Our lead guitarist just got the GT-8. We messed with it for a few hours last night.
The individual FX sounds are very good indeed, with the exception of:
(1) The Pitch Shifter which, like the Zoom GFX-8, gets horribly warbly at over
about a fifth above the note you're playing. Harmoniser is OK and you can
program it to play your own custom scale, which is very clever but time consumng
to program. What is even cleverer is that if you play a note and then bend it, the
harmonised note will switch to your custom one associated with the new note.
(2) Ring Mod - yeuggghhh
The amp models are sweet as a nut. The GT-8 has 2 COSM amp modelling
channels. There are several ways of defining how they react; dual mono, dual
stereo (putting a tiny delay between the outputs of the 2 channels gives a really
spacious feel to the sound), switchable mono which changes channel either by
pressing a switch or by varying your pick attack or even by turning the volume up
and down on your guitar.
Once again, the pre-set patches are variable in quality. A few are eminently
useable but the majority are "too much"... too much reverb, too much delay, too
much distortion, too weird, too silly. The phrase "...less is more..." just doesn't
seem to exist in Japan. Still, you do have 140 user-editable patches to play with,
so it's no big deal.
Patch selection is via standard Bank Up/Down footswitches and numbered pedals,
1 to 4. Control of effect parameters within a patch can be made via the Ctrl pedal
and the expression pedal like in all the other multi-FX boxes out there. What is
different is that the GT-8 is positively painful to get these controls to do what you
want. There's a large number of "quick assigns" that are anything but "quick" to
either navigate, because they're obscure, and because there's so many of them
before you get to the parameters that you really want to control. You can also put
the unit into manual mode and use the patch select pedals to select amp/channel
switch, OD, delay and chorus which are, after all, going to be the most commonly
Once again, Boss have completely failed to write an editing program for PC/Mac
even though the MIDI implementation allows this to be done. There are several
user groups out there who are busy writing one, but I haven't found one that the
writers are ready to put out on the 'net yet. This is, in my opinion, a major
drawback of both Roland and Boss - neither of them pay any attention to this
detail and don't seem to care that people end up spending hours diving down blind
alleys trying to find what they want. Roland's user interface on their VG-88 is
actually quite easy to navigate but the GT-8 is a pain as the display is too small to
give you any useful information about where you are.
The ability to re-order the effects chain is, however, a major plus point over its
Zoom rivals, and is very easy to do.
Another major plus point is the ability to completely wipe a patch. With most of
these boxes, if you want to start with a clean slate, you have to switch the
individual modules off but the last-known values of the parameters stay where
they were. With this unit, you can, with 4 key presses, completely wipe a patch
and all values are set to useful "average" settings. It is therefore easy to add the
effects you want and dial them in quite quickly.
Build quality looks good, having a steel casing and sockets bolted to the chassis,
like the Zoom GFX-8. Time will tell whether this is gig-proof, but I suspect it will do
very well. I suspect that the Patch/Value wheel, used to select levels, targets, etc
in the various effect parameters will be the weakest link, as it gets a lot of
punishment. Take for example selecting delay time - you can select from 0 to 1800
ms (1.8 sec). You have to go all the way past 1800 to get to the BPM and tap
tempo settings. This is about 40 turns of the wheel (didn't bother counting, but it
took a while) and it doesn't feel as robust as the rest of the controls. Just a
OK, here's a thing I can't make my mind up about - each module has its own little
button with an LED in it to switch it on and the thing looks like a Christmas tree
when there's lots going on. On the other hand, this makes it easy to see what's
going on. It looks really cluttered and fussy, but it's effective.
Connectivity is very good: Guitar In, L/Mono+R Out, Headphones Out, Ext FX
Send/Return, Ext footswitch, Ext Expr Pedal, digital SPDIF Out, MIDI In/Out.
OK, all this is pretty immaterial if it doesn't sound any good. Well, first impressions
last, as they say. Try the "Voodoo Wah" patch - the sound is absolutely spot on.
The individual effects are clean and clear and the amp sims with the many
different types of OD, dist and fuzz are faithful to the sounds they are trying to
emulate. It's hard to fault. Unlike the Zoom GFX-8, the amp simulations are
separate from the OD/dist/fuzz and the compressor module. This means you retain
full control over what you want the patch to sound like. Tried the synth sounds
(organ, electric piano, etc) and not impressed. Acoustic guitar sim was... vaguely
Overall - Sounds good, with only a couple of exceptions (ring mod, pitch shifter,
synth sounds iffy). Dialling in effects is quite easy but finer points of assigning Ctrl
pedal and Exp pedal are painful. No PC/Mac editor is a major minus point. User
interface fussy and cluttered, but is quite effective at letting you know what's
going on. Build quality very good apart from Patch/Value wheel which is most used
control but feels flimsy. Very good connectivity.
What do you especially like about this product?
Sound quality with a few exceptions. Connectivity.
What do you dislike about this product?
No editing program for PC/Mac. Trying to assign parameters to the Ctrl and Exp
|Note: 5 = Excellent, 0 = Not My Taste