Ah, the stomp box. I remember when I got my first. It was a Boss analog delay. I sat with that pedal for hours experimenting with it's three knobs wrangling all kinds or odd sounds out of it. "If only I could store two different settings" I dreamed...Flash forward 20+ years and the amount of power companies are able to stuff into a stomp box is staggering as is the case with Zoom's new MS-70CDR.
The MS-70CDR is a pedal focused primarily on chorus, delay, and reverb (hence the CDR acronym) including a vast collection of 86 modeled effects from vintage legendary devices such as the Boss CE-1, ADA Flanger, and Echoplex to high end eclectic devices such as the Eventide Space and Strymon Timeline. Also included are several utility effects suchas as six band EQ and Zoom's very effective ZNR noise gate. Up to six effects can be used simultaneously in any order including multiple instances if desired. Impressive specs!
Zoom has figured out a fairly intuitive way to navigate and program the device employing three "parameter knobs" (which serve double duty as buttons) and four more buttons surrounding the foot switch. Rounding out the features are stereo inputs and outputs, a jack to power the device, and a mini USB port for firmware updating. Despite being bloated with goodies, I must admit being slightly disappointed that Zoom didn't included a jack for an external expression pedal or MIDI ports for remote control.
So how does it sound? Great! Check out the demo of the factory presets below.
Overall the ZOOM MS-70CDR is a fun and very powerful little box. Honestly, there's not a lot it can't do. It will be especially fun for those who like shimmer effects or trippy, atmospheric washes of sound as the MS-70CDR really excels in those areas. Despite all it's strengths, the unit does suffer from the same issue most compact, "swiss army" type of stomp boxes suffer from in that features such as the tuner, tap tempo and toggling between presets is a bit cumbersome. Zoom does offer a functional mode in which the bypass foot switch will increment a loop of your favorite presets. Still, I was yearning for a few extra switches. Of course, that defeats the purpose of such a compact device. I think the players most happy with a pedal like this for live use would be those who will keep it in a loop only using one preset a song, especially those with an already crowded pedal board or those who like to travel real lite. In that fashion, the MS-70CDR will deliver the goods as an aural secret weapon which will likely have folks asking about it after gigs.
Price: ~$120 USD
Pros: Compact device with a wide variety of great sounding effects.
Cons: Cumbersome access to tap tempo, tuning, and patch selection (depending on mode)