GT-1B multi-effects board

Since previous mentions of the Boss GT-1B have been spread over different threads, I thought I’d start a new one. Perhaps, there are others out there already using this multi-effects board, or it might be that others get interested in it, will buy it and then we could meet in this thread to discuss this particular device. Still, I’d also hope (and welcome) input from those among us who know a lot about gadgets and tone-shaping (you know who you are :grin:)

OK, so my first impression on the GT-1B: small, compact, sturdy, well-built, hardware looks fine! I would have placed some of the inlet/outlet ports at the back a little differently, but that is just a minor thing. One drawback of the compact footprint of the device is the display, which is tiny and has the resolution of a bad computer game from the 80s (well, almost). That said, you shouldn’t have to do a lot of editing once you are in a playing situation - most of that should have been done at home, I guess.

For that purpose, download the software (for Mac/PC) to edit all patches on your computer screen as you are connected to the device via USB. This is MUCH more convenient, especially when you start from scratch to develop your own patches. Still, you CAN fiddle with the sounds/patches also “on the road” by selecting/de-selecting certain effects with one switch or using a “simple edit” function to quickly make new selections of effects.

There are 99 preset patches and there is room for 99 user-defined patches. Now, the preset patches: for me, on the first couple of listens, there are perhaps 4-5 that I like and would use and work further with… many of the rest showcase what is possible, but I am just not into spacey organ sounds or octave-doubled synth chords coming from my bass. If you want to start from scratch, there are many options - in fact, for someone like me, an initially overwhelming amount of choices - preamps, with different cabinet settings, compressors, limiters, ODs, active/passive emulations, EQs and lots of other (typical) effects. You can spend a lot of time trying to figure out what certain settings will do to the sound, especially if you don’t have a lot of knowledge beforehand what, e.g., the compression ratio will do to your tone. I am still in the process of diving deeper into this rabbit hole :grin:

A big critique of the device is the number of effects you can use at the same time (in essence, how many pedals you can emulate). It is limited to 6, which seems OK, but, unfortunately, those 6 are not freely configurable. One is for the preamp - OK, one is for OD/distortion - OK, I guess, one is for delay (??), and one is for reverb (??); which leaves two more freely configurable. One of those two almost HAS to be a compressor or limiter, leaving one for, e.g., a chorus effect. However, I would like to use the remaining as an EQ, which means there is no possibility for a chorus, flanger, harmonizer, octaver, etc if I want compression and EQ - that kinda sucks! On the other hand, if you don’t want/need either OD/distortion, reverb or delay, then these remain completely unused… That whole thing right there is quite a bit of a design flaw!

A good thing is that you can make an alternate/enhanced version of every patch, which can be selected/deselected with the third foot switch button - that can, e.g., be used to use the same patch with a higher output level setting for soloing; or for quickly adding/removing one of the effects set (OD might be a typical example).

Finally, the foot pedal on there is by default a volume control, but you can assign other effects, such as wahs and bends.

I spent the weekend trying to find my “basic sound” - pre-amp, compressor, EQ, and later this week I will see how that is going to work in the rehearsal room…

(Oh, by the way, if you have a modeling amp as well, make sure to select the most basic patch there as well before fiddling with the settings of the GT-1B).

8 Likes

Very helpful information in my pursuit of a multi-effects board.

2 Likes

That effect selection limitation seems very weird. Very different from the Zoom boxes, where you can have five (B1four) or seven (B3n) pedal effects, of any type, ordered however you like, in each patch pedalchain. Want three compressors? No problem. Want none? Same. Want one before the other? Just change the order.

Some of the amp/cab sims take up more than one pedal slot, but it’s not really constraining.

I wonder why Roland did it this way for the Boss. Is there any workaround?

2 Likes

To be fair: this is possible also for the GT-1B.

Not that I know of… But, I have only started to explore this device and perhaps I can dig up some hacks around the internet!?

In the end I decided for this device because I wanted the most recent (=most advanced? Best?) digital effects available.

2 Likes

It’s got a really good reputation. That said, it’s only three months newer than the Zoom :slight_smile:

It’s a good choice for sure though, basically it and the B3n seem to be the ones people use the most, until the next price tier anyway.

1 Like

Ha… I didn’t know that - somehow I was under the impression, the Zoom was up for a major update, but that just hadn’t happened yet… :astonished:

The good thing about 2020 (as opposed to, say, 1985) is that all the knowledgeable kids out there are bound to have put their tricks up as YT videos… so, I am sure I can find some good ideas to get the best out of the GT-1B :smile:

2 Likes

Yeah my hope is at NAMM they announce a “B3n” with DAI and on board expression pedal.

3 Likes

All very interesting. Thanks for posting this @joergkutter. I’m looking forward to reading what else you learn about manipulating the GT-1B.

It’s interesting, because the B3 had both a DI out and a DAI interface. Presumably they took them out of the B3n for cost but they would be super useful. It would be literally all you needed for home recording or live, assuming you were happy with all-digital.

A lot of people have wondered about a B5n as well, to mirror the G5n.

The G5n has a DAI but not a DI.

3 Likes

I don’t think I saw it mentioned here, but supposedly the GT-1B can also be used as an audio interface! Or course, my manual basically says “For details, see a PDF on our website” :rofl:

Always a nice feature to have, if you don’t have another gadget handy!

3 Likes

Yeah, it’s a real mystery why Zoom took that off for the B3n, which still has a USB interface but no DAI functionality. The cynic in me would have said it’s because Zoom also makes excellent audio interfaces, but the G5n still has one, so :man_shrugging:

2 Likes

Yes, I can confirm that the GT-1B can be used as an audio interface - works in any case with Garageband!

2 Likes

That’s a great feature. Not sure what Zoom was thinking.

2 Likes

Yeah I wouldn’t say its being a cynic, its just “good” business. Frustrating as a consumer, but you understand from a business standpoint.

Yeah I wasn’t saying a reworked B3 specifically. I was just using it as a place holder for something like the B3 with the DAI and on board expression pedal. So be it an actual reworked B3n or a bass version of the G5n I would be more than happy. Being a “bucket” gear owner, I’m more than willing to pay the extra cost of a G5n if that be the case. Since it would be my sole board for 10+ years.

3 Likes

We might just have to face the fact that none of these devices is “perfect”; there always seems to be at least one crucial feature missing (or of inferior quality), for whatever reason… I blame it on marketing, and not engineering :grin:

3 Likes

Well one thing that is good with both Zoom and Roland is that you’ll get high quality gear at least.

2 Likes

This is a really good point. I have been guilty of trying to find the perfect gear. Months doing research and hours spent in guitar stores has shown that this isn’t how things work.

3 Likes