Price paid: $ 149
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 7
Ok so I already reviewed the Zoom G1.U So I'm going to copy and paste most of that because other than the expression pedal and a few more effects this pedal is the same thing. Ok sound. This is going to be a long one but hopefully it'll help someone in the same boat is me. I thought Zoom might have fixed the grit problem with the new hardware... WRONG. I've played this through a Line 6 Spider II 112, a Marshall Half Stack HD100FX, a Kustom PA System, recently a Vox AD100VT, and of course as a computer interface with studio monitors. I've used multiple guitars, a ESP Viper 400 with EMG 81 & 85 pickups tuned down to A, a Ibanez ART300 with Lo-zi humbuckers tuned down to B, a Ibanez ART300 with Lo-zi humbuckers tuned down to C and a Schecter Omen 6 with Seymour Duncan pickups tuned to standard. All set neck guitars. The sound is very good and very bad depending on genre. If you play classic rock, country, blues, 80's metal, alternative and rock (Foo Fighters, Green Day) this pedal can get some great tones live and using it as a recording interface going direct in. How ever, if you want nu metal tones for recording that are NOT drowned out in distortion THIS IS NOT THE PEDAL FOR YOU. You have a lot of 14-16 year olds rating this pedal awesome. NO! You CAN get some sick, nasty, crazy distortions. But to the trained ear they sound like crap, fake and synthetic. I'm surprised Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and John 5 endorse this pedal. It goes to show how little credit sound engineers get post production. I truly believe they are responsible for most GREAT tones. This is the deal... I write and record hard rock. I love newer tones of Mark Tremonti, Sevendust, Kill Switch, Jim Root of Slipknot (the other guy is a jerk). Their tones are heavy, powerful but clean and warm at the same time. You're not gonna get this with the Zoom. You're going to get very harsh gritty tones while recording. I've spent months trying to EQ it differently, turning down the distortion down to 4 (it goes from 1-99 so 4 is pretty damn low to still have so much grit.) I just can't get the harshness out. Teens want to turn the distortion (gain) way up and think it sounds cool. I used to also. But while recording you have to layer your guitar tracks (dub them) to make them sound full... So your gain should never be as high as your settings when you play live because layering adds grit on top of grit on top of grit especially with the Zoom. I even assumed "Oh! It's gritty cause I'm going direct in. Let me mic my amp or cab instead." NOPE! Using a Shure SM57 (intrument mic) and a Shure SM58 (vocal mic) It still had a ton of grit (harshness). Now having said all that, if you just buy the G2.1Nu for live use you can't really detect that grit so you can get some good heavy tones. But I got the G2.1Nu which is marketed for recording. That's fine. JUST DON'T RECORD HARD ROCK. I got some great cleans, and delays, and wah's while recording with this. I know this seems biased cause I record hard rock... And that's fine. I hope it helps someone else out who is looking for a recording interface for hard rock. Yes I tried micing the amps and cabs with the SM57 and SM58 also just like I did with the G1.
Overall Impression — 7
I mostly play metal, hard rock. I've been playing on and off for 8 years. This not a good match for recording. For live use yes. Bottom line is if your looking for tube modelers, get a Line 6 product for 50 bucks more (even though they still sound fake to me). Nothing beats a real tube amp. I am searching for the tone Bury Your Dead had on the album It's Nothing Personal. Not the greatest band or album but just google the tone. Hands down people say that tone is the best. Invest in a tube amp or something like the Vox Valvetronix series. It sends the signal through one tube before it hits the effects so it's kinda like a tube preamp. They're not as expensive as an all tube amp but the tone sounds a lot better than any modeler. Also if anyone can help with the tone above go to www.thisawakened.com and send me an email through that site. Hope this helped someone. Thanks.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This is a lot more durable than the G1. It has a metal frame instead of plastic but then I took this back to Sam Ash after 2 weeks. So I don't really know how long it will last. I wouldn't use anything without a backup. That's just asking for trouble. But I doubt I would have to use the back up. In fact THIS pedal would probably be the back up.
Ease of Use — 8
Would have been hard if I didn't already own the G1.u or read the manual. YOU HAVE TO READ THE MANUAL. Once you get the hang of it it's easy to create and customize tones. Also read how to set it up as a USB interface in your recording software if you've never done anything like that before.