B1 Review

manufacturer: Zoom date: 01/13/2011 category: Bass Effects
Zoom: B1
The amazing new Zoom B1 bass effects pedal features 24-bit/96kHz digital multi-effects and an incredible 40kHz frequency response. In addition to 13 amp/stompbox modeling sets, the B1 also includes a built-in drum machine, harmonized pitch shifter and an astounding 46 effect types.
 Sound: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 6.7
 Ease of Use: 8
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reviews (3) 13 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.8
B1 Reviewed by: jimRH7, on august 18, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 20

Ease of Use: The Zoom B1 is basically the plastic, cheapskates' version of the Zoom B2, which has more features and a sturdier build. Operating the pedal differs very slightly from previous Zoom pedals e.g. Zoom 506 II, the two foot pedal buttons only turn effects on/off when editing patches, and the second dial is used to scroll through lists of effects etc. This means you don't have to press the foot switches over and over to get to the effect you want for your patch. The effects are arranged in such a manner so that you can find combinations that you want without it being confusing, for instance overdrive, compressor, reverb and modulation are kept separate allowing you to change each one as you please, modulation effects are clumped together because you very rarely would need to use two at once and it makes for a much less cluttered control panel. The problem with the pedal, the thing that would put me off using it on stage or whilst rehearsing, is a problem that is in my opinion inherent in its nature as a multieffects pedal. Using it on stage would require a lot of planning and forethought that I simply can't be arsed with. You'd have to put patches in chronological order, and change them so the volume levels are all the same. No Doubt if you were determined to use it or if you were used to multieffects anyway you would have no problems, it's no harder to use than any other multieffects pedal, in fact probably easier than most. Even if you used it as a preamp or DI into the mixer and left it ticking over the whole set, I have no doubt it would do you proud. It's just that when I'm up on stage I don't want anything distracting me from playing (this is probably 'cause I'm usually singing at the same time). As such I would hesitate to use even the simplest of analogue pedals live. I think my Zoom pedal, amazing as it is, is destined never to leave my bedroom. // 7

Sound: Sound-wise (and at 20 quid) you couldn't ask for a better pedal. The compressor would satisfy any finger-picker or slapper, the auto-wah (which can be controlled in the model with the expression pedal or by an add-on you can buy from Zoom or bespeco) is natural sounding, although It's hard to get a good sweep that's not too treblly or bassy. But the "Drive" function Is where I noticed an improvement from previous models. You can get just about any overdrive sound you want from ear-preicing screeching and lemmy-style lead tones, To somber, chilled out fuzz ala the verse riff to "time is running out" by Muse. This is down to the the pedal having, as well as a gain control, a mix function to blend the clean and driven sound together, as well as a three band EQ. A very welcome, practical improvement on previous models with preset EQ. The ZNR/AMP function really brings the pedal to life, set to the right value you honestly wouldn't know this was a budget range multieffects for farting about with, the sound is verging on professional teritory. The only problem with it is when turned on/off it completely alters the tone, You normally have to go back and change the overdrive settings once you've switched it. Modulation effects however is probably the real reason people buy multi effects. The Zoom pedal has all the standards: Flanger, Delay, octave etc. as well as some strange ones, harmonisers etc. That I really haven't found a use for. It also has a synth effect that although I also haven't found a use for Is still very fun to mess about with, although It can't take notes played too fast or chords it's a welcome addition to the arsnal of exotic effects you get with a multi effects you would have to either pay though the nose for or never experience otherwise. Most of the modulation effects are of a perfectly acceptable standard. A good feature of the Zoom pedal, though one that I think featured on previous models, is the ability to use and edit reverb completely separately from other effects. You get just about every reverb effect you could need with the pedal, and it's dead easy to edit etc. The last function of the pedal I want to talk about is the built-in drum machine. although basic. It consists of 40 presets and a tap button for changing tempo. It gives a good quality drum sound better than any keyboard's I've ever used. one of the presets is just a metronome tick which is also very practical. The function is a godsend and I use it for jamming with myself. I just plug headphones into the pedal and home recording. The pedal is worth buying for the drum machine alone, it's great! // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've never actually used the pedal Live or whilst gigging. However, If I was to use it Live I think it could be trusted as much as any other pedal, despite it's plastic casing it could easily take a good beating. The previous owner didn't include the transformer. Although you can buy new ones from Zoom I just use a multi-adapter. It doesn't fit in the Zoom pedal all that snugly so it can cut out if it's knocked. However I doubt you'd have this problem with the real transformer. // 7

Overall Impression: This pedal is like a swiss army knife in terms of the uses it can be put to. Recording as mentioned before I use it for a drum machine but also as a DI box as well as for effects. When you're recording with a 4 track you can easily mixdown for an extra track by recording the bass and drums in one (very useful). Practicing, it makes a good headphone amp so all you really need to practice non-acoustically is a lead and headphones, doing away with the bulky practice amp and mess of knotted leads. If I was going to use it Live I could always just set it with one patch with an effect and one patch without and just Switch between the two like an analouge pedal. As mentioned earlier, the only problem with it is because it is a multieffects, it's actually dead easy and simple to use compared to other multieffects pedals but I doubt I'd ever use all it's functions in a live setting. However, it's still well worth the money. I mean, even without the effects part, If you were to buy a tuner, drum machine, and headphone amp separately it's still more hassle and more dosh. // 9

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overall: 8.8
B1 Reviewed by: Rowellyo, on september 21, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 59.99

Purchased from: www.amazon.co.uk

Ease of Use: This box is so easy to get a variety of sounds out for any playing style. You can edit any effect on it, using that effect as a starting point. The manual is a little complicated. I personally have the B1X, which has an inbuilt expression pedal on it. This is great for getting more of a variety from the pedal. Some of the buttons could be bigger - one is meant to quickly skip up ten effects but it's tiny, so it's easier to just stomp on the pad ten times. // 8

Sound: There are fourty effects. I'm using a Hiwatt Hurricane amp with a Tanglewood Rebel 4k. One of the settings gives of a wierd deep rattle on small amps (I have no idea why) but works fine on larger ones. Nearly all of the effects sound great, apart from a weak synth effect and an octave changer that only makes it deeper (an E string an octave deeper just sounds bad). I particularly like an effect where it makes it sound like a guitar is playing clean as well as the bass. This is great for songs where the bass is the same riff as the guitar. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I would definetely depend on this alone. The amount of sounds you can get from means you probably wouldn't need anything else. It is suprisingly tough - the outer casing is thick plastic. I take it everywhere that I take my bass. I would like to have something that has a bit more variety of distortion. Apart from that, it's great for everything. // 9

Overall Impression: I play a rock/alternative rock style. The distortion sounds great, the standard tone is fantastic, and the synth effects come in handy from time to time. I'e been playing for just up to a year now. This is the only effects I've bought, but I've used a few. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. I wish there was a heavier synth - the ones there are a bit weak - sounding in some songs. // 9

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overall: 6
B1 Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 13, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: After about six months of playing the bass guitar I realized that I need a proper EQ for my amp. At that time I was neck deep into Muse and thought it would be nice to get the fuzz effect. So I got this guy and I can't say I'm dissapointed. As for a lot of things in life except video games which are all the same price, you get what you pay for. It is a 60 worth piece of equipment, good enough for bedroom, band practice and basic gigs. The patches are easy to access and change and with the built in patches you find one that is a little bit like what you are looking for and modify it to suit your precise needs, perfect. Controls are nice and intuitive and it even comes with a card which explains what the letters on the display mean. // 9

Sound: It is noisy on pretty much every settings except bypass but what can you do? It was only 40 after all. You get some signature sounds built in like Jack Bruce, Flea, Victor Wooten and Stanley Clarke. I was able to emulate with ok accuracy the muse distortion sound and that extra high gain distortion Cliff Burton has going on. As well as use the flanger to accent my melodic playing, and chorus to sound a little thicker. BUT this is digital AND low budget so you can get some really really bad sounds out of it. // 5

Reliability & Durability: Very nice I might use it on a gig but again if I gigged I would probably get a better amp that doesn't need me to add a Multi-FX over just to be able to EQ it. It seems sturdy enough though. It could withstand at least a few shows before splitting apart and as it is so small and compact maybe even a little more than that. // 4

Overall Impression: With any Digital-linked thing I got bored of it so I won't say it was a great investment but as a bassist you won't use that many effects so it helps to know what to use get this figure out what kind of sound you want and then get the individual pedals. Good for it's price, okay to bad overall. // 6

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