I've just bought my first multi-effects processor which is the "Zoom G1X Four" and it has no send/receive for an effects loop. It only has input, output and AUX Input. How should I use my processor with the amp on stage? Should I turn off the cabinet mic of my processor? Should I connect my processor with the amp in a specific way like connect the processor with the amp cabinet replacing the amp head? (as the option for fx loop isn't available) or do something else? I'd describe myself as an intermediate guitarist but I'm pretty new to electric guitar area. So, I still have many misconceptions. Please help me out.

2 Answers 2


It depends on what you're looking for, and what's available at the site. I could see using this device in a variety of ways.

First, I'll say that I looked up the device and it costs $90. I have analog OD pedals that cost twice that. So if you can get any kind of full signal through this thing, that's kind of amazing right off the bat. But I will assume the reason you bought this device and are committed to using it, is budget.

Moving on, I'll give three options...

...it has amp models in it. It says "up to five effects simultaneously", but I'm assuming one of those is going to be the amp model, meaning you get four other effects. Still, that's not bad. I can confidently get away with almost any live gig if I only have four effects, even three will do the job if that's all I've got.

It also says you can put them "in any order". I will assume this means that you can put effects post-amp. That's not insignificant to your sound at all, it gives you sonic options. Not an FX loop that's true, but it is some flexibility. For instance, if one of your effects is an EQ, and you put that post-amp you can pretty robustly adjust your tone (e.g. boost the mids, cut the bass and high end). You could also put your reverb post-amp. That only gives you two front-of-amp effects, but it might be worth cutting back the fireworks to dial in a decent tone.

So, option 1: run the device straight into a board. You'd hear yourself through a monitor. Alternatively, if you're just jamming or working a venue without monitors etc, you could run the device out to a full-range-flat-response speaker (you would not want to run into an amp, because you are already modeling one in the device). A decent speaker of this nature can cost you a couple of hundred bucks on the low end, and it will have more than enough decibel horsepower.

Anybody that tells you the above setup is unrealistic or is guaranteed to sound like shit, probably doesn't have a lot of experience operating this way. I've been running modelers since the Line 6 Guitar Port. I've owned Digitech, Roland, PODs, and now the Helix and Helix Stomp, the latter being a device not much bigger than your Zoom (though admittedly a higher quality device, you get what you pay for). I have run the Stomp direct, and/or into a full range flat response speaker, many times. Some years ago, yes, modelers were about convenience and "lots of effects for little money." But the quality was dodgy. That's over now. An up-to-date modeler, even a cheapy, is usable these days. Sure, Bonamossa wouldn't do it, but I'd be willing to bet if he had to, he'd make it work.

Anyway, after working with the device for a while, you find a usable amp-modeled sound, and off you go. If I know they have a PA with monitors, I just bring the device, an expression pedal, and my guitar. If I'm not sure they have a monitor for me, I'll bring a speaker, and depending on the setup, either Y-out the device (one split to the board, the other to my speaker), or just run into my speaker and let 'em mic it.

This is by far the most portable, and cheapest, way to get the full bang for your buck out of the device. I don't know this device, but I do know a fairly well respected NYC guitar player (specializing in the Beatles) that used a Zoom device the way I describe above, and his sound was always acceptable.

Option 2: the device is just front-of-amp. You use it like a pedal board and run it into an amp of your choice. I'll make a point here that I have consistently found to be true:

A guitar player's sound primarily relies on the amp. Not the guitar, not the pedals. It is all about the amp. I can take a $300 dollar guitar that stays in tune, run it through a good tube amp (none of which are "cheap"), and sound fine. But hand me a $2.4k Les Paul and run it through a Gorilla, and I will sound horrible. Period.

The principle; do NOT attempt to fix your sound with pedals or an expensive guitar. If you are going to play through an amp, INVEST IN THE AMP. It took me years to realize this because I never had the money all at once to buy a decent amp. But the day I did, I knew: it's all about the amp.

Anyway, that's the most expensive way to use this device, because it relies on the amp (you are not using an amp model, just the effects in the device).

Options three, which exists nowadays but did not exist in the past, and is ultimately how I would use this device probably because unless I'm wrong, the amp emulations are probably not the quality I'd go for (though I don't know this device well enough to say that for sure, but it's $90 bucks...):

Get a lunchbox head. I highly (HIGHLY) recommend the Orange Microdark, specifically for four reasons: it is tiny (laughably so, but don't be fooled), it has an FX Loop, it has a headphone jack that also has cabinet emulation, and it sounds GREAT. Of course if Orange isn't your thing, there's lots of other options, but many of them don't have a cab-emulated out and/or FX loop. This one does, which is kind of incredible.

Done this way, you can run the Zoom into the Orange, use the FX loop on the Orange if you have any pedals you want to run this way, AND you can either run the head into a regular amp cab, or (lots of people don't know this) you can use the headphone out to run direct into a speaker or a board.

I say this with authority because I have done it, people have heard it, and they can't believe it:

I run my Stomp, into the Orange, with a reverb in the FX Loop, then out the headphone jack (again, which has cabinet emulation), into a Line 6 Stagesource L3t speaker (which is a full range flat response speaker pumping out SERIOUS volume), and I could play any mid sized club confidently. If they have good monitors, I wouldn't even need the speaker, I'd just run the Orange out to the board.

The microdark and zoom fit into a backpack easily, and if you shop around the total cost would be around $300 bucks. With a couple of cables, as long as they have a PA and monitors, you could play anywhere. No PA/monitors, get a speaker, there are plenty of acceptable ones, and just run the Orange out the headphone jack into it. If the speaker is loud, you will be loud.

There's lots of lunchbox heads out there, but quality vs. value, the Microdark is unbelievable bang for your buck. And, it can confidently drive a nice 2x12 cab if you need it to with surprising volume. I use it for silent recording, everything. It's an unbelievable value and only weighs a few pounds.

Also worth noting: option 1 and 3 set you up for silent recording. Option 1, you run your device into an interface and a laptop running Garageband or whatever. Option 3, you run the Orange out the headphone jack into an interface, into a laptop running GB or whatever.

So, lots of options. Again, my preferred (for either live or silent running) is to run the effects device without an amp model into the Microdark, put reverb in the FX loop, and run it out the headphone jack (which has cabinet emulation) into the board and/or a speaker. But if budget is the concern, option 1 should be workable unless the amp emulations in the device are just unusable (which again, can be mitigated somewhat with post-eq, though only to a point).

  • I'm kinda using option 1 for the last few months because there were no amps at the gigs I was performing at. (Low mediocre budget shows). But the next gig which was supposed to happen before this corona situation was supposed to have good amps. That's the reason for this post. And I think that option 2 is the most suitable one for my situation. Apr 18, 2020 at 10:46
  • Problem there though, is you don’t know those amps. House back lines are always tricky. They have a Marshall...which one? Is it well maintained? How’s that amp sound in that room? How does my effects signal chain sound through it? I love my tube amps (I have four), and if I can I’ll use one, but these days, I have to acknowledge that if I have a choice of using my own signal via a modeler, or an amp I know nothing about, I will get a more consistent sound via the modeler. It’s one of the reason I love lunchbox heads with cab emulation. Easy to carry and get me a known tube signal. Apr 18, 2020 at 11:05
  • Thanks for all the help. I got to know a lot. I'll try out the things you suggested but can't buy anything in this situation or go out or get an online delivery. So, maybe after Corona if I survive. :3 Thanks, man. Apr 19, 2020 at 18:31

Only you can answer that one. With only guitar in, and processor out, it can only go in series with your amp. Which appears to have input only. That means any sound the guitar sends into the amp will be sort of re-processed, tone-wise, by the pre-amp, which will send that straight to the power amp part, and on throug the speaker/s.

You know what sort of tones you want for stage work, so you will have to play around with it, balancing what the effects produce with what the amp tone controls do. If yu are using two or three different effects simultaneously, it may be possible with the Zoom to put them in a particuar order. By cahnging the order the signal goes through, you may find better (or worse) sounds. You'll have to experiment. But that's part of the fun - isn't it? Also bear in mind that a fabulous sound you create in your front room may well not be the same fabulous sound that appears on stage at the next gig. Rooms have an uncanny knack of changing tone, etc.

  • Seconded - don't try to pre-program compressor settings in the living room for live work… unless you really want to try holding down the squealing on stage ;-))
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 17, 2020 at 12:29

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