MS-50G review by Zoom

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  • Ease of Use: 6
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (10 votes)
Zoom: MS-50G

Price paid: $ 110

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use — 6
The Zoom Boss NS-2 may look like a classic stomp box/guitar effect pedal but it does not actually work like one. The footswitch does not turn the effect on and off like a classic/normal stomp box/ guitar effect pedal. The footswitch is used to do different things like cycle through patches and choose/select effects when programming patches. It can also go into a tuning mode when pressed. It's a little weird only because it looks so much like a classic Boss stomp box/guitar effect pedal. The preset patches are great but I like to tweak my own. Took me only a few minutes to wrap my head around the interface but once I did I can say I find it very easy to use. It's not only weird to have a footswitch that doesn't turn the unit on or off, it's also a little strange that there's not ANY off switch at all. To kill the effect you either have to remove the power supply or dial to an empty patch.

Sound — 10
The Zoom MS-50G is pretty miraculous. Does nearly everything. The amazing thing is that it's a huge collection of stomp boxes in one. The sound quality is clear, vivid and rich. The effects are high quality, very wide in variety, comprehensive, and I say that as a person who makes their living in sound design and audio production. The only thing about the Zoom MS-50G I don't like is the way the noise gate steps down in levels. It steps down about 6dB each time. Can hear 3 or 4 steps but this happens in less than a second so it's not that big a deal. You can hear the effect to a lesser degree if you've ever heard the trail-off of a Boss NS-2. It's acceptable of course because the phenomenon is not apparent if you're not listening too critically. But that's my only gripe. Otherwise the Zoom MS-50G is simply amazing. It's so inexpensive for the variety of FX. It has nearly everything you can think of in there. And unlike some of the reviews I read before I bought this unit, I find the Overdrive effects to be excellent. I mean just superb. And authentic. The amp models, too. Accurate and inspiring. Scrolling through the many cabinet choices for the different amps is highly satisfying. Final note on sound - I also play bass through this and it sounds absolutely great. There don't seem to be any limitations if using a bass though this unit. Performs magnificently.

Reliability & Durability — 10
You should have this thing for a while. Made like typical stomp boxes. The box is heavy metal (appropriate) and the knobs seems to be able to withstand rigorous use. Been messing around with it on a daily basis for the last 8 months and no problems at all. It's odd that the Zoom MS-50G doesn't come with an AC adapter. It's odd because even though the Zoom MS-50G looks like a classic stompbox and provides effects one would expect with such pedals (which don't usually come with an ac adapter), the unit is actually more like a rack FX unit which would usually come with a power cord of some kind. Anyway, I never use batteries so I had to order the adapter on eBay.

Overall Impression — 10
Blues over here. Rock blues, Memphis blues, Chicago blues, Texas blues, British blues, etc, etc... The Zoom Boss NS-2 dials it all in for me. I mean everything. Amps, cabinets, overdrive, compression, tremolo, noise gate, delay, reverb, all of it. Spring reverb is authentic, the choice of overdrives is staggering. And if I'm in the mood to explore different styles then everything I can think of is available in this box. I used to have a standard stomp box pedal set up that consisted of (not necessarily in this order): Overdrive, Noise Gate, compressor, delay, wah. Occasionally a tremolo or vibrato. What a pain in the ass to keep these pedals and their associated cables and wires tidy. Transporting them becomes a hassle too as we all know. This unit solves all of that. If consolidating and organizing your effects - even a simple setup like the one I used to have - is what you need to do, then forget the pedalboard and power supply and little connector cables because that's an even further expense. Sell 'em all and buy the Zoom Boss NS-2. Problem solved and money made. This one pedal unit is the same price as a single Boss pedal. That's incredible.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sorry for the bump, but i just pick one of these up used, and it is very nice. It has version 1.0 on it still and I cannot seem to be able to update it. I cant even get the computer to recognize that it is plugged in. All it does is power it when i plug in the usb. I also put it in firmware mode but it doesnt work either. Ive downloaded the Updater too. Has anyone had this problem, and if so, what did you do to correct it. Ive used 4 different usb cables, as well as 3 different computers running XP,Vista, and 7.
    Mine came with system ver 2.01. I needed a tuner , delay and a few modulation pedals(chorus, phaser, flanger etc.). And this pedal has got all of them plus eqs (esp parametric eq), compressors (esp rack compressor),etc. I use it mainly for Delays and modulations through fx loop of my amp and i am not disappointed. Though i'd prefer a true bypass but still there's no noticeable difference between True bypass and MS50G's Throughpass sounds. P.S. Line selector effect is really handy.
    I got one the other day and I am very happy with the chorus, reverb and delay sounds. They are high quality and sound, well, great. Very warm and no noise or artefacts. Some of the amp and distortion sounds are a little boxy for my taste, although the Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss OD and a few others come across very realistic. But I use a Behringer GDI21 to achieve a Marshall sound anyway. Very impressive. I like it.
    I used the Zoom MS-50G for about a year and a half before it failed. I used it about 4 hours a day, every day for that period of time. I believed it to be the most brilliant device made for guitar. It does nearly everything for about $100. The modulation effects like chorus, flanger, vibe and phaser are elegant, the reverbs are clean and lush. The distortions (unlike some of the reviews I read here and elsewhere before I bought it) are exquisitely indistinguishable from the actual individual stomp boxes this unit emulates. It's really quite a miracle.Then, the unit just powered off in the middle of a gig. I had fully charged rechargeable Eneloop NI-Mh batteries in it at thee time. I use these batteries for all my stuff. They work wonderfully. The MS-50G, in fact, has a setting for the use Ni-Mh batteries or alkaline. Nevertheless, it wouldn't power back on using any kind of battery or even ac AC adapter. Bummed.I contacted Zoom who responded immediately. They get props for their customer service. They replaced the broken unit with a brand new one for $55. They said at $75 an hour for labor it was my choice. I chose to go with the new pedal. Popped the batteries in, and it worked for about 15 minutes. Then it just powered off.I sent this second one back for a replacement. Zoom sent me an RA form to fill out and send back with the pedal and they replaced it within the week with yet another brand new one. I finally took some time to use it today to customize some setting. Worked for about 4 hours then powered off and wouldn't power back on. I tried different batteries, different settings, then I plugged in the AC adapter and everything's fine. But it won't work with batteries.I gig between 1-3 times a week and rehearse up to 4 nights a week. I need my stuff to work and I like my stuff to work on batteries. As much as I love the MS-50g because of how awesome it sounds, how much money it theoretically saves me and it's incredible versatility, I cannot recommend this product. It has literally failed on me three times. Three strikes and you're our out MS-50G.