Effects pedals for guitars have been with us for quite a while; in fact, it was 1948 when the first mass-produced pedal was manufactured. It was a very basic Tremolo but caused quite a stir.
Can you imagine what those people who stared in amazement at that tremolo would say if they were confronted with the pedal in this Zoom G3Xn Guitar Multi-Effects Processor review? They would probably consider it a close encounter of the effected kind!
It wasn’t long before other pedals arrived…
Then we had pedalboards. Inevitably though, with a range of pedals that included making the tea, there wasn’t enough room for them all. You know what guitar players are like. With bass players, one or two pedals will do. With guitar players, they have to have a pedal for everything. And with some, a mirror for the makeup.
Then someone thought, let’s put them all in one box.
Say hello to the multi-effects processor…
Now before people start jumping up and down, let us start by saying that the best stomp pedals will always produce a better sound than even a high-end multi-effects processor. But if you like mixing sounds, or want to instantly change a number of pedals simultaneously, or need a lot of different sounds for different parts of songs, then a multi-effect is the better option.
But before we take a look at this G3Xn Multi-Effects Processor, who are Zoom?
Founded in Tokyo in 1983, they initially broke through into sound development as a support to other manufacturers.
In 1990 the first Zoom product was released onto the market. A simple guitar effects processor that was clipped onto the guitar strap. Its success brought other Zoom products. Today Zoom produces its own range of respected guitar effects pedals, multi-effects units, drum machines, and samplers.
In less than 40 years, Zoom has become a big player. Known for their innovative and creative designs, they are still one of the most affordable products you can find. So, let’s take a look at one of their processors.
Zoom G3Xn Guitar Multi-Effects Processor – An Overview
Zoom has attempted what many thought would be a difficult call. To create a unit that had all the power and variety of modern effects. Then place them in a single unit but still make it feel like a single pedal. For many, the Zoom G3Xn has become their go-to machine for tone.
Guitar effects, amp and speaker simulations are included as are three big display screens — all with footswitches to make it feel like a stompbox. To increase the possibilities and the realism, there are separate controls for effects and amp modeling. Extras include a looper, drum patterns, sends for a PA, a built-in expression pedal, as well as a tuner.
Guitar players want variety. Nothing wrong with that, but to achieve a special sound from so many options takes more than a standard pedalboard can handle. With all the variations of amps cabinets and effects, this could be the answer.
So, let’s take a closer look…
The Design and Build
Maybe someone at Zoom wants to use the same build ideas that they do at Boss. This is a tough build that is going to take a lot of use and never complain. For what is actually built into this time machine, it has a reasonably compact footprint. It measures 12.52 by 7.13 by 2.52 inches and weighs in at four pounds. That is smaller than a lot of pedalboards, especially these days.
It has a tough metal build, which gives it a good tough feel and is going to protect it. To ensure it will take a few knocks, Zoom has used good quality buttons and knobs for the controls.
Not the smoothest…
If there is a weak point, which it seems unnecessary to mention, it is the expression pedal. It isn’t what you might call the smoothest you will ever feel. However, it is sturdy and stable and isn’t going to go anywhere. When you buy the Zoom G3Xn, there is an AC adapter along with something you are definitely going to need – the user manual.
The build and materials are impressive. Let’s move on…
One thing that often stands out with effects processors like this is the quality of the controls. They are not always as good as they could be. That doesn’t apply here. They are well made of good materials and going to last. And because of the design of the unit, you can tweak them in real-time to make any necessary sound adjustments.
There is something very reassuring about adjusting dial-like control knobs and hearing the difference. This is one of the units’ feelgood factors.
Feels like a row of pedals…
There are three editing displays and an intuitive interface. To give you that stompbox feeling under your foot, there are three stompbox-like switches so you can instantly call up effects.
The autosave function allows you to save your patch parameters, and as we have already mentioned, an onboard tuner. It carries all the standard tunings for the guitar, including open and drop. There is also a tap tempo control that has a dedicated footswitch.
We mentioned the three footswitches. Each can handle one effects pedal individually, but you can then set up a chain of effects.
All-encompassing and well-laid out…
As we pointed out, it is a good job that there is an instruction manual. This covers basic and more complex operations. But for the simple things, setting up the sound for each effect and then chaining them together, it is easy to do.
It has been built and designed with both studio and live use in mind.
When asked what it contains, it is probably easier to say what it doesn’t. However, let’s take a look at some of the basic and the expected effects.
Built-in, there are 68 high-quality effects plus rhythm and looper pedals. All the usual options are included — overdrive and distortion, as well as delay, reverb, and chorus. There are also EQ, compression, flanging, and phasing. The list goes on.
Add some rhythm…
The stereo or mono looper will give you up to 80 seconds of recording. The almost 70 built-in rhythm patterns can be used with the looper — quite a selection. And, of course, when you start to combine the effects, you can create some amazing sounds. Be ready for a few late nights.
However, it contains more than just effects; there are the emulators. Five amps and five cabinet emulations are available. From the UK stack to the US combo, you can call up what rig you want. There are also 75 built-in patches that have been custom designed.
Seven in a row…
You can chain together up to seven options for effects, amps or cabinets in any order. The expression pedal is the final touch. And this gives you an extra resource for controlling volume, tone, and other selected parameters.
There are two inputs, a ¼ inch for an instrument and ⅛ inch aux in. There are also two outputs. Both are ¼ inch, and one is for the main out and the other for headphones. There is, of course, MIDI I/O, a micro-B, and a USB connection. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
Zoom G3Xn Guitar Multi-Effects Processor Review Pros and Cons
- Lots of effects and emulations to choose from.
- Good sound quality for the price.
- Simple to use in its basic form.
- Incredibly affordable.
- Expression pedal could have a smoother action.
- Not the easiest to navigate if you want to get deep.
Looking for some superb compact pedals?
If you’re not quite sure that a multi-effects processor is the best option, then check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Flanger Pedal, the Best Tremolo Pedals, the Best Reverb Pedal, the Best Octave Pedals, the Best EQ Pedals, and the Best Phaser Pedals you can buy.
You may also need one of the Best Guitar Pedal Boards to put them all on?
Zoom G3Xn Guitar Multi-Effects Processor Review Conclusion
What we think?
One of the problems with this type of equipment is that when you look at it for the first time, it can be confusing. It is capable of so much that you have to pull back. Then take a look at what it can do in some chosen areas.
Covering its basic attributes, it has a very strong build, which is ideal for live work as well as the less demanding studio. The controls need to be understood, but when you have mastered them, it is easy to call up what you need.
The three screens are very useful and give you a real interaction to the unit that some processors don’t have. Also, the three ‘stompbox’ buttons are not only efficient, but they give it an air of realism.
So many options…
There are plenty of effects and options onboard to make it interesting. We have to say that when comparing this processor with individual compact effects pedals, the pedals produced a better sound. However, that was not the case when some of the effects were chained together. This processor scores heavily in that area.
And of course, how many pedals would you have littering the stage to have the same amount of tech available. You just couldn’t do it. This processor scores again.
If we want to be negative, there is a learning curve. You can’t avoid that, and the expression pedal could have had a smoother action. That is a very minor issue, though, and most won’t be bothered about it.
It is all good, but perhaps up to this point, we have not taken into account the matter that could well clinch the deal.
Yes, the price of this amazing processor is less than you might pay for just two of the effects that are included within it if you were to buy individual pedals.
It really is a very good processor that’s packed with good sounds and enough options for anyone to find what they are looking for inside. You won’t use all the effects. You may not even like some of them. But those you do like and use will more than justify what you spend.
You may have guessed by now, we like it and think it is worth every penny.
Happy noise manipulation.