Price paid: $ 299.99
Purchased from: zzounds.com
Sound — 10
I bought this unit to hook up to the effects loop of my tube amps and use the modulations, delays, reverbs, chorus and a zillion other effects that make my head spin. The sound is superb and dead silent with all of my tube amps, which is a big plus. I just finished A/B'ing between my old setup and the Zoom G5. The Zoom G5 won hands down in the competition. My old setup for my effects loop was: Boss TR2 -> EH Small Stone -> EH Small Clone -> EH Deluxe Electric Mistress -> EH Stereo Memory Man with Hazaria -> EH Cathedral -> Boss RC3 Loop Station. I think most of those are eBay bound, the Zoom sounds better and is a lot smaller setup. I play a lot of Gilmour and Trower type of lead along with ambient blues/jazz. This thing is great and the small footprint is killer. The overdrives and distortions are pretty good for recording and playing through a PA or monitor speakers, but leave much to be desired in the effects loop. I have discovered that downfall in most of the multi effects I have played through the years. I currently also have a Fender Mustang Floor unit and it is a very good tool for recording, but lacks a lot of the functionality of the Zoom G5 for live playing. I had a Zoom G9.2tt, but did not like it at all and eBayed it. Since the overdrives and distortions just are not my cup of tea from the Zoom G5 I put the ones I had on my old pedal board on a smaller board. They are working killer with the Zoom G5. The chain for them is: Guitar -> EH Soul Preacher -> Hardwire CM2 -> Fulltone Fulldrive 2 -> EH Big Muff with Tone/Wicker -> MXR 10 Band EQ -> Boss FV500L Volume Pedal -> Amp. The guitars I am using are Fender MIM Strats, two have rosewood fretboards and one maple fretboard. I have Fender Vintage Noiseless in one, DiMarzio Area 67, 58, 61in one and one with a EMG DG20 set. It sounds pretty damn good with the two strats with the regular pickups, but I have to do some special tweaking for the EMG active set, it can get a little jangly.. The amps I am using are an Egnater Tweaker 15 with 2 x 12 with two 16ohm Texas Heats. A Fender Blues Deluxe with a Eminence C-Rex and a Fender Blues Deville with two 10" Eminence Ragin Cajuns and two 10" Eminence Legends.
Overall Impression — 9
I have to admit I am impressed with the quality of the sound. The functionality of scrolling and switching through the patches leaves a little to be desired in a live situation. They really should have thought that one out a little better. All that said, I think the Zoom G5 is great pedal for what I am using it for, which is mostly writing and composing songs. I do not do a lot of gigs, but if I do I will definitely make the scrolling and patch mods, because I like the quality of the sound. Also being able to experiment with all the different effects and the 60 second looper is a good thing for composing or practicing. The acoustic simulator is great also and a lot better than I thought it was going to be. You can go from a six string sound to a twelve string sound just by stomping a button.
Reliability & Durability — 8
So far so good, but I have not been out of the studio with it yet. I have my old pedal board as a backup now, but with the price of the Zoom G5 I might just get another one or maybe a Zoom G3 for a backup. I had to return my Zoom G9.2tt because it was really hissy and noisy. The replacement one was a ton better, but I just did not like the sound of it...
Ease of Use — 9
I think the Zoom G5 is pretty easy to use and setting up an effects chain is straight forward. Also the software editing tool is pretty damn nice. I wish it had a better way to scroll through the effects in a chain though. There is a mod for it and I will probably go ahead and make that mod. It will make it a much more usable pedal for a live situation.