1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Zoom MS-60b as a Tuner

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by KidBanjo, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. KidBanjo


    Oct 17, 2008
    London, UK
    I'm looking for a pedal tuner for bass, I'm torn between a TC Polytune (possibly the mini) or a zoom MS-60b.
    I kinda resent spending so much on a tuner and having to carry another pedal about, it is the most boring of pedals so the idea of some multi effects is appealing for the odd occasion, playing around with different sounds.

    Has anyone had a play with the Zoom? Is it a usable tuner in a live situation? Would you stick it in your setup if you were just going to use it as a tuner most of the time?
    No shop near me seems to stock them and any review tends to focus on the fancy stuff.

    After a bit of experimentation over the years I now tend to just use a compressor (MXR M87 Bass Compressor) and either a Big Muff or Way Huge Pork Loin. I'm pretty happy with my sound so wouldn't want to stick in a pedal that would effect it negatively.
    I'm not a tone snob or anything but I had a cheap digital multi effects pedal 10+ years back and it was a bit of a tone suck even when in bypass which has made me avoid that kinda stuff; I know things are better these days.

    Also how passable would it be to replace the kit I mention above? I like traveling light and quick setups for small gigs and rehearsals. If it can get 90% of the way towards a decent compressor and fuzz that's good enough for a lot of situations.

    Thanks for reading
  2. Ricky Caboverde

    Ricky Caboverde

    Feb 26, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Well IMHO the PT-mini is a "better" tuner than the 60b (which is decent). It's functional, but not the quickest to track. It seems like you have already talked yourself into getting one, though...and I won't talk you out of it -- since I have one too ;)

    I would hold on to those dirt pedals though and test them against the Zoom. The 60b is great and has very good sounding effects, but the dirt effects are a hit and miss with some TBers, and your taste may be very different from those who prefer the MS60b as a dirt pedal.

    Oh, and about tone suck...the 60b seems to only have a hair of high-end loss (~ >10khz)...nothing I think we would notice or be bothered by as bassists, but perhaps on guitar would be a bit evident. My source for this was a personal non-technical review on TGP...so please take that with a grain of salt. But overall, everyone here seems to be extremely pleased with how it works in a chain despite the lack of true-bypass.
  3. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    I don't mean to divert you too much, but have you looked into headstock tuners instead of floor tuners?
  4. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    I own both the polytune and ms60b.

    While the zoom is quite functional as a tuner, the poly is hands down the better, faster one.
  5. sillyfabe

    sillyfabe keeping the low-end silly since '06 Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    San Bernardino,CA

    I've owned a Polytune Mini for over a year and though about selling it one point to get a MS-60B but after trying the tuner on it I felt more confident with the Polytune. Better to be in tune with more accuracy than have a limited tuner with fun stuff on it. Nothing against fun stuff though!
  6. Silas Stingy

    Silas Stingy

    Feb 19, 2009
    The Zoom works as well as any other tuner I've used.
  7. The Zoom works ok for gigs, but if you're a stickler for intonation I might get the dedicated tuner.

    I found out the headstock tuners don't work very well at all on my neck-through basses, which surprised me. I got one for the upright, and it works like a champ on that. But for slabs I'm sticking with signal-based tuners, and I am staying with my Korg off-line tuner out of the amp's tuner out for now.

    The Zoom works in a pinch, and I've done gigs with just it and I couldn't hear any problems, but I once checked it out with the Korg and it wasn't as exact.
  8. johnbegone

    johnbegone Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I've got a Korg Pitchblack as well as the MS-60B. I'm using the MS-60B for the effects (mostly as an octaver / compressor / synth). I've used the tuner on it, but much prefer the Pitchblack for speed/accuracy. The Zoom tuner works totally fine, I just like having a dedicated tuner on my board.

    The dbx 160 model in the Zoom is fantastic, so you might be able to get away without a dedicated compressor if you wanted to go that route (I also have the M87). It has a good Big Muff model and a few ok-ish overdrives (the BB preamp model is great). You might find that you can use ONLY the ms-60b if you wanted to try going that route, although a better option at that point would be the B3 for ease of use (cycle through effects presets in the Zoom is it's biggest downfall in my opinion).

    In summary, I would say this: If you're 100% happy with what you've got right now and just need a tuner, I'd recommend a cheaper/dedicated unit (here's a $20 option - www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=115&cp_id=11501&cs_id=1150103&p_id=611220&seq=1&format=2)

    If you think you might want to use it as a multi-effect to add new sounds to your arsenal or replace existing pedal the MS-60B is a fantastic pedal. It's an absolute steal for under $100. I AM a huge tone snob and have thousands of dollars of pedals, but I am constantly finding uses for the Zoom while other pedals sit on my shelf.. Really enjoyable!
  9. KidBanjo


    Oct 17, 2008
    London, UK
    Thanks guys... I think I may have to think about getting the tuner first and the Zoom later.
    It's not like risking on some random overdrive or something a good tuner should last me a few years. But the Zoom seems like it may muddy the waters a bit and my brain is telling me to keep it simple.

    I'm not a fan of clip-on tuners, just a personal bias I know they are fine but I didn't get on with the one I borrowed.

    Not getting rid of my pedals, really happy with them. Just thought it maybe nice to just plug in one thing and go for times when I'm not so bothered about the sound.
    I know it's not technically a bass pedal but the Pork Loin is a really nice well worth a try if you get the chance.
  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I have three tuner option, boss, TC poly or the Zoom MS 60b, all three are great, but my one pedal option is the Zoom, more than a tuner, more than a pedal it is one of the best options any player can carry.
    I am a pro, so I use it in live situations all the time when visiting other countries, as it is a fall back in case of live failures or back line issues with spec.
    The Zoom is a great tool and for the price the tuner and compressor alone add up to couple of hundred pounds for two comparable pedals....so I saw it as a no brainer to add the Zoom to my options.
  11. TwoRivers

    TwoRivers Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2012
    Las Cruces, NM
    I use the tuner on the MS-60B and don't see any problem with it. I've tuned with it and checked my tuning with other tuners to make myself feel better about the accuracy, and I've found there's nothing to worry about. No one in my band has every complained about me sounding out of tune or anything of the sort...

    I say get the zoom. More bang for your buck and less real estate on the board!
  12. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    LOL love it..and nicked for future use.
  13. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Others have nailed the answer. I'll just specify that if you are looking for a pedal tuner primarily, go elsewhere. If you want a cool pedal that can do lots of things pretty well and tune occasionally, the MS-60b is pretty sweet. The 60b tuner is passable, so IMO it might be worth starting there and saving up for a better dedicated tuner later.

    FWIW, I have both and prefer my Polytune for tuning. I took it off my board in lieu of an Fdeck HPF and have been using the Zoom for all of my tuning and muting at gigs. The Polytune is better, though I will say in a pinch I can do my cover gigs without it (and most of my other pedals) but not the Zoom.
  14. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    The MS-60B tuner has quite low contrast and is much harder to read, so it's not an option for me really. I'll be checking out the Pandora Stomp when it becomes available. Based on my experience with the Pitchblack it should be a good tuner and may well replace my Polytune since you get all the effects in the same pedalboard spot.