Have you heard the news? Multi-effects pedals are back, and with the ever-developing power of modern digital processing technology and cross-platform integration, they’re better than ever. Whether you’re a beginner looking to develop a taste for different tones on a shoestring budget or you’re chasing a no-frills touring solution to easily slot into overhead storage or under the car seat, you can’t beat a solid multi-effects unit to supply the goods in a pinch.
If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, you’d be well aware of the fearsome beast Cerberus, the three-headed hellhound who guards the dead from leaving the gates of the Underworld – an extremely apt name for NUX’s new feature-packed multi-effects pedal. Billing itself as an Integrated Effects and Controller unit, the sturdy Cerberus offers all of your classic effects options, including analogue overdrive and distortion circuits, a plethora of modulation options, and delay/reverb. There’s also a built-in tuner, tap tempo switch, patch editing software, and full MIDI implementation – what more could you possibly want?
While the concept of the Cerberus may seem pretty simple out of the box, upon closer inspection, it’s apparent there’s a little more than meets the eye with this unit. Given that the delay/modulation sections and overdrive/distortion sections of the pedal have different outputs, you’ll need to run another cable to patch both sections into one another, which might be a bit confusing for beginners looking to simply plug in and access a whole range of effects on the fly. However, for more advanced operators, you can use these separate outputs to split your signal into both your amp’s effects loop and traditional input, allowing you to juice the characteristics of your amp when using the Cerberus’ analogue overdrive section.
With the off-putting dual output situation aside, there’s no doubt that NUX’s Cerberus Integrated Effects and Controller is aiming to be a hot contender within the modern multi-effects market. Faced with a smattering of controls, switches and intuitive effects models, the Cerberus makes it easy for players to access, modify and save a plethora of classic tones, with each effect section boasting its own unique quality to allure the individual tastes of the player.
Undeniably the highlight of the pedal, the Cerberus’ analogue distortion and overdrive effects are an absolute delight to experience. Based on the characteristics of classic US amplifiers used in the realms of hard rock, metal and blues, the true analogue construction of the overdrive and distortion sections result in an extremely faithful recreation of classic ‘70s and ‘80s tones, with the distortion in particular oozing a harmonically rich, thick saturated tone with an extremely dynamic response. There’s also a nifty little option to modify the routing of the distortion and overdrive effects, allowing you to either toggle each individual effect or blend them for glorious saturation.
While the sound of the digital effects section certainly isn’t as jaw dropping as the overdrive or distortion circuits, the modulation section is definitely a quiet achiever, boasting three different chorus voicings as well as a tremolo, phaser and uni-vibe effect. You’re also spoilt for choice in the delay/reverb section of the Cerberus, which offers similar routing options to the distortion circuit for enhanced tone tweaking, and the option for tap-tempo control definitely gets a tick from me.
With its small quirks aside, the NUX Cerberus Integrated Effects and Controller is a viable solution for those looking to get into the multi-effects market without breaking the bank. Featuring a rugged construction, easily manoeuvrable interface and a particularly appealing analogue gain section, the Cerberus is certainly aiming to make a splash with this unit as NUX seeks to redefine the multi-effects pedal for the modern age.
Hits and Misses
Tasty analogue gain
Easy to navigate and edit through effects
Sophisticated MIDI integration
Confusing dual output