Zoom G2.1u

Monday, June 30, 2008| by Will Chen


Zoom was a leader in the initial digital revolution offering quality competitive products priced for the masses. Their ground breaking Hybrid Distortion pedal was perhaps the first true modeling stompbox, years ahead of it’s time. We’ll take a look at the G2.1u effects processor today.

The G2.1u is Zoom’s current generation entry into the “swiss army knife processor” category offered by all the big multi-effects manufacturers combining effects and amp modeling with a drum machine to spice up your practice sessions and a USB digital interface. Cosmetically, the pedal looks sharp. The face contains four knobs, six small buttons, and a round window with a led display to program the unit

I plugged the unit up and immediately tried to program a patch. Hmmm…the controls seem obvious but clearly they’ve doubled up on functions. After consulting the manual for a few minutes, I was ready to go.

Skimming through the amp models, I was starting to get discouraged. The tones were decent but fairly unexciting. Wait a minute…whoa…thumping lows, crunchy mids and singing highs. After riffing for a good 10 minutes or so, I consulted the manual to discover this was a model of the Peavey 5150. Very, very nice. However, at extreme gain settings the high end begins to exhibit some digital artifacts. Dialing through a few more amps I also found the intense Extreme Distortion setting which has the most brutal low end I’ve ever heard from an amp modeler. So much that it almost sounds like a guitar and bass playing together. Insane!

Zoom has also included a pretty good microphone modeling effect offering a choice of type (dynamic or condenser) and position (center, off center, edge). This was a nice addition which competitors do not offer at this price point.

Across the board the modulation, delay, and reverb effects are all usable however the limited (three) parameters offered sacrifices some flexibility and tone shaping power. Interestingly, they allow you to put a phaser or tremolo before the amp in the virtual signal chain and still allow the use of an additional modulation effect after the amp. This allowed creation of some absolutely crazy tones which fans of avant guarde/art rock will appreciate.

At this price point and physical size, sacrifices have to be made. Zoom has compensated by including some unique features and focusing on delivering great high gain tones which will certainly appeal to many.

Price: ~$170 USD
Pros: Great high gain tones, unique effects
Cons: Sub par moderate gain tones, complex to program

Filed Under: Zoom, Reviews