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Thread: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

  1. #1
    Toneologist schecterplayer's Avatar
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    Unhappy A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    Does anyone own (or has tried) a Zoom MS70-CDR? It seems like a pretty promising pedal but I'm having some pretty obnoxious issues with mine.

    I've never really explored modulation effects with the exception of a Boss DD-6 and my excellent Demeter Stereo Tremulator, but I've been reworking my board for a more compact and flexible setup and got the idea that I could replace my Boss Digital Delay with a box of the same size that could do the simple delay settings that I use and also open up the opportunity to play with Phasers, Vibes, etc. I read tons of reviews and forum posts which were overwhelmingly positive (other than complaints about awkwardness switching patches live and of some mild tone suck), and saw a great price for a Zoom MS70-CDR brand new from Japan so I went ahead and ordered it. I wasn't expecting perfect sound quality of course since this is a $100 digital pedal, but people seemed to like it and and I figured if the effects were good enough I could either deal with a little tone suck or put it in a true-bypass loop to take it out of my clean sound.

    It arrived yesterday, and I spent a couple hours playing with it running directly into the front of a clean tube amp. (I have not tried it in an effects loop yet since my larger main amp that has one is currently being serviced). It's a nice piece of kit, sturdily built with simple controls (and a nice powder-blue color), and a very readable monochrome backlit LCD screen. In spite of complaints about complexity, I found it really simple and easy to program, and while the single-footswitch could definitely be an issue for people who want to switch between a ton of patches, it seems very workable for my needs. It is easy to assign any number of presets so that they cycle in order every time you hit the footswitch, and it can be set to go into tap-tempo mode when the footswitch is held down. It is apparently also possible to control it via MIDI over USB, but I don't have much interest in dealing with that.

    The effects sound excellent, with some nice lush reverbs, a bunch of cool chorus, vibrato, univibe, and ring-mod effects, some crazy stuff like shimmer reverbs and modulated and reversed delays, and a number of utility effects like EQ, Compression, and noise gates that I didn't expect to have any use for. I'm sure they aren't as rich and detailed as an Eventide or Strymon unit, but they mostly sound great to me, especially when dialed in more subtly than the default presets.

    However, I'm concerned that my unit might be defective because the noise floor is incredibly high. When the pedal is turned on and plugged into the amp (even with the guitar volume all the way down or with nothing plugged into the input), it adds a lot of constant white noise no matter what setting the pedal is on, although it seems to be less when the effects are bypassed by running an empty preset. This is annoying, but if it was the only issue I would probably still enjoy the pedal, but there is another much more annoying noise as well in the form of a constant, extremely high-pitched whine that happens whenever a patch containing effects is selected (even if those effects are bypassed using the line selector), however, if I switch to an empty patch the noise goes away, leaving only the quieter and less irritating white noise I mentioned earlier. I figured maybe this was why Zoom made such a big deal about the fancy noise gate they built into this pedal, so I tried adding one at the beginning of my patch and it worked really well, eliminating the high-pitched noise when I am not playing as well as substantially reducing (but unfortunately not eliminating) the background white noise. However, whenever I play a note, especially a quieter one, the noise gate releases (as it should) and I can hear that high pitched whine as a constant overtone that never changes pitch, as well as some of the white noise underneath. The noise is bad enough that on some of the crazier pitch-shifting modulation effects the pitch-shifted whine produces its own audible effects trail. This can't be how this thing is supposed to operate, since the settings that are the most impacted are exactly the kinds of effects-forward tones that Zoom used for their presets, and none of the presets came with a noise gate turned on.

    I realized that the noise was constant regardless of the strength of the input signal, so I think that this might work much better in an effects loop at line level, since the noise will be the same level but the signal will be much hotter. I was also using a guitar with extremely low-output single coils. I'll post back in here once I try it in the loop and with my JB/59 humbucker guitar. I tested the theory by running my MXR CAE Clean boost into the CDR, and turning the gain on my amp down to keep things pretty clean. I was able to get the noise down to an acceptable, but still perceptible level by running that boost pedal all the way up (20db boost), so hopefully line level is hotter still than that, but that makes me think that this thing is totally useless into the front of an amp.

    Has anyone else used one of these and experienced (or not experienced) this? The issue is the same whether it is running on batteries, chained on a 1-Spot to other pedals, or as the only pedal on the 1-Spot. Going to try it with the isolated 1-Spot Pro on my board later on, but I don't see why that would be quieter than batteries. The amp (a US Crate V1512 tube amp) has a little of it's own hiss but seems almost dead quiet when I unplug the Zoom. It's a shame, I really wanted to like this thing, being an overdrive and compressor snob costs me enough money, I don't want to be buying high-end modulation effects haha.
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  2. #2
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Blille's Avatar
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    Default A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    FWIW, I used to own the MS-50G in the same series and never had that issue.

    The high pitch issue does sound like a power issue but it looks like you’re looking into it. Have you tried to upgrade the firmware?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    The high pitched noise your getting is due to the power supply, i've got it happen to the zoom g1on i have as well. I'm not sure about the hiss, your post was very detailed but i read the bottom part mostly, the white hiss sounds like a gain stagging issue but could be the power as well, try eliminating the whine first & see if the hiss goes along with it.

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    As mentioned, it sounds like a power issue.
    You will need to run it on its own isolated power supply and be sure that it is getting the required mA.
    Digital pedals are notorious power hogs.

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    Mojo's Minions devastone's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    What they said.

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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    Try it with AA batteries and no other pedal connected, in order to discard your power supply, warning: batteries wont last to long, just use them for a short test unless you have rechargeable batteries. Also, be sure you use quality cables, cheap cables catch A LOT of noise.
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  7. #7
    Toneologist schecterplayer's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    I tried it running into the front of the amp using AA battery power and got the same problem. However, I tried it out last night at band practice in the effects loop of one of my larger amps, and my suspicions of the lower noise floor at line level were correct. At high volume using the loop I actually got less noise with the Zoom than without because it's built-in noise gate removed more hiss from the amp than it added. The high pitched whine wasn't noticeable to me. I was using it in a loop instead of into the front, using a different guitar and a different amp, plugged into a different garage, so it is also possible that some combination of that amp, guitar, and mains power just disagreed with the Zoom even when it was under battery power? Either way, this thing is definitely useable (and sounds excellent) for FX loop use, but I'm hoping I can figure out a way to use it into the front so I'm not stuck always using it with the loop.
    Quote Originally Posted by ratherdashing View Post
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    Interesting, personally I only use it in the FX loop. Now try it again with a power supply, be sure you use one with ferrite filter in the end to avoid getting RF noise thru the power supply.
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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    I have an MS50. Never had a noise issue from the unit itself. I'm running mine off a OneSpot. And if there ever is a noise issue, e.g. buzz/hum, there are 2-3 noise reduction programs (ZNR, Noise Gate, et al) I can add anywhere in the chain they are needed.
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  10. #10
    Ultimate Tone Member rainsong86's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    I just tried a true bypass looper with the ms-70cdr and couldn't find a difference between bypassing it and having it in the signal. I even made a patch with the line selector before a few effects and couldn't hear a difference between the 70cdr with line selector engaged and bypassed with the looper. Check what firmware by going into Menu>Version. Make sure you have 2.0. If problem still persists after a firmware update then you'll have to utilize your warranty, which I also had to do at one point with this pedal. They sent me a new one

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    I would send it back for another. There should be no noise with the battery. May be some internal interference or a bad soldering joint.

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    Tone Member vegetablejoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Frustrating NPD: Zoom MS70-CDR Noise Issues

    Zoom sells its own wall wart for that pedal. Perhaps you can try it at the store you bought the pedal from?

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