I've been playing clean into my AI, but I need more. My current real-world minimum is a UA Woodrow and a DOD Compressor. I have reverb, delay, and flanger pedals from decades ago, but the DAW's pedals are better, so I don't need them. I also have a cry baby that I will put in the chain sometime. I need to put a lot more time in with the Woodrow. <Edit> I can't believe I'm looking for tone again after 45 years.
I keep it pretty lean, I don’t like to have more than five pedals (DOD 280 in picture replaced by Keeley Katana). If I had to choose one, I’d switch to a headstock tuner and go with the Barber Direct Drive. Amp has reverb and trem, so realistically one drive pedal is all I REALLY need.
Since I kicked the PRRI and its onboard reverb to the curb, my Dan Echo has become an always-on. That plus a tube overdrive or two and I'm good; the rest is kinda superfluous or just for an occasional, y'know, effect.
This works fine and can be battery only, 2x9 for 18v AD.
This is better still but requires a 22v 1a PS.
Depending on the music I can use two small dirt pedals on this little board, but I really dont use dirt pedals for distortion, just shaped flavored boost.
Unless Muff, then pedal dirt for sure, but only if the music has a place for that.
I’ve been using primarily modeling pedals instead of amps for over a decade, so my smallest pedal board has to account for that. The only other pedals I “need” for my current band are a talk box and a wireless receiver. For a while I was using this board to gig, because I was testing the Zoom pedal as a backup to my main board.