Boss GT-8

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by ohio_eric, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. ohio_eric

    ohio_eric Contributor

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    The Boss GT-8 is one of those units that people seem to have a love/hate relationship with. They love the effects and the flexibility of the unit. There seems to be a lot less love for the amp simulations and amount of programming needed to get the most out of it. I’ve had the unit for about 3 months now and feel like I have a pretty good handle on it.

    I bought my GT-8 used off of the forum’s own Donnie, the man with the best nipples in show business. It came sans manual so I had to learn this the hard way. That being said it’s not that hard to learn. In this era of modern electronics figuring out user menus and options are pretty commonplace. If you can get a handle on your cell phone that also serves as a camera, appointment calendar, arcade and marital aid. You can jolly well figure out the GT-8.

    One of the first things I noticed about the GT-8 is that it is heavy and well built. That would be a good thing. It feels like it could take a hell of a beating and ask for more. This is reassuring for a floor based effects unit, where fragile switches are likely to break and light units are likely to get kicked across the room accidentally.

    Here’s a huge tip. Make sure your input and output levels are set correctly for your guitar and amp. I can’t tell you what to set them to because there is a lot of variation from setup to setup. But you want to make sure that they’re not set to hot or cold. I find using a clean amp model or setting to test them works best. Set the GT-8 to clean and listen to see if the signal distorts when strumming along. If it does tweak until the signal stays clean but is still plenty strong.

    The amp simulations are a mixed bag of nuts like most modelers I have heard. I love the JC120 and I have gotten good results from the Marshall, 5150 and Recto amp models. I’m not saying I would pass on a good tube amp to strictly use the GT-8. But I have gotten acceptable results for late night jamming on headphones and practicing through my stereo. Buy a ¼” to RCA adapter and use your stereo as a cheap power amp. It’s a great way to practice. Thanks to Leon for the idea.

    Let’s get back to the amp models. I will admit most of the stock presets sound like crap. They are over-effected and the EQ and gain are set like a teenage boy and his first distortion pedal. Here are a few basic tips to get the most out the amp models.

    • · Turn off the effects. Usually the presets all have delay and/or reverb added in and usually way too much of it. Kill it all. Listen to the dry amp sound. It gives a way better indication of how that model really sounds.
    • · Mess with the EQ and gain. Usually I have to turn down the gain and add treble and presence. Also all amp models have three sub-models (high, medium and low gain) I tend to live on the medium ones. I start with everything dead square in the middle and tweak from there.
    • · The cabinets used in the stock presets blow. Try using the 2x12, 4x12 and 8x12 models instead. They open up the sound a lot. Also mess with microphone models and microphone position this tends to help make good sounds a bit better.
    • · Tone Modify is your friend. The tone modify effect is a real ass saver. Place it right after the preamp in the signal chain and tweak away. There are several settings available including tight, presence and fat. I find the tight and presence settings the most useful.

    The effects in the GT-8 are the real showstoppers. The amp models are good but the effects are just amazing. Almost all of them are useful or at least interesting enough to make you want to use it. Here are some thoughts on the effects that the GT-8 has.

    • · The delays, modulations and reverbs are very nice indeed. They would serve most players quite nicely and have loads of flexibility. The 2x2 chorus is divine. The reverse delay is very cool. The flanger has an insane amount of flexibility that can do some really twisted things to your sound.
    • · The oddball effects have some interesting potential. The slicer (a super fast tremolo), slow gear ( an E-bow like effect), auto riff ( an odd little harmonizer-like effect that plays “scales” based on settings) and humanizer ( an automated talk box) are just chock full of geeky weirdness cool potential. I will however consider it a major victory when I find a use for the defretter, which makes your guitar sounds less fretty I think.
    • · The acoustic simulator is very nice indeed. It won’t make you want to forsake a nice Martin or Taylor but for quick acoustic parts in songs that require you play both electric and acoustic or some lovely clean tones it owns.
    • · The pitch shifting effects are about what you’d expect. They are useful for subtle harmonizing effects and oddball sound effects. They won’t make anyone give up their Eventide gear but they are more than usable.
    • · The wahs are nice. Again individual pedals may sound better but the GT-8 has a lot of flexibility in how the wahs are set and let’s you make your own custom wahs. There’s also a 7 string wah sounds pretty good. The auto wahs are also quite nice for all your porno soundtrack recording needs.

    One of the GT-8’s real strengths is its flexibility. You can kill the amp models and use it as an effects unit. You can use the effects loops and the fabled four-cable method. You can then set up the GT-8 and your amp so first come the distortions and wahs, then your amps preamp, the modulations and delays and then your amp’s power section. Of course this all assumes you uses the accepted way of ordering your effects. If you like you can put the effects and amp models in any damn order that your heart desires. This is great for sick twisted stuff like a wah pedal at the very end of the signal chain. Sure it’s not musical per se. But it is fun to play with and might work if your mind is twisted enough. The GT-8 also has MIDI outs and a jack for switching channels on amps. The included tuner works well.

    All in all I’m very happy with the GT-8. It is a great effects unit and I see for reason to sell it no matter what amps I might buy. It would serve as a fine effects unit. I love GT-8 because it is a true multitasker. It can serve as a preamp, effects unit and a practice unit. All this in a unit that can be had for under $500 brand new is very cool. I highly recommend it. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
     
  2. Apophis

    Apophis Banned

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    Great review, thanks :yesway:
     
  3. Toshiro

    Toshiro .... Contributor

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    +1 I'm not a fan of the high gain modelling, but then I didn't buy it for that.
     
  4. The Dark Wolf

    The Dark Wolf Contributor

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    Excellent review. Well done! :dio:
     
  5. ohio_eric

    ohio_eric Contributor

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    I don't play death metal or anything super high gain so my opinion might not be the greatest for that. But for what I use it for the amp models are more than good enough.
     
  6. TimSE

    TimSE Contributor

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    The GT8 is prob the best thing iv ever bought for my setup. i found almost all the people who say they dont like it dont know about "The 4 cable Method". anyone who dosnt, google it. by far THE best way to have it set up.
     
  7. FoxZero

    FoxZero Zero Imperfections

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    Hmmm... I'm thinking of trying to my POD xtL for this. I don't really need great amp emulation anymore and I'd much rather have better effects. Plus if I ever needed amp emulation I'd still have something decent. :)
     
  8. ohio_eric

    ohio_eric Contributor

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    If amp emulation isn't first on your list the GT-8 is a great choice.
     
  9. fireheart82

    fireheart82 In Flames i was Born

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    The distortion is old tech.. Not for the axe fx future ruling....
     
  10. Michael Lombardi

    Michael Lombardi SS.org Regular

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    I have had my Boss GT 8 for six years now and have used it maybe four times since. I do like the effects on it though. I just can't get in to the unit. I'm so used to using the old school pedalboards. The unit is intimidating to me. Any tips out there on how to use just the effects on it ? I have an original Fender Vibrolux Reverb amp that I love, so I don't need to use the preamp section of the GT 8. I'm to lazy to drag out the manual for the directions. So again, any tips on the best way to use the effect section would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     

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