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

Zoom GFX-707

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There was a time when people were regularly sharing custom GFX-707 user patches in forums. They seem to be near impossible to find now ... which is rather sad.

If you have created any interesting patches for the Zoom GFX 707 or GFX-707 II that you'd like to share, send them to


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

Aside from some expected cosmetic wear and tear, there is not a lot that will go wrong with this device. For the most part, it is either working or it's not.

One thing I have noticed though, is that the Input and Output jacks do get 'crackly' as these units age. At first I though this was probably just oxidation of the 6mm (1/4") sockets.

However, after purchasing a second GFX-707 online, I noticed it was particularly bad in that department. To the point where the signal would cut in and out with any movement of either the Input or Output lead (Probably why it was so cheap).

Figuring the problem was probably mechanical, I opened the unit up and sure enough, the soldering on both the In and Out socket terminals had failed (this is generally referred to as a 'Dry Joint').

A simple resoldering of all the socket connections to the circuit board and the unit was as good as new.

I subsequently checked both my other GFX-707 and the GFX-707 II to discover that they also had the same issue, just not as bad. All good now.


Price:

If you're not paying more than around AUD $80 to $90, then a GFX-707 is good value.

I would consider a 'Grab it!' price to be around AUD $60 to $80 (includes a power supply and shipping), depending on the device's condition of course.

They have sold for well over $120, but I think that's insane, given that you can buy some of the latest Zoom toys new for a similar price.

The GFX series were around AUD $350 to $450 new, back in the early 2000's.

Also worth mentioning is that the GFX-707 II, which has the added ability to save patches to a Smart Media card, can be picked up for around AUD $120 (or less) at times.


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The Zoom GFX-707 is a compact, versatile and sturdy guitar multi-effects unit, first released around 2000. Having owned and used this pedal for over a decade, I have decided to post some information in case any one else is interested to learn about this classic hybrid (Analogue/Digital) guitar multi-effects unit.

First-time users of the GFX-707 have occasionally written some unflattering reports about this device. I suspect this is mostly due either to ignorance about how to set up and use the GFX-707 (it seems that few people ever read the manual for anything these days), or it may simply be due to having unrealistic expectations for a device that is now years old.

That's not to say the Zoom GFX-707 is perfect. Rather that you get a whole lot, actually an insane lot, of value for money with this piece of guitar effects kit.

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


Quick Resources Links (PDFs):



An Overview of the Zoom GFX-707

Being a Guitar Multi-Effects unit, the GFX-707 is nothing less than an effects rack in a box. There are two main effects sections divided into Analogue and Digital.


 GFX-707 Modules 
 Click to View Larger Image

Analogue:

The Analogue (and first) section includes your basic Compression, Limiting, Noise Gate, Gain, Distortion, Sustain, Fuzz and EQ functions. The optional Amp (actually Cabinet) Simulation is also analogue.

These allow you to create your basic guitar sound for a patch. The diversity of possible sounds is quite impressive. With a little effort you can copy most popular guitarists' sounds (if that's what you want). Or you can create totally original sounds in minutes.


Digital:

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.

For control over the ambient sound, the Delay / Reverb options include a simple Tone control to increase/reduce the brightness of reflected sounds.

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 Volume and Wah. The Volume Pedal function can also be assigned as Pre or Post delay effects.

The GFX-707 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. These are factory presets with only Tempo and Volume controls.


PROS (Listed in order from Best Feature down):



CONS (Listed in order from Worst Feature down):


Using the Zoom GFX-707


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 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.


Creating a Start-Up User Patch


When the Zoom GFX-707 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 for patch A0. Essentially this is like creating the GFX-707 equivalent of a 'bypass' (which in truth it doesn't have).

If you don't do this and the GFX-707 boots to a high gain patch, it may lead to an unpleasant reaction, particularly if your amp is also already cranked way up.


Organising Your Zoom GFX-707 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.

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

I have made a blank Zoom GFX-707 Blank User Patch Sheets (PDF format) that you can freely download/print and use to document your own GFX-707 User Patches.


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. Creating 'User Friendly' patch names can make using the GFX-707 a whole lot easier.


IMPORTANT:
Due to some very fundamental differences between the available analogue effects options on the GFX-707 and the Zoom 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 digital effects settings to be more readily (manually) copied from the 707 to the 707 II.

Zoom GFX-707 Overall Performance:

The following assessment of the Zoom GFX-707 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 8.6 rounded up to 9/10.




Your comments and contributions are greatly appreciated!




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Your Comments:


181209 - (Excellent) - Thanks for the detailed review, still I have a question: how do you know that EQ, ZNR and Amp Sim are all analog? I checked the whole manual, and only distortion is mentioned as analog circuit. It would make sense that the first module is a small analog pcb inside the pedal, but I didn't find the confirmation for that. Cheers, Greg

Editor's Note: Greets Greg - An interesting question indeed ... Simon, turn the Way-Back Machine to C2000, and there in the mists of Zoom's marketing hype is the answer!

While the more up-market competitors in the guitar effects space (e.g. Roland/Boss and similar) were going all digital and making a grand noises about VAMS (Virtual Amp Modeling Simulation), Zoom was spruiking it's (probably cheaper) alternative, which they badged as "Hybrid Technology". The Zoom marketing literature of the day extolled the virtues of this approach as being a more real/realistic sounding solution. Back then there was a little more detail about the technology and functionality of these devices (write-ups, reviews, Zoom's literature) in an effort to support the marketing claims.

There came a time (somewhere between 2008-10 - I think) when a new corporate look swept through the Zoom camp. Without warning, the web pages for discontinued products were revised down to nothing more than the owner's manual and any related software/firmware. All meaningful product info along with any marketing hype, effectively vanished. Even product specs could now only be gleaned from the owner's manual.

So much that was known was now lost ... and this conveniently removed the possibility of people directly comparing the features and functionality of old/discontinued and new products. Unfortunately I too, no longer have hard-copy or digital evidence of that old info, Of all the web pages I've PDF'd, sadly that wasn't one of them. So in short, if you'd prefer to take the above diagram as 'in error', go for it ;-)

Just for the hell of it (since I happen to have a dead 707), I will actually post an image of the 707 PCB (later this week when I have some time), which does indicate the general design approach, shows the proprietary Zoom chips, and a reasonably clear delineation of the analogue and digital sections of the board. Of course, that still won't prove anything one way or the other.


180922 - (Excellent) - Great. Great. Great. I got one of these in 2001, but was unsure how to set it up properly, one to another I stopped playing (electric) guitar ... About a month ago I found the 707 in the loft with my old Less Paul copy thing. Got new strings for her. The guitar Tuner works great and now just setting my zoom 707 as it should be. Right ... How do I play that Em again ?????? Cheers

Editor's Note: Thanks for taking the time to write ;-)


180902 - (Excellent) - Just picked one of these up on e-bay today for £20.00 GBP. Despite some comments to the contrary the manual is still available from the ZOOM website under the "Support & downloads" tab, then "guitar & bass effects" & finally click on "discontinued", it doesn't however include the additional sheet with the parameters for the factory installed setting values. Thanks for the well written review, I'm looking forward to getting it delivered and having a play :-)

Editor's Note: Thankyou for the comment and note about the manual. I have now updated the relevant section and reference to the manual. Enjoy!!


160604 - (Excellent) - I've only just got my GFX 707, so, I'm still in the 'infant stages' of user-development, however, I'm a little frustrated at this point, not to be able to easily access the delay settings? I of course will re-read the manual, until it's 'finally' second nature ... but, I was rather hoping to enjoy 'playing' tonight! Unlike you, it seems I don't find the manual 'that easy to follow', though I'm not one to give up easily! Thanks for your review, I found it very well written!!

Editor's Note: Firstly, great to hear you are reading the manual and persisting! ;-)  Sorry however to hear that you found the manual less than what you expected. In fairness though, I got this beastie back when they were still almost new, and for that time, the manual was excellent. Also, I have to accept an element of possible bias since I now have a collection of Zoom pedals (707, 707II, 708 and G9.2tt). Perhaps I have 'zoomified' my thinking and am now less than completely objective.


160604 - (Excellent) - I've only just got my GFX 707, so, I'm still in the 'infant stages' of user-development, however, I'm a little frustrated at this point, not to be able to easily access the delay settings? I of course will re-read the manual, until it's 'finally' second nature ... but, I was rather hoping to enjoy 'playing' tonight! Unlike you, it seems I don't find the manual 'that easy to follow', though I'm not one to give up easily! Thanks for your review, I found it very well written!!

Editor's Note: Firstly, great to hear you are reading the manual and persisting! ;-)  Sorry however to hear that you found the manual less than what you expected. In fairness though, I got this beastie back when they were still almost new, and for that time, the manual was excellent. Also, I have to accept an element of possible bias since I now have a collection of Zoom pedals (707, 707II, 708 and G9.2tt). Perhaps I have 'zoomified' my thinking and am now less than completely objective.

Delay Settings: I tend to use the REV (Reverb) Module to create the desired delay effects for a Patch, rather than use the ECHO and DELAY options in the MOD (Modulation) Module. Both can of course be combined, but it can sound somewhat messy.


160702 - (Excellent) - Tremendous amount of information for any user. My goal is to try it out on a host of Indian instruments with a preamp.

160622 - (Excellent) - Great! Thanks for Help me :)

160609 - (Excellent) - Thankyou, really appreciate all the effort and will be sharing any and all patches I create.

160604 - (Excellent) - Excellent review .. I dragged mine out again after about 7 years of non use and was pleasantly surprised with some of the edited patches I had saved. The only problem is the guitar input jack is on the way out and a pain in the butt to fix for a non tekhead. Oh well, I like it that much I think I will buy another.
Editor's Note: The jack probably isn't broken, just loose (it seems they all get that way). 2 minutes with a soldering iron will sort out both input and output jacks. If you can't do it yourself, you must have a friend (or know a roadie) who could resolder those connections. It really is pretty easy to do, and even if you pay a repair shop, surely cheaper than buying another unit. Plus you don't have to copy all your patches ;-))

160416 - (Excellent) - This is a great write up of the pedal I've had since it 1st came on the market and it's still a workhorse, and very grateful for the connectors heads-up, been all good so far. Thanks for the patches pdf. link.

160125 - (Excellent) - Great article! Have just dug my 707 out of a box after many years and it still works perfectly. If anyone has submitted interesting patches please post them up.
Editor's Note: Thanks ;-)   I was hoping that readers might send in the occasional 'interesting patch', but so far there has been no response in that area.

151016 - (Excellent) - Straightforward. No nonsense review. Having used one of these for years totally agree with everything stated.
           Editor's Note: Thanks ;-)

150930 - (Excellent) - Thanks!

140706 - (Excellent) - Excelente mesmo !!!!!!

140510 - (Excellent) - lo mejor!   (the best! - Spanish)

140323 - (Excellent) - I got a deal on one of these and didn't know how to use it that well! THANX!.



Incept Date: Wizard - 131215
Last Update: Wizard - 181025

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