Fire 15 Review

manufacturer: Zoom date: 04/13/2005 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Zoom: Fire 15
The Fire 15 features 11 great sounding amp models and 18 editable Zoom effects. Standards like Chorus, Flanger, Phase, Delay, and Reverb as well as modern sounds like Ring Modulator and Slow Attack.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 2 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Fire 15 Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 26, 2003
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 162.87

Purchased from:

Features: The Zoom Fire-15 is a superior amp for home use compared to most others on the common market. Most of the features in your everyday effects pedal are already built in (with controls on the amp), plus bass, middle, treble, levelling and master vol. controls. It features many Zoom preset sounds, such as Marshall Drive, Fender Clean, Fuzz, Distortion, Metal and Acoustic; which are all amazingly realistic. It has 4 sockets (excluding power), which are "Input" - for the lead; "FOOT SW" for the Zoom SW-01 foot pedal (which can change memory slots); "AUX IN" - you can jam along to your fave artists on your CD player; and "Headphone / Recording", a general socket for headphones or the studio. (Or you could plug this in to your P.A and take advantage of the effects). It also has an on-board memory so you can save your favourite FX settings into the 10 hard drive slots. It also has a power-damp feature for high quality sound at low volume. However, the down-side is it weighs 20 pouns (10 kilos)!!! // 10

Sound: The first thing that strikes you about the FIRE15 is the amount of styles of drive. These include Fender Clean, Marshall Drive, Peavey Drive, Overdrive, Distortion, Metal, Fuzz and Acoustic. But unfortunately these FX are useless when gigging because quite frankly high volume play is rubbish, unless you are using overdrive/distortion/fuzz/hvy metal where the sound is really distorted anyway. But the headphone output compensates for this because you can plug it into your PA or stack anyway. The power-damp is great because when you turn it down at 1 o'clock am it still sounds as good as it did earlier. The distortion is fully variable so you can have headsmacking brutality or a quiet storm. // 8

Reliability & Durability: You could jack your car up on the Fire-15 without caring. You could jack up an 18-wheeler without caring. Well, Bill Gates wouldn't care anyway. But you know what I'm saying. It's strong, robust and it don't matter if you sit on it when practising. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, the FIRE-15 is a great amp for home/studio use, and ideal for the beginner. However, I must stress that it is better for the punk rocker than for the classical player. But a classical sound is possible, in fact, if you worked on it you could probably get it confused with a Jet engine. Or stick it under your car bonnet and pretend you've an Aston engine underneath (might not work in a Mini...). The Fire-15 is a great piece of kit for any player who wants a quality amp at a low price, or for a beginner who wants a bit more than that 5-watt thingy that comes in the box. For those rich dudes out there buy the FIRE-30 though becuase its got for effects, a bigger speaker and 21 watts of extra power (and therefore could possibly manage a gig). // 8

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overall: 10
Fire 15 Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 13, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 109

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: Digital home amp. Multiple amp models and loaded with effects. Also, has sustain, boost, a tuner and preloaded model/effect choices some of which can be modified or you can create and store you own combinations. Plus, all non-chorus effects have three settings that add in chorus, and there are four separate reverb settings that can be added to the non-reverb effects. Can play classic rock, punk and heavy metal or pop. See first review for more info. // 10

Sound: I'm using a Strat knock off (a Bronx, made in South Korea and a bit better than the Fender Bullets and Squires I played at Guitar Center). I'm playing Ruby Tuesday with flange and reverb; Beatles oldies with chorus and reverb; Gimme Some Truth with wah/chorus and reverb; While My Guitar Gently Weeps with tremolo and reverb; Little Wing and Southern Man and Rockin' In The Free World with drive and gain. I usually mix in sustain and boost. The drive channels jump up the volume. The clean channels have a lower preset volume range. I've stored several presets. Listening with the volume maxed out and headphones on shows how little system distortion there is and how loud and clean the amp can sound. Preloaded amp model distortions are about as brutal as you would like and can have gain added to them. The screws on my faceplate and pickups sometimes give me a little snap, crackle and pop through the system when the ambient air is static-y, but it is not the fault of the amp. There is a modest, adjustable noise reduction button. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've had the amp for about eight months and I haul it over to my keyboardist friend's house, driving several miles of pothole'd LA streets, onto the Freeway for a few miles and a few more miles of beach community streets, and back again, a two to four times a month. I put it on it's back in the back of my Explorer and have never had a problem with it. All of the visible screws have remained tight. It is not light. // 10

Overall Impression: I am using it for classic rock and pop rock (see above) and love the diversity of modeling/effects. I would get it again if it was gone, although I'd go for the new Zoom Fire 18M model if I needed a replacement. I also hope to get the new Zoom Fire 36M with more power (which could be used for some gigs without being tied into a PA), and has mics built in, in front of the speaker, for recording. Listening to the sound of the 15 through headphones, the Zoom 36M would be worth having for at least personal recording. The only regret is that the tuner seems a tad flat (but that could be weak tuner switches on the Bronx). The 15 could stand to have more bottom end, but the 36 is supposed to have an added bottom end boost button. The 15 is an excellent home/practice amp, and the headphone jack through a PA means it can be hauled to a studio for jamming and rehearsal easier than larger amps. Before I bought it, I looked at the Fender Bullet 15 w/effects (same price range, far fewer effects and combinations); the Alesis 15 (which has almost as many effects and is another good choice); and, a Roland Cube (which is a great, light 5 watt travel amp that can run for days on batteries with some effects, but is the same price range as the others without the power or versatility). While any of these are good values (I almost got a used Fender Bullet 15 with a few effects for under $70), but I'm sure I got the most bang for the buck with the Zoom, and it has held up to scrutiny. Try playing sales people off by showing them how much the 18M is listed at, and then saying why get the Zoom 15 when its price should be coming down as it is phased out by the Zoom 18. That's how I got the the price I got. // 10

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