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 » Home » Equipment Reviews » Effects » Zoom » GFX-8
Guitar multi-FX processor. Steel chassis. 80 user-editable patches. 9 simultaneous effects.

Specifications:
Effect Program: 69 Types
Effect Module: 4 modules (Drive, Equalizer, Modulation and Delay/Reverb) +Amp Simulator + ZNR(Zoom Noise Reduction)
Sampler Function: Maximum 25 sec. recordable, variable playback speed
Patch Memory: USER 80, PRESET 160, Total 240 Sampling Frequency: 40kHz
A/D Conversion: 20 bit, 64 times oversampling
D/A Conversion: 20 bit, 128 times oversampling
Input: 1/4"monaural phone jack, nominal input level -10dBm input impedance 470k ohms
External Return: 1/4"monaural phone jack, nominal input level -10dBm, input impedance 470k ohms
AUX In: Mini stereo phone jack, input impedance 10k ohms
Output: 1/4"monaural phone jack x 2 (L/MONO, R), nominal output level +4dBm (load impedance 10kohms or more
Headphone Out: 1/4"stereo phone jack
External Send: 1/4"monaural phone jack, nominal output level -10dBm (load impedance 10k ohms or more)
MIDI: IN, OUT (THRU)
Display: 8 digit alphanumeric LED and 2 digit 7 segment LED
Power Requirement: AC 12V 500mA (From supplied AC Adapter AD-0008)
Dimensions: 455(W) x 203(D) x 80(H) mm
Weight: 3.6 Kg
*0dbm=0.775Vrms

MSRP: £299
Retail: N/A
Image: N/A
URL: Zoom
Updated: October 8, 2005

Rate This Item

 » Review posted by R O Tiree on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2005 @ 5:21 PM
General Comments:
Amp models - Fender, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Peavey, Vox AC30, R'fier, etc All these amp models can be tweaked quite nicely to OD. Acoustic sim which is pretty good in the mix. Also in the "Drive" section is the compressor. In the old 707 II, the compressor was separate from the Drive module. Although you can get Comp+OD, for example, with the GFX-8, you lose fine control over both sets of parameters. I got fed up with this and put a Boss CS-3 ahead of the GFX-8. The Fuzz is quite nice, but fairly generic. I got fed up with that as well and built a Big Muff Pi to original specs and put that in the Send/Return loop. The distortion that they used in some of the factory pre-sets is wild, metallic and impossibly harsh. Most reviewers hate them (me included). However, I spent a couple of hours recently playing with all the various settings while our lead guitarist noodled away, stopping to jam for a bit every time we got a "good" sound. That's why it took hours - we found lots of sweet spots. :-D It takes patience to find the sounds you're looking for, but they're in there. The pre-sets are set miles too harsh and that's why some people dismiss them. They've only ever played with the pre-sets and hate them. Use the same amp model and dial it back a bit and it becomes useable. With patience, you {i}can{/i} find levels of distortion and OD on the amp models that sound quite sweet and are eminently useable live. There is a distortion setting on the "Drive" module that is like the worst, harshest, wildest dist pedal you ever heard and never wanted to again. I never use it. I use the amp models instead.

MOD module - Chorus, Vibrato, Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo, Pedal Wah, Auto Wah, talk-box, Slow attack, Delay and BPM Delay all very good and useable. Step - weird. Pitch shift - rubbish, gets all warbly at +1 octave. Ring Mod - horrible. Time Trip - varies the delay time dependant on your pick attack - gimmick and not much use, really. Hold Delay - complex to use and thus prone to error when gigging. Trem + Chorus, Ring Mod + Vibrato (WHY?) again have reduced parameters controllable.

DLY/REV module - Hall and Room-type reverbs - good. Delay + Hall, Delay + Room - reasonable, but reduced parameters. Ping-Pong Delay - fun. Chorus + Delay - reduced params. Echo - Tape echo sim - quite good. Stereo Chorus - good. Auto-pan - fun but useless. Pitch Shift + Delay - applies pitch shift to the delayed signal - weird and warbly when pushed by 1 octave. Bend - bends every note after a user-set delay time by a user-set amount - gets old really quickly... learn to bend notes properly :-D. Jam Play - up to 12 seconds sample and playback (loop, re-trigger, one shot... lots of options) great fun and reasonably easy to do live, with a little practice.

SFX (special FX) module - Sampler - up to 25 seconds sample from either Aux In or Guitar In, playback speed control, pitch compensation (so pitch stays constant at reduced speed...or not, your call). AutoWah + Tremolo - reduced params. Gate Reverb - applies an envelope to reverb, Harmonic Pitch Shift - not intelligent. Twin Pitch Shift - not intelligent. Synth - horrible.

Total module - controls whether amp sim and cabinet sim are on/off. Controls whether expression pedal is a simple volume control or can be assigned to other parameters. Controls which module is switched on/off by the CTRL (Control) pedal. Individual patch levels and names also controlled from here.

Patches are arranged in 20 banks of 4 (user editable) and 40 banks of 4 (pre-sets which cannot be edited and stored, although certain parameters can be edited on the fly. It just forgets what you've done when you change patch or switch off).

Parametric Eq - good.

Expression pedal that can be set to control most parameters. Only one parameter can be assigned for each patch.

And so to build quality... which is awesome. The case is steel. The jack sockets are bolted to the casing so, if you step on a jack, the plug will break before the socket. It is splash resistant so, when your acoustic guitarist gets jiggy and spills his rum and coke on it, all is not lost.

The biggest limitation on this unit is the difficulty of editing using the switches and knobs on the unit itself. Press a button once and the various knobs alter one set of parameters, press it again and they do something else. You have to remember what happens and it is easy to get lost. Thankfully, you can always reject what you've done by pressing the "Edit/Cancel" key again. The computer program supplied on CD, however, is ace. Each module is drawn on screen and a drop- down menu in each one selects the effect you want to alter. The labels on the controls change to the ones you'd expect for that pedal/amp. For example, if you select "Delay", the controls become "Delay Time", "Feedback" (number of times it happens) and "Delay Mix" (set the "wet" level). Select "Chorus" and they change to "Depth", "Rate", "Pre-Delay" and "Mix". Very intuitive, very fast and it happens on the fly, so you instantly hear what you've done.

{b}Overall{/b} OK, there's a lot of negative stuff in there, because those whacky chaps at Zoom have put a load of toys in this thing that are just plain weird. Ring Mod, for example. The pitch shifters are not intelligent and go out of tune and warble at anything much over a fifth above the note you're playing. However, the stuff that is good is very good.

When something better comes along, I'll give it a go but, in the mean time, the pros far outweigh the cons and it is an essential part of my rig.

What do you especially like about this product?
Build quality. Reliability. Sound quality. Computer editing program

What do you dislike about this product?
Trying to edit a patch without the computer. The weird stuff they threw in, like Ring Modulation. Zoom's manual writing skills :-I

Recommended: Yes

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