Boss MD-500 Modulation

Boss MD-500 Modulation

The ultra-versatile MD-500 is powered by cutting-edge BOSS technology and can produce practically any modulation effect a musician might desire. There are 28 different techniques with complex programming settings, providing a virtually limitless sound palette. You’ll get flawless sound quality that extends beyond the potential of the finest studio equipment, with class-defying 32-bit AD/DA, 32-bit floating point processing, and 96 kHz sampling rate.

Many new Prime types created using cutting-edge BOSS technology, as well as accurate recreations of classic oldies like the CE-1 Chorus Ensemble, Roland Dimension D, 1970s script phaser, 1980s tri-chorus, and numerous more are among the MD-500’s effects. The MD-500 can likely meet all of your mod requirements with one convenient pedal since it allows you to use two patches at once in A/B Simul mode. You can also use mod effects in front, after, or around the loop as needed for the finest sound by putting drive pedals in the MD-500’s flexible external loop.

Features MD-500 Modulation

  • First-in-class 32-bit AD/DA, 32-bit floating point processing, and 96 kHz sampling rate are all available on the studio level.
  • All with extensive editing capabilities, the 12 modes and 28 modulation types
  • BOSS originals are newly enhanced with cutting-edge technology, and classic mod effects are included.
  • With your choice of series/parallel connection and mixed or split A/B output, you can use two patches at once in A/B Simul mode.
  • Before, after, or around drive pedals, the Insert Loop function allows you to utilize mod effects.
  • Available on a graphic LCD are real-time control options and intense graphics.
  • A total of 297 onboard patch memories and hands-on controls are available.
  • Interfacing with MIDI control devices using MIDI I/O
  • Connecting to the MD-500 Editor/Librarian or a DAW using USB-MIDI
  • Four AA batteries or an AC adapter are required to operate it.
If you’re looking for a guitar modulation pedal that is both powerful and versatile, then you need to check out Boss MD-500 Modulation. Read my full review to find out all the details about this amazing product.

There are twelve modes and 28 mod effect types

Every one of the 12 modes on the MD-500 has been carefully created just for this pedal, and they feature 28 distinct mod effect algorithms. Chorus, vibrato, flanger, phaser, tremolo, rotary, classic vibe, and ring mod are all present in abundance. Boss originals like Slicer and Overtone, as well as automatic wah and touch wah effects. Custom patterns, which is an extra feature to the original SL-20 Slicer pedal, will be appreciated by slicer fans. You can also add amazing width and depth with one of the most revered studio rack effects of all time with the MD-500, which recreates Roland’s Dimension D from the 1980s.

Prime Tone Boss MD-500

BOSS’ new Prime algorithms have been applied to the MD-500, improving standard effects such as chorus, flanger, phaser, and others. BOSS engineers have redesigned these critical effects for greater expression, range, and clarity by using ultra-fast, high-powered DSP and the latest technology. You have a broad range of sound-shaping possibilities at your fingertips thanks to an array of customizable settings per type. The “Bell” and “Sweetness” settings included in the Prime Chorus algorithm are two effects that feature entirely new parameters never seen before.

Extraordinary Sound

The MD-500 exceeds industry norms for pedal-based effects by including 32-bit/96 kHz AD/DA. Internal processing runs at a 96 kHz sampling rate and delivers exceptional sound quality that goes above the best-level digital processors employed in top pro studios. You may select the best setting for any pedalboard configuration by using either true-bypass or buffered-bypass operation.

Advanced Interface, Intuitive Operation

The patch name and other critical performance data are clearly visible on the MD-500’s large LCD. The unit’s deep editing parameters and advanced control features are also easy to view and adjust. You have upper-level access to key settings such as depth and effect level, as well as two parameter sliders that change dynamically depending on the selected effect type, thanks to the grab-and-go panel knobs. In addition, you can use the free MD-500 Editor/Librarian software on your computer to remote modify, patch backup, and more. Via USB connection.

Boss MD-500 Modulation
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Insert loop function and A/B Simul Mode

The MD-500’s capability is further expanded with A/B Simul mode, which enables you to run two patches at once. You can send each effect to its own separate output if you want, thanks to a selectable series or parallel connection that allows for all sorts of tone-shaping possibilities. In addition to a per-patch external loop that allows you to adjust gain and drive pedals, the MD-500 has an external loop with settings for each patch. In one patch, you might have a phaser or basic vibe before the drive pedal, and in the next, a chorus or flanger after it. It is also possible to position the loop between two distinct mod effects when you’re in A/B Simul mode.

Boss MD-500 Modulation – Intensive Real-Time Control

The MD-500 provides exceptional expression and performance freedom thanks to its freely assignable switches and extensive real-time control support. Patch/bank selection and bypass, as well as tap tempo or real-time adjustment of one or more parameters, are enabled by default on the A, B, and TAP/CTL switches. You may modify the switches to let you switch between three different mod patches, A/B Simul mode, and extra features if you want. You may connect up to two footswitches for additional control or an expression pedal to change Wah, effect rate, and other settings via the rear-panel CTL 1,2/EXP jack. Using advanced configurations, MIDI I/O is also available, giving you more creative options.

Benefits Boss MD-500 Modulation

  • It’s a modulation geek’s wet dream.
  • Boss has a certain sound to their stuff and has kept true to that with this pedal.
  • Another pro to this pedal is the amount of features, controls and routing capabilities.
  • The MD-500 is an awesome modulation machine with extreme flexibility.
  • Higher quality algorithms.
  • This pedal does everything in the modulation world.
  • Save money & space on your board.
  • Super easy controls and editing.
  • Every single modulation effect that you need in one stompbox.
  • The overtones and classic vibe sound great.
  • The base sounds are fantastic.


I don’t know if I’m unique in this but my overdrive and delay needs are pretty basic. But my modulation needs are several. I have great individual pedals on my big board, and none are leaving because of the MD500 but now I can get all the modulation and more on my three pedal board but a wah, but that’s because (a) I want only three so no exp pedal and (b) I haven’t yet got an attack wah figured out, but I’m sure that’s coming soon.

Super easy to program although the weirdness of the manual makes you think otherwise at first. The sounds are great. It took a little tweaking but the toughest test of any modulation pedal is a Leslie sound (“Rotary” mode). Having owned a 147 I can say it gets an A minus, but every time I adjust it gets closer to the A+ of my Boss RT-220. Univibe (“classic vibe” mode) sounds are great, and unlike my big Dunlop I can footswitch between phase and vibrato without bending over to adjust anything.

I’m still trying for a more “Electric Lady” flange but it’s getting there. The afore mentioned vibrato of “Classic VIbe” mode gives a great “Hey Baby” type wiggle that is cooler on Born on the Bayou than trem, in my opinion. Chorus, possibly Boss’ favorite pet effect, is here in spades with more ways to adjust than I’ll even try to describe. Btw Dimension has it’s own mode selection. I wish it had ramping fast/ slow on all the modes but it’s on some. One key to enjoying this box is to take a little time to fix the sounds if they aren’t just right ; it’s easy. The EXCELLENT quality of sound, ease of programming and easy access to your programs make this a GREAT unit.

Boss MD-500 Manual
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Great sounds, BOSS quality, and lots of tweakability. The usual sounds like flanger and tremolo all deliver the goods, but digging deeper with reveal things like step phaser/flanger and dynamic versions of modulation effects. The flanger here sounds better than the BF3 but not as good as the BF2. The tremolo seems to model something like BOSS’s own TR2 along with two Fender amps. The vibrato and overtone (POG-like) effects are particularly worth the price of the pedal.

The rotary is better than other dedicated pedals. If I were a big chorus guy I’d really like the choruses. Phaser compares to BOSS’s phasers and adds an MXR-style emulation.

I’m not into ring modulator, but if you are, there’s one of those too. Good univibe too. “Filter” delivers auto-wah and triggered wah. Scanner vibrato too. You don’t see that every day. Want your own particular modulation sound? Why not? This can replace a lot of other pedals.

The interface is not always friendly though, and some of the presets aren’t great. You’ll need to spend some time with the manual or lots of trial and error. Things like assignable controls mean you can really tweak the pedal and settings to your preference, but it also means things don’t necessarily work in predictable ways. The means of changing patches, for example, is kinda iffy by default. Although the LCD display is better than competitors, with its push button controls and monochrome screen it still says “90s rackmount device.” A touchscreen would have been nice. But then again, the competition from Strymon and the like has, like, calculator-style displays. Despite a few complicated interface issues, highly recommended.

This pedal has a fatal flaw in that it doesn’t play with even moderate amounts of distortion well. No depth. Weird EQ. Pre/post routing with an amp effects loop doesn’t do much to alter the tone. The effects actually start to sound exactly the same.

10 Total Score

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