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Alternative to zoom b3 multi effects for gigs

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by No Mistkaes, Apr 4, 2018.


  1. No Mistkaes

    No Mistkaes

    Mar 26, 2018
    Hi everyone,

    I have a zoom b3 multi effects pedal which I really enjoy using for creating tones but I struggle with it for gigs because of the variation in volume across patches - when I switch patches some are much louder or quieter than others. I've tried to fix it by varying the levels of the effects within each individual patch but it's still far from satisfactory.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a multi effect pedal that doesn't have this problem? Any other suggestions for solutions?

    For context I play in a cover band that plays everything from Michael Jackson to Muse and i have about five tones that I switch between.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The B3 does not have this problem. You have a volume level setting within each patch (NOT in the pedal slots) that is there specifically for the purpose of level matching. Do you know where this setting is?
     
    mbelue and TwentyHz like this.
  3. QuickNasty

    QuickNasty

    Jul 29, 2012
    I sold my Zoom gear after trying a Boss GT-1B and can't see myself needing more.
    The patch volumes are very consistent.
     
    mbelue and dralionux like this.
  4. No Mistkaes

    No Mistkaes

    Mar 26, 2018
    Yes, I've adjusted the volume of each patch to get them to match but they still have a noticeable difference in volume. Unless I'm looking at the wrong thing.
     
  5. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    It should be this (below). No matter how you cut it, it is not the fault of the device that presets are not balanced to your liking when you switch them [edit: for presets that are custom made vs. stock factory]. This is generally true no matter what device you use that features user-configurable presets with adjustable volume. You and only you can make the necessary changes to put them back into balance. The best place to do this is in context, at a rehearsal with your band. If you can't gronk that, then I don't know what to tell you. Learning the proper techniques associated with patch creation gain structure is a 'must-have' skill when you're using multi-fx devices with presets, and regardless of the price of the unit, you still have to do this homework.



    upload_2018-4-4_12-10-7.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    LowActionHero and bfields like this.
  6. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    So, are you saying that it is impossible to balance patches on a B3? There are scores of B3 users out there that never had that problem, myself included.

    I'm glad you found what you wanted in the GT-1B, but I hardly believe that somehow magically all of the presets, stock or otherwise, are perfectly balanced on the unit...but...if you say so.
     
  7. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    What are you saying, exactly? Are you just matching the digit values, or are you using your ears, or going into a channel strip of a mixing board or DAW to use their meters to assist in the task? If you ARE using your ears to adjust the volumes and they still don't match when you're switching, then obviously they cannot be matched well enough, otherwise you wouldn't have this problem, would you? So you adjust again, audition, and repeat until the levels between the patches satisfy you.

    Yes, getting it right can be a pain in the butt.
     
    el murdoque likes this.
  8. QuickNasty

    QuickNasty

    Jul 29, 2012
    The OP asked a question about alternatives and I answered it based in my experiences.

    I'm saying that out of the box, the boss is substantially more usable and balanced.
    Obviously with any electronic device with knobs you have option for customizing settings. The zoom is no different in that regard lol. It is very inconsistent out of the box though, almost obnoxiously so to the point of potential damage to speakers at high volume.

    I appreciate the boss' stock patch volume settings. Which seems to be on point with what the OP was asking about.
     
    HolmeBass likes this.
  9. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    It's annoying. I have a g5n I've been playing with and when you add an amp/cab or choose practically any stock patch the volume practically doubles. I've been meaning to go through all patches and normalize them but haven't had the time to do it.
     
  10. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Where does it say that the OP is using only the stock supplied presets? Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. What he does say is that he's using it for CREATING tones (see highlighted below). Perhaps a clarification is in order by the OP, and happy to stand corrected if in fact this is only about stock patches.

    And I'm part of the "other suggestions for solutions" discussion, and suggest that the OP get familiar with learning how to balance presets, if for no other reason than it stands to be a recurring issue, generally.

     
  11. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I will agree that manufacturers could do a better job with their stock presets, but this is generally a problem not isolated to just Zoom in my experience. And yes, I've actually used Boss units in the past where the preset levels and such were all over the place, too. Great, maybe Boss did a better job at preset leveling the GT-1B than Zoom, and if something like that really, really agitates you, then by all means make your life better by using something else that you think solves that problem.

    Personally, I've never put any faith in utilizing a stock preset from any piece of gear, and I always make sure that when I'm going through presets to audition gear, that the level is low enough so that gear and hearing aren't damaged. From there, I ALWAYS create my own presets and pay close attention to gain structure through the patch vs. bypass. For me, personally, this is just S.O.P., and I'm sure that not everybody does things the way I do, for better or worse, no matter.

    JMHO, YMMV.
     
  12. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    I don't use any presets but it would be nice if I took the time to normalize all presets so that when I do pass by a stock preset my level isn't going up and down.
    For me a bigger problem is the device changing presets when trying to fine another preset.
    I'd like it if it stayed on the preset I'm on until I selected another.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    HolmeBass likes this.
  13. QuickNasty

    QuickNasty

    Jul 29, 2012
    @jimfist
    I didn't comment on this thread to have a ridiculous nitpicking argument with you about your zoom protectionist views.
    I didn't realize the zoom police were out today. You may have the free time for fruitless, pointless arguments bound to go nowhere, but I don't.


    So with that, I'll just reiterate that I prefer the boss for multiple reasons including but not limited to the patch volume levels.
    It's a good alternative to the zoom unit.
    Simple as that, no discussion necessary.

    Good day sir
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
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  14. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    this?

    upload_2018-4-4_13-27-11.
     
  15. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    Appreciated. Device is pretty new to me so while I assumed there was a way to solve the issue, I haven't put in the time to figure it out.
    Thanks for taking the time!
     
    jimfist likes this.
  16. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Congratulations!
     
  17. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource

    Dec 28, 2012
    The only balance problems I've had with my Zoom is when I run it through the effects loop it overdrives the crap out of my amp.

    Running the bass into the pedal into the amp sounds a little different but I have no clipping issues and the pedal's gain controls do what I expect them to do.
     
  18. xnewyorka

    xnewyorka Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    NYC Area
    I recommend using a small handheld sound pressure level meter to balance the levels of all of the presets. They are not very expensive, I probably paid $30 or $40 for mine at RadioShack back when they existed. It works great for all kinds of things, including this application.
     
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  19. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yes, any tool that helps to reference relative volume levels is really useful.

    The big-boy modeler I'm most familiar with is the Fractal AxeFxII, which I owned for years and spent much time programming. A common request was for such a leveling meter built into the AxeFx so that users could get their patches, clean/dirty/rhythm/lead tones appropriately balanced. It was an important enough request that they did do a firmware update that included this metering system. IIRC it was a weighted metering that made balancing clean vs. dirty a lot easier, and it works very well. For those who home-brew their own preset patches, level matching is a big deal and proper metering makes the task much less daunting.
     
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  20. oldcatfish

    oldcatfish

    Jan 8, 2011
    My point of view is as a guitar player that started the opposite way that most players go...I started with individual pedals, then eventually transitioned to multi-effect pedals. I learned a lot about the problems and advantages of each in gig situations.

    In my opinion, people approach the whole concept wrong. Instead of trying to switch to widely different settings/patches in a gig, you need to approach it like a gigging player with a wide variety of individual effect pedals would. What I mean is, you need to set a single base tone/sound that you like, then have different effect combinations of that sound. For example using a B3...instead of a patch with an SVT simulation with a flanger on channel one, then changing to a GK simulation with a chorus on another--you need to choose one of the simulations and have a different effects on just that. The more you change, the harder it is to balance....and sound engineers hate when you do that.

    If you crave the variety you can set up several different base tones...but only use one on each gig.

    This is just my opinion, based on my experience, and it only applies to live gigs. Recording situations are different.
     
    easyj, mexicanyella and jimfist like this.

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