Sunday, April 10, 2011

ZOOM 506 Bass Multi-Effect Pedal

This was my first pedal.  When I bought it, its job was being more convenient than unplugging my bass to tune with my little hand held tuner.  Eventually I tinkered around with it, using its EQ and some other settings to add some beef to my sound.

The one I have is an older version (there is a newer Zoom 506II Bass pedal), and it seems like they are perpetually available on eBay for around $20 shipped.  It runs on a 9v battery or power supply, just like every other pedal in the universe.  It's not a great pedal, but it's definitely a good pedal, especially for what it costs.  Like most dual button multi-effects, it can be a little fussy switching into bypass/tuning mode because you have to hit both switches at the same time.  It can't really tune a low B, which I found out after I bought a 5-string.  It is fairly simple to program, but you will need the manual to know what you are doing.  You can come up with several settings you like and put them next to each other in the program que so its just one or two steps between the ones you use most often.  It has 24 programmable slots, and a lot of the factory defaults are fun but not very useful.

Now that I have a bunch of other pedals, I still have this one on board for the low-mid EQ boost.  I'm not sure exactly what it does, but it adds some fat I just can't replicate any other way at the moment.  Since its a multi-effect pedal, trying to do audio samples would be kind of pointless since it can do everything.  I know people are down on the cheap multi-effects, but I think they are a good way to fill gaps in your pedal board as you gradually acquire more "respectable" effects.  Don't have a flanger and you want one for an ambient section of a song?  Multi-effect a flanger.  I have both the Zoom and Digitech BP80 in service at the moment.  The BP80 I got as a gift, and since it has a rocker pedal, I have it set up as a Crybaby-type wah.  I'll review that one at some point, too.

So if you already have a bunch of effects for your bass, you can probably skip the Zoom.  But if you are just getting in to the idea of effects and want to sample a bunch for cheap, or want to have some flexible electronic spackle for your pedal board, its hard to beat a cheap multi-effect pedal like the Zoom.

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