Though selected simply for its alphabetical uncommonness, Zoom is an appropriate name for a company whose rise has been as fast and profound as it has. Zoom’s earliest years (1983-1989) were wisely spent in the refinement and production of components, notably large-scale integration (LSI) circuitry, MIDI synchronization devices and rhythm machine elements. The commercial product that launched Zoom’s meteoric ascent was the Zoom 9002, introduced in 1989 at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention.
Its reception was immediately enthusiastic, shattering the guitar signal-processing paradigm of rows of stomp boxes and rack-mounted effects processors by developing a device that could sit comfortably on a guitar strap for real time parameter adjustments and preset selection. Since then, Zoom’s relentless pursuit of innovation has resulted in the consistent creation of products that have won the hearts of musicians across the globe.
Zoom has paid close attention to its core user group, the enthusiastic hobbyist and the aspiring professional, while simultaneously developing more high-end products for the touring professional market. The release in the same year of the Zoom 9200 and the 9120 signaled the company’s dedication to both high-end and consumer markets.
They were at the forefront of the development of amplifier modeling technology with the Zoom 5000, a guitar processor with the capability to produce authentic replications of a wide variety of popular guitar amps in a single box. Additionally, the Zoom 7010, a compact multi-effect processor that housed a pop-up speaker, became a seminal device in the development and popularization of amplifier modeling technology. Its affordability, authenticity and overall coolness made it a tremendous success.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Zoom entered headlong into the highly competitive market of foot-controlled, floor-based guitar and bass effects processors and scored an incredible hit with the Zoom 505, a great sounding pedal with a wide range of effects on board at a surprisingly low price. Its bass equivalent, the Zoom 506 was likewise popular.
Zoom’s product line remains dedicated to live and studio signal processing, rhythm machines, multi-track home recording devices, and handheld digital recorders. The handheld recorders are a huge category, and the H and Q series Zoom recorders are one of the world leaders. The Q series are video recorders equipped with high quality microphones that are perfect for recording rehearsals, performances, lessons, or even the family’s day at the beach.
Another big winner for Zoom in 2013 is the A3, an acoustic guitar modeling pedal that faithfully replicates the tone and timbre of some of the most sought-after acoustic guitar sounds. The dull, flat, insipid tone of many transducer pickups is replaced by authentic modeling of guitar sounds that are often preferable to the sound coming directly from the guitar.
Innovation in design, efficiency in manufacturing, and a commitment to musical usefulness continues to position Zoom as a leader in creating tools for all different kinds of modern musicians.