Multi-effects and guitar processing units have come a long way. I recall an old rackmount Boss unit with early COSM technology that left a lot to be desired, making it difficult to create some clear-cutting tones. And then thereís the original Zoom units, which were decent practice devices, and ideal for beginner or intermediates wanting Ďeverything in a box,í but they sounded sterile to my ears. Now, I will be upfront in that I have not tried nor compared the Valeton GP-100 to any of the current competitors, but for $150 USD (the price of a typical quality overdrive) you get a huge amount of stuff. But before going over the features, how does it sound?
First, be aware that I was a Beta-tester for this product. I was asked by Valetonís marketing department since I did a few Valeton reviews in the past, and so that was an honor and the company must have valued my demos. Working with the first firmware, I noticed that the amps/cabs sounded OK, but with a slight top-fizz (particularly with the hi-gain gear). This was rectified, and now the guitar tones are very good and more organic sounding Ė with Rock tones sounding robust and even a bit chewy. I think most companies can zero in on effects rather well, e.g., delay, reverb, overdrive, but it takes far more tweaking to get amps and cab IRs sounding as they should Ė and Valeton did a spot-on job. Is the sound quality good enough to go head-to-head with the likes of An Axe-Fx or Kemper? Probably not, although youíre looking at well over 10 times the price for either of those options, making the GP-100 a bargain for whatís under the hood. Is it good enough for live use and jamming? I believe so, as the tones have great clarity (24-bit 44.1kHz signal processing) and will cut through the mix effectively, but certainly refer to the demo for a sound sampler, ranging from acoustic (the second acoustic patch toward the end is my favorite, played on a piezo pickup on an electric guitar) to classic rock and hi-gain.
OK, Iíll let the demo speak for itself as I focus on the features. The Valeton GP-100 comes with 45 amp simulations for acoustic, bass and electric guitar, with models based on Fender, MESA/Boogie, Marshall, Vox, Bogner, Matchless, Dr. Z, Supro, Diezel, ENGL, Soldano, Peavey, Orange, Ampeg, AER, etc. The 40 Cab IR include replications of Fender, Two Rock, MESA, Fender, Marshall and the usual suspects already listed (and you can add up to 20 of your own third-party IRs). There are over 140 effects, including Chorus, Detune, Flanger, Phaser, Vibe, Vibrato, Noise Gates, Delays (11), Reverbs (9) and various Drives/Distortions/Fuzzes. Thereís also the typical chromatic tuner, which always comes in handy, as well as its own 500mA 9VDC adapter.
Some of the extras that help place the GP-100 over the top for the money include a drum machine/metronome, with categories in Funk, Rock, Electronic, World, Jazz, Blues, Pop and Metro (e.g., 4/4, 6/8, etc.). The 90-second looper may seem standard, but whatís cool is that if you change elements, such as the cab, delay, etc., or the patch entirely, then the recorded sound also changes Ė this way you can record a riff or passage, and then run through various presets to hear the differences (or perhaps to double down on track recording with different amps/cabs). The two footswitches can be used either to scroll up and down the patches, or you can assign them to three different functions each. For example, footswitch one can be assigned to engage a boost and overdrive, whereas footswitch two can engage a chorus, delay and reverb (or turn them off as the need would be). And one of my favorite features includes the ability to place any of the elements (noise gate, amp, cab, distortion, delay, etc., in any order you wish, done very easily (as with all GP-100 editing aspects) directly on the pedalís LED screen or via the included mac/pc software. The expression pedal also works flawlessly, and that can be assigned in a number of ways, such as blending a modulation, delay, reverb or even overdrive, but more obviously for use as a volume or wah.
The GP-100 definitely is full package, together with its USB audio interface function, stereo audio streaming, 1/8Ē audio jacks for headphones and AUX, and 198 presets (99 factory/99 user). Itís light weight (800g or 2.62 pounds) and small size (198mm W x 134mm D x 28mm H or 7.8 x 5.27 x 1.1 inches) make it even more desirable, particularly for travel or tossing into a gig bag for off-site jamming and gigging. Further factor in its all metal chassis and footswitches, and you get a lot of quality bang for the buck. I suppose the only downside may be not liking Valetonís take on the amp and cab modeling, which form the backbone of any guitar sim/modeler, but there are so many options and tweaking potential, it would be difficult not to zero in on some very decent sounding tones.