505 review by Zoom

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Ease of Use: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 4.8 (62 votes)
Zoom: 505

Sound — 8
I have an Ibanez ART running through either a Spider II or 20 Watt Marshall. I love a dirty, noisy distortion and this pedal really nailed it down. Playing black metal with it is a joy. It can also do a really beautiful clean sound with a nice slow phase and chorus. The patches that come pre-programmed aren't very good in my opinion, but with a pedal like this, it is well worth sitting down for an hour and working out your own sounds. I think I sat with it for nearly 3 hours, going through all the range of mad effects which you can create. I even managed to get a weird didjeridoo noise which is damn near brilliant.

Overall Impression — 8
I have had one of these for 3 years now, bought second hand and the poor thing has reached the end of its days, so I have just purchased a 05 II off ebay, hoping that it will be just as good as this, with perhaps a few upgrades. The thing I like best about this pedal, is the sheer range of sounds you can get out of it. It will ace any kind of distortion or Overdrive and makes your rig sound much bigger and more expensive than it really is. The only reason I have replaced mine with a 05 II is that I would like to try the upgraded one and see if it is just as good as the Original, and I am hoping that they have improved an already great pedal. If this had a metal body like a Boss pedal, it would be one the best damn pedals you could ever hope to buy.

Reliability & Durability — 6
This pedal is made of plastic so it is never going to be as robust as a Boss pedal, but then you shouldn't be stamping so hard on it. I never run pedals through a battery so I can't say what the battery life on it is. You could definitely depend on this live and you won't need a back up. As long as it is looked after, there is no reason why it should break. My own pedal has started experiencing problems, effects not changing when you Switch pedals etc, but then it has been through 4 house moves and has been somewhat battered about so I don't hold it against the pedal.

Ease of Use — 7
At first glance, this pedal is an absolute maze. Reading through the manual is quite daunting but I stuck with it and after a while you realise that it isn't so bad after all. There are two buttons as well as the two pedals and you use these to cycle through the options and save your shiny new tones. It is easy to get the sound you want out of this thing and I had 4 very good tones lined up in a row so I could easily Switch between clean and distortion or distortion and clean with phase etc. The sheer range of tones and effects is incredible in such a cheap (underpriced) pedal. Pressing both pedals at once brings up the tuner which is pretty accurate and easy to use. The only problem with this, is that if you are trying to press both, you can miss and Switch between effects before you manage to press both pedals in at once.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    billybusa wrote: err I can play really heavy metal with this
    Yeah the distortion effects are top notch.
    I had one of these around 1998, 99. Thought it was the greatest thing ever, but after a while I realized it wasn't worth a dam for anything other than practicing at home with your headphones. HOWEVER, the pedals that Zoom makes today sound phenomenal. Huge improvement.
    As I said in my review, I bought a 505II. It is essentially the same pedal... but better. Definately go 505II.