Submitted May 14, 2018 by Steve D
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I have owned multiple Zoom multi effect pedals over the years, 506II Bass, 607 Bass, B2, B9.1ut.
I always thought they were great practice/recording tools, but I would never use them in a live situation. Some of the sounds were just too artificial. All units had somewhat good compression, maybe a solid fuzz/distortion or two, a semi usable chorus/reverb/phaser, but nothing as good as standalone pedals. The B9.1ut came closest, but the user experience, for me at least, was a bit overwhelming. I'm also not sure if I purchased a bad unit (bought second hand), but the transition between manual and patch just wasn't as seamless as I'd hoped for. I really wanted to like the unit especially with the Z pedal. Very cool concept. I just couldn't get it as usable as I wanted. The lack of the drum patterns also was disappointing on the B9.1ut as I used them so much on the B2. I dealt with it by using the line in and ran my Alesis drum machine. Worked fine, but I had to use two units.
So, there is a bit of my history with Zoom pedals.
Now for the Zoom B3N. I went in with a very closed mind. I intentionally tried to hate the pedal and just figured it would be more of the normal close but no cigar. HOLY POOP!!! This thing quickly changed my mind in about 10min. The user experience was great. Exactly what I was hoping the B9.1ut would be. Extremely easy to change from tuner, to manual, to patch. The many of the stock patches are usable as they are. The editing app is awesome. You can change the effects, position on the pedal board, parameters, names all real time while connected. The only thing I really don't like about this pedal is the drum machine. The sounds are not as good as the B2 and you have to assign a rhythm pedal to each patch to use them. In a way it's kind of cool. on the B2 I'd usually find a usable beat when playing around with an effect but you always must reset it each time you played as there was no way to save it. Now you can on the B3N. I also purchased a Yamaha expression pedal to use and it works great and is $20 cheaper than the Zoom pedal.
I know some people say they won't leave the B3 for the B3N due to no DI, battery operation ability, and other discrepancies. The quality of the effects sound, ease of tweak ability through guitar lab, and ability to stack 7 effects to one patch outweigh these "short comings" IMO.
I am extremely happy with the Zoom B3N. I'll be recording with it this weekend and will update my review after that. I'm feeling confident it will sound solid in the recording mix given the way it performs in other functional areas.
You can't go wrong with this purchase.
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