GFX-5 Review

manufacturer: Zoom date: 05/20/2010 category: Guitar Effects
Zoom: GFX-5
The GFX-5 lets you emulate the sound of legendary guitar amps and famous effect pedals with extraordinary accuracy. From vintage combo to modern high-gain amp, you can experience them all.
 Sound: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 8.4
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Ease of Use: 8.4
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (9) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
GFX-5 Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 28, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 327.57

Purchased from: Hickies, Reading

Ease of Use: Plugging in of cables is excellent, the sockets are spread conveniently but not too far apart across the rear of the unit. The on/off button is an excellent slide, which cannot be turned off accidently as it is quite stiff, but not too bad. The power supply cable goes through a clip to prevent loss of power on stage. Very useful. Also has battery power. Editing patches can be done easier with other pedals due to the number of knobs on them, where as buttons are used for the GFX-5. However, once you get used to it, it's really easy. There is excellent foot control, and the LCD display is superb, far better than Line 6 stuff. // 7

Sound: I use a 1989 Fender Mex Custom strat into my Laney MXD-120 Twin amp (also reviewed here), and run the pedal thru the FX loop. This means that I can either use the pedal or the standalone amp, depending on the tone I'm after. It also means I can use stomp boxes between guitar and amp for other songs. It has very good sound quality, and lots of variety. The gain knob can create lots of noise, but Zoom's ZNR is excellent for getting rid of this, the D-Gate can offer various levels of protection while still giving out the intended distortion, but does sometimes crackle. Every effect you can want is available, and you can create a sim of virtually any amp, for instance you can have a clean, warm Fender combo amp, and turn the knob, press a few buttons and you have a high gain screaming Marshall Valve Stack at full volume. The FX are good quality, only down side being you can only use one at a time. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I would depend on this pedal for sure at a gig. It is built with a clear intention for road use, using a strong metal base, and a tough expression pedal. However, I would use a flight case before packing it for any length of time in the back of a transit van. I use it through an FX loop, with my guitar going via a series of stomp boxes before it reaches the amp, so if my pedal ever cut out back-up is at hand. It has a battery low indicator so if it's getting low your gonna know about it. // 10

Overall Impression: I play mainly rock based stuff, the large variety of distortion is highly appropriate. It is great for mixed abilites as I bought it as a new guitarist but still play it now. If I were to lose it, I would probably buy a Line 6 Pod XT Live as it is much better quality, or I might choose a Vox Valvetronix piece 'o' kit. It's generally an excellent piece of kit. // 9

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overall: 8.5
GFX-5 Reviewed by: thegenerator, on march 28, 2005
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: The Rock Inn, Mount Lawley (Perth)

Ease of Use: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 9.5
GFX-5 Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 20, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 272.67

Purchased from:

Ease of Use: The GFX-5 has 75 preset effects to start off with, so as soon as you get it out of the box you can get an excellent sound out of it. The effects are arranged in groups of three, the group controlled by the two left-hand pedals and the singular effect modes by the 1. 2. 3. pedals in the centre. The expression pedal is perfectly weighted and allows easy control for both volume and wah effects. Editing patches couldn't be more simple, by pressing the "edit" button you can change any of the modes needed for your desired effect, having up to 10 modes played simultaneously. You can then easily store the effect in any place you need without fear of delelting any other effect. The manual, to be honest is needlessle complicated, I never used it and have already worked out the pedal myself, being able to get any song a desire from it with ease. // 10

Sound: Currently I'm using the GFX-5 in combination with a Fender Strat but I have also experimented around with a Gibson Les Paul borrowed from a friend. Both guitars, when combined with my Line 6 Spider II amp and the effects pedal give great sounds. The effects pedal even allows you to change between 30 amp models as well as the the 75 preset effects, meaning if you don't have a fantastic guitar or amp, you can get a pretty awesome sound out of it. All of the preset and custom patches sound great with the exception of an effect called U-Fuzz which to be honest sounds awful, the others cannot be faulted and if you so wish you can re-create sounds from bands from al sides of music, from the Chili Peppers to Matchbox 20 to Dave Gilmour to The Killers. The flange and phase effects are probably my favourite two effects on the pedal purely because of the depth of which you can change them. The range of distortion models and gain you can change is ming boggling, giving you as much or as little as you could ever need. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Since the pedal is made from solid steel, it is 100% durable, it could probably survive a fall from an aircraft, however, this does make the GFX-5 quite heavy, which could be seen as a problem. I have never seen any problem with the pedal, the only problem I have had is that the adaptor connectors (no bought with the pedal) occasionaly come loose, but this has been fixed because I purchased a new adaptor, so it was nto a problem with the pedal itself. I'd never use anything without a backup, purely because any freak accident could happen, but this pedal comes close to changing my mind, even so I have not had it for a year yet, so problems could emerge in the future, this is the only reason it gets a four not a five rating. // 8

Overall Impression: I play pretty much all types of rock, but mostly I play music from bands such as Matchbox 20, the Chili Peppers and Green Day, which are pretty disimilar. This shows the variety of the pedal's effects and amp models. Becasue the GFX-5 has no determined style, it can be used by anyone for anything, making it even more useful. It my GFX-5 was lost or stolen I would certainly buy a new one, I can now not imagine playing without it, the only problem being the 149 price tag, which although is good value for this piece of kit, it is stil a lot of money to spend. Make sure you only bu one if you are serious about playing. Originally I was going to buy a 707II guitar effects pedal, but they had been discontinued so I instead bought this stomp box version. I am now very glad the 707II had been discontinued! The effects pedal does not really need anything added to it, but if I was to be really critical I suppose it would be useful if you could play some effects such as flange and tremolo simutaneously. luckily, with my SpiderII amp I can do this anyway, but it would stuill be useful if the GFX-5 could do it alone. I have now been playing for about 3 years and am currently in "Jamming Sessions" for a possible future band, the effects pedal has already come in useful for getting unique sounds for our own material and will undoubtedly come in more useful in the future. // 10

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overall: 9
GFX-5 Reviewed by: Radius_Vector, on june 05, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Ease of Use: I bought this pedal around 7 months back. I didn't find the factory made presets any good, and was rather put down by them, but the versatility of the effects and their tweaking abilities makes up for it. Careful tweaking can really get you a great sound. I play rock, metal, shred, and styles of Indian music. I've replaced almost all the factory presets with my own tweaked ones, and I'm more than happy with this. // 8

Sound: I'm using a Korean made strat ripoff (not very high end), and a Vox Valvetronix amp. The unit can sometimes produce high levels of gain, but the Zoom Noise Reduction there is a god send and it works like a charm. I'm not sure if you can emulate other artists with this since I'm more into original music, but good tweaking should get you there. The ARRM effect is good, and I specifically enjoy the Wah. The pitch bender sounds very digital and artificial, but it's still there to get you some cool sounds. I don't like the EQ on this unit though, it doesn't seem to help much. For this, I bought myself a Boss 7 band EQ stompbox, which really helps. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's made of metal, I've dropped it through 10 feet and it's still solid and working great. You can depend on it for the hardest of gigs, and more over it just requires 4 batteries, as opposed to the others which use 6+. // 10

Overall Impression: I have been playing for around 2 years and I really dig this product. If it was stolen, I'd probably go in for individual stompboxes since nothing beats their sound, apart from castrating the bastard Who stole it. I love the wah, and the overal 'tweak-ability' of the unit, and the amp modelling is also handy. It's not a very good buy for the beginner who doesn't know much about effects, since a lot of tweaking is required, but if you can overcome that, you will love the GFX-5. // 9

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overall: 7.5
GFX-5 Reviewed by: zilie5555, on june 11, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: camcole

Ease of Use: I personally like the GFX-5 because he's so easy to use. he has 2 buttons to Switch a bank up or down and 3 buttons to Switch patches within the current bank. very easy to use. You have 120 patches. User patches and preset patches. Only the user patches can be edited. Editing patches is easy. You have the effect module where you can toggle effects on or of with one button. With the edit button you can edit every effect. The GFX-5 has an expression pedal. With this you can control several things: WAH, pitch, mod, gain, reverb, volume and the sampler. very usefull. It also has an internal drum Machine which can generate up to 60 paterns. In the Drive module you can choose 11 effects. (acoustic, metal, fuzz, distortion, Overdrive, Zoom, hi-gain, clean, BG, MS, FDR) It also has a turbo and an edge button to have an even better control. Connecting is easy. The inputs are good. It has a clip for the power cable to make sure he wouldn't get loose. The GFX-5 contains an operation manual in several languages. They are well explained, with a very usefull patchlist at the back. // 8

Sound: The sound I get is superb! I use an Ibanez EDR470EX. and a Fender amp. When I use distortion I do notice a litle noise. The effects are great and fully adjustable. You can use the energize knob to adjust the sound to the room you're in. The wah-wah is great to. // 7

Reliability & Durability: The GFX-5 is very durable. It's made out of metal. A negative point is that he doesn't work well at cold temteratures. This can be a problem in the winter. When you are going to play a gig make sure it doesn't get to cold for the GFX-5. Keep it warm. This has no effect on the sound. // 7

Overall Impression: My overall impression is that the Zoom GFX-5 is ideal for stage performances. I play rock songs and I can't imagine a life without it. It has so much to offer. I play it for 2 years and I'm not changing soon. It sounds great. // 8

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overall: 7.8
GFX-5 Reviewed by: ¤TabMaster¤, on november 27, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: 8th Street Music

Ease of Use: Well, first off I really like this pedal for the most part. It does what it says it does, sometimes the sound does sound a bit "digital" but you can hardly notice it. This thing turned my $70 practice amp into a amp I can actually crank and get a decent sound out of. I love the noise reduction feature this pedal has, it really make all that white noise go away. Creating patches is really easy as well, all you have to do is turn a few nobs to get the sound you want and click the "save patch" button. // 9

Sound: I'm using a $70 practice amp and a very cheap strat copy (Hammer Slammer. This pedal made my setup sound pretty decent, some of the effects are pretty useless but the distortion is very good. it's still pretty hard to copy some artists sounds, but you could get it pretty close. The noise reduction on this pedal is great, I can crank my amp and it just starts to make a little white noise. The clean channel and the reverb's could be a bit better, but overall this is a pretty good sounding unit. // 9

Reliability & Durability: haha here is the catch, this pedal has a mind of it's own, I'll be playing something and then all of the sudden it will change the patches while I'm playing. It gets really annoying at times, but it's good for practice I guess. One thing is for sure though, I would NOT use this for a gig. When your patch changes randomly from the patch you are on, it's never a good thing. I would take your $250 and get a little nicer pedal. Sure, the general construction of this is all metal, but it doesnt't really matter since it still changes your patches by itself. // 6

Overall Impression: I play anything from AC/DC to Metallica. I am a really big fan of high gain stuff. and this pedal does a good job giving me that high gain, when it doesnt't change my patch on me. I've been playing guitar somewhere between 1 1/2 to 2 years. If this pedal was stolen I really doubt I would buy the same one again, it would be a really nice pedal if it didn't change your sound on you. I love the all metal construction, and how easy it is to edit and save patches. My favorite feature is probably all the different distortion tones you can get out of this thing. // 7

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overall: 7.5
GFX-5 Reviewed by: krut917, on november 18, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: I owned this a few years back and stumbled upon it at a shop today, which has inspired me to write this revie. When I first got this effects processor, I didn't really know how to use it. A week or 2 and I got used to it. Mine didn't come with the manual, so I just downloaded the pdf of it online, and would refer to it from time to time. Once you get the hang of this thing, it's pretty straight forward. // 8

Sound: At the time I had an '76 Aria custom (not pro II, I've yet to find my exact model), and a Squier Stagemaster 7 string, I used it through my Zoom 15-watt amp at the time. It worked pretty good for that. But what I found myself using this for more than anything else was when I went on road trips, I'd either plug in the headphones, or I had a set of computer speakers that I played it directly through, not the best sound quality of course, but it wasn't terrible. I also used this as a direct plugin on stage for my church for some time. Other than the hum, ut worked like a charm. The effects are a little on the weak side, you're not going to get the dynamics of a stomp, but it at least flavors and colors the sound a bit. I actually could get a few artist sounds that to me were convincing at the time, and named them after artist faves (Ty Tabor, John Petrucci, Satriani) now I'm sure they don't sound perfect, but they did the job well enough for a 1st year player. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Never broke on me, just the stomp buttons (being made of plastic) broke apart over time, and I just glued the parts together, and over time they'd break again. I even took the whole thing apart once and it still worked. I used at church without a backup, and it never held me back. I think the electronics may have spazzed once, but after like a minute, everything was on track. // 8

Overall Impression: I play a rather odd variety of metal/electronic/experimental music. This thing at the time, helped me at least decide between the amp models of what I wanted to play. I had been playing for a year when I got it, I've now been playing for 5. If it were stolen or lost, I wouldn't really care, I've sorta moved to stomps, they are much more tweakable. I'd probably Pick one up to dick around with it for like $50. It's pretty portable, and I've taken it all over the place and it never annoys the people next to you if you have headphones, and I never had it too loud because of computer speakers. Get one if you want something to mess with like on the road, or whatever. // 7

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overall: 9
GFX-5 Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 27, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 380

Purchased from: local dealer

Ease of Use: This unit is pretty easy to use stock. That is until you try to create your own sound. First thing you will notice is that the effect chain canot be rearranged other than programmed. There are loads of parameters you will need to adjust for the sound you want. the manual I had did not help almost at all. Overall it's easy to get agood sound and decent patches. Also the writings on the unit are easy to see and the eq and Drive knobs help a lot. // 9

Sound: I used it with an Ibanez GSA60 and a Fender stratocaster artist model s.r.v with a Fender 25g amp and a Marshall avt50 amp. The unit sounded great with the Ibanez and the small Fender amp. Also with the strat it sounded alright but with the Marshall amp you could really hear the bad quality of sound. It really took the signal of the guitar and changed it to something else regardless of the patches used. There for the sound quality is up to the player and his preferances. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This unit is extremely reliable and durable. I dropped it a few times and it was still working like nothing happened. The patches are easy to change between and it can be used for gigs without a backup. I like the hard casing of it as well. Feels solid and doesn't slip under your feet when you turn on or off effects and patches. // 10

Overall Impression: The unit matches almost every style because of the range of distortions and other effects. I've been playing for 8 years in bands and a session player. The unit is good for session gigs but not for studio works. Also, sometimes the guitar role requires a more subtle use of effects or a cleaner sound with more changes and a lot of rhythm work and this unit will not deliver since there is a very short but noticable quite between patches. For serious work you will need some heavier gear. Overall, it will suite most of the needs by an active player. // 9

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overall: 9.5
GFX-5 Reviewed by: joshmassey, on may 20, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 207

Purchased from: Fronteers Pawn Shop, LLB

Ease of Use: I bought it second hand, and I still think its one of the best multi effects I've ever used for its (new) price range. To get your sound is as easy as making a cake, it only takes time. Pluging it in is simple, straight forward and the power cord has a tab on the side incase you move it, you wont get powered down. The online manual is simple as well and pretty straight forward, easy to follow and helps out alot in terms of finding exactly what each effect does. // 9

Sound: Running an ESP/LTD F-100 FM through a specialized Roland amp, I have it set for some heavy as hell distortion. Its usually more quiet than a mouse, but sometimes with the wrong settings the buzz can be annoying but quickly fixed. So far all the effects are working well, though I've noticed a volume drop from setting 1 to setting 3, but its nothing someone can't handle. So far the only thing I don't like about this pedal is that after many years of abuse some buttons stick and the bass volume knob likes to Switch the amount between 0-1 or so forth. By editing the sound, you can make it sound almost like any half stack amp, even with a Peavey rage practice amp. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Amazing. Throw it in a back pack, you can toss it around and it'll only get stronger. Solid body, I'd put it against a train and it may win. I've played some live shows, not once have I had to worry if it was going to fail. Even after being left in -40 c temps, it still worked after it warmed up. By far the most dependable pedal I've used. // 10

Overall Impression: After 4 years of guitar, and 2 years of metal playing I just think this pedal is amazing. It has its moments where you want to throw it off a bridge, but you realize that two buttons make it work perfect again. If someone stole it, I'd find them and slap them with it because I love it that much. Only thing I wish it had was a messa triple rectifier attached to it. // 9

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