Product Review: Donner Arena 2000 Multi-Effects Processor

Donner Arena 2000 Multi-Effects Pedal

Features
• FVACM (Analog Virtual Circuit Modeling)Technology
• 150 Presets (50 Banks x 3 Presets)
• 80 Hi-res Amp Models
• 50 Built-in Cab IR Models + 50 Slots for Loading 3rd Part IRs
• A Total of 278 Effects
• Built-in Drum Machine with 40 Patterns, and 60s Looper
• USB Audio/Recording supports recording dry and effect signals simultaneously
• MIDI IN for External Switching Devices
• Computer Software for Tone Editing, Backup, and Firmware Update
• Mobile App for Bluetooth wireless Tone Editing

Our score 4.5 out of 5 stars

Since 2012 Donner Music has been making affordable, quality instruments for all level of musicians. New from the company is the Donner Arena 2000 Multi-Effects Pedal. Sporting a simple user interface and an impressive array of features including 80 Amp models, 50 Cabinet models and over 270 effects including a built-in drum machine and looping capabilities the Arena 2000 is a robust all in one unit capable of high-level performance from the bedroom to the stage and all places in between.

Construction-
Donner’s Arena 2000 sports three lighted multi-switches, one expression pedal design which is housed in a sleek heavy-duty frame complete with a 3.5-inch TFT color screen and adorned with only the bare minimum of knobs allowing for easy navigation among features and settings. The back of the unit includes a variety of connectivity options including both XLR and quarter inch outputs along with Midi In, ground lift, an expansion input for addition controllers, aux, and headphone inputs and to top it all off a Type-C USB port which supports simultaneous dry and wet recording signals. The power supply also plugs in to this area of the pedal. One would think a pedal of this size would require a bulky power supply however the Arena 2000 runs off a standard 9v 500ma power supply. This feature is really helpful especially if you are looking to add this to a powered pedal board as the need for additional supplies is not necessary.

Sound-
Over the years I have tried products from all the major makers of multi-effects processors and the consensus tended to be the same for all of them. A few good tones packed between a bunch of others that were just too over the top to even use. Though not every effect is a hit with the Arena 2000 I found myself enjoying a good majority of what the pedal had to offer. From rich choruses and springy reverbs to sprawling spacey delays, crunchy overdrives and wailing wah’s all the standards and then some are included and can be dialed in with one of the seven control knobs located the unit or via the downloadable wireless control App which allows for even deeper customization. Amplifier models run the gambit of Fender like cleans to Mesa-esque distortion and when paired with one of the 50 different cabinet IR models’ tonal options are nearly endless thanks to another slew of customizable features. Once you have settled on a sound you can pair it up and jam along to one of the 40 drum patterns also included. What I really liked here is that these drum patterns were not just a bunch a pre-programmed kicks and snares. Yes, those are present however thanks to the varying intensity of the patterns within each pre-set genre and the addition of controllable BPM players are only limited by their imagination. Those wanting to take their jamming experience even further can incorporate the 60 second looper feature to create a layered backdrop to play over all with the press of one of the designated multi switches.

Playability-
The multi-effects pedal’s small footprint and standard power requirements make for an easy integration to any pedal board or as a stand-alone unit. Though the smaller expression pedal does take some getting used and is quite stiff I was used to the feel after just a few sessions. The basic user interface posed only a slight learning curve and after a few minutes I was able to put away the sparse manual which only provided the basics of operation and connection. The TFT screen works well in all conditions and is just big enough to be able to read when standing and looking down. I did find myself attempting to use the screen as a touch pad as that seems to be the norm nowadays and that may have been a nice feature to include here however it wasn’t a deal breaker by any means as the basic single control knob was much more user friendly than other more robust layouts.

The Arena 2000 is a sleek all in one unit that is great for any musician on the go. From the bedroom to the stage this multi-effects unit will not let you down. Whether it’s the expansive tone and effects banks or the additional drum machine and looper the Arena 2000 is a user-friendly unit which looks just as good as it sounds and with a price tag of under $300 you will be hard pressed to find a better pedal on the market with this type of value! For more info on the Arena 2000 Multi-Effects Pedal or to pick up one for that special someone this Holiday season head over to Donner’s Amazon store here.

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