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Is There Life After the Zoom B3?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by lat, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    My first foray into the world of bass effects was the Zoom B3. At the time, it was a GREAT investment and I don't at all regret getting it.

    Four years later, now that I've grown as a bass player and know more about what I want and don't want in a pedal setup, I'm beginning to feel somewhat constrained by the B3.

    It all started with the tuner component. I am finding it more and more annoying, having to press and wait for a couple of seconds before it mutes. Would much rather have a separate tuner that engages and mutes immediately upon being stomped. Not a massive deal, but when on stage, a couple of seconds can seem like an eternity...

    The tuner was the proverbial hole in the dyke. Now, I'm beginning to rethink how happy I am with the effects that I use on the B3, namely:

    MComp / 160 Comp
    Octave / Mono Pitch
    Bass Muff
    Arena Reverb
    Bass BB / Bottom B (not really necessary)
    Flanger (not really necessary)
    Vibrato (not really necessary)

    I know the cost difference between the B3 and individual pedals tells me to shut up and be happy with the B3, but now that the B3n is out, along with things like the GT-1B, I am gassing a bit for an upgrade / change.

    So, the question to myself is, should I go for a setup like Tuner, Compressor, Octaver, Distortion, Reverb or go for an upgrade to the B3, or just be content with my current lot in life?

    Yes, the answer is "It depends" on what my specific circumstances are.

    My question to you fine folks is, what has your experience been?
    Anyone out there evolve away from the B3 and have any comments to share?
    Did you regret opening up this Pandora's box, or in your experience is the improvement in sound, customizability, immediate access to controls worth the added expense?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  2. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    Oh, I should add my stage setup is as follows:

    Profile Black Magic P-bass clone with SD 1/4 pounder upgrade, Hamer Korean Cruise Bass (J-bass clone), Schecter Blackjack ATX C-4

    Zoom B3

    GK 1001RBII head
    Rolls RPQ160b - Parametric Equalizer (rackmount)

    Traynor 410 NEO cab
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
    Iristone, murphy, Pbassmanca and 2 others like this.
  3. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    Individual pedals are not just expense. There's also a lot of hassle: choosing and ordering, wiring everything, proper noise-free power, a pedal-board, space and weight, etc etc.

    I'd say - try a few and see if you really want to go down that road.

    Also, you can combine the B3 with other effects. It isn't an all-or-noting deal.
    Kitsune506, Guiseppe, neuman and 9 others like this.
  4. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    It sounds like you'd may be happier with single pedals as the "little things" are annoying you. Most multis that I've played almost all have that "hold for tuner" feature because the foot switch that its on is usually a multi use foot switch. I know live, that could be annoying. However, to me, that is such a little thing it's not even a consideration for me. If you were to upgrade from the B3, I can't recommend the Line 6 HX Effects enough. I know after playing mine for the better part of a year then plugging in my ms60b one day, I couldn't believe how bad it sounded compared to the HXFX. The Zoom stuff is great for the price though. I'll give it that. The HX sounds natural to me. The drives, the compression, the modulation, the delay, it all sounds great. Plus it's got almost any and every effect you'd ever need or want. So IMO, there most certainly is life after the B3 in another multi.

    OTOH, if you were to go single pedals, yes it would be more expensive. But it could possibly make your life on stage a lot easier and less frustrating. Single pedals allow for 1-stop-stomps on and off in an instant. This could be desirable for someone who doesn't' want to fuss with menus and routing and all that. It's giving you exactly what you see. But then, I've become so familiar with the HX at this point, I can pretty adjust and engage with the pedal quite quickly and easily.

    I know in my case, I integrate both approaches into my board. I use the HX for mod, delay, trem, tuner, signal blending, effects loops, octave, and comp. That sits right in the middle of my board and it's surrounded by my dirt pedals, preamps, wah and whammy. I'm very happy with this setup. So it's something to think about. But to me, it almost sounds like you want to go to single pedals.
  5. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Also a really good point. If you find a fav single pedal(s), don't be afraid to add to a board. Plop the B3 on a board with a Boss TU3 and see if that gets you happier. Who knows, maybe it will. But if you're happy with the sound quality of the B3 and the tuner mute is one of the main things bothering you, get a board and a TU3 or a Poly Tune and slap them on there together. Done ;)
    Kitsune506 and BrentSimons like this.
  6. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    For playing live I don’t like the possibility of a single failure disabling my tuner and my octaver, and my overdrive, etc. So that’s a reason for me to shy away from all-in-one boxes.

    And I like their independence in terms of controllability.

    Good luck!
    matante, BrentSimons and larryatravis like this.
  7. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    If your can live without the DI out and audio interface, I'd recommend the upgrade to the B3n.

    Many of the effects are almost the same, but the octaver and amps in particular are a lot better, plus you have a dead ringer Darkglass B7K clone as well as a Blueberry.
  8. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    Yes, I neglected to mention the third option... add single pedals as needed to complement the B3. I've toyed with the idea of getting a Boss TU-3 to stop me whining about accessing the Zoom tuner (plus it's more accurate). But, I could just put that money into another multi-effects pedal such as the Line6 HX (Thanks for the lead, @gregmon79 )...

    Not really leaning toward individual pedals... Let's just say I am intrigued by the possibilities they present, but am equally wary of the pitfalls of moving over to what appears to be greener grass, only to find snakes (in the form of patch cables) lurking there... hmm...
    Kitsune506, Thumpr, red_rhino and 3 others like this.
  9. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I hear you man. I know IME, I've been messing with pedals non stop for over 7 years. I now believe that there really isn't much out there that's "better" than "this" or "that". If you Google pro players boards, you will see a huge amount of Boss pedals, EHX pedals, a lot of boards with just 3 or 4 pedals and a switcher on it. What I'm trying to say is, do what is going to best suite you for your band your situation. It sounds like you're happy overall with the exception of the tuner on the B3 and really you're just curious to see if there's something better out there. That feeling never goes away. It ebbs and flows, sometimes it's GAS inducing craziness, but it's always there.

    I'd suggest if you can afford it, replace your B3 with the HX. If you're happy with the B3 I think you'd be over the moon with the HX. You still need to hold the switch on it for the tuner. But it's a great tuner at that. Plus I think the HX has more routing and blending functionality than the B3. It plain offers more and sounds better. But if you can't really spend much, I'd just grab a good tuner and throw it on a board with the B3.

    Do you use a board right now or do you just lay the B3 on the floor??
    smeet and larryatravis like this.
  10. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    I lay it on the floor. Nice and simple. But, making a board with a power supply would be a fun little project. Once that is done, though, there is really no appreciable difference in complexity of setup, just some extra bulk / weight...
    gregmon79 likes this.
  11. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    Yeah, the immediate access to controls on each effect would be nice. I started out on an active bass where I could set and forget the controls to achieve a specific sonic goal. Now that I have added J and P bass clones, the effects sound quite different on each bass flavour... quick access to make changes on the fly would be nice. Avoiding a single point of failure is also something worth considering, although I have a snark clip-on for backup and could always plug directly into the amp in a worst case scenario...
  12. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    I use my B3 and a Boss Tuner Pedal for playing live. For recording, that's a completely different conversation.
    meatwad and larryatravis like this.
  13. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue Secretly Queen of the Moon Supporting Member

    Get a second B3 and chain them together.

  14. I own the B3, B3n anf GT-1b.

    If you don't need the drum machine, get the Boss :)
    QuickNasty, matante and larryatravis like this.
  15. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    ...or get two more and have a 3B3 ... yowza!
    pbass74 and TheReceder like this.
  16. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    This has been in the back of my mind... daisy-chaining the power from the Boss tuner would keep it nice and simple. Did you bother with a board or just on the floor?
    meatwad and gregmon79 like this.
  17. DanGroove

    DanGroove Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    I can't second the recommendation of the HX FX enough. I use a full Helix, and it is phenomenal. The ease of programming is light years ahead of anything from prior generations and the models actually sound like the real deal. I replaced my entire rig and use the amp and cab modelling on board now. If I need an amp on stage, which is no longer something I feel I have to have since I use IEM whenever possible, I use a QSC K12.2. If the PA is lacking in subs and we will be relying on my stage rig for the bass, I add a second K12.2 and a K-Sub.

    It is worth mentioning that 2 K12.s's and a Sub will cost you about as much as a SVT-CL and a 4 or 8x10, but for me its a better choice because I can unplug, and plug in a guitar, or mandolin, or whatever else, call up a different patch and the same rig has me covered. The Helix is pricey, but then again I spent at least twice what I did on the Helix in standalone pedals before I found the ones I was happy with. I was able to make most of the cost of the Helix by selling all my old pedals off at the rock bottom prices guitar center offers for them. If I had been patient and sold them to the end users, I could have paid for the Helix and a backup helix.

    But just for FX the HX FX is much more affordable than the Helix. It has all the same effects, just not the amp/cab modelling. HX FX users can speak more about it than I can, but it would be an excellent choice. I don't think it takes a full 2 seconds for the tuner to engage though. The tuner button is also the tap tempo button, so basically just a press long enough to not be considered tapping tempo engages it.
  18. If you get an external switch you can set that to turn on the tuner and you don't have to wait for it.

    3 effects is a little limiting for me, and I've been thinking about switching to two MS60Bs and a DI on a board, but my B3 has been really good to me, so there's really very little reason for me to do it.
    KPJ, larryatravis and bfields like this.
  19. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    Just the floor.
    larryatravis likes this.
  20. jwr


    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
    Personally, I didn't like the way the B3 sounded with my rig, so I booted it super early on. If you still do enjoy it on any level, I'd say stick with it or add to compliment it.

    Having a pedal board really isn't that difficult or hard to mess with especially if you're talking a small sized one (which it sounds like). I'd also recommend trying some new stuff just for the sake of experimenting and enjoying what you're doing. Sounds like you may be a tad board. So, might as well try something. Doesn't mean you have to go all nuts and spend thousands. :)
    City and larryatravis like this.
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