Zoom A2: Revisiting an Unused Multi-FX

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by telel6s, May 14, 2019.

  1. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    I've had a Zoom A2 acoustic effects pedal for over ten years (I know that because I did use it for a short time in a band in 2009). I mostly used it for some reverb & delay, but also auto-wah on the outro of one song we did. But it has mostly just taken up shelf space and I'll pull it out for kicks & giggles every once in a while.

    Well last night was one of those times. I have a new powered PA speaker and was just curious as to what a Tele through the A2 into the speaker would sound like. Initial impression? Meh to worse-than-meh. But instead of putting it away I grabbed a beer and actually read through the instructions. Lots of settings I had never really messed with before.

    Short story is that I think this will work nicely especially at outdoor gigs this summer where I either don't want to bring out my Gibson acoustic in the heat & humidity or want to use a Tele but also get an acoustic sound sometimes. Ages ago I had a BOSS AC-2 acoustic sim that really didn't sound that good. With all the tweaking available in the A2 I can now get a usable acoustic sound out of my Tele (note I said usable and not believable).

    Details from Zoom: https://www.zoom-na.com/products/guitar-bass-effects/acoustic/zoom-a2

    Long story for programming a patch:

    It starts with pick-up input selection: peizo, magnetic sound hole, single-coil electric, humbucker, etc.

    Then on to guitar model: Martin, two Gibsons, Ovation, Tacoma*, Nylon, two Dobros plus a tube preamp.
    I had played around with those things before. But after setting the pick-up to SC and using the Gibson Slope Shoulder model (which sounded best to me "out of the box"), I then I hit the things that actually made a difference.

    Mic:
    Models the type, location and distance of a mic on the guitar. Dynamic or Condenser; sound hole, 12th fret or 15th fret; close, 50 cm or 1 m. These made a big difference and were interactive. For example, Dynamic or Condenser didn't make much of a difference at the close distance setting, but Condenser was better at the 50 cm & 1 m settings. I ended up with Condenser::Soundhole::Close but I could hear how other settings might be useful. For example, I'll go back and experiment with the Nylon model at 12th fret and more distance.

    Amp:
    This is for setting the type of amp to which you'll be sending the output signal. Off would be for a PA. Then there are 27 variations of combos and stacks. Even though I've got a PA, I used one of the combo settings. I'm guessing it's all just tweaks to EQ and maybe gain.

    EQ:
    It is split between Lo & Hi with either 3-band or parametric on each. The upper band of Lo and lower band of Hi are the mid-range. So I was able to do a nice acoustic scooped-mid and also take out a booming low and crackley high end. There is also compression or limiter here.

    FX/Mod:
    The FX/Mod section is nothing revelatory here but I used Air (sort of a reverb/delay ambiance thing), Chorus, Detune (for 12-string-ish sound), and tremolo on different patches. But it includes some of the other usual subjects like phase and flanger. You can only use one effect at a time.

    Delay/Reverb:
    Lots of the same ol' same ol' here. Room, Hall, Spring, Echo, etc. There're also Dark and Bright Slapback which sound how they are named. Finally 8 different multi-tap settings which are cool while I'm on the couch but not something that fits the songs I play.

    You can also set parameter for either an expression pedal or single-button foot switch. What's available depends on the effect. I don't have an expression but I do have the parts for a foot switch so I'll try that out in the future.

    The first time through all this took a while. But once that was set it was easy to copy my original base patch and change one or two things such as adding Chorus or switching from reverb to slapback. The first thing to do on any effect, reverb or delay is to roll back the depth &/or mix down to about 20% of max. Then tweak to taste from there.

    Right now I'm just going through some oatches to use with a Tele. Once I'm happy there, I'll copy everything over to a new bank of patches (10 patches per bank) and try to set those same things up to be used with and acoustic guitar as the input.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    Not sure how much anyone here cares (completely understandable, by the way), but it's not working with an acoustic guitar.

    For one, there is distortion on the low notes. Drop-D through about B or C played on either low E or A strings. That distortion does not exist normally with this guitar when it's run direct to the speaker, through a pre-amp, or through a mixing board. My Gibson does not have a volume control (only a strap button 9v powered pre-amp) but I never have an issue with over driving PAs or amps or mixers. So it's something about this inexpensive pedal. The pedal does have an input gain setting but I'm already running it at the lowest level.

    Secondly, I just can't get a nice sound out of it. I think there's just too many effects in line. You can't actually turn any of them off, only turn them down all the way. So from mic-type to guitar to compression to EQ to FX to Reverb/Delay you're constantly adding different layers of eq and gain.

    So end result of this little exploration is that the Zoom A2 will work as an acoustic simulator with my Tele (I haven't tried other electrics yet) (and understanding that acoustic simulations inherently have their drawbacks). But it's a no-go with my Gibson acoustic where I was kind of hoping I could use at least some of the FX and reverb/delay.
     
  3. ronkmd

    ronkmd TDPRI Member

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    Got one recently for $40. Wanted to use it as a cheap Fishman JD Aura on squareneck reso with a piezo bar pickup. Haven’t had much time to play with it but it seems like it might be ok.
     
  4. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Sort of off topic...

    I wish someone would make one of these modeling kinds of pedals for acoustic guitar. A preamp with real good EQ, maybe some mic models, compression, modulation, delays, reverbs and stereo outs.

    (Edit) I just saw the Zoom A3...

    (Edit) I just bought a Zoom A3... :D
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  5. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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    i've got this one:

    upload_2019-5-16_13-7-20.jpeg

    I was looking for a mic, the other night, and I opened a box and found this. I bought it about 5 years ago, only used it long enough to make sure it worked.

    well I was curious, so I fired it up and found it sounded pretty good with my ovation balladeer. Hope to get time to play with it this weekend.

    the 2 pedals are strictly for selecting patches, and the tuner function. everything else happens with the knobs and buttons.
    all the funtion are indicated by a 2 digit led, which makes it a littel difficult for it too tell you what you are doing, but it sounds good.
     
  6. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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    here's the zoom page with the link for the manual in case anyones curious...

    https://www.zoom-na.com/products/guitar-bass-effects/acoustic/zoom-504ii


    fully-programmable multi-effect pedal for acoustic guitar and more! The 504 II is a combination of programmable multi-effect pedal for acoustic guitars and a realistic, high-performance acoustic guitar simulator for electric guitars.

    Capable of authentic acoustic guitar sounds, the 504 II is a dream come true for performers. Now you don't need to sacrifice the sounds you want because of space or sound system limitations.

    A DeAmp function restores natural sound when used with an electric guitar amplifier.

    A unique "Air" effect recreates ambient sound of a miked acoustic guitar. Also onboard are 4 Acoustic Simulators (Normal, Jumbo, Piezo, Classical); 4 Reverbs; 4 Delays; 6 Modulation Effects. There's also an EMPHASIZER effect that simulates resonator instrument tones, and a feedback suppressor.
     
  7. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    There are actually several of those out there. All far out of my price range at the moment. I usually use a Marshall digitial reverb pedal and $20 Behringer pre-amp/DI. The Behringer has turned out to be a great buy; in addition to 3-band eq it has a tube pre-amp simulation you can mix in that mellows out some of the peizo quack.
     
  8. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    Not sure which came first - the 504 or the A2. But the basic descriptions are pretty much the same. The A2 only has the two LEDs for the patch # but I would only use four or five patches tops so not too hard to remember. Back when I used this in a band I wrote the patch # on the set list so I didn't mess it up.
     
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    In my experience, in a live setting I don't find this approach very useful
    1. They really don't sound like a nice acoustic
    2. People listen with their eyes, and if they see you playing an electric they'll mostly think "why does his guitar sound weird" not "oh it's an acoustic guitar now"
    3. the right kind of electric through a nice clean amp can take the place of an acoustic in most songs and just plain sounds better. Like a strat neck pickup, little bit of volume and tone roll off, clean amp with a little extra midrange.
     
  10. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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    THe A2 looks a lot heartier, the 504 is plastic, they may share some circuits, it looks like zoom has been tweaking this product line for a while they started with a 504, then 504II then the A2 now the A3 looks like a tank...very strong build quality it looks like.

     
  11. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    And the A3 has been discontinued and replaced by the AC2 which has fewer features.

    https://www.zoom-na.com/products/guitar-bass-effects/acoustic/zoom-ac-2-acoustic-creator
     
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