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Author Topic: Even more new toys... Boss Micro BR  (Read 2186 times)

Offline Daniel T

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Even more new toys... Boss Micro BR
« on: January 16, 2014, 01:59:57 PM »
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  • As you've already seen the last week has seen some absolutely corking gear for sale on my local gumtree. However even after the weekend there was more to come and as a result I came home with this:



    Its a funny old device. I've not come across the idea much before. It combines in one teeny tiny box a guitar amp modeller, a chromatic guitar tuner, a metronome, a drum machine and a four track recorder complete with support for internal and external microphones. All that and it runs on AA batteries and stores your recording to an SD card inserted underneath the battery cover.

    I've been busy this week so haven't had much play time but I can offer a few first impressions...

    The first thing to say is that the guitar amp modeller is actually pretty good. Tonally its got a great deal in common with the Roland Microcube (hardly surprising given they share some heritage). The cleans and the heavy crunch tones both have a very great deal to like about them, especially the clean. That said I've not yet found a setting that handles a bluesy just-ever-so-slightly-dirty tone anything like as well as my Tonelab.

    The recorder seems pretty easy to use. Setting the tempo (so you can work in beats and measures) is easy and setting up the "rhythm" (meaning drum) machine to keep your playing in time is pretty easy.

    The drum machine is quite unusual. You can't create your own patterns. Instead you have to select patterns from a palette of over 300 preset ones. However you can apply the patterns to 9 drum kits (standard, acoustic, hard rock, TR-808, etc). You can also choose between "pattern" mode and "arrangement" mode. Pattern mode is dead easy and simply allows you to pick a pattern to use as a metronome to keep time (and some of the patterns are literally just metronome clicks). Arrangement mode is a cool extension to this. Here you can chain the patterns together to produce an arrangement to back up a song. No idea how hard it is to make an arrangement yet though.

    So far it looks like a great creative toy... it will certainly be in my gig bag whenever I go travelling.
    I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

    Offline Daniel T

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    Re: Even more new toys... Boss Micro BR
    « Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 02:13:11 PM »
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  • Its a funny old device. I've not come across the idea much before. It combines in one teeny tiny box a guitar amp modeller, a chromatic guitar tuner, a metronome, a drum machine and a four track recorder complete with support for internal and external microphones. All that and it runs on AA batteries and stores your recording to an SD card inserted underneath the battery cover.

    Oops. I missed out some of the features... easily done.

    I forgot about the "jam along" MP3 player and phrase trainer complete with pitch correct speedup/slow down
    I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

    Offline Rob S

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    Re: Even more new toys... Boss Micro BR
    « Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 03:40:04 PM »
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  • I have heard some good things about this particular model. I'll await your views once you have familiarised yourself with it further. ;)
    "I am not a lunatic. I have the psychiatric report to prove it. A slender majority of the panel decided in my favour."

    If you lend someone ?20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

    Offline Daniel T

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    Re: Even more new toys... Boss Micro BR
    « Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014, 12:10:16 PM »
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  • I have heard some good things about this particular model. I'll await your views once you have familiarised yourself with it further. ;)

    Will do. In the mean time whilst still firmly in the "first impressions" category you might like to listen to this:

    Fifteen minutes using a Boss Micro BR

    This is the Epi. Dot straight into the Micro using preset #01. However I've did change the preset by turning off the chorus effect in order to let as much of the Dot's own character shine through as I could.

    All this was recorded during my first fifteen minutes using the Micro. That said I admit I had spent an hour in the company of its manual first (and one of the things that always comes up in a review of the Micro is that the manual is rather bigger than the recorder).

    I think I might just feel a new ring tone coming on...
    I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

    Offline Daniel T

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    Re: Even more new toys... Boss Micro BR
    « Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 10:33:31 AM »
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  • Allow me to tell you about the most fun I've had with an electric guitar in ages...

    Call it "The preset game".

    To play the game you need a modeller with lots of built in presets, something to beat out a rhythm (metronome, drum machine) and an audio recorder. Coincidentally the Micro BR is all those things in one box but I realize now I could have played this game pretty well with my Vox Tonelab and my laptop.

    The rules of the game are:

    • Set up a metronome or drum rhythm playing at 120 bpm. If you habitually use blues phrasing as a crutch then pick a rhythm with straight 8th notes to force you out of old habits.
    • Select the first preset.
    • Try to compose four bars that really suit the preset. The riff has to be exactly four bars long although if it leads towards a really strong resolution you may use the first beat of bar 5 to turn it around. You can fiddle with the guitar controls as much as you like but you cannot change the preset, not even the EQ. You have to take what you are given. The only exception to this is if a delay effect fits really badly at 120bpm then you may change the delay time to sit squarely on the nearest 16th note.
    • Match up the new riff to the rhythm part. This might mean increasing the tempo or changing the feel.
    • Record the four bars (and use the fifth bar to let the reverb, delay, echo ebb way).
    • Select the next preset and return to step 3.

    If the presets are nicely jumbled then eventually you start to build up a really eclectic recording.

    I'm currently at 11 out of 80 presets so there's some way for me to go yet. Some are good, some are bad, some are extremely derivative but ultimately each riff came out of my head, not out of a book/youtube video. I even have a riff to spare which I developed on a "just beginning to break up" preset and decided it was worth keeping until I hit something crunchier.

    Its been an amazing work out mostly because I keep coming up with riffs I cannot easily play cleanly at full tempo.

    The next section will be tough though. I peeked ahead and there are 8 cleanish presets in a row and, whilst the "game" is entirely subjective, I think you should score more points if the riffs are really varied.

    Anyhow that's it. If you have a modeller with presets you really, really, really ought to have a go at this game. Just don't expect to get much housework done...
    I like to spell peddant with two Ds. That always annoys them.

     

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