Purchased from: Musicstreet.co.uk
Sound — 9
I use this pedal with a Crafter Constantine electric (similar in style and price to an Epiphone Les Paul Standard)and a Marshall MG100DFX amp. The size of the amp's driver (12", 100W) gives good depth to the pedal's sound, and providing your amp's speaker isn't the size of a digestive biscuit, it should do the same. There's a wealth of presets, consisting of demo, amp modelling and artist patches, all of them quiet (the ZNR noise reduction works really well) and offer clear, well voiced sound. Whilst the demo patches are of course far from perfect, the artist and amp patches really impressed me, most notably the Santana and Fender Twin simulations. All the effects are better than in the previous pedal I owned (a Zoom 606), and the valve engergiser in the pre-amp certainly makes the tone more pronounced, even if it can't quite turn your amp into a Hot Rod Deville. Recording sound is good with some patches and slightly distorted with others. For example the standard 'clean' demo patch is fuzzy and generally a bit crap to record with, the shimmer of the Fender Twin patch really comes across well when using the pedal as an audio interface.
Overall Impression — 9
I play lots of stuff, which is why I bought this multi fx unit in the first place. It suits anything and everything I want to play and it does it better than my old 06. I've been playing for almost 3 years and in that time all the blues, punk and ska I've learned have now been given a boost by this pedal. For the price there are so many things one can do with this pedal. I use the bundled sequencer, Cubase LE, to record with and at first I suffered from latency problems, but downloading, installing then activating within the program Zoom's own ASIO driver sorted this and now I can record my own guitar tracks very easily. The recording and amp modelling are my favourite features and the fairly good value for money it represents means that I'd buy it again if it were lost or stolen. It would've got a 10 if the interface was a little simpler, the AC adaptor was as tough as the pedal itself and it shipped with a USB connection cable (I've stolen mine from the printer). It's solid, sounds better than any other multi fx I've ever used and you can get any sound out of it. Infact, I don't plug in without it (sounds cheesy but I swear it's true).
Reliability & Durability — 9
Solid. Zoom have finally realised that no matter how much they claim that the space-age plastic they used to make their older pedals is just as tough as metal, guitarists just aren't going to feel comfortable gigging with something that isn't magnetic and weighs a ton. Metal footswitches, rubber-ended metal construction and a metal expression pedal make this a heavy, yet armoured unit. I'm docking a point for the plastic knobs which I'm sure could break if you somehow jumped on them instead of the metal patch select switches, but otherwise I would trust this pedal completely for gigging and also as an anchor for my yacht.
Ease of Use — 8
Basic operation (using the preset patches) is very simple and the manual makes good use of annotated diagrams to explain exactly how the console controls work. It's fairly easy to customise patches and store them, however the sheer wealth of parameters has led to me having the manual close at hand when editing patches. It loses 2 points in this section, for the steps that have to be undertaken to change the parameters in a patch (put the pedal into a certain mode, turn this, poke that etc.) which make it difficult to remember how to do it without referring to the manual. A Boss ME-50 style control system makes this look quite complex. Also, it shipped with the most recent firmware, and can be updated through a computer connection in future.