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lemmywinks

Zoom B1on - quality effects? Alternatives?

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I'm looking to switch to a single compact multi effects unit, has to be small and the effects have to be good quality. Obviously this one caught my eye as it's tiny, however with it being a cheap plastic unit I'm a bit worried about the overall quality of the effects. So....

What's the compression like? At the moment I'm using an EBS Multicomp (blue and black true bypass version) and I like the sound of this - no noise, no loss of low end and sounds natural even at higher settings. How does the Zoom compare?

What is the envelope filter like? Does it do that deep burpy sound (Now Do U Wanta Dance? style) or is it a bit anaemic?

I've watched Dood's review of the X version on YouTube which was good but obviously tries to cover a lot of what the unit can do in a short video so there wasn't much focus on individual sounds. The only Zoom unit I've had before (a cheap thing with an expression pedal) sounded cheap and overly "digital", I would prefer something which sounds similar to using a standard pedal board setup without all the cables and power supplies. And also fits in my gigbag pocket.

Also is there anything similar to this? I'm clueless with multi effects in case you hadn't guessed!

Thanks in advance.

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I've got the zoom for home use and have the EBS compressor as part of a pedal board for gigs. The zoom is amazing for the price, and great for practice and trying out lots of effects types, but there's really no comparison to a good compressor like the EBS - have tried the zoom live and found that my sound seemed to disappear somehow. Lasted a couple of songs and switched back to the EBS set up.

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There's also a few fly rig knock offs that are slightly better layed out, at a lot less money.

I use a zoom ms60b. Metal casing. To my ears, everything except the fuzzes and dirt sound good. And I've gigged it extensively.

Edited by Elfrasho

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I use one all the time but just for varying degrees of overdrive, the EQ and built in tuner, never had any build quality issues and at £45 it's a steal

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The best thing about the B1on is the price. There's nothing that can touch it for the money. It is using ZOOM's last - NOT most recent - generation of modeling algorithms. Though it is very compact and a tremendous value for the money (I've got the B1Xon), the newer B3n sounds a whole lot better in general, but especially in the amp modeling and drive categories. Compressors are fine, but I agree that if you have a fave dedicated hardware compressor, the Zoom comp models might take a bit of tweaking to get close...or you may not like them at all.

For the cheap price, the B1on is worth a try and if you don't like it, it's still great to have lying around as a backup or practice unit (it can be powered via USB brick)...built in rhythm machine, looper, tuner, etc.

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[quote name='jimfist' timestamp='1508551750' post='3392932']
The best thing about the B1on is the price. There's nothing that can touch it for the money. It is using ZOOM's last - NOT most recent - generation of modeling algorithms. Though it is very compact and a tremendous value for the money (I've got the B1Xon), the newer B3n sounds a whole lot better in general, but especially in the amp modeling and drive categories. Compressors are fine, but I agree that if you have a fave dedicated hardware compressor, the Zoom comp models might take a bit of tweaking to get close...or you may not like them at all.

For the cheap price, the B1on is worth a try and if you don't like it, it's still great to have lying around as a backup or practice unit (it can be powered via USB brick)...built in rhythm machine, looper, tuner, etc.
[/quote]

Hey Jimfist - have you had a chance to try out the Zoom MS-60B with the updated Gen 2.0 firmware which now provides 142 (up from 58) effect sims? If so, be interested in getting your thoughts on how that now compares to the B3n in terms of effects modelling (I appreciate it's not going to be in the same league for live performance with just on stomp button vs six (stomp / pedals) on the B3n)?

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1508580875' post='3393048']
Hey Jimfist - have you had a chance to try out the Zoom MS-60B with the updated Gen 2.0 firmware which now provides 142 (up from 58) effect sims? If so, be interested in getting your thoughts on how that now compares to the B3n in terms of effects modelling (I appreciate it's not going to be in the same league for live performance with just on stomp button vs six (stomp / pedals) on the B3n)?
[/quote]

I had the MS-60B years ago, which was a gateway to the B3 that I used for a few years, then the G5n, and finally the B3n. Problem I had with the MS-60B was that I couldn't get my active basses to play nice at the front end input, and it would distort badly no matter how clean I would set the pedal. That, combined with the live switching limitations had me flipping the MS-60B and getting the B3 at my first opportunity, and the B3 never gave me this same problem.

My impressions overall of the B3n (and G3n/G5n) is that overall, across the board, the provided amp models, cab sims, and effects have all benefited (to whatever extent ranging from a little to a LOT) from the new algorithms. I think the "n" series, from a sound standpoint, is quite a step up from the MS60B and B3.

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[quote name='jimfist' timestamp='1508630824' post='3393487']
My impressions overall of the B3n (and G3n/G5n) is that overall, across the board, the provided amp models, cab sims, and effects have all benefited (to whatever extent ranging from a little to a LOT) from the new algorithms. I think the "n" series, from a sound standpoint, is quite a step up from the MS60B and B3.
[/quote]

Thanks JF. I'm completely on board with the B3n being a great piece of kit and a massive step up from the MS-60B with its old firmware and 58 sims to the new one with 142. You mention the new algorithms benefiting all the pedals and I guess my question is has the new firmware on the MS-60B had a significant change on its usability?..But that's probably one for existing MS-60B owners to comment on.

Interested to know why has the sound improved on the "n" series - are they using a new improved chip set as compared to the old B3s and 60Bs?

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I'm a bit of a Zoom fanboy and a proud owner of the Zoom B3. I had the B1on for a while - the sounds were great, but they can be a bit fiddly for live use. If all I needed it for was recording or practicing at home, then I'd still have it, but I sold it on in favour of the B3 which I love. For live use, the B3 is unbeatable, as long as you're not switching between a huge palette of effects in every song. I play in an old school R&B band and an Americana band, so as long as I have easy access to a drive, fuzz, chorus, compression etc, I'm happy. My fave Zoom Multi FX was the B9.1ut which was superb, but it was just a little bit too big for the kind of places we play - especially with a lead singer/guitarist with size 13 feet!

I have a mini pedal board for live use with the B3, my SmoothHound reciever and a two gang power extension with a short, female IEC attached. I just plug in a standard "kettle" lead (i hate having those rather flimsy, (9V leads trailing on stage) and I'm off. A superquick set up and both devices have their own, dedicated PSU with a nice, small footprint.

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I just bought a B1on here and have been playing with it this week. In short, it’s great! I’ve set up a clean patch with my usual settings (pre-amp, reverb, limiter) and it sounds almost as good as my VB99, albeit with a tiny bit more noise. For £25 used, that’s just incredible. Some initial impressions:

+ Tiny, light, battery powered, mostly I’m pleased about the great sounding limiter and the huge range of reverbs which I like. Really like also the chorus and ‘ensamble’ effects. Ideal companion for my mini bass for travelling/playing on the sofa. Feels good quality even though it’s plastic - really doubt I’d ever break it, but if I did, it’s easy to replace! Looper is excellent!

- Can’t get the octaver sounding much good, probably need to experiment. Master vol is buried in the menu system but ok. Haven’t tried the distortions yet because I normally use them alongside octaver so will have to wait on that. Tap tempo would have been nice. Would prefer 35mm headphone socket. Although the unit is very quiet indeed there is a slight digital artefact audiable if listening fir it after a sustaining note - not noticeable in normal playing but it’s there. Compared to my old Pandora and Vox units it’s miles ahead, though. 5 effects at once is usually plenty but it would be nice to have more lined up but turned off. I understand it can’t process more then 5 simultaneously. Instead I’ve cloned my main setting into the first three patches with different effects lined up and ‘off’ but set up. Oh finally engaging pedals in the chain but off is a bit fiddly; I’m used to pressing a single button to engage every effect in the chain in real time.

I feel like a fool saying anything bad about it for the price. It’s amazing! Ok it requires a bit of adjustment in workflow but I actually really enjoy playing with sub menus and editors. I’m looking forward to spending more time with it and getting that octaver right. Also the synths look fun. And the filters. The phasers sound cool too. Lol. 

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3 hours ago, Tubster said:

Ped

with you on the Octaver. Had the 60b where Octaver was a class act but just a hopeless ‘burble’ on the b1on.

Actually playing with it last night I found it vastly improved if you turn the ‘tone’ to zero. Give it a try. Pretty happy with it now. 

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Out of interest what's your opinion on the compression?

 

I actually ended up buying the Fishman Pro Platinum EQ pedal which was more expensive but has a great DI, nice compression and some handy filters. I would still be interested in one of these as a spare to leave in the van, can't really grumble at the price.

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I only use limiters, and find the zoom one fine. It doesn't add any noise and feels very natural. I haven't played with the compressors yet but initial impressions are that they seem quite adjustable. It's good that you can adjust the signal chain and reorder the order of the pedals too. 

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7 hours ago, lemmywinks said:

Out of interest what's your opinion on the compression?

 

I actually ended up buying the Fishman Pro Platinum EQ pedal which was more expensive but has a great DI, nice compression and some handy filters. I would still be interested in one of these as a spare to leave in the van, can't really grumble at the price.

I don't have the B1on but I do have a Zoom MS-60B that I gig with when there isn't room for my full size (but sparsely populated) pedal board. My understanding is that both units share many of the same effect models - a quick glance at the B10n effects list on line suggests that that is the case. When I gig with it I only use the tuner and compressors, my favourite being the M-Comp model. I personally rate it very highly, it gives me a great punchy tone and keeps any signal spikes in check when gigging which is exactly what I'm after. It helps the bass sit perfectly in the mix too. 

I've got no idea which compressor the M-Comp is modelled on but going from the icon on the Zoom interface I'm guessing it's the EBS Multi-comp. Someone mentioned earlier that the Zoom doesn't compete with the EBS but my experience was the opposite - I borrowed a friends EBS Multi-comp and couldn't get on with it, it didn't give me the punch or dynamic control that I want from a compressor. I much prefer the M-Comp on the Zoom - assuming that it is actually modelled after the EBS, that is. 

I have a TCE Spectracomp on my gigging board and I do prefer it to the Zoom compressors, but once the rest of the band fires up (mixture of pop and rock covers with guitar, drums, keys) any subtleties that may be noticeable when it's just the bass playing in isolation are immediately lost. So in that respect, the Zooms offer a massive amount of value considering their cost and is a perfectly viable gigging option. 

I also have a B3 hooked up to my little practice amp in the house and have got some great results with the other compression models too. The only one that I'm not too enamoured with is the Dual Comp which has too much of a mid scooped sound for my tastes, but I imagine it would be great for slapping although it's not something that I have actually tried! 

What are your thoughts on the Fishman Pro Platinum EQ? It looks a great bit of kit. My band has been talking over going over to in ear monitoring and if we ever make the move I'm tempted to give the Fishman a try as it has everything I want in one box. 

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Thanks for the info guys, am I right in thinking the B1on doesn't have a DI out?

 

Osiris the compressor I used on my pedal board was the Multicomp so it's interesting that the Zoom is modelled on it, as an aside which version of the Multicomp did you use? The older version suffers from degradation apparently whereas the new black box version is meant to be much better, this is the version I have. Also did you adjust the trim pots inside the unit? It's a PITA to do but with some active basses you really need to set them up right. Mine sounded awful with my Sire before I found those trim pots.

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2 hours ago, Osiris said:

...I borrowed a friends EBS Multi-comp and couldn't get on with it, it didn't give me the punch or dynamic control that I want from a compressor... 

I think you had exactly the same reaction to the Aguilar TLC which many folk, including me, consider to be pretty good? For what it's worth I struggled to get any effective compression from my B3n and preferred the Aguilar TLC to the Zoom B3n by some margin. I'm looking forward to seeing if the patches on the MS-60B are any better following the firmware update and how they both stack up to the MXR M87 comp, I've just recently managed to get my hands on.

2 hours ago, Osiris said:

...I have a TCE Spectracomp on my gigging board and I do prefer it to the Zoom compressors, but once the rest of the band fires up (mixture of pop and rock covers with guitar, drums, keys) any subtleties that may be noticeable when it's just the bass playing in isolation are immediately lost... 

As you've rightly said elsewhere, compression is one of the most subtle effects. I think you've highlighted above very well a key concern that many folk have, which is that in a band context the use of a compressor becomes so subtle as to be pointless. A criticism not easily levelled at just about any other effect be it dirt, filter, delay etc. And I guess perhaps one of the reasons why the use (or not) of compressors divides opinion amongst us bassists so much?

1 hour ago, lemmywinks said:

Thanks for the info guys, am I right in thinking the B1on doesn't have a DI out?

Nor does the B3n or MS-60B. The Zoom B3, however, does which I think folk are starting to appreciate (having seen the FS prices of B3s go back up from £70 to around £95 more recently on this forum!)

Edited by Al Krow

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I've tried a B3 but found it not easy to switch between patches, I couldn't find a way of doing it with a single operation of the footswitch (although there may be a way I've just not found), that and the size meant I went back to the B1on

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35 minutes ago, lemmywinks said:

Thanks for the info guys, am I right in thinking the B1on doesn't have a DI out?

 

Osiris the compressor I used on my pedal board was the Multicomp so it's interesting that the Zoom is modelled on it, as an aside which version of the Multicomp did you use? The older version suffers from degradation apparently whereas the new black box version is meant to be much better, this is the version I have. Also did you adjust the trim pots inside the unit? It's a PITA to do but with some active basses you really need to set them up right. Mine sounded awful with my Sire before I found those trim pots.

I didn't know that there were different versions of the EBS pedal, but looking online there does appear to be at least 2 different models. The one I borrowed was the one with the blue stripe graphics like this one, (not the black wiggly line through the blue box like the other one) which is presumably the older of the 2? I tried all of the different modes on the EBS with a variety of active and passive basses and spent an hour or more fiddling about with the internal trim pots. I just couldn't get a sound out of it that I liked - I like subtle compression but the EBS was too subtle for me and didn't have the punch or dynamic control that I like. 

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4 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

I've tried a B3 but found it not easy to switch between patches, I couldn't find a way of doing it with a single operation of the footswitch (although there may be a way I've just not found), that and the size meant I went back to the B1on

Yes, it can be done easily. See page 10 of the manual.

Hope this helps :)

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That's why I prefer a limiter - you get all the punch and none of the spikes.

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7 minutes ago, Osiris said:

Yes, it can be done easily. See page 10 of the manual.

Hope this helps :)

I did try this but you have to hold down footswitch 1 for a second or 2 to go into this mode, then I had trouble with some of the effects being turned off, with the B1on it's permanently in this mode so much simpler, for what I use it for anyway, I've lent it to a friend at the moment I'll have another play when I get it back, I got it because some said the effects were better than the B1on but I didn't find this, not the ones I use anyway

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