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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:21 am
Price : $70-ish street price
The Zoom G1Xon is a combination amp modeler and multiFX unit in a compact heavy plastic case. It is small, sturdy and versatile enough to pack in a travel bag and provide 95% of what I need to practice when traveling. It sounds good enough that I don't mind using it at home either.
It has a single 1/4" input, a single 1/4"output, an AUX input and a 9VDC power connection. A mini USB jack is provided to allow updates to the device's built-in software. There is no feature to allow backup or loading of preset voices through the USB.
A total of 14 amp models, 22 speaker simulations, and 75 varied FX are available. Up to 5 preamps and FX may be used at once, some FX reduce that limit, though.
It uses a standard 9VDC stompbox power supply. I used an old Danelectro wall wart I had in my cables box.
The amps modeled do a good job of showing their famed tones; although in general there is only one gain control per amp model. However, you can cascade boost pedals to mimic multiple gain stages.
Preamps, FX and EQ are also very impressive. There is a superb parametric EQ, several good compressors, and a variety of reverbs and modulations. Many FX are recognizable classics. One or two I just cannot tolerate, but for the most part, they sound quite good. In a few configurations, the arrangement of the unit's processors does not allow certain extra choices. This is generally not much of a restriction.
I don't know how many bits of digital processing are used, but this is a nice sounding unit. While it is possible to get a little digital noise if you do something really extreme, for the most part it is very quiet and has no weird artifacts, honking, chattering or other unpleasant things.
I tend to be unhappy with speaker simulations. In this unit I have to say Zoom has done a great job of modeling cabinets. I like most of these speaker models – no weird ringing or thudd-y flab. Any cabinet can be used with any amp model – so if your perversion is a Vox AC15 through an oversize Mesa 412, you can do that. Some of the models are not commonly seen, and I was glad Zoom made the effort to include them, they are all useful. Speaker sims may ONLY be used with an amp model, not with a 'generic' preamp.
Though this is not a unit intended for bass, I found it easy to use the Zoom Clean preamp or a Twin model with compression and EQ to get a variety of vintage and modern bass tones.
Clean freaks should find enough variety here - this device is not dedicated entirely to distortion and FX.
Feel, fit and finish:
The overall construction is very sturdy – only the input and output jacks have a slightly soft plastic feel. All the switches and pedals are very solid.
Service & Reliability:
No real info yet. It feels pretty robust; not real iron, but not cheap and wobbly.
Ease of use:
Two stomp switches control patch functions. A tilting controller pedal adjusts one selectable parameter when the pedal is operating. Navigation uses a 4-way set of buttons, four smaller pushbuttons, and an endlessly rotating knob.
Guitar tones and effects are all chosen and configured on a small orange display. The visibility is adequate but not great. You add virtual amp models or FX in a chain of up to 5 device blocks. Every device block can be rearranged (order) in the chain, and each device has several parameters to adjust, depending on its type. The adjustable items are laid out in a quick to access and sensible format. Saving is done automatically (and is very convenient, too).
I view this as a traveler's practice and rehearsal device, although with proper tweaking it can be used to get credible guitar tones through a PA (I ran mine through a pair of Samson RS series monitors, and only needed a little EQ adjustment to get fairly natural sounds). It has main menu adjustments to allow use into a guitar combo amp or head, into a power amp and speakers, direct to a PA or into headphones or recording inputs. The output is somewhat compressed, but the quality and value at its 70 $US price point is impressive.
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