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HX FX and MS-3... the same but different?

Bluesidae

Member
Messages
782
Hi,
I have a Deluxe Reverb that I am really happy with, so I have no need for amp modelling. I am a Blues/Rock player who likes to dabble with ambient sounds. I am not a serious pedal guy but would like to enter the realm of multi-effects. One reason to purchase is to simply provide a bit of inspiration! I am considering a HX FX. I was ready to pull the pin and buy one, then I came across posts related to the Boss MS-3. Both appear to work well if you have an amp that you like. Both seem to get relatively favourable tone reviews. The Line 6 has a looper. The MS-3 is less expensive.

The pandemic limits my abilities to try these units. I wonder if anyone could answer a few questions for me.
1. What are the significant differences between these two units?
2. Ease of use - My preference would be to turn it on, quickly adjust the settings, and start playing. Both units offer a multitude of options, but I want to configure presets AND play guitar!
3. Which sounds better to you?
4. If you have experience with both, which would you choose (and why).

Any additional thoughts/advice?

Thanks for taking the time to help me!!
 
Last edited:

Ejay

Member
Messages
6,568
I never played the hxfx....but I did have a podgo on my desk for a while.

The verb and delays of Boss are a lot better then L6 to my ears.

What I also liked about the boss (and idnk how these compare to L6)
- Drives and compressors sound good
- Zero tonesuck from the unit
- 3 loops
- ampswitching
- Extnsive midi stuff....makes a great midicontroller!

I went for the Core...so I sold it...but would buy it again in a heartbeat if I was looking for a non modeling efx/looper/midicontroller.
 

phil_m

Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,262
I had the MS-3 for awhile. Like all Boss multi-FX, the interface is slow and painful. The signal flow is semi-fixed, meaning you can only use certain blocks in certain slots. In the HX Effects, you can put any effect in any location, and you can use as many instances of the same effects or type of effect as you want (within the DSP limit, of course).

I really don’t consider them very similar devices, even though they kind of so the same thing. If you’re not familiar with working with multi-FX, I have to believe the HX Effects will have a much shorter learning curve than the MS-3. Every time I try to give Boss a chance, they kind of never fail to annoy me in the same way.
 

Mincer

Member
Messages
4,580
If you want something very quick, look at the M9 or M13 instead. It is no harder than using a few pedals. Super fast interface with a great sound and no programming at all.
 

Bluesidae

Member
Messages
782
Thanks for the replies. Boss tones are superior but HXFX is easier to use? For me, ease of use is a significant factor. As I mentioned, I am happy to work with parameterizing presets, but I still want to play guitar!! It looks like the MS-3 is approx. $175 cheaper.
 

phil_m

Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,262
Thanks for the replies. Boss tones are superior but HXFX is easier to use? For me, ease of use is a significant factor. As I mentioned, I am happy to work with parameterizing presets, but I still want to play guitar!! It looks like the MS-3 is approx. $175 cheaper.
The HX Effects tones surpass the MS-3 in quality and quantity, in my opinion, but that’s just me. The gulf will be even larger with the upcoming 3.10 update for the HX Effects.
 

Tito83

Member
Messages
2,953
For your particular case I'd consider an Eventide H9. For delay and verbs, ambient stuff, I think it's head and sholders above anything Line6 or Boss offer right now. Not a box you can tweak by itself might be a drag, but I'd bet there are quite a few factory presets that will sound great right out of the box - especially if you get the Max.
 
Messages
1,390
I had to choose between them and I chose HX FX.

Man, I love this multi fx unit. Super flexible, easily configurable. Great sounding effects. I’m sure the Boss is great too, but seeing all the legacy Line 6 fx along with the new Helix fx in a easily dialed in box was it. It was a better interface to me.

I can’t compare but don’t care to. It does all I wanted out of it already and they keep updating it.
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,046
Some interesting pieces to consider:

-No one can tell the delay or chorus you are using live.
-I found the FX in the MS3 to be great. No issues.
-also found the fx to be great in the hxfx as well.
-powering the HXFX is a pain. The wall wart they includes is the most poorly designed unit considering this unit is usually mounted on a pedalboard. If you want to use it with another power supply, you need several different polarity conversion cables. It works usually, but is an extra pain in the rear.
-I find the size of the MS3 to be great on a smaller pedalboard.
-line 6 editing software is far superior to Boss’s archaic nonsense.
-the USB transfer and saving on the boss is sloooow.
-both units can have ground loop issues with the USB connected.
-midi is fairly easy to implement on both units.
-the display is far better on the HXFX.
-hxfx seems to be receiving some recent updates.
-not many changes or updates to the MS3.
 

Will Onyx

Member
Messages
674
So I have the ms3, a hx stomp (same algorithms as the hx effects) and the eventide H9.

The ms3 is a nice, small multi effects unit that covers a bunch of ground and is perfect for someone who just wants some basic effects and ability to switch amp channels. It sounds like a Boss, so if you like how their effects sound then you will like this unit. I really like how the switching on it works.

The line 6 offers a lot more by way of effects, especially for ambient stuff. Being able to run effects in parallel paths is super cool for that. It offers much more flexibility and switching options *if you want that*. Compared to the ms3, the hx effects is pretty big. It may be easier to program than the ms3, but it’s not like the ms3 is all that difficult to use either.

The eventide H9 is really killer for ambient stuff. If you want something with different overdrives, distortions and compressors then this is not the pedal for you. To get what I wanted out of my H9, I needed an additional midi controller to change patches and either my iPad or iPhone in order to edit the effects quickly. Also, you can only use 1 effect at a time, but they are pretty advanced and often combine a bunch of different stuff together (modulation, delays, pitch shifts, reverbs) in each effect.
 

Ejay

Member
Messages
6,568
Boss tones are better than line 6?
Imo the reverbs are more basic....but better sounding.
The ms3 doesn’t offer exotic algorithms in that department....where L6 probably does.
The Boss verbs I can can use to a degree where “too wet” still sounds pleasant...where L6 verbs start to bother me as soon as I hear them in a mix.

Id agree with @Tito83 that the eventide is a step up compared to both.

Someone mentioned ms3 has that typical boss sound....I think that was true for all generations of boss digital units before the ms3....but no longer for the current. (I was allergic for that sound ;))

The UI is indeed very basic, and takes some getting used to, but more then adequate to me.
 

the swede

Member
Messages
3,459
MS3 standout feature against L6 is the wave/expression functions. And the verbs and delays, imho. M3 is to me more of a really good pedalboard switcher, that integrates outboard pedals in a nice way.
If it weren't for the typical Boss menus....
 

Watt McCo

Supporting Member
Messages
12,389
Source audio collider for ambient + easy to use. Delay and reverb in one pedal. Eventide is not easy to use unless you have the iPad app running; also while it has some great reverb and delay algos, there are very few reverb + delay options.
 

RAdkins

Member
Messages
206
My personal reason why I went with the HXFX
  • Boss is what it is when you purchase them, no regular updates to the unit
  • Line 6 Helix family has gotten many updates since it launch and looks to continue that trend
 




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