Zoom G2 vs Zoom 505ii

Ok, this one is further to my post "Anybody use Zoom G1 or G2" a few weeks ago.

Curiosity got the better of me and I managed to get a Zoom G2 at a good price on the second hand market, so I thought I'd share the benefit of my experience with the rest of you.

I've been using a Zoom 505ii for several years as my live effects unit, and it has been admirable, but it does have a few flaws. The EQ on the 505 is rudimentary at best (you select from a baunch of presets), and plugged into a bright sounding amp, it's hard to get a good sound out of it. Also, it generates a bit of background noise. This is background noise over and above the sort of high gain background noise which high gain settings on any effects unit/amplifier produce.

I bought the G2 because I thought it would overcome the flaws of the 505ii, and it does. The six-band eq on the G2 is superb, and the background noise has gone completely. It's a really, really good quality piece of kit for a low price. The delay effects are far superior, and they've added one or two new effects.

There are some surprises too, though...

The 505ii allowed you to preselect patches before switching them in: the G2 doesn't

The 505ii allowed you to modify more than one pedal-controlled effects parameter simultaneously: the G2 doesn't

The effects sound different: e.g. the OD overdrive on the G2 is a middley sounding thing: on the 505ii it's much more bass and presence-ish

It's less obvious how to achieve patch level differences with the G2 - it can be done but you need to fiddle about a bit more

I don't know if it's just me, but the G2's tuner seems a *tiny* bit less accurate that 505ii's but it might just be my particular unit

The old restriction of using either an external pedal or a footswitch, but not both, is still there.

The packaging of the effects is slightly different on the G2: on the 505 you could have "wah" + "cry" giving a "waaooww" effect (wah + ow) - you can't do this on the G2.

The switches on the G2 are buttons instead of panels, meaning that you have to place your foot much more accurately (difficult on a dark stage) to switch effects off/enter tuning mode than with the 505ii.

Subtle distortion effects (i.e. a low blues crunch) don't come so easily and require a bit a fiddling about to get.

Big plusses are:

Knobs to quickly adjust sensibly chosen parameters: hooray!
Huge tonal latitude, courtesy of the EQ section
All of the main effects work well (although ring modulator and step are useless IMO)
The quality of the effects is amazing for the price. If you play at home, you'd be better off buying this and a pair of headphones than a practice amp.

Other features:

It's got a drum machine: a strange addition for guitarists, but if you want to get that riff really tight, it's good for practicing, BUT it replaces your reverb section
It's got a recording speaker simulation function BUT BEWARE, it replaces three of your six bands of EQ so regardless of what the Zoom sales blurb says, if you use the EQ, your recording settings will sound significantly different

All in all, a great piece of kit, but because it's significantly different in sound from the 505ii, I won't be committing to using it live for a while yet because my live sound is great with the 505ii and its limitations don't show in use - I'll let you know what happens!.

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Thanks for that comparison, Rawblues. One other thing; how would you rate the sturdiness of each unit for live use? The 505 never struck me as "hewn from solid" is the G2 better/worse/same? From the sound of things, the G2 appears better suited to bedroom/studio than stage anyway but I'd be interested in your op.

Hi there.

The G2 is definitely sturdier, no question about it. I havent had any problems with the case of the 505ii either - it seems to be made of pretty tough stuff. I wouldnt be afraid to use either for live use, and the 505ii can be got so cheaply now that a second one would be easily affordable.

I've been using a 505II for a couple of years now for both recording and Live work, mainly because I don't have any pre-amp/EQ onboard with the guitars pickup (I mainly use a Martin fitted with a passive under-saddle pickup), and I have the 505II set up with some slightly varying EQ/reverb mixtures for use in different surroundings. This was VERY easy to do. I never use any of the pedal controlled settings (never bothered with using an expression pedal with it).

I was interested in this thread because I've been thinking of changing it for something a little cleaner sounding and that would allow more control of the EQ settings, and it sounds like (for the price) the G2 may be the way to go.

I think the thing I'll miss most though (if I do buy a G2) is the fact that the 505II 'just' fits into the space under the headstock in the Martin guitar case without rattling around (like it was measured to fit). I think the G2 is quite a bit bigger. I'll probably also miss being able to pre-select the patch. I usually have it set with patches with the same EQ (body and top) but differing reverbs close to each other in the same patch bank so that I can switch to them easily.

I also organised the patch banks so that I have in effect a set of patches for each guitar I use with live play. Is this possible with the G2?

I revisited this thread bacause I notice that the B1 bass version can be bought new for £55. Only a 3-band EQ on the bass version, but I never buy bass FX for the EQ anyway. Interestingly, the B1 (and I assume the G2) has a 32-bit processor and a 96kHz sampling rate, which would go a long way to explaining the very low background noise of the unit.

For my particular interest, the "drive" section features (on paper) some useful models; Ampeg, Superbass, ODB3, Fuzzface etc. If I plug in headphones, I'm well qualified to judge how accurate the valve amp simulations are (partic the Superbass). I also like the ability to blend dry and drive and even, with the optional pedal, adjust the blend on the fly. Some other things I can use, if they're any good. A de-fretter, octaver, pitch-shifter and rudimentary synth-bass.

Does sound like a lot for the money. Is the G2 OD hiss-free then? I have a Peavey Max multi and the crunch hiss is incredibly annoying unless swamped by drums etc.

Looks like Santa could be bringing me a G2 for Christmas.

I'll post back when I've 'fully evaluated it'. Heh heh.

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