GFX-5 review by Zoom

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.6 (87 votes)
Zoom: GFX-5
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Purchased from: The Rock Inn, Mount Lawley (Perth)

Sound — 8
I use this multi-FX in my practice rig at home and in small gigs where the stompboxes aren't really convinient. I run a Gibson Melody Maker with a Seymour Duncan Hot P90 Stack pickup through the GFX-5 into either a Laney 65W XCore solid-state combo or a Fender Frontman 25R. It is occasionally noisy, especially on the fuzz settings (well, what do you expect? It's fuzz), but the Zoom Noise Reduction function on this pedal is a godsend. It controls the noise amount rather thoroughly and is adjustable so that if you want, you can roll it back and allow a bit of noise but keep some more of the tone. Its a very useful function, especially on this unit. The effects range in their quality. I especially like the sweep of the wah, especially when utilising the ARRM control (more on that in a moment) but some others, like the Pitch bend (Whammy) are quite digital and unrealistic. The Overdrive and distortion functions, when combined with the cabinets and reverb banks, are surprisingly very realistic and sound very nice. The ARRM control is an automatic real-time modulation feature that basically acts to adjust the parameters for you, like using the pedal as an expression pedal but it does it for you. As such, if you use the pedal at the same time, you can get double-modulation and it opens up a whole new load of possibilities. It has a few artist patches, but I dont really use them to try and play artists' styles. I find that self-programming patches seems to work better in those respects. The effetcs I mainly use this for are the reverberation module, Overdrive, sound-shaping (re-equalisation & energy/presence controls) and occasionally a wah. These are all excellent on this multi-fx, as are the tremolo and the vibrato functions. Unfortunately, the pitch bend in particular, and others like ring modulation sound unnecessarily weird and unrealistic. If you were using this to play stuff like shred, you'd probably want to invest in a stompbox phaser and Whammy pedal, because this won't do you too good.

Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing about 5 or so years, and this pedal matches the indie and blues stuff I mainly stick to. It'll never match the Marshall Shredmaster, Visual Sound Jekyll And Hyde or Boss Chorus Ensemble I use at gigs, but it's very good for a practice rig at home where it's about ease rather than excessive quality. It's a very nice sounding pedal on most settings, but I could probably use another pedal for a pitch-bend if I was to use it. Compared to the GFX-8, it's a very good buy. I would have bought the GFX-8 has I had the extra money on me, but this serves me just as well; it's cheaper, and has exactly the same functions except for an extra patch bank and a few extra effects (synth etc). I definitely recommend you play before you buy, because it's a very hit and miss kinda thing depending on which styles you play and as such which effects you'll use.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I can depend on it, it's made of metal, never drops out on my power supply and is easy to control to do what I want it to. A backup would be very, very weird considering it's a multi-FX, but it would be completely unnecessary in this case.

Ease of Use — 8
It takes a while to get used to the layout of the setup if you're used to stompboxes (as I am, I've been using 10 of them for about 2 years now) but once thats out of the way, the task of getting a decent sound is as easy as anything. The presence and energy controls allow a veryd etailed control of the sound's power (allowing both rolled back levels if using as a rhythm-based patch and giving more energy to leads) and the EQ is nice and accurate. Editing patches, once knowledged, is very easy to do, clear layouts on the actual pedal, seperate effect parameter leds and controls mean that it takes very little work to edit a patch. It only takes me around 10 seconds to readjust a delay patch from a huge ranging reverb to a short slap-back echo. The manual was easy to understand, though you definitely learn more from experience of using it rather than reading it. It explains some of the more complex functions of the multifx (hold delay utilising the sampler) in terms that make it very simple.

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