Check out our breakdown and review of the Headrush MX5 multi-effects pedal and amp simulator to learn if this compact modeler is right for you!
What Is the Headrush MX5 & What Does It Do?
The Headrush MX5 is a an ultra-compact, backpack-friendly amp modeler and multi-effects floorboard unit. Its uncluttered, versatile design makes it an ideal desktop, floor, studio, or stage processor that you can quite literally take with you wherever you go. As an amplifier and effects modeler, the Headrush MX5 is a complete guitar rig in a box.
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As you probably know, the world of digital preamps/amp sims/effects processors is more populated than ever. With so many options out there, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly which product is right for you. We’ll review some of the Headrush MX5’s top specs and features in hopes of assisting with your decision should you be on the market for a modeler!
Headrush MX5 Review
The MX5 comes in an impressively small package, at just under 12″ long and 6″ wide with a 4″ touchscreen for programming. That’s easily tossed into a to-go bag for the rehearsal space, studio, or stage, and equally low-profile as a desktop processor or a semi-concealable home studio brain behind your guitar sounds. The metal chassis is rugged, the expression pedal feels responsive and sturdy, and the minimalist interface ensures quick results without consulting the dreaded manual. At a glance, the Headrush MX5 is quality stuff.
Features & I/O
Headrush wisely didn’t go overboard with I/O, and instead included just the working necessities. Sometimes digital processors include all the ins and outs you’d only use in very specific, even rare, instances — not the case here. I/O includes a 1/4″ guitar input, 1/4″ expression pedal input, stereo effects loop, stereo TRS outputs, 1/8″ headphone output, 1/8″ aux input, and a pair of 1/8″ MIDI in/out (adapter required). It also has USB to conveniently interface directly with your computer.
Models & Rigs
Now for the fun stuff: Headrush MX5 contains 50 amp models, over 65 effects, 15 cabinets, 10 microphones, and 300+ impulse responses. Amps include all of the usual suspects, including emulations of Marshalls, Mesas, Peaveys, Fenders, and more. The Headrush library of amp simulations is actually always growing, and firmware updates frequently introduce new models to the collection. So if you plan to invest in a Headrush MX5, you can get new emulations to play with as time goes on.
How Does It Sound?
In a word, awesome! These days, effects processors tend to leave very little on the table in terms of overall sound quality. Headrush is up there with the best of them, no doubt. Many players still find the “feel” of emulators lacking versus a real amplifier, but that’s debatable. The price and form factor make this an attractive choice.
Who Is the Headrush MX5 For?
More and more guitarists are tending towards versatility and convenience than ever before. The fact that today’s amp and effect simulations are so good can make it difficult to justify the expense and, let’s be real, hassle, of owning a bunch of amplifiers and pedals.
The MX5 is perfect for anyone who wants a pint-sized standalone guitar rig, but it’s equally great when just using its effects in front of a real amp. Leave the pedalboard at home and instead rely on the MX5 for your reverbs, delays, modulation, and more. The MX5’s uses are varied, and it excels as an all-in-one or as a rig augmenter.
Our Take: The Headrush MX5 Offers a Lot of Functionality in a Small Package
The Headrush MX5 is as powerful as it is compact and easy to use. Most modelers have a pretty steep learning curve to make the most of them, but the streamlined physical controls and the accessible touchscreen make the MX5 totally approachable and intuitive. It’s true that there are currently more modelers than you can count on two hands, which makes the decision a tough one. However, Headrush makes a massively compelling argument with the latest MX5 floor unit.
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