal on my NUX MG 30.
 




Top