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ZOOM G9.2tt Guitar Effects Console - Description & Review
   
ZOOM G9.2tt Guitar Effects Console Description & Review

Zoom G9.2tt

Find a Zoom G9.2tt  on eBay
Please note that the Zoom G9.2tt is generally not that common on eBay. This was a high-end "flag-ship" product release by Zoom and as a result is probably less well known than many of their smaller and more commonly available multi-effects units.






   

Also worth mentioning ... If you can actually find a Zoom G9.2tt new (or in near new condition with box, manual and software), it may still be sold with a copy of the Cubase (Limited or Light Edition) LE 4 or LE 5 software and licence. One might think this is a cheap way to upgrade, but in fact (at time of writing) Steinberg was up to Cubase LE 8, and LE 4/5 may simply no longer qualify for upgrade offers. Please check the Steinberg web site first if this is important to you.



Buying a Used Zoom G9.2tt

Having only ever purchased one of these as 'used', I was surprised to see an original retail price sticker on the box for AUD $1,159 - ouch!

The last NEW ones that I saw on eBay still listed for around AUD $700, which I considered somewhat excessive.

However, on eBay you can expect a used Zoom G9.2tt to be in the AUD $200 to $350 range, depending on condition of course.

Unlike simpler devices, with the G9.2tt there are things other than cosmetic wear and tear that you should watch out for. Pay particular attention to the functionality of the many switches and of course the pedals themselves. The pedals may have had a lot of use, and do need maintenance from time to time. If they don't get that maintenance they may fail.

Also, make sure the two 12AX7 tubes light up and are fully functional.

Early reviews for these monsters go back to March of 2007, so these beasts can now be around years old.

This suggests that most G9.2tt's you are likely to encounter will probably be due to have their 12AX7s replaced (if they haven't been already). Unless of course the G9.2tt in question has spent most of its life in a cardboard box ... which is ... unlikely.

Factor in approximately AUD $60 to $100 for a pair of 12AX7s, and another $50 to $100 if you get the G9.2tt professionally serviced/repaired.

In short a service + two new tubes could easily add AUD $200 to the cost of the G9.2tt.

See also: Tube / Valve Replacement for the ZOOM G9.2tt Guitar Effects Console.


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The ZOOM G9.2tt is an extremely powerful and versatile guitar multi-effects console with many features that are absolutely awesome. Sadly these are combined with some design aspects that are, simply put, bordering on stupid.

Back in late 2014 ... I had been thinking about getting a ZOOM G9.2tt for some months. About 10 weeks after I had stopped smoking (a very good thing to do, just by the way), I treated / rewarded myself by getting a second hand ZOOM G9.2tt through ebay. At AUD $400, the cost was just a tad over half the price of a new one, being around AUD $700 at the time. From a 'Bang for Buck' perspective, it is awesome value.


The Model number of the G9.2tt can be decoded as
Guitar - 9 switches - 2 pedals - twin tubes. And if nothing else, it really is an impressive looking beast. Even more so when it's powered up.


 G9.2tt Guitar Effects Console

The Zoom G9.2tt can be used to create (or recreate) just about any guitar sound you can think of. From Ultra-clean through to Grunge Metal and everything in between. This magic box will handle it all ... and then some.

I have created some effects on this device that would have required a floor full of pedals (or collection of rack effects), that quite frankly, I've never heard before. For example: A flavour of Modulated Delay (vaguely similar to a Chorus) that has a faint Phaser effect at the front end, the Modulated Delay and then some Echo and Arena Reverb on the way out. That's four separate DSP Delay effects simultaneously!

There are many guitar effects units out there that require some, shall we say, technical thinking ability ... the Zoom G9.2tt is most definitely on that list. This device is not for luddites and/or technophobes (
those who shun or are afraid of technology).

Typically, most of the standard factory preset patches are not really useful, except as examples of this device's possibilities ... which by the way, are nothing short of awesome.

You will therefore need to build / create / program your own patches. Thankfully, this process does get easier quite quickly with some practice, but probably won't be nearly as straight forward as you might like due to some simple processes being, well, less than intuitive. Fortunately, the Librarian software can make tweaking patches easier.

Zoom obviously believe their factory patches to be very cool because they have provided them ready to go as 'Live Playing (Ux)' and 'Studio (ux)' versions. If nothing else, it can be educational to look at the structural differences (which are mostly in the EQ).

The Factory Preset Patches are copied onto the User Patches area, so at least you can initially delete and/or modify patches in the User Patches area without having to worry about over-writing/losing a cool patch. Also patches can be saved/stored on a laptop/PC using the Librarian software.

While many of the available effects are new / exciting / cool (etc.) ... seriously ... there are some absolutely radical sounding effects in this unit ... some of the old standards like a simple Stereo Chorus are actually poorly implemented (in this case, the Chorus just lacks depth). I have tried every option for Chorus that I can find on this box and I'm barely satisfied with the result.

I can actually get much richer stereo chorusing from my old GFX-707 pedal. This was a real surprise. I'm now very glad that I didn't sell that old pedal to help fund the purchase of the G9.2tt. Had I done that, I'd still be kicking myself.

Unlike the earlier Zoom GFX and BFX series pedals (
GFX-707 / GFX-707 II / BFX-708 / BFX-708 II) which feature minimal weight and a very compact footprint, the G9.2tt is a full-on 'One With The Lot' brute of a Guitar Effects Console. Along with the sturdy steel chassis comes an accompanying weight of around 5.5Kg (12lbs 2oz).


Some G9.2tt highlights include:


The Zoom G9.2tt hosts a pair of small preamp bottles (2 x 12AX7 vacuum tubes), sadly the implementation of these is less than impressive. One tube is situated at the input and the other at the output. Both effect the total device sound and cannot work as components within individual patches.

So the tube pre and post amps are really very much a 'set and forget' option, unless you are prepared to bend down a lot to tweak the controls while playing (not really practical or recommended).

The actual sound of the tubes is lovely. Exactly that warm and smooth vacuum tube distortion sound that you would expect. And you can dial in as much or little as you like. It's just that there is no way to 'switch' them In / Out.

Both tubes are dialed in or out as a part of the Mix of the overall sound. While I can understand the front-end tube to warm up the sound a little, the output tube does not make a lot of sense. If I really wanted everything to sound distorted, I could simply go back to recording onto tape. I can only say that there is some really strange developer thinking exhibited in this implementation.


Patch Librarian Software - Saving / Storing Patches

G9.2tt Patch Librarian

The Patch Librarian for the ZOOM G9.2tt is ... well, ... it's just not the best software. You get the impression that some poor programmer had to work over the weekend to have this ready for 1st thing Monday morning ... and to make it happen, they've cut every corner that they could ;-)

So let us start at the beginning: The Patch Librarian was intended to run under Windows XP. To have it running under Windows 7 or higher make sure to set the program shortcut to Compatibility Mode for Win XP and also Run as Administrator (just to cover all the bases). I have it running under Windows 10 now and it seems to behave properly.

For those installing the Patch Librarian to a Laptop computer ... make sure you disallow USB Power Management when on Battery Power, (under Power Options) otherwise the USB Power Management may disable your USB to MIDI device(s) during battery operation.


Some Basic Hints for using the Patch Librarian

  1. To work with this silly little beast called the Patch Librarian, you will need to get your head around a few less than intuitive aspects of the program. Firstly it won't recall your MIDI I/O settings, so select these immediately each time you start the program.

  2. I then select Online followed by Recv All and download the entire current Patch Setup from the G9.2tt (these are easy to rename, save and/or delete later). If this doesn't work then you know immediately that your MIDI settings or connections are wrong.

  3. To edit a patch, select the patch on the G9.2tt first, then the same patch in the Patch Librarian. Any changes you make to the patch in the Librarian will now become immediately (real-time) audible. So you can tweak until you have the sound exactly the way you want it. Do Not Change To Another Patch Until You Have Saved Your Edits.

  4. IMPORTANT! Save the patch in the Librarian (Ctrl+S), then also Save the patch on the G9.2tt by pressing the physical 'Save' button twice. Your patch is now stored in both the Librarian and the G9.2tt. Failure to perform the hardware Save (on the G9.2tt) will see your changes lost as soon as you switch to another patch.

    I find a 'one patch at a time' approach to be the most effective, however you could also dump the entire library from the Patch Librarian to the G9.2tt if needed (see the manual). Handy if you are not sure whether you also saved everything on the G9.2tt
    .


Copying Patches and Banks

I find this is best done via hardware. Select the Patch or Bank you want to copy (or swap) and make the changes on the actual console. When you're done, reload the modified patch sets to the Patch Librarian and then tweak away ...

And Lastly ...

Aside from the annoying inadequacies of the Patch Librarian, I will end by saying that I'm glad there is one. It would be insanely tiresome to have to manually document the complexities of a possible 100 user patches.

When copying Patches from one G9.2tt to another G9.2tt

Make sure that the AMP Select on both machines is set to the same value, otherwise the sound from your two devices could vary radically.

This setting affects EVERYTHING else! It is intended to essentially match the unit's output to an amplifier input. The tonal variation is very noticeable. Please check out page 58 of the manual on Using The Amp Select Function, its not at all difficult and will save you pulling out your hair wondering why your two consoles don't sound the same.


Patches copied from one G9.2tt to another G9.2tt won't necessarily sound identical, but they are very close. I know this, because I've tried it with almost identical settings
*. Originally a slight difference was noticed due to variability in the age/condition of the two 12AX7 vacuum tubes in each unit. Both consoles now sound better with a new pair of 12AX7's and any difference is hard to find (as it should be). For what it's worth, a new set of vacuum tubes (2 x 12AX7) can be had for around AUD $60 per device.

See the Tube / Valve Replacement for the ZOOM G9.2tt Guitar Effects Console page for details.

* Note: I used the phrase "with almost identical settings" deliberately, because it is virtually impossible to achieve truly identical settings using the available controls for the 2 analogue vacuum tube related sections (labeled as Accelerator and Energizer). There will always be some difference with analogue settings.


Power User Patch Creation with the Zoom G9.2tt

If there was a 'Golden Rule' of patch creation, it might be 'Don't waste any options'.

In this case I'm referring to the switches under the pedals. Particularly the least used one under the first (left side) or Volume Pedal. To assign a Pedal Switch to do something, you first have to assign an effect to that pedal. But what if you want to switch an effect without having a parameter of that effect controlled by the pedal?

Easy ...

In the Patch Librarian, select the pedal, select a parameter from an effect you wish to switch and set the 'Minimum' and 'Maximum' value of that parameter to the same value (e.g. 100%) and then tick the related 'Switch' box. So the pedal movement does nothing to the effect, but the switch under the pedal can now be used to add/remove the desired effect. Kind-of like gaining an extra Function Switch.

So even if you are not controlling something with the pedals, you can still make use of their switches.

Remember also that up to 4 parameters/effects can be controlled by each pedal. This allows you to switch in/out more than one effect at a time ... very cool! I use this 'double switch' capability to recreate the honky midrange (fixed wah) plus harmony to get a sound like that used on the Boston tune 'More Than A Failing' ;-) ... So, one switch instantly sets up a lead break.



A Quick Look at the Rear Panel

The rear panel of the ZOOM G9.2tt really is the business end of this beast (see diagram below) .

Click to see larger image



Features (9/10)

The Zoom G9.2tt is a well appointed piece of gear, with no shortage of user options to keep you tinkering, if that's what you like. While programming takes a while to get use to, it is ultimately not that difficult. There are a few unintuitive quirks to get your head around, but once programmed, accessing the many features is really quite straight forward.

Some feature highlights are:


Ease of Use (Programming Patches 7/10 - Playing 9/10)

Programming takes a while to get use to because there are a few unintuitive quirks, but ultimately it's not that difficult. Once programmed (best done with the librarian via MIDI), accessing the many features is generally easy and very satisfying.

As with other pedals, arranging your patches in a way that works best for you will be your main challenge. Fortunately, the G9.2tt makes it easy to save / copy / swap patches (or even entire Patch Banks). With 100 User Patches to work with, you won't run out any time soon ... but you will want to back them up.

You may need to (gasp of anticipation!), read sections of the manual from time to time. But with a device this complex, that should not come as a surprise.


Durability (Build Quality 8/10 - Durability & Reliability - 7/10)

The ZOOM G9.2tt is solidly built and at 5.5Kg is certainly no lightweight. But it's not as rugged as it looks. Having already re-adjusted the pedals, there are some weak points that could have been avoided. While the parts used generally seem to be appropriate for the task, some of the pedal components could have been stronger and/or better designed.

Having bought two of these as used equipment, both have shaped up well, and only one had some minor breakage issues.

A quick word on looking after vacuum tubes (valves) ...

One thing that I would very strongly recommend is that you turn the G9.2tt power off when not in use.
All vacuum tubes have a limited life expectancy, so there is no point to literally burning them out while the device is sitting there doing a whole lot of nothing, for hours at a time. Don't however turn the G9.2tt on and off every few minutes, as constant heating and cooling can be more harmful to the tubes than running the device unused for a few hours. Also, vacuum tubes don't like a lot of knocks and vibration, it shortens the life of the filaments. Be nice to your G9.2tt and it will quite likely serve you well, for longer.



In Summary ... (Overall 9/10)

The ZOOM G9.2tt is definitely not for every one. I can totally see that this piece of kit will be too complex for some players who prefer to line their effects up in a row and then just tap through their options.

The G9.2tt really needs to be programmed or adjusted to suit a player's needs. Of course, once that is done, it becomes a magic box which will make you glad you invested that time (and the money). After using a G9.2tt for around years I can say that it has become quite indispensable in my rig. Plus there are still settings that I haven't even properly explored yet. Apart from a few really dumb design aspects, this is an amazing audio tool for guitarists.

Oh, I just realised that I haven't mentioned noise anywhere. There's a reason for that. The phrase 'Studio Quality' would probably be an adequate summary on that topic.

So, some better MIDI functionality (assignable / mapable outgoing patch changes) would be good. The tube implementation is silly and should be available on a per Patch basis. Aside from that the ZOOM G9.2tt is simply awesome!

Value for money is very high, even with the included cost of replacing the tubes in a used device.


See also: Tube / Valve Replacement for the ZOOM G9.2tt Guitar Effects Console.

Footnote: Why Two G9.2tt's ... ?
It just happened that one eBay day I saw a Zoom G9.2tt for a really good price (more than $100 less than my first one). Temptation got the better of me. At first I thought that I would just clean it up, keep the better of the two and resell the other. It didn't happen. Having two of these opens up so many amazing possibilities, particularly with my home-made A-B-C switch. Where A = Gfx 1, B = Gfx 2 and C = Synth (MIDI Guitar). You can switch between A & B while also using C, have one at a time, all three at once, or any combination. You might be surprised how quickly you get totally comfortable with having so many options.

 

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Your Comments:

161206 - (Excellent) - Could you suggest some tube to go into the unit or which tubes have you put??

Editor's Note: The 12AX7 tubes I got on eBay from Boutique ToneLounge (a Zew Zealand supplier) were JJ / Tesla Vacuum Tube 12AX7 / ECC83.


160904 - (Excellent) - Excellent review. I own a G9.2tt and I agree with the article. I had the same disappointment with the stereo image, though you should check the pre-amp section, as when chain is inverted the stereo image gets narrow. I've been searching Zoom's official page in order to find new models (as G9.2tt is discontinued) but they have not designed any replacement for the G9.2tt. It's a real pity. I hope they update and redesign it with a looper, a better stereo image and a USB interface.

I have replaced tubes too. I have installed two 12at7 instead of the original 12ax7, just to avoid tube crunch, though adding tube clarity and typical natural compression.

Editor's Note: Thanks for your response. I have been waiting for the next major effects console from Zoom too. At present they seem to be going the other way with new single switch 'Multi Stomp' pedals. Including a looper similar to the Roland unit would be nice, even just one or two channels.

Thanks for the note about the the 12AT7 as an option when replacing the 12AX7 tubes.



Incept Date: Wizard - 151016
Last Update: Wizard - 170307




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