New Zoom B1X Four sounds several levels of DEAD & NOISY compared to MS-60B

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by andruca, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    First of all let me tell you I'm a BIG Zoom fan. I've had many of their small bass guitar pedals since the BFX-708 (then 708II, B2.1u and the MS-60B, which now coexists with a recently purchased B1X Four). After 2 months since getting my B1X Four and having extensively worked on its tweaking I'm still unable to get it to sound anywhere near as good as my MS-60B.

    In the past I used to do more effects and stuff but for the past 10 years probably I havent asked much of these gadgets, more of a fix tone kinda' role. I'm usually doing some preamping and compression, and that's it. I'm hardly ever switching patches and hardly ever using effects really, just crunch and compression. I've been successfully doing this with my MS-60B. Usually the SansAmp + 160 comp emulations deal with it, ranging from "clean" (almost) to moderately distorted (nothing extreme, still keeping the punch and lowend of the original signal).

    I've bought the B1X Four for mainly 2 reasons: the DarkGlass emulations and the (rarely useful for me) control pedal. Don't need the drums nor the looper thing (their only use for me is playing loopy songs at home for fun -"Oye cómo va", "Monkey man" or Sade's "Paradise"-).

    Now, on one hand, both my basic emulations (SansAmp, 160 Comp) just sound better on the MS-60B (plus, the 160 Comp has more parameters). On the other hand the B1X Four is both noisier and signal pushes things differently. Could this be the input sensitivity? (impedance is 1M ohm for the MS-60B and 470K ohm on the B1X Four) That "less push" reflects on the values of parameters I have to use, completely different. Also, the B1X Four sounds DULL, less punchy, with less lowend authority, opaque and sorta' boxy. Also the compression reacts differently, less tight, as if signal excited it less, for lack of a better way to explain it. The SansAmp emulation has an extra bummer, past a certain gain level it produces an unpleasant low-frequency dirt that just ruins it (doesn't happen on the MS-60B nor on real SansAmps, I know as I've owned and been extensively using an RBI since 2004).

    Regarding the DarkGlass emulations (and besides the fact that DarkGlass mid-prominent kinda' crunch might not be my thing), I don't care at all for them either. They're utterly BOXY, low EQ does nothing for it (as if tuned too high), has a terrible peak at 180hz. I've found I much prefer a more mid-intensive SansAmp tone to those DG "recreations". There's even an added turnoff to it. Many effects have lost parameters, and that includes the Para-EQ (2-band back on the MS-60B, now it's just 1). Most damaging to me, as I need 2 instances of the effect, one to tame the 180hz peak and a second one to add some 80hz centered rumble (the bass control on the DG emulation doesn't help, doesn't fatten up s**t, in the same way the treble control doesn't brighten up s**t, have it at 100 in some patches, pretty ridiculous).

    To end the mess, the B1X Four is noisier enought that I need to add ZNR to almost any patch (while I clearly got away without it on the MS-60B for the last 5 years). Now, I've learned thru' the various Zoom models I've been thru' that ZNR mostly works at intense levels (otherwise it doesn't supress much noise) and it's been consistently good to me all thru' the different models whenever I needed to use it, didn't alter sound nor output, just acted as an "intelligent" gate you can activate either with the signal it receives from prior stages in the path or by probing the input from your instrument directly. On the B1X Four, OTOH, it further dulls the tone AND notoriously reduces output.

    Does Zoom re-develop their emulations every time a new generation comes out? (and so they can screw'em up) Could it be the input sensitivity to blame? Any observation, experience or idea is welcome. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
    xI Jonathan Ix likes this.
  2. Platypibri

    Platypibri Technician, Kaman Music

    Jun 28, 2005
    Riverside, CA
    I'm pretty unhappy right now. I bought a B1x Four to update my original B1X that is some 13 years old. It arrived yesterday. The octave tracks better on the original than the new one, and I did a side by side to be sure. I really only need the pedal for octave and synth bass stuff, and it doesn't seem to do those very well. I liked the software and being able to see what I was editing, but I think I'm gonna send it back.
    xI Jonathan Ix and andruca like this.
  3. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I've read MANY people who are happy and claim the Four defintely sounds better and effects are better too. Thus my stupefaction, given the results I'm getting.
  4. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Some extra data I didn't give in the starter post. I mostly use these either with a (3 coil ceramic) Stingray5 (not higher output than your typical Jazz Bass) or a Warwick Star Bass 5 (real HIGH and bassy output). I've already gone thru' the Four up and down, holds no secrets for me, same as all previous models, I'm far from a noob to Zoom. Still feel like I'm missing something.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  5. xI Jonathan Ix

    xI Jonathan Ix

    Jan 8, 2020
    I also loved the old Zoom stuff (706II) but I returned the B1X Four pretty quickly. Amp modeling was okay, distortions were mediocre, and like @Platypibri, I was after some synth sounds and the only things I found worthwhile was maybe 2 amp model presets, a volume pedal, and literally nothing else. I also found I was having to dime (100%) some settings to even make them usuable.

    I play an active Fender P (18v) so the B1X4 had plenty of input to work with and I can’t say I had a lot of noise issues but, it just couldn’t come close to the old Zoom multis.

    Returning that led me down the rabbit hole of buying less multi, more single-use dedicated equipment. The board is growing and there’s a ton more wires but, so it goes.
    andruca likes this.
  6. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Not my case these days. I don't use that much effects anymore (and even back then I'd never go beyond chorus, flanger, phaser, auto wah or the occasional delay). Nowadays it's intended as my "sound in a box" I can easily carry around with me and play thru any amp. Couple presets for each of my basses and that's about it. No experience with the B1on/Xon, but I certainly haven't had a problem doing that with my 708II or my MS-60B (and the B2.1u wasn't bad at all, but IME it didn't sound as good)..
    xI Jonathan Ix likes this.
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