The purpose of this guide is to briefly look at the Zoom B2.1U. As my first bass multi-effects unit it was a solid introduction, however after a while I felt more and more like I needed something a little more professional.
The Zoom is a very tasty little unit. With 9 modules encompassing a huge number of effects there will be something for everyone. Some of the effects are more useable that others, and personally I found the overdrives/fuzzes to be the ones I struggled with the most. The actual method for editing patches is somewhat tricky, and takes a good deal of getting used to. It's all programmed via an internal menu structure from the top four knobs, and this can be very daunting at first. Once you get the hang of it there is a large scope for creating some wild, awesome effects, some of which are very useful, some more for experimenting and annoying my guitarist occasionally.
My main issue was I always ended up with so much going on in one patch I had no idea what my dry sound was, and I fear I went overboard adding in too much random stuff. As the music I play is fairly mainstream rock most of the weirder effects like the synths were lost on me.
The drum machine is very handy. As I had the extra switch for it, which I had programmed to start/stop the drum beat, this was a good way to practise timings and make practise a little more interesting than simply the clicks of a metronome.
I never really used this in a gig situation. By then I had already sourced a better unit so this was relegated to home use. My main issue with gigging/performing our bands songs with it is that I often like to change up sounds mid song, and besides having lines of patches ready this was tricky. I digress though... the unit itself was solid, with a decent case and felt well built. I had a small issue with the expression pedal being a little stiff, but I didn't really fancy trying to adjust it myself.
I probably wouldn't look for this new. My replacement (an ME50B) was £120 used, and this was about that much new. Considering the step up made with the Boss pedal I would advise looking for second hand lots if you are desperate for this.
A great introduction to programmable effects pedals and one that, had I had more money available, I would have probably kept until I knew more about what I was doing. With some experience you will get some sweet sounds out of it, but it's probably not up to the challenge of live shows etc
Boss multi effects range (ME20B, ME50B)
Bigger Zoom pedals (B7?)
Line 6 units
Any questions drop me an email on my profile.
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9 April 2013
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