By my own admission, I spend too much time on Reddit. I keep up with some of our local city's news through it. I, also, follow some threads that have to do with guitars and gear.
There is a thread that I saw the other day that kind of made me chuckle. It's not really anything that hasn't been talked about before, but I saw a new thing in it that made me laugh. The thread was basically a guy saying that he has seen a lot of pro-players and bands using modelers and multi-effects and ditching big tube amps and traditional pedal boards.
You can imagine the discussion it sparked. It was the usual folks singing the praises of the new generation of equipment and then those that have sniffed a cork or two in their day who talked about how a modeler will never sound like a real tube amp and a multi-effect could never sound as good as a single pedal. I'm sure we all have opinions on that subject.
That said, I did laugh out loud at one of the folks crapping on the question. They were talking about how no modeler could ever sound like a good tube amp. Then they went on to talk about how they would never use anything that required a firmware update. Then they rounded out their comments talking about how there is no multi-effect that would ever have the tactile feel of a good pedal.
The argument that no modeler will sound as good as a tube amp is just old and tired. Anybody that has been around the last 6 or 8 years knows that there are plenty of modelers out there that can be close enough to an actual amp that only the most discerning ears can hear the difference. And even then they sometimes guess the modeler is the amp.
The firmware comment? I guess they don't use anything digital or screened. They all require updates. And, personally, OS updates to phones are, imho, far more intrusive than a firmware update. Mostly because the firmware update you can typically skip if you want. Just don't update it. But you seem to have to go to great pains these days to skip OS updates. And, anecdotally, I've had more problems with equipment working correctly first time after an OS update that I ever had with firmware updates.
It was the last part that made me laugh though. I'm not even sure what they meant by it. The tactile feel of a pedal? In my mind, tactile means you can touch it and feel it and run your finger around, along, and over it. So I would think that they meant that you could reach down and turn a knob to adjust it. In my head, that's probably what they're talking about. But I've never had a multi-effect that you didn't do that to.
In fact, the one that I'm using right now, there's a small screen where you see your signal flow. You use a button to go to the specific effect that you want to adjust. Once selected, that opens a new menu with all of the adjustable parameters to that effect. Each parameter is over a knob. Then you adjust that parameter just like you would an old school pedal. For example, you use the arrow button to walk through your chain to the TS-type model. Click on it. Once selected, you look at the 5 knobs below, and you see that 3 of the knobs are now active. One is Vol, one is Gain, and one is Tone. Turn the knobs to get the sound that you want. In my mind, that's just as tactile as a pedal. In fact, that's the 3 knobs that are on my actual TS pedal, so the only difference is that I have to hit a button first to select the effect. From there, it's adjusted the exact same way.
You can start to menu dive from there and hit other parameters for the effect. Heck, you can start to menu dive and do all sorts of things. You can rearrange your chain however you want. You can go deep into the settings for the amps and effects. You can pretty easily change things on the fly that you would never be able to do with old gear. Don't like that Alnico Blue speaker? No problem, just swap out the speaker IR for a Greenback. That speaker cab not sounding right to you? Pick a 4x12 instead of the 1x10 that's currently selected. But that's menu diving, and you don't have to get to that level with it. The basic effects work just like a pedal does.
As I was laughing at the tactile comment, it occurred to me that maybe they were talking about what us guitar players like to call touch-sensitive. We seem to like those pedals that respond differently to our different pick attacks. Do we dig in? You can tell because it responds one way. Back off to a light touch? You can tell because that drive pedal cleans up without touching the volume. Maybe that's what they mean. But the multi-effects, depending on which effect model you're using, are also touch-sensitive.
So I have no idea what they were talking about referring to the tactile feel of a pedal.
Here's my take. Play what makes you happy. If it's a 50 lb tube amp and a pedal board the size of a Buick that does it for you, then play that. If it's a laptop and a modeler the size of your palm that does it for you, then play that. Whatever it is that makes you happy and encourages you to play, that's what you should be playing. I've got both kinds of gear.
I've got my wall of Blackheart tube amps behind me with a pedalboard full of expensive pedals sitting in front of it. Then I have my little solid state practice amp next to me where I have a specific amp model dialed in and small pedalboard sitting in front of it. Then, next to that, I have my multi-effect and a couple of other pedals running in its fx loop that runs to my laptop. Each is a tool that has a purpose, and, to my ear, each sounds good. So ymmv for sure.
Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.