Zoom, one of the many electronic music manufactures based out of Japan, has a history of releasing quality music gear for amateur and semi-pro musicians on a budget. They have been producing music equipment for around two decades and one of their most popular pieces of gear has been the Zoom 1204, which came out in the mid 1990s.
The Zoom 1204 is a multi-effects processor and despite the price tag, some of its effects may take users by surprise. The 1204 is fundamentally an upgraded follow-up to the Zoom 1202, though Zoom threw in a few extra features as well. Though user opinions are mixed, it’s hard to find a better effects unit in the price range of the 1204. Even when it was released it only retailed for a few hundred dollars, and it is widely available for just a fraction of that price.
The Zoom 1204’s effects are quite average for a budget effects box. It comes with an assortment of reverbs, delays, a chorus and a flanger as well as a distortion designed for vocalists. Rotary effects and a 10-band vocoder are included too. There is also a noise reduction “effect,” however since it is added in its own effects slot, you may not use it in conjunction with other effects. Users can adjust effects parameters using two “edit” knobs, each of which control different effects parameters depending on which patch is currently selected.
Some effects may be run in parallel using the combination modes offered. Some settings apply two effects independently to the right and left channels, and the result is mixed and output in stereo.
A nice feature of the Zoom 1204 is its MIDI support, although this was not fully implemented. The 1204 has only a MIDI IN connection, meaning it will have to be the last piece of gear in your MIDI chain and you won’t be able to dump your patches via MIDI. However, it does respond to both patch changes and parameter edits externally via MIDI.
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