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Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:37 pm
by stubbsonic
I noticed that with both my MS-100BT and my newish G3n, Zoom really responds well to very dynamic playing. For some musical things, I need to go from playing very soft to playing very loud quite suddenly.

I've tested the Pod HD500, Digitech RP255, Boss GT-1, and Boss GP-10. All of them reduce the difference between soft and loud playing (through some type of compression scheme). This is with no compression units in the chain, and with or without amp models. If I use a clean Fender, I expect LOTS of dynamic range, because that's one of the qualities that makes the fender amps so special.

There was a review video on YT and some other person said the same thing: that he had tried other effects but noticed that they were lacking in dynamic range, he might have referred to it "touch" and/or "response". He went back to Zoom and was happier.

At some point, I'd like to run a test and create a test audio file with a white noise sample with a linear volume ramp. I'd run it through all these units I have, and record the output to see what they all do to the signal.

Re: Zoom FX has dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:21 am
by Nhoj
Thats what i liked the Zoom N Series, thats why im now using Zoom

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:07 pm
by stubbsonic
It's pretty amazing. Throughout this process, I was A/B comparing the Zoom MS100-BT or G3n with those other units and it was a dramatic difference.

What's weird is that as far as dynamics go, there wasn't much difference between the non-Zoom pedals I mentioned above. They all did the same thing. Which makes me think Zoom is handling the input side of things very differently than Line6, Digitech, and Boss.

Today, I've been messing around with a recently acquired used Boss GP-10. It is a very flexible unit- with many more adjustable parameters than the G3n sounds. It even sounds very good, the synths & pitch things are not perfect but a little better than the Zoom. However, again, without the dynamics, it just feels like it kills the energy.

I know it doesn't matter much for genres with lots of compression & distortion, but it matters for situations requiring clean and versatile tones.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:18 pm
by NucleusX
In comparing the MultiStomps and POD HD, I'd say for me they're relatively even in respect to touch dynamics. Good
enough that i rarely pay attention to it. The main factor that stood out for me with the Zoom G series and the MultiStomps,
is their frequency range/response. The dynamics of frequency and volume ranges, rather than playing dynamics/response.
With the POD HD, i always have to battle this, and apply multiple EQ's and a parametric to give it some high end clarity.
Its annoying, cause you have limited DSP and FX slots to work with. I find the MultiStomps particularly versatile in Line
level situations, going to mixers, monitors, ect, i barely have to do much EQ'in to dial them in nicely. The last frequency
Zoom allow adjustment to seems to be 16Khz on the MultiStomps, which is more than enough bandwidth for guitar work,
but its also essential if you where to use these pedals in a-typical situations that make full use of that bandwidth. Such as
using the pedal as a general purpose stereo FX processor within a mixer's AUX FX loop/s, in a rack, or run a mic for vocals
or a hardware synth through them, basically anything that relies on full 20khz response to sound good. In all those situations
I've applied them to, they sound quite wide, transparent, with HiFi like clarity, and they didn't need much tweaking and
DSP/FX Slot wastage to get there. I spend most of my time in gain channels, and everything i just spoke of has had the
largest impact on my ability to shape all my gain presets to a counter-intuitive point, in that even tho the POD HD can
process @ 96khz, the Zoom's 44.1khz processing seems to outwit the POD HD in gain clarity.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:20 pm
by stubbsonic
That's interesting. The POD HD500 was unusable in the one show I was playing that required real spanky clean goodness. I spent a quite a bit of time dialing in the tone. It was simple, just clean into a fender twin model. Occasionally tremolo. Even the tremolo sounded off to me. I used it for one night and hated it.

You're right also about the tone. I felt like both the EQ and the tone knobs on the Pod didn't really get to what I wanted to fix. The Zoom just sounded fine sans EQ.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:45 am
by NucleusX
The POD HD can be a tweaking nightmare, there's no doubt about that. Its defaults almost always need changing.
With full amp sims engaged, its the DEP and cab parameters that have the largest impact on the final result, but
personally i just stick to the pre-amp models, rather than the full amp models, as the pre-models retain a good
amount of high end. Spent a good amount of time doing online research, reading and tweaking to understand the
POD HD's nature. Its all helped to improve the results, but at the same time i feel there's an inherent flaw within
its nature that i will always be fighting to get to my result.

As for the MultiStomps, they aren't perfect, but the concept is genius. Zoom have occupied a unique market space
with them. Not many other companies around that offer a standard footprint pedal for pedal boards, multifx selection,
with stereo ins n outs. A chameleon pedal with a ton of options. Zoom would be smart to hold onto this form factor,
and i hope Zoom continue to evolve and release future MultiStomp product updates, and keeping the original concept.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:10 am
by stubbsonic
Sadly it seems Zoom has abandoned the MS series with one exception.

I don't mind the G3/G5 form factor but am disappointed at the lack of parameters. Because the G3 is limited to 4 params per module, they're often pretty limited. The MS (and others) give you multiple pages of params.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:11 pm
by NucleusX
Actually, only one of the 4 MultiStomps are officially discontinued so far (MS-100BT), but its only a matter of time
for the rest i guess. The original G3 and G5 share the same DNA as the MultiStomps, with very similar firmware
and menu arrangements. Its the newer "n" versions that came with all the changes you speak of. After seeing
the release of the "n" versions, i became quite confused @ Zoom's change of tact, that broke the continuity of
the last gen with something radically different. I did read that at the time while Zoom was quiet on the MFX front,
and busy on the recording products, they had undergone some major internal company changes, which possibly
affected their MFX line due to a change of management and structuring. These new "n" versions aren't very
compelling for me tbh, they might sound a little better, but they seem like a rushed product all in all.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:51 am
by stubbsonic
NucleusX wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:11 pm
These new "n" versions aren't very compelling for me tbh, they might sound a little better, but they seem like a rushed product all in all.
They seem geared toward people who want power & flexibility with regard to variety of pedals (modules) and ability to chain them, but who don't really need that much ability to fine-tune them. The sound quality is comparable to the MS boxes, just stripped down to one page, 4 parameters. As I've mentioned on other threads, if they would have created two-screen versions of some effects (that require more than 4 knobs) that would address the biggest weaknesses.

You're also right about the "rushed product" point. I think it is durable, well-made, good sounding, etc., but there are hints of it not being as well-thought out as other products. Still, I'm pretty happy with it.

I'd be quite interested in a new Zoom flagship, particularly one that combines bass, gtr, keys and general audio needs. Most manufacturers shy away from the all-in-one fun, (understandably), but it does add value for everyone.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:21 pm
by NucleusX
I'm sure its fine for most practice situations, and maybe some at live gigs. My biggest disappointment with Zoom since the
G9.2TT, is that none of their MFX units have an FX Loop. They provide much more flexibility when integrating other pedals
or gear into your chain. You can address almost any deficiencies in your setup via an FX Loop. Without this possibility, you
have to mostly compromise with what you have. The lack of an FX Loop is what mainly put me under the impression that
Zoom's G5 wasn't going to be the final flagship, and was planning for yet another level up. Its a premium feature most reserve
for flagships, or higher end models, but nope, they stopped short of that altogether. Many many years ago, Zoom created a
rack FX unit which you don't see these days, they seem to have taken a more conservative route since then. Even so, and
the fact Zoom are totally unpredictable in this market, i know they have the ability to impress me again eventually, i just
don't know when or how that'l be lol. You just never know what random surprises Zoom have in store till its already out.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:46 am
by stubbsonic
I agree about the FX loop but I would add that I'd love for some MFX maker to set up something more flexible.

In a simple serial chain, you can have each FX (including one or two loops) in the series.

In a parallel chain, you can have a single series that splits into two parallel chains, then merges back together. Modules can be placed before or after the split path. (a la Pod HD).

But what is missing is the ability to send to FX like a Aux send on a mixer-- so you could send your wet chorus output to the reverb in, send your distortion output to a Low-Pass Filter, then send the LPF to a pitch-shifter. Just having ways of routing audio around with a combination of series, split/panner, merge/mix, aux sends/returns, etc.

This would be nice for things like pitch-shifting your reverb, filtering your distortion, and having more control over the way your FX add to the signal.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:37 pm
by NucleusX
Yeh. My chains tend to have a combination of serial and parallel FX aswell as some mixing/blending. Plus A/B/C/Y at the inputs.
I/O Routing options plays an important role in all that. Both internally, and externally. The Helix has some interesting routing
features. From what i remember, it has 4 FX loops, and some crazy internal routing options.
I came across this video on Youtube demonstrating the new BOSS GT-1000 and its internal routing features, and saw the more
advanced routing features. Interesting watch.
Personally, I achieve all the extra required routing externally thankfully, but it's great to see MFX units starting to employ the
more advanced internal routing options like in the Helix and GT-1000. You gotta pay the high end price to have it all tho. :neutral:

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:50 pm
by stubbsonic
Fun vid. Thanks.

In some ways, if I really wanted to create a monster signal routing matrix, there are some interesting possibilities with the gear I have.

In addition to a few multi-effects boxes, I have an old Roland VM-3100 (a decent digital mixer with early COSM effects). With some clever patching, I could create pretty complex setups. Setting things up, and calling up patches would be tricky. But it is a fun thought experiment.

I just realized my GP-10, in addition to the GK 13-pin input, it has a gtr in AND OUT! So it would be possible to do a parallel path with another chain.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:42 pm
by NucleusX
Dry guitar out's are great for DI or re-amping. Or sending a dry to your interface for simultaneous wet/dry recording. Or even
send/return IR's back to your signal chain right after the amp block and cab sim bypassed if you don't like the IR's in your pedal
and prefer to use 3rd party IR's. Return extra FX from VST's if you run out of DSP on your pedals. lol, All the fun stuff. I keep a
few BOSS LS-2's on my pedalboard which i use in various routing roles which are fine for me, but if i had the money spare, these
things are perfect for everything we've been talking about. They make more sense on a pedal board with individual FX pedals,
but there's nothing to stop you from using them with MFX pedals combined with individual pedals and whatever else you throw in. ... switchers/

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:16 am
by stubbsonic
At some point, before I got the GP-10, I was looking at that MS-3 (with built-in effects and assignable loops). Looks like the LS-2 gives you some pretty impressive mode and level options for a single pedal. One loop could be treated like an aux send!

Hmmmm. Not exactly cheap, but opens some doors!!

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:22 pm
by NucleusX
Aux returns as-well ! The gain dials for the loops don't work on sends, returns only. Couple reasons i went with the LS/2's. Apart from the
obvious being I/O versatile, I wanted something with a standard pedal form factor that fits in well on the pedalboard with the MultiStomps
that have very similar physical dimensions, and kept separated from other LS-2's in a modular fashion that can be physically located in
different areas on the pedalboard. The input/output sockets on both the Multistomps and BOSS line up reasonably well side-by-side. I like
to layout my pedalboards in an orderly manner, keeping the pedals and signal path from far right, to far left. Its a lot less difficult to cable
manage, and keeps things logical for me without sticking pedals in random places that doesn't physically reflect the order of stages in the
chains. It's a way of packing more DSP density into a limited amount of space, and simplifies all that complexity down for easy tactile foot
switching on the fly. The DC power supply voltage and socket polarity on many Zoom pedals are compatible with BOSS pedals too, so that
was another upside for the LS-2. Its power is all in the mode switch. Although a single LS-2 lacks the ability to switch between A/B/A+B
(essentially A/B/Y) in one single mode, it can be worked around with 2 without mode changes. You also end up with a lot more input send
and return options that will satisfy almost every scenario you can imagine. When combining 2 of them towards the end of the chain, you get
the ability to blend 2 stereo pairs from 2 separate stereo signal paths together to mix down to a single stereo pair. I have 4 LS-2's taking up
both roles simultaneously, a pair up front for all the input switching, and a pair at the end which i rarely stomp on, they're mostly for set and
forget stereo mixing outputs, or path muting. It can seem a bit much, but exploring routing has allowed me to achieve tones and sounds I
could never achieve with standard chains. I don't really have to buy a new FX pedal to get something new, i just reconfigure the routing !
Routing is well worth the investment imo, especially if you're into discovering new and a lot of the time, better tone possibilities.

Re: Zoom FX have dynamic range, others lack!

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:05 pm
by stubbsonic
Yea, I noticed that there wasn't a mode to step through bypass, A, B, A+B which seems like an oversite, but still a potentially very useful pedal.

I noticed that an ES-5 would cost as much as your four LS-2's. But I think you may have more capabilities with those different modes on different pedals. Anyway, I'm impressed you've got it all working to your liking.

I think my first step would be to conceptualize the finished FX routings I'd like to have access to. Then work out the minimum steps to achieve them. Might be that my old mixer could do it with some presets. Not sure if the mixer will respond to MIDI messages to change mixer setups.

Effects aren't a huge part of my guitar playing world, but I would like the flexibility to get some delicious tones-- and have at least a couple parallel paths.