Review: Zoom MS-100BT Multistomp Pedal with Bluetooth
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Zoom makes such a wide variety of products these days that it’s easy to forget the company debuted way back in 1989 with the 9002, a tiny, guitar-strap-mounted multieffect processor a little larger than a pack of cigarettes. Now, 24 years later, things have come full circle with Zoom’s new Multistomp pedals, which provide the power and functionality of a sophisticated multieffect processor in a package that’s the size of a standard stomp box.
The MS-100BT Multistomp is Zoom’s most powerful Multistomp pedal. It offers 100 preloaded effects and amp models, the ability to download new effects and models via Bluetooth and the StompShare app for iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch), and much more.
Although the Zoom MS-100BT looks like an average single-effect stomp box with a footswitch, three knobs and stereo I/O, it’s actually a powerful multieffect processor that provides up to six simultaneous effects. The only significant difference between the MS-100BT and a full-size multieffect floor unit is a lack of additional switches and foot controllers for selecting patches and manually adjusting parameters. The six available effects can be arranged in any order, and the pedal’s internal memory stores 50 patches.
You can set up the footswitch to function several different ways, including as a bypass switch for individual effects in a patch, to scroll through a pre-selected series of patches, to manually tap tempo settings, or to mute the output when the tuner function is engaged. Four cursor keys surrounding the footswitch let you select effect categories, change the effect type, display an effect and add a new effect left or right of the current effect. Three control knobs, which also function as push switches, perform a variety of functions, such as editing parameters and selecting patches.
The stock internal effects and amp models cover just about everything a guitarist could need, from standard tools (overdrive, noise gate and so on) to outrageous special effects (sequence filter, bit crusher, bomber and more). Effects are arranged in five groups (dynamics/filter, overdrive/distortion, amp, modulation/SFX, delay/reverb), allowing you to access what you want more quickly.
In addition, Zoom currently offers an additional 13 effects and 12 amps for sale via its StompShare Shop. These effects and amps can be downloaded to the pedal via a wireless Bluetooth connection using the free StompShare app for iOS devices. The StompShare app also offers a free 15-minute trial download of each effect and amp model. Each effect costs only 99 cents, while each amp model is priced at $1.99, which means you can increase the available sounds of an MS-100BT by 25 percent for less than $40.
Using and programming the MS-100BT is satisfyingly simple, thanks to the intuitive control layout and large graphic display. While guitarists who like to randomly access patches or individual effects will still be better off with a dedicated floor unit, players who only need to turn an individual effect on and off during a song or already have a preconceived string of sounds in mind for a set or song will find that the pedal satisfies their needs quite well. The pedal does not perform a traditional on/off bypass, instead being designed for use as a primary tone source that is always on, although you can use a loop selector should you only need it for a few songs during a set like a standard stomp box.
The sound quality of the effects and amp models matches that of Zoom’s larger multieffect units. The optional StompShare amp models are all impressive and worth the additional $1.99, and the StompShare effects, which include models of the Maestro Echoplex, Ibanez Tube Screamer and legendary Klon Centaur, are incredible bargains at only 99 cents each. These items alone make the MS-100BT an essential purchase for any tech-savvy tone junkie.
List Price $249.99
Manufacturer Zoom Corporation, samsontech.com
A powerful multieffect processor with six simultaneous effects that can be arranged in any order, 100 effects and amp models, and 50 patches.
Additional effects and amp models can be downloaded via an iOS device using a wireless Bluetooth connection and Zoom’s StompShare app.
The Bottom Line
Packing the power of a floor multieffect unit into a stomp-box configuration, the MS-100BT is perfect for guitarists who want sophisticated sounds from the smallest stage rig imaginable.