HeadRush launches the compact but mighty MX5 amp modeller and guitar effects processor

Headrush MX5
(Image credit: Headrush)

HeadRush has unveiled the MX5 amp modeller and guitar multi-effects processor. Taking all the digital signal processing power of its flagship amp modellers and housing it in a compact, three-footswitch unit, the MX5 promises to be a more affordable, travel-friendly option, which HeadRush promises is the most powerful and intuitive unit in its class.

Like the HeadRush Gigboard, the MX5 is dominated by a bright LED touchscreen that allows players to drag and drop amps, effects and cab sims into their signal path and easily save their favourite sound. Only this time the hi-res display is shrunk from seven-inches to four, and as you can see from the pictures below, is easily carried in a backpack.

There is typically a dizzying array of sounds available. While HeadRush can't help you with option paralysis it does promise that the ease of use we are used to with the Gigboard translates to the MX5. The MX5 has an onboard expression pedal complementing a trio of footswitches, one of which is dedicated to its looper, which has full save and load functionality. 

Activated via toe-switch, the expression pedal can be used for adjusting parameters mid-performance in the MX5's hands-free edit mode. Indeed, you can also adjust the expression pedal's treadle response, too. HeadRush promises that the LED screen offers clear feedback to the player, especially helpful for recording and playback of looping sections and for on-the-fly patch edits.

As ever, there is an eye-watering array of guitar amplifier sounds, ranging from the modern, vintage to the boutique. All in you've got 50 guitar and bass amps to play with15 speaker cabinet models, 10 mic emulations, 300 impulse responses, and 66 effects models. 

Options, of course, are great, but it's the processing power and the ability to combine these amp models that will really excite tone chasers. For the inveterate tweakers out there, there is a lot to get into, and for those who dream of a dual-amp setup, there is even the capacity to combine nine effects with two amp models and a pair of cab models in a single preset.

The MX5 has gapless preset switching. Its reverb and delay tails will extend over as you switch between clean and lead tones. If you want more impulse response options, you can pretty much upload as many third-party IRs as you like.

Similarly, albeit within a hardware context, hook up your pedalboard via the MX5's stereo effects loop, and position your stompboxes wherever you like in the signal chain – once more dragging and dropping via the touchscreen to edit and save your presets. Alternatively, use the effects loop to connect to your amp via the four-cable method.

There is also a USB connection for recording or reamping your recorded guitars at studio-quality (up to 24-bit 96kHz), or for moving presets and loops on or off the device. You can use the USB connection for administering firmware updates, too.

The HeadRush MX5 is available now, priced £429. See HeadRush for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.