ZOOM delivers good sounds and good value… Again. Words by Steve Henderson.
Note: This piece first appeared in Australian Guitar #134. Subscribe to our print edition here!
When ZOOM released their first multi-effect unit (the 9001) in 1990, everyone was amazed at the amount of processing power that a simple-looking, belt-pack unit could deliver. The tones were very processed, in an ‘80s kind of way, and they might not have appealed to everyone (what does?), but nobody could deny the bang-for-buck value.
Since then, ZOOM has produced pedal-style multi-effects, rack-mount units, audio interfaces, muso-friendly sound and video recorders, field recorders, DAW interfaces, HDD recorders and recording-quality studio desks. Hell, they even made a cool-looking stereo microphone for iOS devices!
Their latest unit, the G1X FOUR, is a sensible update of the G1Xon. It has a similar, super compact footprint, but the look and facilities are more professional. As for sounds, there are 70 effect pedals, 13 amp models, 13 cabinet models, a drum machine, a real time looper, a tuner, and an expression pedal for volume or whatever – all supported by ZOOM’s Guitar Lab software for creating/editing patches and downloading the library of artist patches from ZOOM’s website.
The ZOOM guys have simplified the editing process to be more intuitive. Select the effect or amp simulation to be altered and dial in any changes with the knobs. Easy! It all reads out on the LCD screen above the knobs.
SPOILT FOR CHOICE
There are two modes: Memory accesses the effect combinations (patches) and Stomp selects the individual pedal/amps/cab simulations. And there are a lot of classic and boutique sounds to access, from classic TS and DS pedals to a Zendrive, from a JCM800 and a mid-’60s Deluxe to Mesa’s Mk.1 and Recto, from various 412s to Fender’s 212 and 410 speaker configuration, and various time and modulation effects.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Part of the fun is re-combining these components: how does a Marshall top sound like through a single Jensen 12-inch? Or a Bassman amp through a HiWatt 412? How about combining a Phaze 90 with a digital echo? And the sounds are very realistic. When I first turned it on the initial couple of patches were a bit buzzy, but dialling back the effect gain cured this. In fact, it’s easy to fine-tune the sounds or create new combinations.
Some of the ‘clean’ patches are quite inspiring – the reverbs, delays and choruses are really sweet – and don’t need editing at all. Switching between patches or individual effects is easy and super-fast – there’s no dead spot in the sound. This super-portable effects system is quite amazing and loads of fun.
The G1X FOUR is a great entry to multi-effects and, for the value at hand, nothing comes even remotely close.
• 70 effects
• 13 amp and cab models
• High-quality effects and models
• Expression pedal
• Simple to use
• Good sounds
• High-quality construction
• Two buttons may limit live use
Ph: (02) 9939 1299