Hatsubai 03/15/2011

Rocktron MultiValve : Hatsubai's user review

« Stomp Box Effects in a 1U Chassis »

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The Rocktron MultiValve was an evolution of the Replifex, which was the predecessor of the Xpression. Most of the things I'm writing in this review can directly apply to the Replifex and the Xpression. I'll note the differences when necessary. The MultiValve's main job was to recreate famous stomp box sounds in the form of a 1U chassis. This helps reduce clutter, saves money and gives the user one heck of a bang for their buck. The MultiValve came with a plethora of effects: HUSH, Parametric EQ, Flanger, Chorus, Reverb, Compressor, Tremolo, Auto Pan, Delay, Phaser, Pitch Shifter, Speaker Simulator and Rotary. It has the standard inputs, outputs, MIDI IN, MIDI OUT/THRU and phantom power. However, the MultiValve and Replifex have a channel switching function built in. This allows you to effectively MIDI enable most amps. The currently sold Xpression does NOT have this feature. The MultiValve also has a 12AX7 tube which can be selected to add a "tube warmth" to the effects. This is really the only difference between the Replifex and the MultiValve, and why the unit is named what it is.


Like all Rocktron products, the interface is top notch. Nothing is overly complicated, and Rocktron actually made the interface of the MultiValve even easier to use than the Infellifex. You no longer have to deal with tons of algorithms but rather the ability to select whichever effect you'd like in every patch. This opens the door to nearly limitless possibilities. The manual is extremely well written, and it'll help guide you through everything in the process to setting up a tone you're looking for. One interesting feature is that the Bypass is now a selectable MIDI feature on this device. That allows you to completely bypass it from the chain via your MIDI board to ensure absolutely no tone suckage. The menus are clearly written so that even without the manual, anybody can easily delve into this unit without any problem.


This is an interesting point because it's where a lot of people start to split. On one hand, the MultiValve delivers an amazing array of effects to satisfy most guitarists out there. On the other hand, it doesn't sound quite as good as the Intellifex does when it comes to delay, chorus, and reverb. The reason is that the MultiValve was set up to emulate the lo-fi stomp boxes instead of the higher end rack effects. The main feature of the MultiValve, the "tube warmth," really falls flat. It's akin to putting an EQ on your effects to give them some less high end. You can pretty much emulate this with the onboard parametric EQ. I always just bypassed the tube, personally. A big highlight of this unit is actually the rotary function. The rotary algorithm is actually a separate algorithm, and you can actually dial in a fairly realistic rotary tone. For that feature alone, I'd say the MultiValve is worth checking out. The other speaker sims are somewhat flat sounding, so I never used them. Aside from those downsides, the rest of the effects are quite good, especially the parametric EQ. An EQ in the loop can truly do wonders to help get the tone you're looking for, and considering the cost of so many famous parametric EQs out there, this is easily worth the used market price. When set to Pre-HUSH, the bypass is nearly completely transparent.


Overall, the Rocktron MultiValve is a solid device for those looking for an all-in-one stomp box effects unit in a 1U chassis. While it does not compare to the effects of the Intellifex, it was never meant to directly compete with it. Instead, it was meant to run along side the Intellifex to give you the ultimate flexibility. Reliability is second to none as these units would survive a bomb. They've been proven time and time again as reliable effects processors for the working musician. The biggest reason I actually got this device was to MIDI my Mark III and Two Channel Dual Rectifier. This single device was able to MIDI enable both of these amplifiers with a simple TRS cable, as well as provide quality stomp box effects. For anybody who doesn't want to deal with the hassle of rigging a bunch of pedals in a rack, I highly recommend looking into this device.