Zoom G5n Multi Effects Processor Review
The Zoom G5n is the companies flagship multi-effects processor; a feature-rich unit offering models of classic amps, cabs, effects, that can be programmed and recalled with the simple stomp on a foot switch.
There are 100 factory presets, 200 slots of user-created presets, amp and effect controls and parameters that can be tweaked to taste, tap tempo function, tuner, looper and a rhythm machine. The G5n features 2 rows of foot switches, a pedal that can act as a volume, wah or expression pedal for control of various effect parameters in real time, and a number of connections for connecting to amps, computers, mixing desks or powered speakers. When connected to an amp it is possible to simply run the G5n as a collection of pedals and bypass the amp modelling if so desired. If you desired to use it into an amp with full modelling still active, using the fx return in the amp’s loops would be the best option. However there are no MIDI ports; neither is there an fx-loop for patching a favourite analog pedal into the signal chain.
The USB port allows the unit to be connected to a computer and act as the audio interface for recording in mono or stereo. Zoom also offers a software librarian for adding patches and rearranging the order of effects. It does not allow the use to actually create a patch from within the software when the unit is connected. This is a shame, as editing on a computer screen can be far more intuitive and far easier than on a multi-effects unit itself.
As with most effects units, the factory presets shipped with the unit do not necessarily sound the best. Often the designers aim to show off too many effects at once, or fail to tweak the parameters to recreate a sound closer to a classic analog amp or pedal they are attempting to emulate. The G5n is no different in this regard. But after playing with the unit and creating my own patch I was pleasantly surprised at how useable the tone was and also reminded as to how far modelling has come. The G5n did not posses the same nuances that something such as the Line 6 Helix can offer, nor the dynamic range, but such comparisons are quite unfair as the units are located in vastly different price points. For the price the G5n does offer a some very good tonal options (especially with the effects), as well as very regular updates to the unit’s capabilities, and for some players this is all they will need.