The sounds of velcro separating are familiar to me and more so perhaps to those that know me. Like many musicians, effects pedals and processors have crept into my setup at a steady pace and as a result I have spent a good chunk of time adding, rearranging and removing them from my pedalboard, tearing them from their once semi secured spot of adhesion. It’s not that I’m indecisive but more often than not, my needs change. Enter the Line 6 M5.
The M5 stomp box modeler from Line 6 is small but shoehorned into the stout 6.5″ square all metal box are over one hundred effect models. Available here is a laundry list of delay, modulation, drive, compression, eq, filter and reverb effects that would easily fill a two car garage. If it’s a modern boutique tremolo pedal or a vintage overdrive you are searching for, chances are the M5 can provide an option.
Unlike most other multi effects units, the M5 lets the user edit their sounds with a group of external knobs just like traditional effects. Once you have a setting you want to keep simply save the patch to one of 24 recallable presets which are available on the fly via the metal stomp switches. Stereo 1/4″ as well as midi ins and outs are available so the user could easily integrate the M5 with a keyboard or guitar rig as well as just about any other stereo source.
On the whole, the way the M5 deals with tempo is really useful. All of the time based effects like delays and echos as well the LFO speeds for the modulation effects are tap tempo-able. Furthermore the user can select a slew of rhythmic subdivisions so double and dotted repeats are easily attainable. Line 6 takes all of this one step further by extending this functionality to models of effects not originally equipped with tap tempo. Tap tempo or midi synced Uni-Vibe anyone? Even more control is granted to the user via an optional expression pedal. Despite all of this functionality, these options are easy to access as there are very few internal menus and commands.
Only one of the one hundred effects are available at a time but the M5 isn’t here to be your one stop multi effect (the larger M9 and M13 tackle that job). What it does provide the user however is something rather unique. Stick it on your pedal board and instantly grant yourself the ability to change an effect of your choice song to song or for that matter measure to measure in real time. If you are constantly ripping apart your pedalboard to rearrange it, the Line 6 M5 could provide you with some interesting options.