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Zoom 9010 vs 9030?
Old 1st August 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Zoom 9010 vs 9030?

Hi everyone,

I owned a 9030 and got rid of it and now was looking to find another. I found someone selling a 9010 which seems to be of a similar generation, but numbers are not reliable. The zoom 9050 for example was an improvement/update of the 9030.. but I understand the 9010 is a "professional" full rack version so maybe this is an exception?

The main thing is the distortions. I really want the same distortion the 9030 had, but I know that in my experience "studio quality" gear of that era often also meant it they lacked the "Fun" effects like distortion / phaser / pitch shift, etc.. and would focus on reverbs and choruses..

So just would like to know if the 9010 is a 1:1 to the 9030 (with more of course because it's pro / full sized) or is it maybe the same but without some things a guitarist would need.

Thanks,
Caleb
Old 17th October 2018
  #2
I bought two zoom 9010s since you posted this, and they are very rare indeed. One of them only has 1 working output now (advertised as having no working outputs). That said, if you like the sound of Zoom especially the distortion then you have found your answer. When you like a particular sound, don't second guess. I like the bass from the Samson Line mixer so I bought a second one. I liked the CS1x so bought a CS2x. And then bought another CS1x to layer over the others, or use it for pads. Hypnotic. And deliciously distorted. I discovered that I liked the Ensoniq sound and bought an Ensoniq VFx. I like the sound of Emu and have 2 Emu samplers, and 2 Emu procussion modules (industrial in-your-face hard type drums). I've discovered that recapping my synth equipment has been rewarding ultimately, especially with my mixers which resulted in a greatly improved sound with Elna capacitors, your mileage may vary. I was going to leave one of my Zoom 9010 as a parts machine and then was so impressed with it (added incredible addictive analogness to my CS1x, and couldnt stop playing) that I decided to use both of them as my effects processor, will eventually sell my higher fi Boss SE-50 with much more effects. Lo-fi sound has more interesting character, has more longevity musically and lo-fi is just more warm. The 9010 gives you all that, and a escape from the sonical perfection of modern life / equipment. Attempt for the machines to take over like in terminator.
Old 17th October 2018
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Exclamation

Awesome thanks for your insight.. So to be clear though.. the 9010 does have distortions like the 9030?

Also you mentioned some issues with them... Sounds like you already know to recap them.. hopefully you did it before any of them leaked.


I'm on a journey with my 9030 situation.. which has played out like this.

- i had a 9030 i bought locally that worked fine but had a couple of broken / poorly re-glued knobs.. didn't use it as much as i thought i would so i sold it.

- felt like i didn't really objectively test it. I second guessed myself as i recall it had a really nice distortion that was definitely good distortion though definitely digital, but lacked the usual amp hum found in most effects units i've owned (analog or digital) but also didn't feel like it was using noise gates which often have a kind of choking sound.. so I really wanted to test it again and see.

- bought another but the device arrived 90% defective.. seller was honorable and gave full refund and let me keep the unit.

- recapping the damaged unit didn't help, but no surprise there (had a professional do it) because the board simply had a lot of damaged contacts and who knows if IC chips themselves were damaged..

- I learned that these aging units have capacitors that are prone to leak corrosive fluid on the boards damaging them.

- I emailed the guy who i sold my first one too less than a year ago to warn him about the cap issue but figured also if he wanted to sell it back to me i'd buy it.

- he agreed and sold it back to me and now i'm waiting for it to arrive.

- going to take good parts from dead device to make the working one 100% cosmetically good and have a spare 9030 for future parts potentially

- hoping when i get the good unit recapped it doesn't hurt anything in the process! Having pro do it.. not trusting my soldering skills for this job.
Old 25th October 2018
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
Awesome thanks for your insight.. So to be clear though.. the 9010 does have distortions like the 9030?

Also you mentioned some issues with them... Sounds like you already know to recap them.. hopefully you did it before any of them leaked.

- hoping when i get the good unit recapped it doesn't hurt anything in the process! Having pro do it.. not trusting my soldering skills for this job.
That's why I'm so happy to own the 9010, for it's analog distortion. I am a connoisseur of distortion (I love what Front 242/Front Line Assembly/Skinny Puppy did). Generally speaking earlier units are more analog, and everything later become digital, and then later units in the 90s are filled with SMDs so you can't customize. I first practiced on a cheap $40 mixer, blew a fuse (my fault, replaced the completely wrong rating capacitor and learned from it) and then fixed the mixer. I gutted an old $100 headphone amp that I hated (it was extremely noisy) with a gigantic SanWha 2200 uF capacitor and put that in my VF1 which I've always hated for it's shrillyness. After replacing most of the caps it was still its same shrilly self (but no squelching feedback) on a whim I replaced the 2200uF cap with the SanWha (why not right?) and WHOA, I went from hating it to loving it, and even looking online for another one (which I would not have not even spent $40 on, I considered it crap because of the shrilly sharpiness it added and I could never like the sound. Now it's like WOW incredible bass. I've found that mixers and effects modules that use a huge amount of amplification (like for guitars) have the best results from recap, synths not really so much but still super important for longevity. My equipment will last until I die now . I hope. Anyways, you learn from experience and if you enjoy (like me) soldering and experimenting then so be it! I buy old cheap gear from the 80s and early 90s and replace whatever I have to, it's kind of fun and exciting. To see if your gear still works right and if not take it apart and fix your soldering job (wiggle the capacitor to see if it holds snugly to the board). I have a desoldering iron, essential to the job. Had fantastic results with my Samson PL-1602 mixer, replacing with a bigger capacitor and when I turn the bass up with 2000 watt amp my baseboards rattle and I'm in sonic heaven. LOL life on Earth!
Old 25th October 2018
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
Awesome thanks for your insight.. So to be clear though.. the 9010 does have distortions like the 9030?

- bought another but the device arrived 90% defective.. seller was honorable and gave full refund and let me keep the unit.

- recapping the damaged unit didn't help, but no surprise there (had a professional do it) because the board simply had a lot of damaged contacts and who knows if IC chips themselves were damaged..
I bought a 9010 for around $40 (or whatever! :>) that had no audio. I didnt care because I could used it for salvage unit for parts if needed and they're becoming rare. I'm not sure if I can find another one. Sure enough there was no audio, and after replacing all the capacitors on the PSU one output worked. I was happy because it's better than nothing and I didnt waste $40, and I can make my keyboard like a heavy metal guitar. Havent tried running my voice yet but getting kind of excited about that. I have to take it apart again because I want to try putting Sanyo capacitors in the power supply. The 9010 has a lot of sonic power, I have an idea for larger caps that will let through the really deep frequencies. I decided to not even bother with mid-90s and later gear. They are mostly SMDs, and the circuit boards are tiny making soldering a risky afffair even though I'm pretty darn good now even with an "arm light" you have to be really quick and skilled and my close vision isnt so good now, of course my whole family is nearsighted
Old 25th October 2018
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
Awesome thanks for your insight.. So to be clear though.. the 9010 does have distortions like the 9030?
I've never owned the 9030 so don't know. However, it seems the earlier models (of anything) generally as a rule of thumb has the analog goodness and later modes eventually the resort to cheaper digital, and then SMDs eventually in the 90s (saying because they last much longer, also cheaper to manufacture) but I had a SMD burst that was next to a heat source. Replace all the caps next to a heat source because thats what causes an early death. I opened up a dead computer power supply box and all the caps had bulged at the top. SMDs are made of metal and that must pull more heat into the cap, not good. About 20 years ago I bought an expensive $400 guitar pedal, it had like 200 presets, 8 buttons you could push with your foot, the whole works. I left with it a guitar friend, and just let him have it It was high rez but the damn thing sounded just too high rez, too good. The Zoom 9010 has that earthy lo fi feel I yearn for, and it makes it into the mix. Some of the old stuff was built up like crazy when it was really important to have hardware that sounded good, and entire teams of people and engineers put their hearts and souls to make this musical equipment. It's all about figuring what each equipment excels at and develop the greatest sounds. If you are thinking about selling equipment and have the space for it, then it's better to keep it just in case. Someday you might replace a capacitor and think OMG! That happened with my TX81Z, it lost all it's harshness and I'm trying to figure out if I want TX81Z FM bass, AN1x Bass, Zoom 9010 distortion bass, and it's a wonderful decision to have to make.
Old 25th October 2018
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Yea I'm definitely keeping my eyes on capacitors on much of my aging stuff (which is pretty much everything I have)..

I just had 4 key capacitors changed on my Amiga 1200 (1991 like the Zoom 9030).. they were not bad, but a couple were showing signs of bulging and were 10v which were replaced with 16v caps which will be good for the future..

I bought a 2nd Zoom 9030 which works fine but has not been serviced.. however it does seem to have a problem with the input gain knob so I've taken both my bad and good one to my local repair guy to have the good daughter card and put it in the unit that has the bad card..

because that case was in better physical shape.. i'm crossing my fingers that the card will transfer smoothly.. and then if all of that is good.. we move on to having the caps fixed.
Old 28th October 2018
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
Yea I'm definitely keeping my eyes on capacitors on much of my aging stuff (which is pretty much everything I have)..

I just had 4 key capacitors changed on my Amiga 1200 (1991 like the Zoom 9030).. they were not bad, but a couple were showing signs of bulging and were 10v which were replaced with 16v caps which will be good for the future..

I bought a 2nd Zoom 9030 which works fine but has not been serviced.. however it does seem to have a problem with the input gain knob so I've taken both my bad and good one to my local repair guy to have the good daughter card and put it in the unit that has the bad card..

because that case was in better physical shape.. i'm crossing my fingers that the card will transfer smoothly.. and then if all of that is good.. we move on to having the caps fixed.
Cool! Let me know how it goes.

Once I started recapping the audio benefits started making me want to do more, and I've pulled apart all my equipment practically in my studio And don't regret it. Audio improvements in my 4 rack mixers/4 rack EQ (low and high end increase), 2 Korg 05RWs (clarity in high end), 2 Emu Procussion (low end increase), Yamaha TX81z and Korg R3 (both lost harshness, actually sound not bad now), Boss VF1 (gained analog bass so good so good)

It seems that gear with the highest amplification (and zoom 9010-9030) has best audio results from recap. I recommend to buy duplicate gear and compare them side by side to hear the difference. Some synths may not have much (if any) improvement, and others it's like night and day.

The zoom 9010 is 20 years old and definitely needed PSU recap. Fortunately the metal case has many slots above the power supply card to allow lots of heat to escape. Indeed, there are two large caps 46uf 200V. I'm going to replace them, and also replace another large cap 10000 uf 6.3v. Then I will do side by side sound comparison with my other Zoom unit, to decide if the recapped one sounds better.

For the 9010 recap: I ordered two 50uf 350V Audio Note and one 10000 16V Audio Note capacitor from hificollective.co.uk. Normally I don't buy super expensive "audiofile" caps but (#1) these are affordable for the poor common musician like me (cant afford > $5 per cap) and are supposedly higher quality materials and (#2) I'm using the 9010 for voice processing and voice needs to be super clear to understand what your singing /saying.

Success story last night: I previously had replaced caps in both of my E-mu procussions. Last night I noticed that one of them sound much better. The one that sounded much better (more OOPMH!) was the one where I used the wrong capacitor rating (1800uf instead of 470uf because I didnt have anything else). The other E-mu was great and punchy comparing them side by side I quickly pulled it apart and replaced it with the "incorrect" 1800uf cap. Now they have the sound that I need for drums, you know the kind that shakes things up

George
Old 29th October 2018
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

that's very interesting! I never considered how the shape of a sound itself would be effected by the caps. I got a glimpse of how caps can effect effect sound because I had one of the volka beats devices and noticed how horrrrrrible the snare was. Doing some digging found some videos and information about how there was a missing cap that effectively fixed it, but also different caps effected how much better the sound was.

So yes that's a big help. I'm curious though too because I'm not doing the operations myself on the Zoom... or other devices most likely.. is there some rule of thumb or something that you've found in what kind of caps help improve a sound vs. do something to make them sound worse.

My instinct of course is to replace caps with the same kind to insure the sound doesn't change (because i don't have the resources to experiment) the sound.. i'm ok keeping things the same.. improving them does sound tempting though but since it's new territory I wouldn't want to risk depreciating the quality in the process.
Old 29th October 2018
  #10
This old Zoom stuff just makes me think of those old NIN tunes from the 90s.
Old 30th October 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dezb1 View Post
This old Zoom stuff just makes me think of those old NIN tunes from the 90s.
NIN voice still resounds and bounces around my head. Even if I forgot about them you reminded me... thinking about them the first song that popped into my head was animal (I can't say the name of the tune ). They were such trendsetters and no one else really much followed that is voice-musically. Artistry like this should be allowed to be free, allowed to be created and in existence and not confined by ideas of peoples right and wrong, bad and good. It's beauty in its own right if you listen to it with an open mind without judgement.
Old 30th October 2018
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

this was a recent first attempt using the 9030 with my ibanez guitar.. plenty of things wrong with it in terms of EQ and such.. but it was still fun to tinker around with it.

I want to try it again with my hardware noise gate.. ableton's soft-gate is disappointing, which is what i used in this.

Dropbox - pinion first attempt.mp3
Old 30th October 2018
  #13
JDN
Lives for gear
 
JDN's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dezb1 View Post
This old Zoom stuff just makes me think of those old NIN tunes from the 90s.
Yeah the 9030 is the quintessential sound of NIN Broken EP, used pretty liberally on the Downward Spiral too. Someone mentioned earlier the older Zooms sounding more analog. As someone who's been using Amp simulators, well since the Days of NIN and Broken really, I can say there is nothing else like the 9030. It was one of the first amp simulators and sounds NOTHING like a mic guitar cab, but that's it's charm, that unique huge digital sound. Filter also used it for the Bass on Short Bus, but I mainly used for that Zoom/NIN guitar style sound which is why I still have mine. last time I tested last year it was fine, I'll try tonight to make sure no cap issues and to give that distortion a try again for old times sake.
Old 30th October 2018
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

yea interesting for sure.. while i do not know the hardware inside the 9030 and similar generation devices, I always thought a device like this was 100% digital and i'm not saying that with any spin or judgement.

It was 1991 so all digital might not have been practical at that point and perhaps some analog stuff is still inside it, but given its size and just having seen inside it looks like everything is digital inside.
Old 31st October 2018
  #15
JDN
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the 9030 is all digital, hence its unique sound, another poster mentioned earlier zoom units had some analog distortion, I'm not really sure on the older units.
Old 31st October 2018
  #16
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lovekrafty's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDN View Post
the 9030 is all digital, hence its unique sound, another poster mentioned earlier zoom units had some analog distortion, I'm not really sure on the older units.
The 9030 has analog distortion FYI
Old 31st October 2018
  #17
JDN
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JDN's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekrafty View Post
The 9030 has analog distortion FYI
wow, you are correct, after all these years I thought it was all digital effects...so I'm guessing the amp simulators are digital and what give it that specific and unique sound?
Old 31st October 2018
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekrafty View Post
The 9030 has analog distortion FYI
On the Zoom advertising promotional material it says the 9030 is equipped with analog and digital structures. Analogue takes care of distortion, overdrive and the compressor/limiter, and everything else is digital.
Old 1st November 2018
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDN View Post
wow, you are correct, after all these years I thought it was all digital effects...so I'm guessing the amp simulators are digital and what give it that specific and unique sound?
Whatever it was they got the magic just right! I have a lo-fi keyboard with a distortion sound (wont say what keyboard, you'll laugh) that I ran through the Boss VF-1 and SE70 and the distortion was you know just ok. Well, it stayed digital and was really nothing special. But when I ran it into the Zoom 9010 and after some tweaking I was saying wow, my weak keyboard distortion lead now sounds just like a really deep heavy metal guitar. Never experienced THAT before.
Old 1st November 2018
  #20
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I still have my 9010, bought new when they blew them out for a grand. Great reverb but the distortion ain't no big thrill. It has a DI input and plugging a guitar into it sounds brittle, the distortion effect doesn't respond well to dynamic playing and is noisy as heck. Most presets were followed by a gate. However, my Monologue has distortion in it and I can tell it would also sound lousy on guitar... but it sounds terrific on the synth. Will have to try running it through the 9010.
Old 1st November 2018
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

@ geob just saying all digital, I have to guess.. an ART effects processor and I'm going to try and get more specific.. the Mach II?

While I have a nostalgic thing for the ART stuff and it's not all bad, but the distortion on those units was craptastic.. I'm pretty sure the ART stuff was all digital.. and after having owned several different models from that late 80's / early 90's stuff.. Nightbass, SGE Mach II, Multiverb III and something else I can't remember off hand.. but basically they all seemed to be the same hardware / firmware with just slightly different casings.
Old 1st November 2018
  #22
Here for the gear
 

They ain't alike 9030 is
More guitar and 9010 more instrument had lots of zooms plus 9050 and 9200

9050 is pick of the bunch imo 9200 is quite serious hiğish end largely reverb but all zooms mod fx are good
Old 1st November 2018
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

cool good to know. I know just at face value I didn't really see have 4 ins and outs would be all that helpful for my setup.. it's cool to have the option, but i'm just not doing that complex a setup to use that..

So it was much more about what's under the hood in terms of effects and such.

I'm waiting to hear back from the repair guy to see how transplanting the good daughterboard from my working unit (with a broken headphone knob, and the input gain knob doesn't work, unit is full gain all the time)

If that produces a fully working 9030, then next step will be to change all of the caps on it so the unit lasts for years to come.

I hope this conversation reaches other zoom owners primarily to realize they need address this because these units are prone to leak and ruin them.. you already hear about people talking about broken / no audio devices and i'm 99% sure this is why they went bad..

It's not that expensive to have a standard TV repair type person person do this work. This is standard stuff they do all the time for non-music gear.

As long as the unit works when you give it to them, there should be minimal risk that something doesn't work after they are done.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
I still have my 9010, bought new when they blew them out for a grand. Great reverb but the distortion ain't no big thrill. It has a DI input and plugging a guitar into it sounds brittle, the distortion effect doesn't respond well to dynamic playing and is noisy as heck. Most presets were followed by a gate. However, my Monologue has distortion in it and I can tell it would also sound lousy on guitar... but it sounds terrific on the synth. Will have to try running it through the 9010.
The hi-Z guitar input on the front sucked, but there was a large amplication plugging my keyboard into the back and sounded great. The 9010 takes a really cool and perfect (i.e. boring) distortion sound from my keyboard and mangles and turns it into a real deep mean type distortion, basically the boring digital distortion becomes intersting and mean and emotional. I love it. That's the only thing I would use my 9010 for although the chorus is really full and nice. The 9010 is a mean monster, it basically takes over and doesnt care if I turned up the chorus full blast on my keyboard. Once it gets it's idea of what it wants, thats it. I was getting this constant incessant distortion noise (annoying jarring terrible) until I changed the Pre EQ to 0 then there was just this random popping cabinet amp sound ever few seconds which I loved. Cool, just like the real thing. The distortion "hiss" was annoying and didnt sound bad technically (I love distortion) I just don't need it 24-7. But I fixed it and know its fixable. So anyways, if you love heavy metal (and I played in a band with a heavy metal singer guy and had to cater my synth type sound to him - basically bad-ass) or if you love industrial music (thats me - mostly anyways) then it's definitely definitely bound to find a use, and going to be used! It's the exact opposite of say an Eventide processor which sounds pristine and just immensely beautiful. The 9010 was built for guitarists and so has this guitaresque sound quality or character you can never escape. I could play a great rhythm guitar on my synth using this module, and let the lead guitar just scream. Anyways, I said my thing thats what I have to say about this module. Depends what you want for sure.
Old 2nd November 2018
  #25
Ah, just found some info from YT video comment: The Boss GX-700 and GT 5 were the last BOSS multi effects units to use an analog circuit for their OD/Distortion section (the amp models were their early COSM digital models which weren't all that great). Well, they said (and this is 4 years ago so take it for granted) that they went for resonable prices on ebay.

I think FX processors are just to get you where you want to go, once you get there then hey your good!
Old 2nd November 2018
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

I have the Boss SE70.. is that analog distortion? it sounds pretty good. I like that effect process for other reasons (vocoder for one)

Me testing it out with my boys.. heh.. good times.
YouTube
Old 2nd November 2018
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
I have the Boss SE70.. is that analog distortion? it sounds pretty good. I like that effect process for other reasons (vocoder for one)

Me testing it out with my boys.. heh.. good times.
YouTube
Did you record that?! Oh, God you have the singer for your next song!!! That's beautiful! No seriously, the most beautiful thing (vocoder) that I've heard on YT in awhile. Chill out on the vocoder btw your kids beat you to it already, they're the singing stars, your relegated to keyboards or guitar, or whatever sorry!!!
Old 3rd November 2018
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
I have the Boss SE70.. is that analog distortion? it sounds pretty good. I like that effect process for other reasons (vocoder for one)

Me testing it out with my boys.. heh.. good times.
YouTube
I have no idea if its analog or not, but it sounds good enough to me! Just lower the reverb to half of what it was on your kids voice and you've got the next vocal star on your hands!!! The vocoder effect you produced sounds perfect for his voice, was that by accident or intensely designed? I don't know.
Old 3rd November 2018
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

lol, yea he was much more passionate about quotes from Hercules the Disney movie. That was his Jam.

Yea the instrument source was a K2500RS synth, but really most of the magic is the SE70s vocoder. It really does sound great. I've run other less intense gear through it and still got good stuff out of it. That was just like the 2nd vocoder preset. Really didn't do anything but plug things up and see what would happen.

So great I opted to keep it over the Warp Factory which I ended up selling off.. not as knobby but I just liked the sounds I got out of it better with less hassle and with the ability to save patches.

Yea it's so funny, you'd think my son listened to (or even liked) heavy music.. ironically the younger one is the one who likes hard driving beats and heavier stuff.. just a fan of Hades.. lol
Old 3rd November 2018
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by part12studios View Post
lol, yea he was much more passionate about quotes from Hercules the Disney movie. That was his Jam.

Yea the instrument source was a K2500RS synth, but really most of the magic is the SE70s vocoder. It really does sound great. I've run other less intense gear through it and still got good stuff out of it. That was just like the 2nd vocoder preset.l
Make some kind of song together! You have only so many years before he grows up. My son is not into creating music but only consuming it. If your sons inspired to create a song (as vocal lead singer) it's the memories that count.

George
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