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 )
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
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).