Zoom has a big name in the multi-effects industry. They have a reputation for catering to every guitarist's needs. No matter your skills or level of development, Zoom has the equipment to suit.
They have many devices for guitarists. These range from the G1Xon for beginning players to the Zoom G5N multi-effects processor. The 'N' in the Zoom G5N name stands for "Next." So, owners of the previous generation of the G5 may consider upgrading.
This particular model isn't in the same league as the Fractal AX8 or the Line 6 Helix. But, it comes at a fraction of the cost. It is flexible with a wide range of sounds. In fact, it can fill the same role for those whose budgets can't quite accommodate those premium multi-effect processors.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Multi-Effects Processor
A multi-effects processor or pedal gives you a wide range of effects, right at your feet. Guitar pedals let the player experiment with different tonal moods and sounds.
Single effects pedals let you work with one particular set of tones. However, if you want variety and like the idea of having lots of effects in one package, then a multi-effects pedal might be the best option.
Some of the things you should consider when buying a multi-effects processor include:
You should not get a multi-effects processor if you’re just after one effect or if you are new to the world of guitar pedals.
Buying a multi-effects processor entails a substantial investment. You should make sure that you will use the features that it offers.
Features and Benefits
The Zoom G5N Guitar Multi-Effects Processor comes out of the box with 126 preset digital effects. They include reverb, distortion, overdrive, delay, chorus, EQ, compression, octave doubling, vibrato, and more. Anything you can get from a stompbox, you can get here.
There are also cabinet simulator and amplifier models, such as ‘59 Bassman, Fender Twin, Marshall JCM800, Vox AC30, and Mesa Boogie Mark 3 amps. Also, there are ALTEC and Jensen cabinet models.
When it comes to using multiple effects at a time, you can put up to nine of them in a patch. The Zoom G5N Guitar Multi-Effects Processor also has lots of memory locations, allowing it to save and remember up to 200 patches.
The G5N comes with 124 patches out of the box. The patches recreate tones from some great guitarists, such as Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, and Jimi Hendrix.
Lots of upgrades are available on their website. You can regularly update the firmware on your G5N and add new effect and amp models as they come out.
An interesting thing to note here is that an amp simulator gets counted as two patches instead of one. For example, let's say you have a cab simulator and an amp simulator in your patch. You technically have three patches, and you can only add up to six more.
If you reach the DSP power limit on your G5N before you’ve made a full patch, you also won’t be able to add more.
The patches themselves align in packs of four each, adding up to 50 banks in all. You can use the onboard Scroll footswitches to select different banks. You also don’t have to worry about losing your work as there is an autosave feature.
There are lots of built-in features in the G5N as well. These include a stereo/mono looper that can overdub phrases up to 80 seconds long. There is also a drum machine with 68 rhythm patterns for you to incorporate into your performance.
Both of these are effects. That means you might encounter some frustration if you want to add them to a loaded patch. You might end up having to remove some other effects to accommodate the looper and drum machine.
The G5N also has a built-in tuner that doesn’t consider an effect, so you can freely add it as needed.
The layout of the G5N is very logical and modular, and it is also intuitive and easy for novices to use. The top includes an LCD screen to show the current patch and the list of effects that it contains.
There is also a control knob next to the display, which you can use to edit effects or remove them from patches. The top also has an easily accessible volume control.
There are four large units in the middle of the Zoom G5N Guitar Multi-Effects Processor, each with an LCD screen. You’ll also find stompbox-like footswitches coupled with parameter knobs. You might need more than one unit to edit some of the more complex effects.
The footswitches feature a user-friendly design. They rise up a bit for better ergonomics, though you still have to be careful with your foot placement considering how close together they are.
Each switch has a red LED above it, so you know when you have selected a specific patch.
To the right of the middle are controls for the Boost and Tone. The Boost control increases and decreases the signal that comes before the output and emulates a tube booster. The Tone controls frequencies in the mid-range.
Finally, on the far right of the processor is the expression pedal, which you can use as a volume pedal or assign to any effect parameter you want.
The Zoom G5N Guitar Multi-Effects Processor uses the regular 1/4-inch jack, which you use to connect your guitar. There is also a stereo input jack for your music player or smartphone. In case you want to attach an external foot pedal, the system also has a control input jack.
Good Value Overall
The G5N gives a vast range of sounds and high-quality features, given the price. The acoustic guitar simulator, in particular, sounds excellent. The cabinet and amp models are outstanding, too.
Social Proof: What Do Real Z5N Users Think?
So I scoured the internet and found that most user reviews were positive.
Most buyers appreciate the full range of available effects and the regular upgrades provided by Zoom.
The G5N does have some drawbacks. Yet most users are able to find a setup that works for them so that they can get the most out of the product without having to get hampered by its shortcomings.
A lot of the reviews point to one of the biggest selling points: the value that the Z5N provides for the price.
As you can see, the G5N solves two problems. The first is to provide a multi-effects pedal for anyone with a limited budget or lack of storage.
The second problem it solves is that it provides an affordable multi-effects pedal for those who don’t have the budget to go for higher-end machines.
At only a fifth of the price of heavyweights like the Fractal AX8 and the Line 6 Helix, the Z5N is a tempting deal. Especially considering all the features and capabilities out-of-the-box, I agree with reviewers’ overall rankings.
This processor certainly has its shortcomings, like the lack of Midi input and output. And indeed, some limitations in the way effects link together. However, it’s still a worthy purchase for many musicians. Especially if you’re looking for an affordable multi-effects processor to carry you through your next performance.