My first G1Xon came with a faulty LCD screen which made it impossible for me to read or edit the effects. I returned and used the money for another purchased via Sweetwater.
After many years of promising myself I'd go back to Busking I finally have. I needed a good multi-effects unit that was battery powered for situations which I wouldn't have an outlet for. The G1Xon is a mixed bag of nuts that... for all of it's faults still fulfills the requirements I had for such a unit.
The unit can be powered by 9 volt adapter (not included) 4 AA batteries or USB. At home I use the USB power supply as it saves on batteries. I haven't gone through my infinite supply of wall warts to find a suitable 9V match. Along the back is also the guitar line in and a stereo 1/4 jack that can be used as headphones or mono out to an amp. And pin plug mini stereo in.
The top of the unit has Up/Down pedals primarily used for scrolling through patches but also can be used to access the tunor or looper and rhythm play/stop controls. Along with an expression pedal (what separates a G1on from a G1Xon) Above the pedals are the controls. A small square LCD screen Home Button / Value knob Menu, Rhythm/Looper button a 4 way series of buttons for editing Effects chains. It has 100 effects and amp sims. The unit allows for up to 5 effects simultaneously in any order which can come in quite handy.
Before going on it's important to remember that this is a budget effects processor selling for roughly $70.00 USD (53.00 £). And while it does fulfill my requirement of being a battery powered pedal board with lots of effects which are fairly faithful to the original sounds still the unit has much to be desired.
The tuner is accessed by pushing both up and down buttons at once. It's easy to read and very accurate.
The patches are laid out in 10 banks (A~J) of 10 presets (0~9) The bank/patch is highly visible from a standing position. However It is nearly impossible to see the preset name from the board sitting on the floor. If you want to use this unit live you may wish to consider adding the patch value to your setlist so you can call it up by A7 or G5). I had a chance to quickly go through all the presets. None have song or artist name attached to them. Generally I found myself trying out a few chords or a lick and asking myself what does this tone sound like. In any current multi-effect processor song names or artists names become patch names for easy identification. The names were so generic it was hard to get a good feel of what was being used and it required deep editing simply to find the amp model. That being said the tone is overall. Punchy loud and clear If you have the unit on the floor and are using humbuckers. However if you work with editing the sounds on your desk so you can see what you are editing the feedback from poor shielding becomes very apparent. I know it's marketed as an inexpensive unit and production costs must be set at a minimum but still it's annoying. Another annoying thing is the accuracy of levels. Going from either a clean small amp setting to a high gain one has huge volume spikes. No Output Level knob Dammit if only the single knob could be used as a level control. I was constantly reaching over to my amp to either bring up or bring down the listening level.
No Software Editor - All editing must be done from the top of the unit. The usb is only for power and updating the firmware. The firmware tool supplied by zoom didn't recognize the unit and so didn't work. This means there is little in the way of a patch sharing community which would be really handy in recreating famous sounds. Instead you have to manually via various screens, buttons and one knob make all of your adjustments.
There is no separate allocation for User and Preset. Once you have changed a preset it is changed for good. While there is a Swap for shifting one preset to another it's buried in the global settings and hard to use. If you want the preset of B5 in a different location because you have something else that needs to go there you have to dig pretty deep into the editing. For the hobbyist who wants to spend hours of fun trying to dial in the right tone it may be a treat. For the professional or simply the person who wants to call up a familiar tone without work forget it.
No Soundcard Functionality. The USB does not send or receive audio. It's useless for re-amping from your daw.
It's no Line 6 product or AxeFX or Kemper that's for sure.
Editing manually is actually quite easy using the controls on the top. Just read the manual and then use the combination of knob, 4-way buttons and enter button. Escaping from editing is as easy as pressing the Home button. While you can't simply download a patch and install it in there are many famous sounds at Guitar Patches which you can follow along and manually edit into your device. http://guitarpatches.com/patches.php?unit=G1on&sort=&page=1 They do also have more than a few which are default settings. Which means if you want to go back to the factory settings you can manually dial them back in. The amp sims, effects and cab sims are to be praised overall. They are wonderful recreations that aren't always that faithful to the original which isn't a bad thing. Many guitar amps don't have a presence control in real life. Presence while not a mix level control brings back the tonal character of the instrument and adds a little bit of "sweetness" or airy flavor to the tone at the end of the signal chain. This is especially important when playing in many situations from dark rooms to using smaller amps and trying to fill the air.
In summary it's a very nice sounding unit that may not be for everyone. The fact that it's battery powered so it can be used in busking situations or where you simply don't need another cable on the floor make it a win. Sure I still think about a Line 6 Firehawk FX for the home/studio/stage. But a Firehawk would not be suitable for a busking situation.
I've resolved an issue with the usb settings which allows me to update the firmware. As well some crafty software engineer not associated with zoom has created an app. While the app doesn't allow for visual patch editing it does allow for a simple patch exchange and a patch exchange forum for zoom product users. This is great. As all you need do is drag the patch from a post and place it into the app window where the banks/patches are stored. It automatically loads into the hardware. Saving much time having to program everything on screen.