Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 v2 Multi-effects Pedal
Tech21 has been around since the 80s. They were one of the early, if not the first company, to offer a solution for tones straight into a mixer for live and recording. Their aptly named "SansAmp" (meaning "no amp") series was used by the biggest names of the 80s and 90s.
Fast forward to the 2010s, Tech21 designed a compact multi-effects unit that contains their critically acclaimed SansAmp circuitry, as well as Overdrive (Plexi and Cali sounds), Boost (switchable between pre and post), Delay (with modulation), Reverb, an effects loop, tap tempo and a cab simulated XLR out, all in a small pedal that fits in a gig bag.
In contrast to the buffet of effects other multi-effects units offers, the Fly Rig 5 v2 keeps it down to the essentials: The only things you may need for a fly-in gig.
- Effects: 5 (Drive, Boost, SansAmp, Delay, Reverb) with additional options for modulation and tone.
- Amp Modeling: 3 (Fender, Plexi, Cali)
- Presets: none
- Footswitches: 5
- Input: 1 x 1/4" (instrument)
- Output: 1 x 1/4" (main outm switchable cab sim), 1 x XLR (balanced out, cab sim always on)
- Extra Features: Drift mode for adding modulation to delays, Tap Tempo, Pre/Post boost switch, Effects Loop, clip indicator.
- USB: none
- Dimensions: 12.5" x 2.5" x 1.25"
- Weight: 1.29 lbs.
Many of the users that reviewed it were looking for something to go direct into the board to keep stage volumes low (Church, small venue use). They found that most highly-rated multi-effects either felt too complicated or large for what they needed, or they couldn't get the sound the wanted because of all the options. They praise the Fly Rig 5's "essentials" approach to multi-effects pedals with just the effects that you need done exceedingly well. The ability to turn off cab simulation for the 1/4" output while retaining the simulation for the XLR output was deemed a "Godsend" by a reviewer who owes his consistently praised live tone to the unit.
Some users disliked the minimalist approach and wished for more features left and right. Adding more to the unit however, would defeat it's purpose of providing a compact, plug and play multi-effects unit.
Full disclosure: I own a unit myself and after going through different multi-effects from a "vintage" Zoom 505 to being loaned a top-tier Kemper for a while, it's nice to be able to just plug in and play without spending more time tweaking than you do playing. For those of us that just want something that sounds the way we imagine a roaring Plexi or a vibing Boogie to sound, the Tech 21 Fly Rig 5 might be the multi-effect pedal for you.
Although this was previously on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Best Guitar Multi Effects Pedals / Processors.