Zoom GFX-1 review

  • £99
  • $199

Does a stage-ready multi-FX unit have to cost the earth? This new addition to Zoom's GFX range says no…

Image 1 of 2 A gig ready multi FX for under 100 quid
A gig-ready multi-FX for under 100 quid?
Image 2 of 2 It s all kept simple around the back
It's all kept simple around the back.

Our Verdict

Ideal for those domestic one-on-one practice sessions.

For

  • The solid construction, the price and the cool look and ease of use.

Against

  • Tonally, it doesn't really stand out from the crowd.
Buying options

Zoom has long been at the forefront of the production of affordable yet tonally valid multi-FX and recording units but, no matter how impressive models such as the 505II and 606 undoubtedly are, we'd question whether any player would want to use one live.

The flagship GFX-8 console aside, Zoom's guitar-related products are mostly small and, not to put too fine a point on it, rather plastic in construction.

Which, considering the sheer quality of a majority of the on-board tones of these units, is rather a shame: they'd arguably last half a set beneath the big old boots of many of today's contemporary players.

Enter the GFX-1, a new gladiator into the packed multi-FX arena. It is slim and compact, hewn from the sturdiest steel, and fully loaded with many of the features that have made Zoom so popular over the last decade or so.

Overview

There are nine choices of chorus, each with a slightly increased rate and depth, rather than a single option coupled with rate and depth parameters.

It's a similar tale with the 11 amp and drive options, although you can alter the gain, EQ and contour of each. The unit also allows you to alter the time of the delay and reverb settings, with their specific number – delays one to nine – being related to the incremental increase in feedback.

It's all self-explanatory, with a pair of effect selectors working in tandem with the display and specific duos of ± keys, but make sure that you store the setting before rotating the second knob back to Play mode – otherwise it'll forget your tone tailoring without warning!

With four footswitches, the unit offers 40 fully programmable patches split into 10 banks of four, selected in the usual way.

There are no operation lights for the pedals, so special attention must be paid to the LED so that you know where you are, and getting to grips with the abbreviations Zoom has used for the unit's features is time well spent.

Sounds

We have few complaints about the effects side here, but we did find the middle ground of the overdrive and amp offerings to be less impressive.

No matter how much we played with the EQ and contour areas, or how much delay we lathered on, only the very clean or nu-metal tones seemed to benefit from the digitally coloured high end.

Although not really in the same class as the more expensive Zoom GFX-3 due to its unavoidably limited editing interface, as a desktop effect unit for practice or writing this is a pretty cool tool.

We can certainly imagine its use on-stage thanks to its construction, but it may be just that bit too small and unlit for professional use.

Tech Specs

Country of OriginChina
Bolt-on NeckNo
Case IncludedNo
CutawayNo
FretlessNo
Includes BagNo
Left Handed Model AvailableNo
PickguardNo
On/Off SwitchNo
Batteries IncludedNo
Battery/Adaptor TypeAC Adaptor
FeaturesFour footswitches, two bank keys, two effect selector knobs, four value keys, store key, on-board chromatic tuner
Unit Power Source4x AA batteries (not included)
Mic Pre AmpNo
Microphone PreampNo
No of Effects34
No of Patches120
Presets60
Rack MountedNo
Audio InterfaceNo
Built-in Chromatic TunerNo
Built-in Drum MachineNo
Drum MachineNo
Editable PatchesNo