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Is There Life After the Zoom B3?

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

  1. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    G5n does not have the tuner issue you describe. Pretty solid unit. My only complaint is lack of lights on the navigation/bpm/tuner foot switches.
    larryatravis likes this.
  2. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
  3. .
    I see Zoom have a new Bass B1-Four now.
    I wonder if it's tuner is more user friendly?

  4. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    While I don't advocate the Zoom B3n as a "boutique pedal killer", I couldn't imagine calling it anything less than practical and a good value. I had a pedalboard that was stocked with boatloads of respectable-quality pedals, but there was some redundancy and a few effects that just aren't my cup of tea, or the cost of the pedal couldn't justify its presence on the board. I recently got a B3n with the express purpose of just being for home rehearsal (the aux-in and headphone jack were selling points, along with having some decent patches to get a good bass tone).

    I fooled around a bit with it and liked the compression patches a lot. When I spent more time on a few of the other effects like chorus, delay, and flanger it had to offer...I was questioning my board layout quite a bit. I've got about 4 pedals on the chopping block, it just seemed like a silly idea to keep some things like a tuner pedal or a basic chorus pedal on the board when the Zoom did just fine with some tweaking...at least for my purposes and the sonic space afforded to me at practice and on stage.

    I'm down to [Bass] -> Zoom B3n -> Idiotbox Blower Box -> GK 700RB-II

    The only downside for me is it does take a bit more time to tweak stuff on the Zoom B3n, but that's going to be true of any multi-effects that is a compact size compared to the 5 pedals it kicked off the board. Considering my pedalboard is much smaller with FAR less wiring, I'd say it's a fair tradeoff.

    YMMV, but idk if "evolve away" is the proper way to look at Zoom's offerings in general. The only effect that I've found the Zoom B3n (I had an MS60-b, these are the only two units I have experience with) to be really lacking on has been its distortion options. That's why the Blower Box is still on there...the Blackout and Tall Font Russian would be staying too, but I've just not used fuzz enough to justify them being there, the Blower Box pulls double duty as something to add grit to my signal in case I'm going into a very dry and clean amp.

    It's your money, but nothing hurts me worse than dropping several benjamins on new gear only to find I'm not even close to hearing a difference in the context of a full band playing together. Just some food for thought.
    Bfieldy, wintremute and larryatravis like this.
  5. gregmon79

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

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I can almost guarantee that the HX sounds better and you will have more signal routing options as well. There is a lot to be said for quick and easy access between those two as well. I can't imagine the Boss beating the HX out over any level except price. But again, you know where that money went/goes between the two. Just sayin ;)
    DanGroove and larryatravis like this.
  6. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Ah yes, the perpetual distinction between price and value... ;)
  7. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    If you were wanting to get away from the zoom, you could get a good DI and an MS60b. Still in production and has most of not all of the B3 stuff built in. A little less convenient, one foot switch, not 3, but still has the tuner. I ran that way for a while, had a tech 21 para di and the ms60b. That was my whole board.
    aarjamson and BrentSimons like this.
  8. DanGroove


    Apr 27, 2017
    I was on the fence when I went shopping for a multi. I had always avoided Line6 like the plague based on the old POD sounds. Now for home practice they were every bit as good as the Zoom, but I always buy with potential for live use in mind. I was looking really hard at the Boss unit at the $1000US price point (can't remember the model #). The guy showed me the UI for the boss and the UI for the Helix, plus all the signal routing on the Helix. It was such a night and day difference in ease of use. I was still very skeptical so I went home and spent a week watching Youtube videos on the Helix, comparison videos, blind shootouts etc. Finally I hesitantly pulled the trigger on it, with the return policy well in mind. I was blown away. I sold every single pedal I owned except a Peterson Stomp classic that I kept for bench use and a Future Impact which is its own amazing animal. The HX FX is quite a bit more than the other multis referenced in this thread, but if you feel you are looking for a step up from the Zoom you have, I firmly believe it is the best choice put forth so far. There are a couple of others out there at the same price point as the HX FX that might well be comparable in sound quality. Perhaps some folks who own them might chime in.

    If you already have the zoom though and it just isn't cutting it anymore, I would be hesistant to go with anything under the $500US price point. I think you'd be better to just keep with what you have and save your cash.
    gregmon79 and larryatravis like this.
  9. megarat

    megarat (Not My Real Name) Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    Squirt Island, USA
    For what it's worth, I've followed the path from B3 to the B3n to the HX Stomp.

    I never really bonded with the B3, as I found its interface to be cumbersome, so it never really got much use. The B3n was a big improvement, both in terms of user experience and sound quality, and on the whole I enjoyed it tremendously.

    I wasn't really looking to upgrade, but a few things about the HX Stomp intrigued me, so I gave it a day in court, and yowza, it's terrific. Interface, sound quality, functionality, size, form factor ... I think it's totally great. There's no looking back for me.

    So absolutely: there is life after the Zoom B3, whether or not you choose to stay in the world of multi-effect units. The original B3 is now about 7 years old, and at least two generations of equivalent devices have come out since then.

    As a final note, I sympathize with your discontentment with the built-in tuner, so I've been using a separate tuner pedal (TC Electronics Polytune 3). It's a better tool than the built-in tuners, it's very easy and elegant to use, and I appreciate that it cuts the sound when I'm tuning, which gives it another function as a kill switch.
    gregmon79, larryatravis and CharlieC like this.
  10. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Why do people think you need a pedalboard just for a couple of pedals. I see plenty of people use 3 or 4 pedals without a board, including pros. Just lay them on the floor.

    Why on Earth would he use a pedalboard for one pedal???
  11. RumbleMan3


    Apr 14, 2018
    BOSS GT1-B
    City likes this.
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Most multis use the double switch tuner/mute. It is the case for the B3, B1 four, B3n, GT1B amongst others.
    It is a dumbproof, easy to operate arrangement that works really well live, which is why it's ubiquitous.

    If you don't like this way to tune/mute, you can add a control pedal to your b3 that will let you mute instantly.
    Otherwise you can resort to an external tuner.
    meatwad likes this.
  13. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man

    Apr 10, 2015
    For what it's worth, If a pedal breaks on your board, you only need to replace one thing, not the whole thing. I use a modest board with an OD, comp, Tuner, HPF, envelope filter, and power supply. I'm in for way more $ than an Hx stomp, for sure, even having hand made the board out of scrap and velcro. Plus it took me a few tries to get the right pedals for a couple of those (looking at you, overdrive.) I'm not even a "pedal guy." So pedals are better, just be aware the rabbit hole runs deep. I've used a full Helix and a Kemper, thumbs up on both if you know techy stuff.
    gregmon79 and larryatravis like this.
  14. The B3 is certainly showing it's age in many ways but IMHO there is nothing out there that delivers as much as it does for the same value, size and quality. But then I am still using my even older B2 B2.1u for the same reasons.

    I am using my B3 as a plug in effect for processing when mixing my bass after recording direct using John K's excellent FET F2B preamp just to save processing power for drums and such, it's excellent for that alone.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  15. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I can't say that I had connection, power, or gremlin issues with my past multi-pedal setups on every single gig. But I did have them enough to be a bother.

    I can say that my B3n requires one power adapter, adds a single additional patch cable versus having no pedals at all, and is small enough to fit in my gig bag.

    So I do that now. I've found nothing to complain about on the B3n tuner, either. Not sure if it's different from the B3.
  16. TheLowDown33

    TheLowDown33 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Since you are playing with an amp/cab, I recommend the HX effects as well. Operates exactly like a pedalboard, but with unlimited routing possibilities. Itll be cheaper than individual stompboxes as well.
    larryatravis likes this.
  17. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I think I will add an external tuner to complement the B3. Waiting for the mute to kick in is a PITA when onstage, IMO, which none of the multi-effects pedals address.

    Another issue that is bugging me with the B3 is the Octave / Mono Pitch effects not tracking well. None of the moderately priced multi-effects pedals seem to have this issue fully addressed, with the possible exception of the HX line, which is not exactly moderately priced, in my books...

    I'm thinking that the HX quality will trickle down to more affordable options in the not-too-distant future, and I can port over to that when it happens...
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
    gregmon79 and meatwad like this.
  18. Zoom does not really seem to be seriously in the effects game these days, and who can blame them. These are truly renaissance days when it comes to effects both analog and digital with so many truly creative minds making such a broad range of unthinkable products. Zoom is still creating ground breaking products for professional and personal audio and video recording so we should feel fortunate that we are still at least in their game plan at all.
  19. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    When done properly, rigging a pedalboard with around 5 effects means that you'll spend at least 200 bucks for the board, power supply and cables. That's two hundred bucks down the drain just for the platform to set your pedals on. Choose a good comp and a good reverb - these will set you back around 200 each.
    Add a tuner, a Fuzz and one modulation pedal of your choice and factor in three hundred more, then you'll have spent a thousand bucks on a pedalboard.

    An alternative route would be one of the newer generation multi FX boards, such as the Headrush or the Helix.
    These cost about as much as a five pedal pedalboard and offer a ton of effects and amp simulations in a nice and easy package - and they sound convincing.

    In the end, it's all up to taste.
    I myself own a bucket full of pedals and some boards to put them on. I like the pondering, the tinkering, the modding and constantly rethinking until satisfied and then playing that board for a year or so until I evolved past the current incarnation of my board and feel the need to restart it all over again.
    mdalamond and lat like this.
  20. meatwad


    Apr 9, 2008
    Smallville, USA
    I bought my Zoom B3 right around it's release, and it has been probably the most absolute bang-for-the-buck piece of gear I've ever purchased. It has served gallantly as -

    1) DI > FOH (ampless)
    2) DI > FOH (w/amp)
    3) Pedal board FX duty w/separate DI (along with other pedals)
    4) USB audio interface (home recording/practice)

    - with most likely a few more additional scenarios, over the years.
    bassbrad, larryatravis and Jazz Ad like this.

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