Sound — 6
The range of effects are immense and surprisingly good quality for such a low priced amp. But there is a drawback that may deter some potential buyers..the amp suffers from an intrusive hum. I have found out that this is a problem with all Fire 30 amps and is very audible when the amp' is turned up to a loud volume. Zoom have attempted to rectify this by fitting a switch that cuts the hum buy lowering the output when it detects that you are not playing. Although this helps, it does seem as a roundabout way of fixing the problem and I would have preferred to pay a bit extra if it meant that they could produce the amp without any interferance at all. The auto-wah effect is interesting as it doesn't use a manual foot pedal but instead increases the wah effect in relation to the intensity of the users playing. It isn't always convincing however and often ends up making your playing sound like a demented talk-box. The 36 watts may be 'just' enough for playing small gigs, but it's probably more suited to jamming and home recording and a power damp feature allows the amp to be played at low volumes while still having the drive of loud volume playing. I play mostly classic rock and blues so I nearly always have it in the Marshall position with some reverb dialled in with no other effect but I still feel that I would prefer to have all the options of this amp over a similarly priced solid-state Marshall as it's always fun to experiment with all the different sounds whe trying out a new playing style.
Overall Impression — 8
I don't know how Zoom managed to get all this into a low-price package, maybe it has something to do with the humming, but it's still very impressive nonetheless. Having the range of effects helps you find your favourite tone that could help you decide what amps/guitars you want to get in the future. I enjoy the amp' a lot and it's not too big that you have to turn it up to an immense volume to make it sound good and it's not too small that you would be ashamed to let people see it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The amp' does feel like a quality piecec of kit, all the buttons turn satisfyingly and the body is heavy and solid, even my home hi-fi mad friend was impressed.
Features — 10
The Zoom Fire 30 (36Watts) is a combo amp package that features modelling amp' systems and a rack of built in effects and combo 'patches'. The available modelling positions replicate 4 popular amp makes (Fender, Marshall, Mesa and Peavy) as well as catering for another 7 generic positions such as fuzz, metal ,acoustic etc, and all postions can be altered to mimic either solid state or valve variants. The effects board on the amp covers 14 pedal facilites that offer sustain, boost, edge, bottom, chorus, synth wah, tremelo, slow-a, ring mod, phase, step ,flanger and doubling. A delay/reverb dial allows lateration of reverberation effect and a chromatic tuner allows fast and accurate tuning changes. The dozens of inbuilt 'patches' are pre-set options that offer combined effects and level positions that aim to replicate certain guitars (ie, 7 string), effects (a wah setup that works better than simply using the auto-wah effect) and amps (rotating Fender amp etc). Saving your own patches is also possible. A footswitch input allows the user to switch between to selected patches although this unit has to be bought seperatly.