Is the zoom b3 really worth buying?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by lowsmatter, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. lowsmatter


    Dec 8, 2013
    Seems like the whole might not be greater than the sum of its parts. I'm looking for high quality octave, chorus, compression and a bit of grit to enhance my carvin bx500, fEARful 15/6 & 15 sub rig.

    I don't own any pedals.

    When you consider that an EBS octabass runs $160. A Boss OC-3 runs $130. MXR M288 is $150. How can zoom furnish all that the b3 has and still end up with comparable sound quality?

    Adding decent chorus pedal like the mxr chorus deluxe would be $170.
  2. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Twin Cities, MN
    The B3 is a great pedal. It does a lot of things well. The compressor models are not a strength, but it can handle peak limiting and some basic squeeze well enough. All of the sounds you are looking for are available.
  3. .
    IMO the Zoom B3 has ok Octaver effects, good enough for the few times I need octaves anyway. There are focused Octave pedals out there that do the job a lot better no doubt. (The Pitch Shifter of the B3 actually works better as an octaver than the Octave effect.)

    It has excellent chorus effects IMO.

    Compressors work well enough for me.

    The amp sims are it's real strength, this is where you'd get your grit from.

    Maybe buy a second hand B3 and try it out?
    You should at least get your money back if you don't like it.
    (I doubt you'll be selling it once you fall in love with it!)
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    It's compression and distortion models are a weak point to my ears. Its amp sims, and modulation effects, specifically the choruses and envelope filters, are really good. The delays are nice and allow for tap tempo. The reverbs are decent, but not amazing. I didn't really care for the synths, but I'm not really a synth guy, so I'm not a good judge for that.
  5. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    Well worth it, get one.
  6. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    most individual stomps are not programmable with presets. If an owner can find only a handful of useable emulated stomp/fx in the B-3 (of the dozens provided) then it is a worthy purchase. If you expect boutique quality from a $199 multi-stomp pedal, then IMHO that's just an unrealistic comparison. If you have very specific needs, then the B-3 may or may not be the pedal for you, especially if you lack the patience (and sometimes knowledge & skill) to tweak the unit for best sound performance.

    For example, sometimes putting a drive stomp or amp model in front of a Pitch shifting effect or synth can greatly enhance the tracking. YMMV.

    It absolutely outperforms its price point IMHO.

    What you do get with the B-3 is three "virtual" stomp locations, a built in tuner, a looper and a basic drum machine, with an XLR out for use as a DI feed. You can't expect an inexpensive pedal to go toe-to-toe with, for example, it's real life amp/preamp or rack compressor counterpart. However, you can get solid, reasonable and very usable sounds of all types with this pedal. I was pleasantly surprised once I started tweaking the presets. I got mine scratch 'n dent for $149 delivered to my door, full warranty. I use it both with and without cabinet emulations. With my SVT 8x10 cab, powered by a Crown xti4002, the experience is very comparable to the real deal, and the amp grit and other basic chorus, tremolo, flange effects are quite satisfying. Again, YMMV.
  7. JUST unboxed mine,gonna try it,I hear decent things,and I found a stupid good deal on the B3+a MXR power brick new on the Bay,couldnt turn down the offer,I am actually gonna start a thread on how to hook all my stuff together,dont want to clutter up your thread,stop by and help a brother out, (I will be back with a follow up to this B3 being any good question) ;-)
  8. NoxNoctus

    NoxNoctus The Crushinator

    May 9, 2004
    Annapolis, MD
    Think of it as a Swiss Army Knife. Has most of everything you'd need and does a lot of those things quite well, but of course there's going to be things out there that are better for the job. For the price and the space it takes up, I don't see myself getting rid of it any time soon. For my setup, I have all of my must-haves in individual stompboxes that exceed what the B3 sounds incredible at, but the other things, like a touch of reverb here, a stacked distortion there, delay, modulation, bit crusher...I've got a giant toybox filled with things I couldn't justify owning a dedicated pedal for.

    As touched on in the above posts, for the price you get 3 effects at a time if you want, tuner, looper, drum machine, di, USB i/o device, headphone/out, expression pedal input...thats a pretty beefy skill set considering most decent pedals go for $150 and do 1 just one specific thing very well.
  9. To answer your question more succinctly...

  10. LSMFT6

    LSMFT6 Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    I like mine for my trio side-project. My main board is all pedals, but the B3 definitely gets the job done if you want your basic bases covered without the hassle of a full-size board. I generally like the sounds and the amount of control you get is really nice. Recommended.
  11. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    It's worth it.
  12. Thunder_Fingers


    Jun 24, 2004
    I have one that I use for everything at home and put in the Clean Loop of my EBS Billy Sheehan OD pedal at rehersals and shows. The distortions leave me wanting some (Might be that I go through a stereo at home for the moment though, when not at home I have the EBS wich I love and does both compression and Overdrive for me..)

    The B3 sounds great, and give me great controll over the Bottom-end in my pedalboard.

    I say yeah, It is totaly worth it.
  13. LowBC

    LowBC Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2008
    Builder, chief cook and bottle washer: / store manager at Music Go Round (Denver)
    The B3 is a very usable tool for all of the reasons outlined above. I liked the way mine sounded but had to dump it because my big dumb size 13 feet would hit two buttons when I just wanted to hit one to add an effect to the bridge!!

    So my vote is DO IT, unless you have big feet and will want to change tones mid-song while running around on stage like an idiot/me.

    good luck!
    DanielSkilberg likes this.
  14. HI

    i got mine months ago & couldn't be happier.

    if you're not looking for ultra boutique/high-end effects ( each costing easily as much or more than the B3.. ) you'll be more than pleased w/ it, minus the rat's nests pedalboards usually are w/ tons of patch cables, power supplies, etc...

    1 - VERY decent USB interface w/ basic but easy software to tweak it on your computer..
    2 - VERY decent effects/sound quality - even if there ARE lots you won't ever use..
    3 - built-in tuner
    4 - sturdy build & compact
    5 - Looper - even if limited..
    6 - VERY user friendly interface - think of it as three pedals side by side

    i could go on & on & still not do it full justice….

    i got mine from dv247 in the UK w/ a 3 year warranty thrown in for free - same as or - an absolute steal...
  15. Voss451


    Mar 2, 2009
    I just got one recently and I must say it's a HUGE step up from the B2. I have to agree with the others that there are probably a lot of effects that you'll never use but for the price, you're getting a usb interface, looper and close to 100 effects that surely anyone can find at least a dozen or so that they'll use.

    Like everyone has been saying, the fuzz/od pedals are no substitute for the real thing but if it were, it would probably cost over $1,000 like an Axe-Fx.
  16. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I will preface my review by saying I bought mine used, basically NIB, for $100 CDN. For that price it is fantastic to have around the house, I would be a little more hesitant to buy one new, but they are great for some folks. I will also add I have definitely not used all the effects and have not used all the features. I have not used the effects in the mix, I would not imagine most of them cutting.

    -Modeling, some others really like it but I think the modelling is average, I would take my Roland MicroCube models over it in a heartbeat. I would trust it for my tone live but I think I would opt for something better in studio.
    -ODs are all fairly mediocre, I have found one I don't mind out of the many, the Sansamp knockoff
    -Chorus seems pretty decent, seem to be the best effects in the bunch
    -Synths tracks surprisingly well, much better than my old SYB-5
    -Comps seem pretty meh but I am not the best compressor reviewer
    -Delays are alright, have barely touched them though
    -Lots of oddball effects you will probably never use or want to use, but some pretty far out ones in there.
    -Built in tuner and drum machine/metronome are fantastic to have around
    -Looper is nice to have even if it is average

    I would never swap this thing out for my usual pedalboard. My usual pedalboard consists of a Diamond Compressor, a Darkglass B3k, and a TC Electronics Polytune, so I am admittedly a little spoiled.

    Hope that helps OP.
  17. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    Best value for your money. No other pedal can beat the amount of features and functionality that the B3 has at this price point.
  18. tatertom


    Dec 9, 2012
    Fairfield, CT
    A general question to B3 users: Do you turn off the cabinet simulator when playing through an amp?

    I'd using the pre-sets with my Peavey amp set flat.

    I love this device but I'm overwhelmed and I'd like a starting point to create my own patches.


  19. Voss451


    Mar 2, 2009
    I haven't really used the amp sims that much but going direct, I have the cabs off and find it sounds better.

    I have a VT Bass pedal and a Danelectro Overdrive that I use with it and have had very good results with the "Bottom BB" and "Bass B" effects to fine tune things a bit. I guess the thing with 'budget' mfx units is that people can't get their expectations too high. One can easily get a few Boss or MXR single effect pedals that can outshine what is on the B3 but the thing is, that given the price, sometimes 'close' is good enough.

    For the most part I agree with your assessment though, the "drives" are pretty weak and a lot of the filters and synths are not a commonly used effect. Between the reverbs, choruses and the looper, I think it earns it's price tag in the end.