Zoom MS-70CDR Chorus Delay Reverb for Synths

Zoom MS-70CDR MultiStomp
Zoom MS-70CDR MultiStomp

The other day I picked up an incredible little gem from Zoom called the MS-70CDR Chorus Delay Reverb pedal. This is a guitar pedal, but like many pedals it’s great to hook them up to keyboards and synths. I actually bought the Zoom MS-70CDR for my new Clavia Nord Lead 2x. Currently it’s attached to my Yamaha DX-7 which I use a lot to test effects because the sound is so dry. Simply put, the MS-70CDR sounds amazing. I mean this pedal culd be attached to any synth without internal effects. Every single solitary patch from the Zoom MS-70CDR sounds wonderful and like it was made for a synth. I think I spent about two hours last night jamming on the Yamaha DX7 mkI with new energy and life brought to the board.

The Zoom MS-70CDR gives you the traditional “great sounding” chorus effects, delays, and reverbs. What I found to be particularly pleasing with the effects were the ambient oriented effects that guitarists go for. Especially for something like the DX7, I found I could use some of the ambient reverb effects to smooth out the digital sound and almost, I say almost give the DX7 sound a more analog”ish” feel. The name of an example patch is called “Mangle Ice” and it’s terrific! The reverb moves around and it sounds pretty warm to my ears, so I really enjoyed the results. Somebody obviously took a great deal of time at Zoom to program each effect carefully. With the exception of maybe one effect, I found that every single effect worked perfectly in some fashion with the synth. The one that was a bit more crazy is called “stairway” which rattles off four notes if correct, so it’s a bit more difficult to control or arrange in a mix.

I LOVE the patch called “SmoothDLY” which is a delay sound that has a reverb feeling even though only delay is used. I also liked the “SmallClone” patch and another favorite called the “LOFI Noise” LOFI Noise was really cool. It ever so slightly and most importantly musically added noise to the sound. What I particularly liked about the Zoom MS-70CDR is that it could do two things extremely well. First it could add the Chorus Delay and Rever effect basics to your dry synth give it a new breath of life. A lot of effect pedals out there can already do this, but the second reason is what I find more rare. The MS-70CDR can also alter a synth patch slightly to the point where it actually creates a whole new patch altogether. The new patch is almost always fresh, musical, and very usable in the mix.

To compare, I attached another pedal which I picked up for my guitar called the Zoom MS-100BT Multistomp Pedal. This pedal is also great but follows along the lines of a more traditional guitar multi-effects pedal. I found with this pedal hooked to a synth it also worked great, BUT, many patches either didn’t work or were not very musical for a synth. Obviously heavy distortions, Wah, crazy pitch, and crunch effects are going to usually corrupt a good synth patch. Both the Zoom MS-100BT and MS-50G are excellent choices for synths, but you’ll have to do a bit of hunting and programming for the best patches. The Zoom MS-70CDR straight out of the box will make your synth sound absolutely fantastic. I should also note that most of the effects included in the MS-70CDR are exclusive to that pedal and will not be found on the MS-100BT or MS-50G which are roughly the same pedal.

I currently own all three Zoom MultiStomp pedals, the Zoom MS-50G, MS-100BT, and the new MS-70CDR. If I had to just pick one for my synths I hands down would buy the Zoom MS-70CDR. I then would buy a second one before buying the MS-50G or MS-100BT…laugh. I can live without the distortion and a few other effects on the regular MS-50/100 series pedeals. Actually the MS-70CDR does have a Phaser and Flanger effect built in. It should really be able to cover all of your modulation, delay, and reverb needs which is why I think it’s the perfect pedal for synths.

To me the MS-70CDR is a no brainer. It’s compact, pretty easy to use, and extremely versatile. For live shows or coming up with interesting sounds in the practice room it’ll definitely get the job done. I like this pedal so much I’m tempted to buy another one because I really find it’s likely be permanently fixed to the synths I use it on. Thankfully they are relatively cheap and easy to find, however they are VERY popular in Japan right now. I had to buy the floor model because it’s very difficult to find, although I did get a nice little discount.

Some will not like this pedal because it’s digital and there is a known DSP error if too many resource intensive effects are used at once. I have yet to have this happen probably because I don’t really need too many effects at one time on my synth. Rather I just need something to pull the synth out of the dry effect doldrums. Yes, the pedal is digital so it works wonders with the likes of the Yamaha DX7, Clavia Nord Lead, and even analog if you don’t mind it running with a digital signal in the chain.

Zoom has hit a home run with the Zoom MS-70CDR. If you are a synth player looking for a compact chorus, delay, and reverb pedal to add life to your old synths, it’s very hard not to consider the Zoom. I’ve used a lot of effects with synths over the years and I know well how they can just screw up the sound royally. I was amazingly surprised at how well the Zoom MS-70CDR made my synths come alive. I was even more surprised at how every single patch was usable. So much so I had a hard time figuring out which one to use as a “set it and leave it” effect. For the first time I felt like I “may” have to change effect patches along with the synth patch because there are so many good ones to choose from. Finally, I’ll say the MS-70CDR kind of brought the fun back to adding effects to synths. It’s my new effect fun box…laugh.

Here is a video of the Zoom MS-70CDR pedal with guitar. This video actually influenced me to get the pedal for my guitar. However, as I listened to the video I also thought how great it likely would work with keyboards and synths. I pretty much immediately ran out and snagged the pedal at the music store after watching the video. Boy, I’m glad I did because it was the last one!! Enjoy!

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13 thoughts on “Zoom MS-70CDR Chorus Delay Reverb for Synths

  1. Jared Stack

    That’s awesome that you have so many of the multistomps! I’ve heard folks comment on various forums that the 50G and 100BT pedals had more ambient background noise to them. I hoped this was due to them including amp simulators. Have you encountered this? Does the CDR pedal exhibit any less background noise when at rest? Also is there any issue with feeding a much hotter signal than a guitar to the CDR pedal? I’m wanting to use it with vintage analogs.

    Cheers! Jared

    >

    1. Hello Jared,

      So far the Zoom MS-70CDR is very quiet although I haven’t sat and tried to listen for any noise. With a lot of vintage effects processors that I have, noise does bother me so I can say with relative certainty that if noise did exist, I probably would have noticed right away.. I do notice more noise with the MS-100BT simply because of the many distortion and other effects that generally cause noise anyway. For example when I flip through the effects on the MS-70CDR and not play any notes, the sound is pretty quiet. In fact I hardly notice any noise at all except for maybe the flanger which is common anyway. However, with the MS-100BT I get noise on most effects without even playing a note. Again though if you flip to a distortion effect, you’re probably going to get noise.

      Unlike some of the Behringer pedals I have, the Zoom pedals I haven’t had any issues with hotter signals. I mention the Behringer pedals because they are cheap, recommended, and have some interesting analog models. I’ve had a few problems running Behringer pedals with synths a little bit. The Zoom pedals however have been very good. In fact, I’d say so far the Zoom MS-70CDR has probably been one of the best pedals “out of the box” that I’ve run with a synth. The other two MS-100BT and MS50G work well too and I do recommend them even if they have a little noise. I think the 50G is bit quieter or I should say I haven’t noticed any problems with my pedal. I currently use the G5 for my guitar and the G3 for another synth I have. All of the latest Zoom pedals are excellent and VERY popular in Japan.

      The other day I went to a University here in Nagano to watch a talent show with about 8 or 9 bands performing. I went backstage and almost everyone was using a multitude of Zoom pedals. Zoom was everywhere!!! There were very few Boss pedals around. Of course we’re dealing with kids and perhaps they have less money, but their interest was very much in the Zoom gear and not Boss or any other brand. If those kids like Zoom, when they get older they’ll probably keep buying Zoom. I remember doing the same with Boss when I was kid. In the “new” music store I go to in Nagano-city, the manager says Zoom is the hottest brand right now with the Japanese kids due to cost and value for their money. Zoom is definitely biting into Boss in Japan. Vox pedal boards are sold in Japan too and they are abundant in used stores. I don’t have experience with VOX really, but the amount of used VOX pedal boards in the used shops make me a little nervous…laugh.

      Thanks for the comment and Happy New Year!!

  2. Carlo

    Wow, recently i was looking for a nice stereo effect box for my Roland D20 loaded with the nice patches from patchman music that makes it sounding closer to my D50. I came across your article and i will surely go for this zoom, so i can use them both D20 and D50 for stunning pads or evolving sounds.
    Thanks Jim!
    Carlo

  3. Rob Shelby

    Jim, those Zoom CDR pedals do sound great! I have a Zoom G5 and it sounded so good I picked up a MS-100BT.

    As far as noise goes I found that there is a ton of internal gain in the Zoom pedals. What I mean is that while the output of the pedal may not be too hot (likely due to the limit of 3 volts from the two AA batteries used to power the unit) the internal levels can be too hot for the next pedal in the line up. For and overdrive model it is possible to have it set so high that it more than overdrives the amp model after it causing excessive noise.

    The solution is to not have the total of the GAiN and the LEVEL equal more than 100. Gain to 30, max level 70. Gain to 50, max level 50. I believe the same goes for the Amp model. This results in less noise overall. I have not seen if the same issue is in the CDR or if this is just an overdrive and amp model issue.

    I read what you said about not using distortion, but if you ever do keep these points in mind. But imagine telling a guitarist not to turn something up.

  4. Zander

    How would you say the MS-70CDR compares to the Roland Space Echo RE-20 as far as sound quality? I have the RE-20 right now, but I just want some chorus and a more hand friendly pedal for my synthesizer.

    1. I have the Roland Space Echo RE-20 and almost exclusively use it for my analog synths. It has a great reverb and delay, plus the tape echo emulation is pretty good. The MS-70CDR I initially bought for my DX7mkII and TX816 rack mount to add some chorus, delay, reverb, and other effects in a simple and compact fashion. I’ve since experimented with the MS-70CDR with my anaolog synths and like it very much there too. The RE-20 is missing the Flanger, Chorus, Tremolos, Vibratos, Phasers, and even some delay or reverb variations that the RE-20 doesn’t have.

      Bottom line for me, if I only need reverb and basic delay for an anolog synth, I’d say the RE-20 would do just fine. However, if I needed the other effects mentioned above, hands down, I’d go for the MS-70CDR. It’s small, compact, works well, and has some really nice effects that are also pretty current I might add. Guitar players especially go nuts over the ambient, shimmer, ice like reverbs and the MS-70CDR offers those in respectable fashion.

      Currently I’m in the market for my second MS-70CDR. It’s such a versatile effect pedal, but more importantly it seems to have all of the necessary effects that a synth player craves except distortion. Probably distortion is best on it’s own in a dedicated pedal anyway.

      Hope this helps a little.

      Thanks!

  5. zander

    Thanks for all your help and advice Jim, my MS-70CDR just came in and I’m loving it! It has such awesome features to it! I’ve been fiddling with it in my recordings and it’s great. Just want to put a thumbs up on it for synths.

  6. I noticed you have a Lucina as well. I am putting a solo ‘act’ together (I use the term loosely, I only play for fun really) with a Lucina with a Jamman Solo XT pedal and having a lot of fun with it but was wondering about adding this effects pedal as well to my setup. Have you tried it with the Lucina? Any thoughts?

    1. The Zoom MS-70CDR works awesome with the Lucina. I highly recommend it. I use that pedal a lot for my synths and also an old Boss GT-5 because the in/outs are analog and the distortion is an analog signal. I don’t like the “fizzy” distortion sounds of the newer models. The MS-70CDR is basically good for modulation, reverb, and delays. In fact, I highly recommend the Zoom G3 or G5 because you can select several effects to turn on and off with your foot. The MS-70CDR is more patch based, but does the job well with synths.

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