Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Zoom PS-02 & PS-04 Palmtop Studio information, discussion, and support
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Guitarist1969
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Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by Guitarist1969 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:13 pm

Hello all:
I've been looking into buying a small portable headphone amp(Like a Korg Pandora PX4d), and have since been focusing on the Zoom PS 02/04's instead as they appear more versitile and effects sound better and are cheaper on ebay, and seem like they could be set up to do the same thing. I am not really interested in recording with it other than setting a looping guitar or bass track once in awhile(I have a Boss BR-600 Digital recorder for recording which is great, but bigger), but strictly want the Zoom for headphone jamming on the go. I've read all I can on them, but unfortuately don't have access to them to play around with. From what I gather the PS-02 is probably better suited for this , correct. I do want the ability to program basic bass progressions and I think the PS02 is a bit limited(Unless I use other software), but most importantly, I want something that is somewhat simple to turn on and start playing after I have set it up correctly. Also want to plug an mp3 player in to jamm with. Since the prices are about the same these days, would I be better with a PS02 or 04, and can the 04 be set up where it is plug and play, or does it require numerous menus to get to jamming, which is what I've heard. The PS02 looks pretty simple but maybe more limited too

curious about built-in drum pattern sounds (Mainly rock)
Distortions and clean sounds( Not looking for alot, just at least one good one each)
Menu access for these basic functions

Any help you can provide about jamming capabilities for headphone use would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Michael
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tonyoci
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Re: Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by tonyoci » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:57 pm

I have a PS04, someone might correct me but I don't think you can plug in an MP3 player and play guitar at the same time (maybe you can but it would be mono).

Drums are good enough for sure, bass is limited and tough to program. Menu's are confusing but OK once you figure them out. Distortions etc. are fine for what you need.

Both system take some patience to learn and while I do not know them I suspect there might be better options for your usage needs.
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dengen
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Re: Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by dengen » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:35 am

I have both units (still) and would probably recommend the PS-02 for what you are intending to use it for. Here are its advantages over the PS-04 for your use case:
  • More durable. I throw the PS-02 right in my guitar case, but the PS-04 is a bit more fragile. For example the scroll wheel on my PS-04 has broken off.
  • Switching between jam songs is instantaneous on the PS-02, on the PS-04 you have to load up a new project which takes a little bit.
  • The PS-02 has slightly better effects since you can have a stereo delay and a reverb on at the same time.
  • While the PS-04 has more rhythm patterns built in, the PS-02 has additional rhythm packs you can download from Zoom, some of which are better (for example the rock set) than the stock patterns with either unit.
All that said, the PS-04 is better than the PS-02 in some areas, such as the built in microphone for one, and boot time for two. But if you aren't using those areas then I'd stick with the 02. I haven't tried mp3 jam along with either so I'm not sure how that would work.
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Re: Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by Trent » Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:19 pm

Yep, everything you've asked is possible for sure on the PS-02, which I've had for about 8 years! However, I don't have experience to speak about the a PS-04.

I've jammed with my iPod connected, and also with my laptop playing Music DVDs watching the guitar chords being played while listening through the PS02 headphones jack. Just plug the MP3 player, CD player, or Laptop audio out, into the PS-02 aux in. Then check the menu selection to see if the aux is engaged, and jam away!

Use headphones...
Or take the 1/4inch out into an amp and jam with the drums and bass playing through your speakers. I wish that zoom would have had continuous improvement on the palmtop studio concept along side with the HD concepts as well.
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SomethingClever
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Re: Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by SomethingClever » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:56 am

"I am not really interested in recording with it other than setting a looping guitar or bass track once in awhile"

FYI- the ps04 does have a "repeat A/B" function actually gives u more control than a loop. You record ur lick, go back and select the start and end points and select another track to solo over. Also the ps04 has a "line+input" option that allows you to play/record with a line input of a mp3 player or etc.

Either will work. I only own one so can't really say which is better. The ps02 has free software to bring in drum loops though the ps04 you can program drums into (warning: not as easy as it sounds). Whichever you find the quickest deal on is probably best.

ps02- looping, drum import
ps04- 128mg not 64, AB repeat

Also this sheet is pretty handy: http://ps02_solutions.tripod.com/ps02_and_ps04_compared.htm
Compares Ps02 vs Ps04 vs Korg Pandora Pxr4
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tonyoci
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Re: Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by tonyoci » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:47 pm

SomethingClever wrote:Also the ps04 has a "line+input" option that allows you to play/record with a line input of a mp3 player or etc.

Either will work. I only own one so can't really say which is better. The ps02 has free software to bring in drum loops though the ps04 you can program drums into (warning: not as easy as it sounds). Whichever you find the quickest deal on is probably best.
Mr Clever, you might want to watch out giving advice on products you don't own :) The Line in is for recording line in. IT kind of works for playback but if you add he guitar in then I think it only plays back in mono (the line in that is). IMHO this is not a good solution for the OP problem

Also the A/B repeat adds a delay before repeating so a loop is actually a better option.
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SomethingClever
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Re: Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by SomethingClever » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:11 pm

Actually I do own the ps04-LOL. And for good reason I never said I was an expert just trying to sincerely help someone with the little bit of knowledge I have. Only 1 poster (dengen) has both units so I threw in that disclamer and hey my post got a wise one like yourself to answer so it wasn't it vain, right?

Tony I just re-tested my line+input. I already knew u were correct in recording- it'll throw the line into 1 mono track and ur guitar into another but in audio reference it shows my guitar on track 2 and the line input on tracks 3 and 4. Stereo, yes?

As far as A/B, there is a slight mono second delay but the OP wasn't recording a song just jamming so I didn't think to mention it.

Probably the best bet would actually be a Micro BR (since it does both a/b and loop). Though you can't line-in and guitar at the same time.
There's always a trade off isn't there? :lol:
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Guitarist1969
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Re: Using Zoom PS-02/PS-04 as a headphone amp - jamming tool

Post by Guitarist1969 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:20 pm

Well I picked up a PS-02 on ebay. Was a bit difficult since there aren't many on there these days, but the cool thing is the auction I won included a 64mb card, and I already had another 64mb card from an old camera so now I am set(They are pretty expensive).

I am finding the unit is almost perfect for my needs. Since I am not really planning on doing much recording with it(I also have a Boss BR-600 which is excellent for recording), it is working good for jamming.

One question I have though - I am playing around with programming some bass progressions, and if I am reading the manual correctly, there is no way to not have a bass note on a rythmn pattern - It plays a bass note or chord transformation on every beat. I was hoping to have a progression where the bass comes in after the first beat, or maybe even in another measure. From my short experience, if I move slider 1 all the way down so there is no chord chosen for that beat, it automaticall plays an Am. Also , there is no way to not play a note on every beat - For example, I want to play a single note on the first beat of the measure, but then don't want any notes to sound until the next measure - It can't do that from what I have learned.

Am I correct in these findings. I know this thing is old but just trying to learn what it can and can't do. Otherwise, its awesome considering it came out 8 years ago.

Also curious if anybody may be interested in selling their Soundside software toolkit to me for it if they aren't using it anymore. I don't have a huge need for it but thought it would be helpful, but to buy it new it is overpriced considering how old the PS02 is.

Thanks,
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