The Zoom MS-50G is a multi-effect with the sound characteristics of the very famous Zoom G3 but with the size (and price) of a single pedal.
When I tried the Zoom G3 for the first time it was a shock. Compact, solid, very practical, with convincing sounds (delay and modulations in my opinion excellent, distortions and modulations of sufficient amps – always intended for live use, at home they are all excellent). And all this at a price that I would call negligible for what it offers, even better used obviously.
How much I appreciated the Zoom G3 I have already talked about it, and on the net there are many articles in which a large number of musicians, amateur and professional, praise it. Obviously it must be inserted in its price range, it is obvious that systems that cost five times as much will sound much better, even if not necessarily five times better. But being able to get decent sounds (even very good, excellent, but a lot of spippolo) for less than 100 euros …
Then came the Zoom MS-50G: a multistomp like the Zoom G3, but instead of being as wide as three pedals in series, it’s the size of a normal single pedal! But still with the same ability to simulate up to 6 effects (including amp modeling) in series at the same time, like the G3. Obviously it does not have all the outputs of the G3, and unfortunately it does not include a sound card inside it, but in terms of sound it does not change much.
The dimensions are those of a single traditional pedal, enclosed in an elegant and very resistant metal chassis. In the center a button, also beautifully solid, surrounded by four other buttons for calling up functions. Above, instead, we find the monochrome display and the three adjustment wheels that simulate the potentiometers of an old-fashioned effect, in pure style Zoom G3, but here they can be pressed to enter the various effect chains.
We have one input and two outputs, one mono and one stereo. Finally, a slot for connection to the PC, useful for updating or, as we will see, for programming the effect itself via PC. Unfortunately it cannot be used as a sound card… Too bad, in that case it would have been really perfect! We will make a reason …
The power supply is battery (two AA type) or 9V with central negative, standard.
The heart of the Zoom Ms-50G is the 32-bit ZFX-IV processor, which allows you to emulate, in its latest firmware version, 3.1 (downloadable directly from Zoom site) 100 effects and amp models, arranged in series in patches of 6 max each. The total patches that can be stored are 50.
Here you will find all technical features.
A great, enormous help comes from the guys at tonelib.net, who created Tonelib Zoom (https://tonelib.net/zoom-quick-start/), a fantastic interface for PC and mac that allows you to program all the sounds (and make convenient backups), directly from your computer.
Unfortunately Zoom never released the equivalent software to Edit & Share (which managed the G3 from a computer) for the various MS-50, MS-70 CDR and MS-100 BT.
However, luckily with Tonelib Zoom instead you have everything you need.
Clearly, without this very little help, the MS-50G would have to be programmed directly from the effect itself and, despite its practicality, it would still not be very comfortable …
It looks a lot like the Zoom G3, in the end, apart from some new effects, that is the basis. The distortions and modeling of the amps are questionable, as is often the case with these digital effects, while the modulations are not bad at all.
As with the G3, the only amp modeling I like is the Fender-derived combo, the FD combo, with its cabinet simulation. The others seem cold, driven, unrealistic.
In clean. Not to mention when trying to saturate the simulation of a Marshall for example. Forget it, much better the FD combo with a tube screamer in front.
Also for the distortion, as in the case of the G3, I always use a tube screamer. This time, compared to the G3, there are two, the T Scream (also present in the G3) which I prefer between the two because I find it to be more dynamic, and the TS Drive, which seems too fake, distorted.
To push the solos instead my favorite, even compared to the tube screamer, is the Sweet Drive, which is not present in the G3. It is distorted and compressed, in my opinion it is not good for rhythmic parts, but in solos it can be sufficiently soft and in any case dynamic, giving in my opinion a beautiful smooth paste to the sound.
Use and practicality
I personally use it in two ways:
1. as a pedal board (yes, like an entire pedal board!): Obviously the potentials are thus limited to the switching on / off of a single effect per song, you certainly cannot scroll through them while playing. However, if you are playing rock, for example, you can set the sound to a rhythmic distortion that is great for chords, reverbs / delays and amp modeling, and then let the button control a boost effect. The clean, on the other hand, is very obtainable by decreasing the volume directly from the guitar.
2. at the end of my effects chain, to enclose together: tuner, reverb, delay, boost for the solos / further distortion, any modulations (clearly the compressor and pitch shifter do not perform at their best placed at the bottom of the chain, so in this case I don’t take them into account) and finally amp modeling.
In this way I can enormously reduce the space on the pedal board while using really respectable, excellent modulations, leaving the work of the distortions and compressor to external analog pedals.
In addition, which is not a small thing especially for those who like me change room often and cannot bring their own amp from home, but are forced to use what they find in the room every time, I can connect directly to the mixer and exit the audio system, being able to always count on my own sound (mixer and speakers apart, of course)!
Exactly the same way I use the Zoom G3 (although this allows more possibilities, such as connecting to the PC or going to the mixer with the balanced output). And if you please!
Or with what it costs you could put two or more in series indulge ourselves with the possibilities, which at that point would increase exponentially …
I like it very much, especially used as a tuner-reverb / delay-booster-amp modeling (if necessary). The modulation sounds are excellent and I am of the opinion that in a live context they would fool anyone, at least for how I use them (delay and reverb at a minimum, just to create some space). And if you need something more complex, then you could opt for the Zoom MS-70 CDR, specifically devoted to modulations.
Or, if that’s still not enough, it means that you are used to doing such high level concerts that you have someone who arranges the material for you and you will not need these tips on a cheap multistomp and in that case … lucky you! ????
Some say the tuner is not very accurate. Ok, maybe it won’t be the best, but this is a compromise tool, moreover very cheap for what it offers! And in some fields (see modulations) it works very well, even compared with analog pedals.
– small and light
– very practical to program
– an infinity of sounds, potentially you could use it alone
– the modulations are exceptional
– Great price
– the distortions are not the best, as are the amp modeling
– small also means a bit cumbersome to program on the fly in live situations
Recommended? for me absolutely yes!
Published on musicanza.it on: 06/27/2020.