Zoom MS-70CDR

This review is of a pedal that is currently on my board, and if it continues to perform in the way that it has I envision this to be on my board for a good amount of time to come.

The Zoom MS-70CDR is a multi effect stompbox. It has over 80 patches within its arsenal. These mainly consist of Chorus, Delays and Reverbs (hence the name) with a few other odd balls thrown in such as a rotary speaker and vibratos.

I wanted a reverb pedal and a friend recommended the Zoom as it is fairly cheap at around £70. It isn’t perfect by any means and I probably don’t use it to its full potential.

There are around 40 presets which I have enjoyed playing with, and around 50 banks with which to create your own. The interface is a bit clunky and difficult to navigate at first, it takes some getting used to. But as I am primarily using it as an always on reverb I don’t tend to use the menus all that much.

There are three dials on the top just under the screen, that gives you some control to the effect that you have on, and I will say that this is a nice touch, I do prefer a dial to be able to alter something, whether that dial is actually on a digital interface or not.

Some of the effects are not as good as you would expect, for example when you compare the shimmer setting on the CDR to the shimmer on the Neunaber Immerse they are like chalk and cheese. The Immerse is lush, complimentary and an all around fantastic pedal. The CDRs shimmer is pretty terrible, it sounds jarring and doesn’t sound at all like the choral sound that you would expect.

That being said, this is only one not so good effect out of 80+ decent ones. Yes there are bound to be plenty of the effects that I either won’t like or just won’t use. But for the price as long as it has a couple of decent reverbs (which it does) it is worth it. There are so many parts of the CDR that make it a good buy. The number of effects on tap are one, the flexibility of these effects is another. It has stereo ins and outs. It can be powered by USB, AA batteries or 9V DC adaptor.

The effects work in a chain, so within reason you can have up to 6 effects in a chain, this depends on the processing power required. So you can have a bank of effects for one particular song, all of which turned on, have just one effect on, and then the effect you might need for a chorus or solo ready to be turned on and off. As i’ve already said, its not perfect but it is usable. The only major gripe I have is that there could be an additional foot switch socket. This would enable you to either switch banks up or down with the foot switch or scroll left and right within the bank your in. This would make the CDR extremely useful for stage use. As it stands I don’t play outside of the context of my room, so I don’t need that feature, I just think it would make the CDR almost perfect. As it is, you would need to set up separate banks for different songs, and scroll up and down on the pedal if you were to use it live, or have just one or 2 effects that you use all the time. As I mentioned earlier, as a stand alone reverb, I leave it on all the time. I then scroll through the banks if I want to try something out a little different such as the rotary speaker or the bit crusher.

It is worth noting that the foot switch can be held down to activate the in built tuner, or it can be used as a tap tempo. So in my case as I don’t have a stand alone tuner, I can use the CDR without the need to buy another pedal.

The MS-70CDR is fantastic value for money, and if you can find one second hand it will be even more of a bargain. I am very pleased with mine and gladly recommend it to anyone who will listen. If like me you only wanted a few reverbs, and within this pedal you have plenty to choose from, it is worth it just to settle that bit of GAS you may have over some of the other more outlandish effects. Things like a bit crusher, I may want to try one out, and the CDR gives me the flexibility to use one until I get board, which is apparently not that long. The rotary speaker however I enjoyed so much especially once I got to try a stereo set up, that I wouldn’t mind a dedicated pedal just for that. And it is in this that the CDR excels, for a small fee it gives you the chance to try all sorts of pedals without having to shell out the big bucks. It’s all well and good trying something out at a shop, but its not with your gear, so it wont sound the same as when you get it home. The CDR is a good stepping stone pedal for a lot of things. I don’t find myself using chorus all that much, but if I ever found the need, I would use the CDR to see if it was actually something that I want rather than buying another pedal.

In conclusion:

Pros –

  • Solid metal case
  • 50 banks, 6 effects to a bank, lots of possibilities, 80+ effects to choose from
  • 3 options of how to power it.
  • Stereo in/outputs
  • Good bank for your buck, best reverb pedal under £80 due to it having so many effects

Cons –

  • Very fiddly interface
  • Not very user friendly for live performance without using a pedal looper
  • Best used as an always on effect, can be tricky to switch between effects and banks
  • Is power hungry, needs 500mA which my power supply wont give, so I have to run it on a separate one.

 

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