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Boss Micro BR

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Has anybody looked at/played with one of these yet? Looks like it would be a very handy recording tool, with a lot of other cool features in addition. 4-track recorder with 8 "virtual tracks" for each track, mp3 player, expandable memory, onboard COSM modeling effects and amp (play through headphones/speakers), tuner, ability to slow down mp3 tracks (for learning) without changing pitch, ability to save your tracks to mp3 and download them to your computer via USB, basic onboard editing effects, etc.

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I got one for Christmas, my wife left me play with it for about 15 minutes before she insisted on wrapping it. Two nights ago, I carefully unwrapped it to play more. Its a great little unit, especially for the price. I can very much see replacing my iPod with it, after getting a bigger SD Card. Its got some multi track limitations, but what do you expect for $230 USD? I wanted it for the very few times I travel (I always take my Wolfgang), and I can see using it all the time. Its got pre-programmed songs on drums, verse, choruse, hook, outro, etc.

Im trying to find out if they support SDHC cards (up 4GB). Any clue?

-Spy

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I went ahead and bought one (GAS strikes again!). It's a pretty impressive little unit to me. I immediately bought the 1GB SD card and Boss PSA power adapter for it - I hadn't seen any discussion about it supporting larger cards, so figured I'd play it safe. These things are so new that there's precious little information about them out there.

It has a lot of different functions and capabilities, but once you get beyond basic recording they become increasingly difficult to figure out. The manual is thick, but not well written (seems to be in "Chinglish") and not very well organized. Just figuring out how to combine the tracks and export them as an .mp3 file was an exercise in frustration itself until I finally figured it out. You can actually record more than 4 tracks onto it by using "bounce" (ping-pong) editing......lay your tracks, "bounce" them onto one track, then record more tracks over them.

It has a bunch of preset drum "arrangements", and even more pieces that you can arrange yourself (as Spyfunkr said). It has a bunch of different COSM amp models for guitar, and also several preset effects/models for vocals. You can adjust the pan and add effects on a per-track basis, and can also easily bring individual tracks forward or back in the mix. In addition to being a recorder it can be used as a headphone micro-amp, tuner, mp3 player, trainer (can slow the song down up to 80% while retaining the same pitch), etc. You can record from just about any source using the line-in - instruments, mp3 players, cassette players, basically anything that has a line-out. The on-board mic is pretty decent too - doesn't sound muddy or tinny. I've used it to record both acoustic guitar and vocals, and both sounded pretty decent, at least to me.

It wouldn't totally replace my iPod because I don't think there's a way to manage playlists, sort by artist/genre, etc. - but it'll definitely be traveling with me anywhere there's a guitar!

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Wow, nice review. Id have to agree with you on all accounts. Since Ive found out it supports nothing higher than 1GB, it wont be replacing my ipod. (hopefully the Boss TS guy was wrong)

Spy

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Wow, nice review....

Keep in mind that it's my first venture into digital recording, so I'm easily impressed. LOL! Seriously though - I just can't help but be amazed at all the capabilities of this thing stuffed into such a small package. I've toyed with recording into my computer a bit, but I'd much rather use this - and the portability will come in handy when I get to the point that I actually start jamming with other people somewhere besides in front of my computer.....it's literally not much bigger than a hand-held calculator.

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I too am pretty new to recording, however I really like mine. I use it for practice with backround tracks. It can import the mp3's/waves from the SD card as a track, then record with the backing track with myself playing acoustic and electric guitars. It can export individual tracks as mp3's then download all of my tracks to my computer for more tweaking, the end result is pretty darn good. Lots of fun. The book is written in a confusing manner but you you put things together with a few hints and make this great. Sorta like a puzzle but alot more fun. This thing eats off the shelf batteries like candy!... I bought 2 sets of High Power rechargable batteries (they're made for high power devices like cameras with big LCDs that also eat batteries) They last MUCH longer.

Hood :guitardude:

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I bought the power adapter because I knew I'd be futzing around with it a lot and didn't want to be going through batteries like water! :) I mostly use it on the adapter, but the capability of using batteries is great when you go 'mobile'.

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I must stress how much better the high powered (Long Life or something like that) rechargeable batteries really last and in the long run much cheaper. BTW, I use mine every day and really like it.

Hood:smilinguitar:

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Just figuring out how to combine the tracks and export them as an .mp3 file was an exercise in frustration itself until I finally figured it out.
Same thing happened to me, only I never got so far as to figure it out. What I did instead was record directly onto mp3 (it had an option to do so at 192kbps, with mimimal quality loss) and then upload the files onto my PC, which was one of my main aims. Even burning CD's from there, the quality wasn't bad.
The on-board mic is pretty decent too - doesn't sound muddy or tinny. I've used it to record both acoustic guitar and vocals, and both sounded pretty decent, at least to me.

Agreed. Very impressive for an on-board mic. Once I got the placement of the unit down (between singer and acoustic instrument) things were quite nice.

I've had trouble with the "Mastering" tool. Anyone figure that out? It says in the manual, "Press Edit and Utility several time; the mastering tool display will appear." The problem is, it never appears. Anyone else have the same problem?

Mastering would be nice for me to reduce ultra-highs and lows on a single recording, yet honor the dynamics (if it does what it claims it will do.)

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"I've had trouble with the "Mastering" tool. Anyone figure that out? It says in the manual, "Press Edit and Utility several time; the mastering tool display will appear." The problem is, it never appears. Anyone else have the same problem?"

I can answer that... You push those two buttons at the same time (exit and utility). The same way you do to get to the tuner. The left side will cycle through bounce, mastering and normal modes each time that you press these two buttons. (Normal is when neither bounce or mastering are lit)

Hood:guitardude:

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You push those two buttons at the same time (exit and utility). The same way you do to get to the tuner. The left side will cycle through bounce, mastering and normal modes each time that you press these two buttons. (Normal is when neither bounce or mastering are lit)

Wow, thanks a lot! That's the kind of thing I'd never been able to realize by only reading the manual. It never crossed my mind that they meant to press those two buttons *simultaneously.* What a concept! Anyway, yeah, it works now.

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Finally got mine out of the wrapping completely :) Great little tool. The only thing I could ask for in v2 is illuminated buttons. The unlit ones are hard to see in the jam space and will be harder to see on planes.

Overall, 9.5 out of 10

:punk: Spy

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Yeah, illuminated buttons would be nice - but would eat up even more battery power.

I do use rechargeables, btw....the ONLY way to go when you've got a bunch of gadgets that digest AA batteries!

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I just got my son a micro for xmas, and we are new to recording. He is a 14 yr old guitarist and we are trying to figure things out on this unit. He has learned to mix 3 guitar parts together just messing around, but when he does a major effort for CD presentation, will he have to use the mastering tool and change to an mp3 file to burn to a cd, or can we transfer the song as 1st recorded strraight to the pc and burn? I guess I do not understand what file format the song will be in before converting to mp3 or if we would even have to do anything. We'll continue to mess around...we did not find USB cable in packaging.....was it supposed to be there, or does it not come with unit? Thanks for any help; I have a lot to learn, but will do whatever it takes.

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There is no USB cable included, but just about any USB cable with the right size connector will work - I use the one I have for my GPS.

As far as transferring the song to your PC - the way I've been doing it is to go into the edit function and "bounce edit" all your recorded tracks onto an unused track or v-track. That combines them all so you have a complete song. Once you've done that, name the song, save it, and transfer only the combined (bounced) track over to your PC.

I haven't tried recording in mp3 mode yet. Minstrelite referred to it above, I'm wondering if it still works the same as the "normal" recording mode (i.e. multiple tracks, v-tracks, etc.). Hopefully we'll start seeing more user-contributed information on the 'net now that these things are out and people are starting to play with them.

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I've had one of these for a week now - it is FANTASTIC - I love tech toys - got a lot of them, sold a lot of them that I didn't like (Tascam pocket studio - SOLD!0

I can't say enough great things about this unit.

1st - it's great just for practice. Put in your pocket - and stroll around outside, on the dock, on the boat - where ever and you have all the sound you want to practice and play electric without a amp.

Next - add the effects/tones you want with their COSM effects - control them to the max - I'm amazed... very similar to my Toneport and Guitarport but portable.

Record! (without a computer) much like my GNX4 - but what 1/50th the size? - and portable? and battery powered... yeah it does eat the batteries - still 3-4 hours isn't all that bad for only 2 AA's. I read a review on their AC convertor dying (no one liked them) so I found a 9v I had laying around the house and it works great! - so fine for porch and practice around the house - just use the batteries for on the boat or playing on trips in the car.

Has drums and rythums - not only a repeating beat - but a intro, verse 1 verse 2 and endings - (better than my GNX4).

the one drawback - it is limited to 1gig SD card. I had a 2gig here for my camera and tried it - it worked, but was limited to 1 gig = ( so I swapped it out to a 1 gig card. BUMMER - would be nice to load up a 2 gig with mpegs. I like jamming with mp3's and backing tracks. Still 1 gig isn't to shabby - I can always pack 2-3 of them I guess.

Editing - is a bit of a choire, but I didn't buy it primarily for that - and it can be done - I recorded lots of "bits" of songs - then picked the best bits and pieces them together like a puzzle. Fun when you have nothing to do - like at Holiday family gatherings that are boring... I just lay on the couch with this thing and headphones and start playing with the buttons - putting together the best tracks for the song.

Yes the manual is a bit vague at times, but after several hours - it all started to make since and it layed out really rather well "once you get the hang of how it's setup".

It's all pretty logical now and easy to remember. Editing was a pain at first - I wanted to set my "A" point and "B" point and cut and paste and there wasn't any way to SEE the in and out points to move them a little. (was frustrating- I had very bad results) I then started cutting and pasting using "measures" and it worked like a charm!

Sound quality is impressive (I expected it to be like the Tascam - junk) it wasn't is quite good. I do wish there was a bit more volume, on the clean tones, but it's decent. I've also used the output into my little micro cube battery powered amp - to the input and it's fanastic. A computer studio/amp - all on battery power!

I can't say enough good things about this - it really replaces my digitech GNX4 (hmmm maybe I'll sell that). Don't hestitate to get one of these - it is remarkable - and just great fun to mess with as well. Haven't used the internal mic - doesn't sound bad in the demo - I'd use a plug in mic personally - but would be fine to record a "riff or song in a pinch before you forget it". I LOVE the BR.

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I'm contemplating buying one myself, but I just have a few questions.

Firstly, if you wanted to play along to a slow blues backing track, is it possible with the BOSS Micro?

Secondly, can it be played plugged into an amp? I'm guessing that it can, but just need confirmation.

Finally, what effects does it contain? For example, wah wah, delay, distortion, reverb, etc.

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play with blues - OH YEAH - you can play with your own blues progression - just lay it down then play along - OR record pentatonic lead over it. OR as you suggested - copy a mp3 to it from computer and play it as a mp3 - and jam over it.

In addition you can optionally SPEED UP or SLOW DOWN the mp3 track playback. since it doesn't change the "tone/key" in the speed change - it does deter quality and "break up" the sound of playback a bit. (but only if you adjust speed). This is mainly to play back say - a fast solo - so that you can hear "pick out" each note.

OH - this is even better - you can set "A" and "B" points and LOOP the mp3 - (so it doesn't end and go to play the next song) so it will repeat - OR if you want to play only a part of the track - in a loop you can set that. You can also set it to be only a part of a lead - so you can learn it in small parts (looping). You can play a blues progression (I-IV-V) one time through - recording it. Then set the AB loop on it and it will repeat as long as you like. (something I coudln't do on my GNX4 which was frustrating... if I wanted to record my own background track - I had to repeat it as long as I needed it to play. Let me clarify - quality without the speed up or down option is high quality (regular mp3 player quality)... the quality only degrades as you adjust the speed up or down. (which really wouldn't be used often).

There is ONE QUIRK - maybe I've missed and someone can help me!?!? When you save your work, the effect, the song, your recording... it seems to save everything EXCEPT THE TEMPO! This would be really dumb on their part. For example - say you make up a rythm. You pick one of 5 or so drum kits! You set the tempo, you get it all how you like it. Now you start recording tracks for your song with the rythm pattern. Now you save it and shut down to go do something - and come back to work on it again later. The TEMPO doesn't save and defaults back to like 130. (HUH?) you then go to play your song and the rythm doesn't measure up with the tracks you recorded... you can re-sync them IF you remember what the tempo was when you recorded it. (you can re-set the tempo speed) and all will be well. But this is a pain each time you go to load up a song you've worked on. The the way around this is to bounce the rythm to a track so that it is recorded into your song. (or tracks as in a stereo pair) so not that big of a deal... but I hate re-setting the tempo down from 130 all the time. I'd like to at least stay where I last used it.

YES YOU CAN PLUG IT INTO A AMP. I plugged it into the "LINE IN" on my Roland micro cube and it was awesome. You could then plug the guitar into the BR and run that into the line in too (if you want the BR effects) but more likely you'd plug the guitar into the guitar in on the amp so you can control both levels seperately.

I have not plugged the BR into the GUITAR IN on the amp - with the guitar plugged into the BR. I imagine you could, but the line out of the RB would be higher than that of a guitar. So TURN the BR output level WAY DOWN... I'm sure it would work, but I haven't had the need to do this. I used the BR on the amps "LINE IN" like where you would plug in a CD player for background tracks. the only way you'd want the BR's output into the guitar in on a amp is if you want to amp up the BR's "guitar effects" which would be desireable if you don't have a modeling amp, or toneport device for special guitar FX.

FX which ones? No wah wah - yes REVEB, DELAY, - distortion yes in the same way an amp does - has "PRE AMP on and off and PRE LEVEL" so cranking up the pre - and turning down the master volume on the amp model will give you the distrotion. There are 80 or so pre-effects levels and 80 or so you can save with your personal settnigs.

You can pick several different "AMPS" as a starting point - "clean or Stack with several amps to choose from" as well as MICing the amp settings! Mic placement etc. (amazing in this little thing). Has Noise reduction with settings to eliminate background his. And a "Bright" setting on or off to your effect. Delay settings - settings to adjust all the effects. Their included saved FX are also very good ( most) from clean jazz, to blues to metal and metal extreme.

As mentioned 5-6 or so drum kites (drum sounds from Rock to techno to jazz and all between). You can ARRANGE the background rythms - to have a intro, verse1 verse1 chorus and ending.

Other than the NO WAY (it seems to me) to SAVE TEMPO setting - And its limit of only a 1GB card - it's perfect. Those are the only two problems I've found this far.

It would be nice to "SEE" the A B points as the user marks them. For example to step through the recording (Which you can do in very minute steps) and then have a little * show up or a "A" and "B" at the two points the user has marks as in and out points. This would help with moving them forward and back to make editing adjustments. Though with a lot of frustration in trying to control the A and B points this accurately for editing - I later found that if I used the "MEASURES" for editing it was right on each time. So I later found I didn't need to set A and B points to cut and paste clips - I could use MEASURE with extremely accuracy.

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Royjoy - I found the same problem with the drums. I recorded a rhythm guitar track over the drums, then a lead track over that - and when I bounced the tracks together and played it back, the tempo for the drums was all botched up. So you're saying that if you lay a drum track and "bounce" it, it will save the correct tempo? I'll have to try that.

When you record in mp3 mode, do you still get the same capabilities as far as multiple tracks, v-tracks, etc.? I haven't messed with mp3 mode at all yet.

One more question, since you have a Micro Cube (I do also) - have you tried hooking the BR up to the Micro Cube's "Rec Out" and recording into it that way? i.e. - Guitar>Micro Cube>Rec Out to Micro BR. If it works, that would be a great way to record because you could use your normal pedalboard and/or the amp's effects and just record into the BR on a "clean" setting so it doesn't color what you recorded beyond the original. I just wasn't sure if the Micro Cube would act as a pre-amp and overload/damage the BR. I don't want to blow this thing up!!!

Neil (Coldethyl) - You can definitely record over a BT. The USB hookup allows you to import files onto the SD card from your computer, so that's not a problem. As far as effects, it has everything that Royjoy mentioned plus chorus, delay, flanger, phaser, reverb, tremolo, etc. - pretty much all the same FX you'd get from a pedalboard and/or multi-FX board. You can play through them live, or add them into your tracks in the edit.

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Neil (Coldethyl) - You can definitely record over a BT. The USB hookup allows you to import files onto the SD card from your computer, so that's not a problem. As far as effects, it has everything that Royjoy mentioned plus chorus, delay, flanger, phaser, reverb, tremolo, etc. - pretty much all the same FX you'd get from a pedalboard and/or multi-FX board. You can play through them live, or add them into your tracks in the edit.

Thanks for that. I'll definitely be checking them out next time I get GAS!

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I'm having a new problem with the Micro-BR now. I'm recording with the internal mike, one acoustic and a singer. We've done this about five times, but the last couple of times, the level has been really low. I'm recording onto mp3 at 192kps, and I haven't changed anything. I took the mic level (Sns) up to +5, which ought to pretty high, out of a max of +8. But maybe that's irrelevant? Don't laugh, I'm just confused.

For some reason, the output level is really low on playback. I've got the volume on the Micro-BR all the way up, and my headphones all the way up. Once I upload them onto my PC, I'm sure that volume will be all the way up, too. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

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I'm having a new problem with the Micro-BR now. I'm recording with the internal mike, one acoustic and a singer. We've done this about five times, but the last couple of times, the level has been really low. I'm recording onto mp3 at 192kps, and I haven't changed anything. I took the mic level (Sns) up to +5, which ought to pretty high, out of a max of +8. But maybe that's irrelevant? Don't laugh, I'm just confused.

For some reason, the output level is really low on playback. I've got the volume on the Micro-BR all the way up, and my headphones all the way up. Once I upload them onto my PC, I'm sure that volume will be all the way up, too. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

The only thing I can think of is the singer being too far from the mic. It's worked pretty well for me, but I had it pretty much equidistant between my guitar and my mouth....it picked them up pretty equally. You could also try editing your tracks and bringing the vocal track forward in the mix.

Aside to Neil (Coldethyl) - regarding your above question, I did exactly that for the track I posted in the "noob collab" thread in the collaboration forum....loaded the BT onto the MicroBR from my computer, converted the mp3 to a "track", then played over it to add my guitar to it.

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Very nice thread especialy since I just purchased a new micro br today. This thread has already pointed me toward some answers as to how do I do this or that, thanks.

I too am impressed with the capabilities of this unit and looking forward to beeing able to navigate my way around and use all or most of them.

My first recorder and I hope to get a recording on here using the micro br before long.

Smoke

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