I use it either guitar-zoom-mixer, or use the loop input (thereby bypassing the entire analog compressor/distortion stage) with an input attenuator (+4 to -20) in an effects loop. I wasn't really happy with the distortion, but I'm comparing it to my homemade 6u rack panel which is a modular analog distortion synthesiser. Likewise the phaser sucks - it gets a couple of classic, but bad, phaser sounds. The reverbs and ER effects are useful and distinctive, but make no effort to sound smooth and professional. More for the 'guitar speaker in the wierd hallway' than the slick Massenberg-processed-EMT-plate sound. I like it for the same reason many others don't - it is more like a sound laboratory than a push-button-to-sound-good box.
Because the compressor and distortion are analog, they are modifiable (hard but I did), but you have to be able to solder surface mount parts and measure part values, as SMT parts are typically unlabeled.
re sound in general - the slightly improved different 9050 is good enough for Bill Nelson...
umm...mine fried itself, and Samson, who bought Zoom, was no help. One day, over a period of about two minutes, it started getting simultaneously louder and uglier, till it sounded like Satan's own fuzzbox, or a 1-bit digital/analog converter, then silence. The next time I powered it up, it wouldn't boot. The opening intro screen comes on, but it never gets to the actual operating screen, and no sound goes through.
It did, though, work great until then - I used every feature, including 4 MIDI CC's PER EFFECT (yes, you can twiddle twenty or thirty parameters simultaneously through MIDI with it.)
I would't gig with it unless I owned three of them, with the same sounds loaded in all of them.
Asking me what style I play is about like asking me what road I drive on. I used it exclusively in my home studio.
If they replaced the input stage with a programmable SansAmp and put it in a full rack with big knobs, I'd kill for a new one.
I like(d) that I could ALWAYS find something different in it. I liked how it responded when you hooked its output into its input.
I liked especially controlling it from a sequencer. With no patch changes, I could competely transform a sound a dozen different ways without any glitches. (not necessarily how most guitarists play, though)
I would rate it higher (maybe 9) if it hadn't fried, and/but would definitely say 'try before you buy', as guitar tone snobs seem to almost universally hate it.