The in Tokyo-based company ZOOM known for its affordable audio equipment has released some very versatile effect processors, namely the A1 Four, G1 Four, and B1 Four for acoustic-electric and bass guitar (A1 Four is for various acoustic instruments). Perfect for live jams, experimenting with different sounds, as an aid to soloing or just to practice your loop skills. Each processor is also available in the expression variant in which an expression pedal is integrated into the effects processor, these are the A1X Four, G1X Four, and the B1X Four. In this article, we take a closer look at the A1X.
We wrote the following review in collaboration with the distributor Sound Service.
The Zoom A1X is a fairly compact effect processor that has several very interesting functions. These include a large arsenal of different effects, integrated rhythm patterns, a looper function, an expression pedal, an anti-feedback filter, and a built-in tuner. The zoom A1X is equipped with:
- More than 80 built-in effects
- More than 10 amplifier models for simulating classic amplifiers
- 50 memory locations for storing user-made patches
- A looper for recording up to 30 seconds
- ZOOM Guitar Lab software for creating, editing and managing effects and patches
- 68 built-in rhythm patterns
- A built-in chromatic tuner
- An MMA-1 microphone adapter
- A battery life of 18 hours
How does it work?
The Zoom A1X provides access to more than 80 internal effects and more than 10 amplifier simulations. In addition, 5 effects can be used simultaneously and each effect can be turned on or off in blunt mode. The A1X works with patches of which 5 effects can be loaded in each patch. By default, a number of different patches are already loaded in the effect processor and it is possible to adjust a patch or to compose a patch yourself.
- Rhythm section
The rhythm section consists of 68 rhythm patterns including Samba, Reggae, Jazz, Funk, and many more whose BPM and volume can be adjusted per rhythm pattern in the rhythm mode.
- Looper function
The looper function works quite simply like many other loop stations. A loop of up to 30 seconds can be recorded to create multi-part arrangements. You simply press the record button and the effect processor counts down so that you can start at exactly the right time. You can then play multiple loops on top of each other and in the meantime it is still possible to switch between different patches/effects.
- Expression pedal
The expression pedal gives you the ability to have real-time control over effects such as pitch, volume, reverb, delay, and wah-wah.
- Also for other acoustic instruments
The A1X (and the A1) comes with the MMA-1 microphone adapter so that the effect processor can be used for violin, saxophone, trumpet, harmonica, and so on. Some of these instruments have some built-in patches and new patches are constantly being developed which can be downloaded from the ZOOM website.
The A1X's display reminds me a bit of the LCD screen of the old Nintendo Gameboy, this relatively simple display shows everything very nicely in a very innovative and functional way. Despite the many functionalities, it is a freely accessible effect processor. Whether you already have experience with effect processors or loop stations or not, with the A1X it really doesn't matter. Especially since several patches have already been loaded, it is quickly possible to experiment with different sounds.
If you want more options, you can see in edit mode which effects are linked to the respective patch and you can make adjustments here. The rhythm and looper functions are also quite simple, you set your rhythm and press the play button. Then you go to your looper and start recording your first loop. Press the record pedal again and your loop will play, if you are not satisfied, hold the record pedal for a few seconds and your loop will be removed. Therefore, a very accessible operation for a very extensive effect processor.
The A1X is perfect for musicians who want to experiment with different sounds without spending a lot of money on effect pedals and amplifiers. Especially for musicians with string instruments or wind instruments, this is an effect processor that will give you possibilities like never before. Despite the short recording time in the looper function, there are many options for creating different arrangements or simply taking your solos to the next level. And all that with a built-in rhythm section!