Price paid: £ 229.99
Purchased from: DV247.com
Sound — 9
I was genuinely surprised by the sound of the G5. The first multi-fx I ever bought was a Zoom GFX-5. I didn't think much of how that thing sounded. As a result, I wasn't expecting any miracles from the G5 and bought it on the back of some reviews of the Zoom G3 and some videos I'd seen. When I plugged it in (to the effects return of my Vox VT100), I was instantly impressed. I was expecting the cleans to be a little flat and they weren't. I was expecting the dirtier sounds to be a little hissy and they weren't. From there, what you're left with is 22 amp models which are all very usable and Very adjustable. I find that the controls of the amp models have a very wide range, wider than I have generally experienced of any amp. As a result of this, you really can find Your sound in just about any one of the amp models. My particular favorite amp models are the FD Combo, modeling a Fender Twin; the VX Combo, modeling a Vox AC30; and the MS Crunch, modeling a 1959 Marshall stack. All of these sounds go from clean to crunch (and beyond) without a hint of hissyness and with all the dynamics you could hope for from a multi-fx. Speaking of dynamics, rolling off the volume on the guitar does exactly what you'd hope it would do and the G5 responds well to dynamic playing. All this and I haven't even got to the effects. I'm taking up some serious space with this review, so I'll be a little more concise. With the exception of the more wacky effects (like the monosynth and the organ effect etc.) they are all great. Simple as that. You can edit practically everything, to the point where you end up spending too long trying to get it right as you like it! If you're thinking of using the G5 purely for its effects, you won't be disappointed. Especially not for the price.
Overall Impression — 9
I'm a blues/rock guitarist and I wasn't expecting the G5 to really suit my playing. All I can say is that I've been proven wrong. The sound of it running through my VT100 and through a PA is second to no multi-fx I've tried. Although admittedly, I haven't tried the Line 6 HD500 or the Boss GT100. On the other hand, those multi-fx units cost nearly twice as much as the G5, so if you're considering the G5, you might not want to spend the extra. One multi-fx unit in the same price range that I do have experience with is the Vox Tonelab EX. Against this, the G5 definitely has the better effects and will produce a better distorted tone. The cleans are nip-and-tuck between the TLEX and the G5 but, if you like bright and jangly then you want the G5. If you like your cleans full and a bit darker then the TLEX would be better. The TLEX is also much simpler to use, but this does come at the expense of versatility, with some effects lacking the adjustment parameters you would expect. Personally, if I were given the choice between the two right now, I would take the G5. The only real drawback to the G5 is the time it takes to switch between patches. Some might also be annoyed that there is no effects loop and no "four-cable" method of running in front of and into the effects loop of an amp. I definitely don't need either of those things though. As an all-round multi-fx unit, the Zoom G5 is formidably well featured and sounds brilliant. And for all I've said, I haven't even mentioned the looper or the built-in drum machine! To sum up: for 230GBP, I don't think you can do any better.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Seeing as it's only just been released in the UK, you can imagine I haven't had it long, so I'll refrain from being too optimistic. All I can say at this point is that it is heavier than it looks which, in my experience, is a good sign with regards to durability. The Z-pedal (which I can only really see myself using one dimensionally!) perhaps is the only part of the G5 which I may have reservations about. And the only other thing is that you do end up pressing the same buttons and twisting the same knobs a lot of the time. I don't know if they'll be susceptible to wear, but they might be. Then again, this may be a non-issue. Overall, you do get the impression that the G5 is very well made and, as yet, I have nothing to convince me otherwise.
Ease of Use — 8
I bought the Zoom G5 to try something new. The design and editing process is like nothing I'd seen before in a multi-fx. Owing to having an entire screen and three control knobs dedicated to each effect, editing effects is nearly as simple as it is on any ordinary stomp box. Things get marginally more complicated when you have to press a few buttons to change the effect parameters you are changing or to scroll along your virtual rig. Having said that, it is still really simple. The only thing I have noticed the G5, on the ease of use front, is that it takes a little longer than I would like to switch between patches. You have a press and hold one footswitch to enter patch mode, then press two footswitches together to change the patch bank, press a footswitch to select the patch and then press and hold a footswitch to re-enter "home"/stompbox mode. This can take about 20 seconds, which isn't much, but I hope you understand me when I say that 20 seconds seems like an eternity between songs at a gig. However, if you plan on staying in one patch for most or all of a gig, this wouldn't be a problem. All I can say is that I hope I get a little faster at this in time!