Advantages A large selection of effects, extremely customisable, solid metal build, many inputs/outputs
Disadvantages Some effects sound too "digital", effects often become muddy, need MIDI interface to update
|Range of Sounds|
|Range & Quality of Features|
|Look & Feel|
|Ease of Use|
Zoom is company once reknowned for low-end multi-FX pedals, usually used by bedroom guitarists. While they have made products in the high-end field and in digital recording, most guitarists on ground level will associate the brand with the likes of the 505 series pedal: which was undoubtedly designed for the bedroom player.Seemingly springboarding off of the success of their low-end pedals during the 1990's, Zoom have taken a new direction in recent years, and nowhere is this more evident than with the sleeker-looking G* series; which features both the G7.1ut and its big brother, the G9.2tt.
Long gone are the flimsy switches, plastic casing and fragile lead inputs from days of old, and in come some hardy footswitches, a tough metal case and solid inputs that won't fail as easily as their descendants. Most importantly, though-the sound quality, tweakability and the sheer amount of effects has been vastly improved. The G7.1utt also contains a 12AX7 pre-amp tube to help add a warmer, natural edge to the digital processing. The sampling frequency is 96KHz @ 24bits, which is fairly average for this type of device.The G7 is designed with two overall scenarios in mind: live effects, and home recording. There are so many functions on this thing, that I don't even know where to begin!
I've always been quite skeptical of digital processors as opposed to analogue pedals; and the G7 was no exception to my paranoia. The basic effects available include compression, a selection of EQ effects (such as wah), a pre-amp (which emulates a variety of commercial amplifiers), a 6-band EQ, cabinet simulation for USB recording, a delay module and a reverb module. Each section can be tweaked extensively, right down to the attack time on a compressor or the pre-delay on one of the available reverb types. Every effect is highly customisable, although this doesn't necessarily guarantee that each is ideal in terms of quality.The unit also contains some options to alter the overall mix, such as volume and routing through the provided tube; which along with the pre-amp simulations, can be a great asset to those with not-so-great amplifiers and those recording via. USB. The unit also comes with an expression pedal, which can be manually assigned to control the parameters of different effects, such as the frequency range of the wah effect. Additional pedals can also be attached and assigned in this way.
The amp has a multitude of inputs. As well as the standard 1/4" jack input and (stereo) outputs, the G7.1ut comes equipped with a headphone output, an auxiliary input, a connection for another expression pedal, a USB-out and MIDI in/out sockets, which add to the units exceptional customisation potential. There's also a switch on the back to allow you to set the unit to +4dB or -10dB output, depending on where you prefer to position your FX.There are numerous banks available for creating your own effects; each divided into four patches, and each of those divided into two channels. It's hard to imagine being able to run out of room on this thing. Each patch can be edited right down to the name, which also provides entertainment in trying to come up with amusing titles for each..!
The footswitches are very solid, and the function of each can be understood with a quick read of the manual. There have been reports of failing footswitches, but they seem to be in the minority.
Regardless, it should be said that for beginners or those who don't intend to play live that much, most of these issues won't be... an issue. Although the interface can be a little tricky at first, players will be able to learn about different effects or improve their current guitar rig's sound.When used through a Marshall DSL100 head with a 1960A cab, however, we begin to enter different territory. With higher-end tube amp like this, any defects in your sound setup will be far more noticeable. In my view, the first priority when running the G7.1ut via. the effects loop on this amp was disabling the pre-amp on the processor. A lot of people don't mind bypassing the amp's pre-amp and using the Zoom's own, but personally I'd choose four tubes before one and a digital amp simulation any day.
A fair amount of compromise had to be made in order to get the G7 to sound decent with the DSL. The compressor, "Wah/FX1", EQ and Cabinet sections were all disabled, and the tube pot was turned to zero, as it was emitting far too much gain (and not the nice gain that we metalheads know and love!). After much tweaking and much lowering of levels, I've concluded that the G7.1ut can sound decent through a valve amplifier, though I recommend that you first try to "sterilise" the sound of the unit as much as possible by disabling everything and configure each effect one-at-a-time.The cleaner amp simulations sounded more realistic than the distorted ones on both amplifiers tested, I should mention.
Home recording with the G7 is quite straightforward, as it acts like a generic USB interface device (such as Digidesign's Mbox). The Cabinet feature allows for a further simulation of different mic types and positions, and is specifically tailored for the recording feature. The MIDI outputs also allow for the unit to be controlled by and synchronised with other MIDI devices, as well as allowing firmware updates and PC-based patch editing. In this day and age, though, it seems slightly illogical not to allow that through the USB connection instead.
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