The Hotone (pronounced hot tone according to their website) Ravo MP10, released in late 2015, is a compact multi-effects pedal and USB audio interface. The unit contains 130 effects, including 10 guitar and 5 bass amplifier models, 100 factory presets, an assignable expression pedal, a chromatic tuner, a 30-second looper, and a tempo-adjustable drum machine with 100 rhythm patterns.
Despite this impressive range of options, the Ravo has a very competitive price. In fact, to our knowledge, this is the cheapest multi-effects / audio interface combo with an expression pedal on the market right now.
The Ravo MP10 also comes with free graphical editing software (RAVO Tonebank) and a power adapter, but is equally able to run on 4 AAA batteries or USB power via a standard USB printer cable (both sold separately). In addition to the aforementioned, the back panel has 1/4″ input and output, as well as a headphone jack and an AUX input.
All this combined with a solid construction might have you thinking that its low price point must mean they’re cutting corners somewhere. And while this pedal isn’t without its faults, for the most part, they are relatively minor.
For starters, the onboard display is fairly small, which means the various adjustable parameters are abbreviated on the screen. This might be a bit confusing for beginners, but generally, the meanings are still fairly obvious (e.g. vol = volume; thre = threshold, etc.), plus it’s all covered in the manual, which itself is very clear and concise. And while the display might be small, it’s still much more readable than the two-digit displays of some of the cheaper compact multi-effects pedals out there. And ultimately, this is just an inevitable trade-off for any compact effects processor.
Another issue is that there is no quick way to enable/disable individual effects within a patch. To do that, you would first need to turn the selector knob from Play Mode to the desired effect, then turn it on/off via the footswitch, and then switch back to Play Mode, which obviously isn’t feasible live, in the middle of a song. As with other similar pedals, however, you can get around this by simply switching to an altered patch. The transition between patches itself is perfectly smooth and instantaneous, and to make this easier, Hotone have even included a “Pre-Patch Select” function, which allows you to access distant patches quickly, without having to scroll through them.
At this price, a 30-second looper on a multi-effects processor is not too shabby, however, some users have been disappointed in the fact that you cannot change presets while in looper mode (though you can edit the selected preset). In addition, while the drum machine can be active at the same time as the looper, the two are not automatically synchronized, and while you can overdub your loops, there doesn’t seem to be a way to undo a single layer of looped audio either.
Finally, if you aim to use this pedal as an audio interface, also be aware, that it records at a bit depth of 16 (read more about it here), which might not offer the best signal to noise ratio. Still, this is far from a deal breaker, especially considering even bigger, slightly higher priced units, like the Zoom G3X, do not outperform the Ravo in this regard.
Now, that might have sounded like a lot of negatives, but the truth is it’s mostly just nitpicking and the Ravo MP10 is absolutely amazing for what it has to offer at such a low price, even competing with many other, higher priced units.
The sound is big and impressive and the 100 factory presets offer a wide range of tones and effects suitable for any genre, from vintage blues and jazz tones to modern rock and metal. Some of the presets might be a bit muddy / low on treble, but there are plenty of configuration options to fix that, plus 100 locations to store your own patches in.
The curse of digital sounding distortions/overdrives that plagues some of the older multi-effects processors doesn’t seem to be an issue here either. In fact, our favorite presets on the Ravo MP10 included several heavier tones perfect for sludge and stoner rock/metal. And if you’re a multi-instrumentalist, the 130 effects on offer even include 30 effects specifically designed for bass guitar.
Editing tones on the Ravo MP10 is simple, if a bit time-consuming, as you only have two selector knobs and two footswitches two play with. Still, it’s faster than figuring out all the intricacies of some of the higher tier multi-effects processors, though for maximum ease of use, you’ll want to connect to a computer. The RAVO Tonelab editing software is clear and logical, with a simple, sleek layout echoing the minimalistic and intuitive design of the pedal itself, and will be appreciated even by the technophobes / computer noobs among us.
All in all, we couldn’t recommend this pedal enough. Whether you’re on a budget, but still need an all-in-one multi-effects processor / audio interface, are looking for a compact but quality unit to enhance and inspire your guitar(/bass) playing, or simply want to get a taste for the capabilities of multi-effects processors before investing in fully fledged, professional grade gear, the Hotone Ravo MP10 does it all with room to spare. You will not find better value anywhere near its price.