Zoom was a brand that stole the show this Christmas. Their range affordable of multitrack recorders and multi effects pedals at the right price point meant we couldn't get enough of their gear. However, it's a new year - we're hungry for more great deals crammed with technology and Zoom have not left us disappointed!
It wouldn't be NAMM without launching a bit of iPhone tech into the market, and true to tradition, Zoom have laid down the iOS gauntlet with the iQ5 stereo microphone for iPhone.
iOS devices are becoming more and more socially acceptable in the music community as a tool for producing, editing and recording high quality material. Manufacturers including Ableton, Steinberg and Apple themselves are releasing iOS based DAWs, sequencers and plugins and making music on the touch-screen devices seems more accessible than ever.
The iQ5 is equipped with Apple's new lightening bolt connection and unlike many competitors out there the stereo microphone can be adjusted to different recording configurations – 90°, 120° and a M-S. With the nature of some off-the-cuff iPhone recordings the handy auto-gain and limiter settings means if you don't have time to perfectly adjust your levels quiet source sounds are boosted and overly loud sounds are compressed. The microphone is also set to work with iPhone video apps – so you can now record a viral video of your cat playing the piano with the highest sound quality imaginable.
Zoom are embracing forward thinking technology in their guitar pedals too. The MS-100BT or Multistomp is a compact bluetooth pedal which simulates a wealth of guitar tones and effects, be warned though it's not just another multi-effects pedal.
The pedal works hand-in-hand with the Zoom Stomp Share App for iOS devices which works as a virtual shop where you can browse, try out and purchase new effects from amp simulators, compressors to modulation and special fx. The pedal has a clearly back-lit lcd screen with three adjustable parameters depending on what effect takes your fancy. If you're a bit indecisive, you can chop and change your effects from your iPad or iPhone, sending the latest effects to the pedal with the bluetooth connectivity - there's need for another cable. See it in action with the official video below:
Projecting the sound of your electro-acoustic guitar through an amplifier or PA system to it's true potential is tricky business. Zoom's A3 acoustic pre-amp pedal is set to not just enhance the sound but can make it sound like a totally different build, be it a dreadnought or parlor body shape, 12 or 6 string guitar.
There's pretty much every combination of acoustic guitar shape, type and configuration to choose from firstly with 16 body types available. Once you have selected the body shape you can fine tune the sound quality of the guitar with 28 models to select from. Modeled on popular acoustic guitars, the model select will change the timbre by simulating different bracing and wood constructions from rosewood to spruce. After that, just select one of 40 effects available - these can add further tone adjustments with microphone modeling or more complex fx, including reverse delays and chorus effects.
If 50 effects, guitar and microphone isn't quite enough for you, you can get even more updates via USB to your PC or MAC.