MATRIBOX - multi-effects processor (demo/review)

Of all the budget multi-effects modelers, the MATRIBOX is my favorite, and I would venture to say that some of the guitar tones (particularly hi-gain) sound impressive. They are ‘dry’ and sound decently authentic without that high-end fizz that often exists with other modelers. The cleans also sound good, as do tones for Bass and Acoustic (I do have an acoustic sample on the demo, which has the highs turned down, for a warmer quality to match the composition’s somewhat biting lead). I can continue to praise the amps and cabs on this unit, but the demo speaks for itself and the MATRIBOX may sound exceptional for the money due to Sonicake’s ‘White-Box Digital Modeling Technology.’ No idea what that comprises, but the company is bragging and this may be the reason. There also are several demos on YouTube that emphasize the hi-gain tones, and so, I do recommend investigating those since I only sample a few in my demo.

The MATRIBOX is simple to use, even without the software (PC & Mac). The on-screen LCD menu is clear enough to read, although some older folk may need their glasses on. It also is easy to access, edit and move around blocks. Of course, this is effortless if accessing the software, which is one of the better ones I have seen and used. In that regard, the MATRIBOX is one of the best for accessing and editing presets, no matter if doing it from the unit or the software.

Now, I wanted to address sound and ease-of-use first, since that is what most musicians are interested in, but then we have what is on-board or what you get for $129 USD. The MATRIBOX is no different from other such units, in that you have a host of gear and features, and so, I will address that in brief.

You get 40 legendary amp models with 38 cab IRs (and you can import 15 IRs), ranging from Fender, to Orange, to Mesa, to Soldano, etc. Usually cab IRs are on the ‘cheap’ side and people tend to import their own. For hi-gain tones, I do prefer the KSR Amps’ V30 IR that I imported, but those included with the MATRIBOX do have some respectable qualities and stand on their own. There are 130 effects (compressor, octave, drives, fuzzes, delays, reverbs, etc.), and with the amp/cab, there is a total of 9 ‘blocks’ that can be arranged in whatever order you see fit. All these effects, amps and cabs are shared among guitar/bass/acoustic, although with the majority for electric guitar.

Other features include 100 drum patterns covering different styles, a 90-second looper (45-sec if running with effects), 198 presets (99 factory & 99 user), chromatic tuner, expression pedal (volume, wah or effect morphing), stereo out, headphone out, stereo aux input (for MP3s, etc.), and USB audio interface function with stereo streaming.

With 24-bit 33.1kHz signal processing, the MATRIBOX is something I wish I had when first learning guitar and getting into effects, and the sound quality under its metal chassis make it very desirable to use just as a practice unit for those not wishing to power up a tube amp and pedal board – it is a pleasure to use as opposed to the thin, sterile sounds found with many of its competitors. You also get a power adapter, but any source with 500mA supply will work. Overall, I believe Sonicake has set a new standard for multi-effects processors, and particularly at this price point.
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