ZOOM G2.1nu Guitar MultiFX and USB Audio I/F Pedal

Zoom G2.1nu: Digital Guitar Multieffect Pedal with 83 patches and 20 modular amps. Supports direct USB recording with CubaseLE4.

Electric guitar! The name sounds electrifying, but really, is it? Does it make you say, “Yeah, this is way better than an acoustic guitar!” I bet no, not without the effects.

Guitar playing or specifically electric guitar playing can never be ultimately complete without effect pedals. These are electric sound processors which convert the acoustic or natural sound of a guitar into different abstract and more, into bizarre sounds. It is the middleman between the electric guitar and the audio amplifier.

Guitar effects are electrical devices enclosed in a metal box with stomp switches for injecting and terminating sound change. It ranges from sound compressors with distortions, reverbs, delays, flangers, etc. The most common pedal brands are BOSS, DIGITECH and ZOOM. These manufacturers differ in a way that both BOSS and DIGITECH are American brands which produce single effect stomp boxes and multi-effects. ZOOM on the other hand, is a Japanese brand which only distributes multi-effect pedals. Depending on the type of music you are into, there are about 20 basic and demanded effect types. If a musician needs to have the basic sounds, then purchasing twenty separate stomps with either a BOSS or a DIGITECH brand can be a primary option. But each effect is very expensive to own even half of the basic set, for each one costs about $100 to $350. Prices even vary depending on the type of effect you need. A regular BOSS distortion costs about $75 while a complicated effect like Boss FUZZ shoots to approximately $350. As an alternative, multi-effect pedals are considered an option.

The most popular brand of multi-effects is the Japanese brand ZOOM. Zoom effects are produced and internationally distributed by Zoom Corporation. Zoom started its product line production in the early 90’s with its most celebrated line, G-Series. G-Series or Guitar Series are effects processors specifically crafted for electric guitars (B-Series for Bass Guitars). The latest G effect that was recently launched is the Zoom G2.1nu.

Zoom G2.1nu, or also registered as G2.1nu under its property trademarks, is an effect processor which alike other brands is compacted with multi-effects. The G2.1nu is packed with 83 different effects and 20 stomp amps. Stomp amps range from compressors, NR’s, equalizers, delay and effect modelers. Unlike its predecessor G2.1u, and other effect pedals that Zoom has, its display now uses LCD technology. The early pedals use LED symmetry lights that display like an old calculator. But now, since it uses LCD, the effect type and numeric value of the volume, tone and cabs are displayed specifically in worded codes, digitally presented on the LCD screen. Although design has been patterned to Zoom’s best selling G2.1u, still there are some visual modifications done. The expression pedal which was a lengthy rounded edge rectangle now has a cut on the lower left portion to give more space to the tact switches. G2.1nu’s expression pedal alike with the older G2.1u can also be set to respond with different effect modules. It can be used to raise the volume, an ignition pump for squealing effects with respective patches, up and down gain for wahs and reverbs.

What makes this multi-effect pedal efficient besides the fact that it carries literally 83 stomp boxes in a single piece is its ZNR. ZNR or Zoom Noise Reduction, incorporated on the 20 module digital tubes is a sound compressor which eliminates hiss and noise of the 6 string channels. This compression makes the sound clearer and more defined. Since Zoom is a standalone brand, it also has signature effects like ZDream, ZClean and many more. Signature sounds of different brands, like Boss and Digitech, also are included in the sound bank. The sound output is on perfect stereo, which can be dubbed into surround using a software enabled interface. Those 83 effects that G2.1nu encloses are presented as patches. Since the pedal itself has 20 modular sound amps, it sources the 83 different sounds termed as patches from different combinations of the modular amps. The legendary musician Steve Vai also created some patches for G2.1nu. It can store up to 100 custom patches allowing real-time sequential patch change when recording or performing live. The system supports direct and indirect bypass mode allowing the addition of more effect pedals for a continual train.

The G2.1nu is not just an effect pedal, but also an Audio Interface System (AIS), complete with guitar effects, drum loops and supports direct sound recording via USB. A USB port mounted in front of the system allows direct USB connection. Since sound and musical interfaces have delay problems with real-time audio capture, an audio ASIO driver can be downloaded from Zoom’s website to solve latency issues. Sound editing is made possible by the bundled Limited Edition Cubase Software which is compatible with common computer operating systems. G2.1nu’s drum loops of different patterns are perfect for rehearsals and solo performances. G2.1nu has a metronome of different tempos adjustable by bpms, but instead of a metronome, the drum loops would better serve. From 8shuffle beats to 16shuffles, punk, rock and RnB drum loops.

Zoom G2.1nu supports 6volts AA size alkaline batteries which run for about 6 hours continuous play. It also has a battery power display indicator which warns at about 90 percent power drain. A cool thing about G2.1nu, is the option to change to low power mode, which turns the display light to minimal brightness, and switches off unnecessary led displays. This can also be powered by a USB cord directly to a computer (cord length is limited to about 2 feet because the unit needs faster voltage hertz).

The G2.1nu is the perfect effect pedal for beginners, who would want to learn the science of guitar playing. It could also be a complete pedal collection with a not so expensive value. The G2.1nu costs at about $200 to $250 depending on your location.

Tyron John Clidoro / July 21, 2010

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