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Still the Boss: The Boss BR-800 Digital Recorder

Still the Boss: The Boss BR-800 Digital Recorder

We were delighted to get our hands on the Boss BR-800 at the global MusikMesse 2010 show in Frankfurt and see for ourselves what the hype was all about. Brand new from the Boss stable, the BR-800 is an SD-card based digital multi-track recorder that can be used alone or connected to a computer via USB. The BR-800 can be run by the power supply and USB, but we particularly like the option of using battery power (just six AA batteries!), which is great for location recording.

Form and function
The build quality of the Boss BR-800 is very impressive. The knobs and faders have a good action and its sleek black design is very pleasing on the eye. The orange screen not only looks good but is functional – all the parameters an engineer could possibly want to see appear on the screen. It’s not the largest display we’ve come across, but it is perfect for this little unit.
Having pushed all the buttons and used the guitar and microphone that Boss had connected to the on-display recorder, we found the BR-800 very easy to use. We made the most of our trial at Messe: one of the Dolphin Music team recorded a guitar part, then added a lead guitar and a vocal line using the BR-800’s internal microphone. In a shot we added the built-in effects to each part, with dedicated vocal effects presets and guitar amp effects too. Each effect can be edited and modified.

Fine features
Other features include the Phantom Power switch for condenser microphones; four-track simultaneous recording and eight-track playback; DR-880-quality Rhythm Generator (in other words a nice little drum machine); and four microphone/line inputs. There is also a new EZ Recording mode for beginners, using an interactive guide through the recording process.

Seamless integration
In addition, the BR-800 can be used as a control surface for various DAW software. This is a feature most similar products offer so is one to be expected, but with past experience of using other Boss recorders, we know that the integration is always seamless.
The Boss BR-800 is a great little piece for recording rehearsals and then taking the unit back to the studio to edit, however, for the singer-songwriter this really is an all-you-need item. Plug in your instrument, hit record, playback, record another track, edit, add effects, EQ, mix and voila! 

Thumbs up: Wonderful effects, robust, endless features, good display
Thumbs down: None, the BR-800 meets all our digital recording needs

Verdict: The Boss BR-800 performs very well. It has all the features the recording musician will need, has been designed with portability in mind, and has plenty of additional useful features.

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