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Zoom GFX-707 II Guitar Multi-Effects Unit
Description & Review
Zoom GFX-707 II Vintage Guitar Multi-Effects Unit Description & Review

Zoom GFX-707 II

Find a Zoom GFX-707 II  on eBay
Please note that the Zoom GFX-707 II is not nearly as common on eBay as the original 707. That's not to say that it is rare, just that people seem to hang on to them.






   





Some background ...


The Zoom Corporation of Japan (founded in 1983) has a long and illustrious history of providing musicians with high-tech guitar/bass multi-effects units (and more recently recording gear). All at very reasonable prices.

Zoom products feature robust construction and a level of electronic sophistication that has seen even their older products retain substantial resale value. In some cases more than a decade after their initial release.

Broadly speaking, Zoom products are up there with the best of them and are often better value for money.


Buying a Used Zoom GFX-707 II

Aside from cosmetic wear and tear, there is not a lot that will go wrong with these units ... it is either functional or it's not.

Like its predecessor though the GFX-707 II has issues with its 6mm (1/4") input and output sockets which are mounted directly onto the PCB. Over time and use, the solder joints will weaken and break causing a 'crackling' during use and possible total failure.

Fortunately, resoldering of all the socket connections to the circuit board is a simple fix.

Price:

It's not unusual to see the GFX-707 II listed for over AUD $100 or generally $20 to $40 more than the 707. Since I happen to prefer the original 707 for a number of reasons, I find that extra cost difficult to justify.

At between AUD $80 and $100, a GFX-707 II is probably reasonable value, if only for the extra User Patches you can store.

People flogging these on eBay who expect to get over $150 are kidding themselves. You can buy the latest generation Zoom equivalent (new) for around the same price.

The GFX series were around AUD $350 to $450 new, back in the early 2000's. Keep a look-out for a GFX-707 II loaded with a 128MB SmartMedia card for a full 8 minutes of looping capability.

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The Zoom GFX-707 II is a very powerful guitar multi-effects unit. While still compact, versatile and sturdy, it is substantially different in more than just appearance from its predecessor the original Zoom GFX-707. I got my 707 II not long after the 707, so I've been using them both side-by-side for many years.

With the GFX-707 II, Zoom technicians completely revised the analogue effects section. They also redesigned the controls and improved the operational functionality, while adding support for up to a 128MB Smart Media Card, for storing patch information and/or for storing recorded playing (up to an 8 minute loop!).

Technically the GFX-707 II is a better device in just about every way, when compared to the original 707. But the truth is, I tend to like the original 707 better. Apparently so do a lot of other 707 users, judging by the price that the original still commands relative to the 707 II. This is not a fault of either the GFX-707 II device or it's maker, just an acknowledgement that the original 707 has a particular or perhaps peculiar combination of attributes that the guitarists seem to like. For one thing, the chorus isn't as rich on the 707II, suggesting some changes to the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) circuitry as well.

(See also Zoom GFX-707 and Bass Guitar Zoom BFX-708).


An Overview of the Zoom GFX-707 II

Like its predecessor, the GFX-707 II is nothing less than an effects rack in a box. Again divided into two main effects sections, being Analogue and Digital.


 GFX-707 II Modules 
 Click to View Larger Image

The Analogue (and first) section includes your basic Compression, Limiting, Noise Gate, Gain, Distortion, Sustain, Fuzz and EQ functions. The optional Cabinet Simulation (which affects all patches and is really just more EQ'ing) is also analogue.

These analogue elements allow you to create your basic guitar sound or 'flavour' for a patch. Again the diversity of possible sounds is impressive. One can recreate most popular guitarists' sounds and/or amazing and totally original sounds in minutes. Importantly, the analogue section has been completely redesigned.

The Digital section features the full range of DSP (Digital Signal Processing) functions including: Chorus, Flange, Phase, Tremolo, Wah, Pitch Shift, Ring Modulation, several Delay / Echo options, various Reverb settings and more. The Pitch Shift option includes a range of steps from -2 to +2 octaves, making for some great harmony effects. The tracking is flawless.

For control over sound ambience, the Reverb options include a simple Tone control to increase/reduce the brightness of reflected sounds, while offering a useful array of (now) standard reverb environments (Room, Hall, Plate, etc.).

All DSP options can be set up individually and may be used in combination (e.g. Chorus + Delay / Reverb).

The pedal can be assigned to perform various effect parameter control functions (e.g. modulation depth, delay length, pitch frequency, etc.), as well as the expected standard Volume and Wah. The Volume Pedal function can also be assigned as Pre or Post delay effects.

The GFX-707 II also has a built-in Rhythm function (a rather simple drum machine) that provides a selection of useful beats and patterns in various styles for practice or jamming. While these are factory presets with only Tempo and Volume controls, the quality is actually quite respectable.


PROS (Listed in order from Best Feature down):



CONS (Listed in order from Worst Feature down):


Using the Zoom GFX-707 II

You can edit any existing patch and save it as a new User Patch. The User Manual includes relatively easy to follow instructions for creating and saving patches. As with all things, it gets easier once you have done it a few times.

Once set up, the GFX-707 II is relatively simple to use, if you have arranged your patches wisely. The difficulty with almost any multi-effects unit is that you can't apply/remove individual effects 'on the fly' as you can with a Pedal Board that contains discrete effects units. This means that you really need to organise your patches carefully for live performing.

Editor's Note: A notable exception is the Zoom G9.2tt (currently my go-to effects console), which has a 'Live' mode that allows individual effects within a patch to be turned on and off as if they were a bunch of individual pedals - amongst other amazing features.


Creating a Start-Up User Patch


When the Zoom GFX-707 II first boots up it switches to patch A0 (the first User Patch). From experience, I would strongly recommend that you make this what I call a 'Clean' patch. This means turning off all compression, distortion and DSP effects. Essentially this is the GFX-707 II equivalent of a 'bypass'. If the GFX-707 II boots to a high gain patch, it may lead to an unpleasant audience reaction, particularly if your amp is already cranked way up.


Organising Your Zoom GFX-707 II User Patches



There are two recommended approaches to organising your User Patches for best results.

The most important aspect of setting up your User Patches is to come up with a system you can firstly work with, and secondly remember. Getting organised and documenting your patches will greatly improve your ability to get the most from the GFX-707 II.

Of course, if you really need to store more patches, you could just get a second GFX-707 II. Given the average price, this is a realistic option.



Naming Your Zoom GFX-707 User Patches


It is strongly recommended that you take advantage of the extensive User Patch naming capability of the GFX-707 II. Creating 'User Friendly' patch names can make using the GFX-707 II a whole lot easier.


IMPORTANT:
Due to some very fundamental differences between the available analogue effects options on the GFX-707 and the GFX-707 II, it is (very unfortunately) not possible to simply copy settings from the 707 to the 707 II. The DSP sections of the two devices are however very similar, allowing most digital effects settings to be more readily (manually) copied from the 707 to the 707 II.

Zoom GFX-707 II Overall Performance:

The following assessment of the Zoom GFX-707 II takes into account the age of this device and is not an attempt to compare it to Guitar Multi-Effects devices currently on the market.


Overall Average Score 9/10.



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161125 - (Excellent) - Excellent review .. I have this unit too & love it.

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