Boss GT pro review – The guitar effects processor I use

written by play electric guitar on May 7, 2009 in guitar tone with 22 comments

Is the Boss GT pro better than earlier models.

When Roland first came out with their COSM effects processors, I bought one – the Roland GP 100, after which I took a long break before buying anymore of their stuff.

I wasn’t convinced they had solved the amplifier simulation problem, but seeing as I’d bought the thing, I did my best to get a decent sound out of it.

Listening to my old recordings with it, they turned out sounding quite good, but I had to do a lot of tweaking back then to get those sounds.

A lot later I bought the Boss GT 6, and initially I was very disappointed with it, then I learned a few tricks like using the booster peddle simulation to improve the amplifier models tone, and which amplifier models worked best.

I slowly fell in love with it, but like most Roland and Boss products at the time, you had to really experiment and tweak. Once you found your formula it was plain sailing.

Composite object sound modeling is supposed to simulate the sound of various guitar amplifiers, and I think they’re a lot closer now.

The truth of the matter is that sometimes they’re so darn good that the thought of them bringing out a newer version bothers me.

What if they don’t have the same amplifier models I use now, or they change it so it doesn’t sound the same?

I was lucky when I moved up from the Boss GT 6 that they still had the same Peavey 5150 model that I liked so much in the GT pro, and it sounded much the same.

The Marshall models seem to have changed, but I prefer them now.

Here’s the real difference, and why I’m glad I took a leap of faith.

  1. The sound is clearer, almost brighter, but in a good way. maybe this has something to do with the increased bit depth.
  2. When you’ve found the amplifier simulation that you like, there’s very little tweaking needed or eq. On the GT 6 there where certain tricks that I learnt to get the most out of an amplifier model, but the GT pro doesn’t need them. Also, they don’t work the same. This is a completely different animal.
  3. Now I can record straight into my PC’s usb port, and the noise level is virtually non existent. No more banging my Mackie mixing desk to sort out the dry joints either.
  4. A separate compressor, independent of FX 1 or 2 groups.
  5. The dual channels are one of my favorite features, seeing as you get to have a different amplifier model for the left and right channels, and delay one of them by up to 50 milliseconds.
  6. The sound over headphones is virtually the same as what comes out the monitors. On the GT 6 this wasn’t the case. Late night jamming just got a whole lot more fun.
  7. It’s rack mountable, so for the studio it’s perfect. I was getting tired of leaning over to change things on the floor. My back isn’t what it used to be.

Here’s some of the things I’m not too excited about with the GT pro.

  1. The acoustic guitar sounds, both for turning an electric guitar sound into an acoustic one or making an acoustic guitars piezzo electric transducer sound like a miked up acoustic just don’t do it for me. They do have some use though, like background strums or making things sound different.
  2. The distortion and overdrive peddles they’ve modeled don’t behave the same as their analog counterparts, but to be perfectly honest with you, I haven’t fiddled with them too much. It’s kind of pointless when you’ve got some great amplifier models to do the same job better.
  3. No foot peddles, but I guess I knew I’d have to buy them separate.
  4. There is only one speaker cabinet simulation that’s worth using, which is the 8 by 12 double stack. This is about the same as the GT 6, so no big difference there. Would have been nice to have more though.

Sure, there may be some differences, and sometimes Boss is off the mark a bit, especially in some of their original speaker models, but nothing that a bit of good eq can’t fix. This is so much more than just getting by, and believe me, I’ve plugged guitars into real valve amplifiers that didn’t sound half as good as what’s coming out of this digital box.

Admittedly this isn’t always the case, but when you’ve got so much to work with, you inevitably find what you’re looking for. Here’s a video I made to demonstrate one of the Marshall patches I use. The settings are further down the page.

If you want to jam along to the same backing I used here, by request I’ve made it available for download: Blues backing track in A major (Right click and choose “save target as” or any such similar dialogue)

Boss GT Pro patches I’ve made myself that you can copy.

This first one is the sound patch I used for point 5 of “Here’s the real difference”. I called this one 5150 drive stereo.

The preamp channel mode is Dual – Left and right, and shows D-L/R. Channel delay time is set at 50ms, which seems to be one setting for both channels.

Channel A: Type is 5150 drive. Gain is 8, bass is 80, middle is 100, treble is 60, presence is 0, level is 64, gain switch (Gain SW) is high, Solo SW is off, speaker type is 8×12″, mic type is CND87, mic distance is On Mic, mic position is 7, mic level is 100 and direct level is 0.

Channel B: Type is Metal Lead, Gain is 8, Bass 80, Middle 70, Treble 100, presence 85, Level 45, Gain switch is High, Solo is off, Speaker 8×12″, microphone type is CND87, mic dis = on, mic pos = 10, and again the mic level is 100 while the direct sound is 0.

EQ settings: Equalizer on, Low cut 55hz, Low EQ +10dB, Lo-Mid is 0dB so no need to worry with that one. Hi-Mid f (frequency) is 4.00kHz, Hi Mid Q = 1, Hi Mid EQ +3dB. High EQ is 0dB and High cut is flat. Level is 0dB which just means your not boosting the signal but the EQ still works.

Delay settings: These aren’t really crucial to the sound, and it’s always a matter of personal preference, but here’s what I’ve used for this one. Type = Pan, Delay time = 536ms, Tap time = 50%, feedback = 24, High cut = 11.0kHz, Effect level is 14% and direct level is 100%

Signal FX chain: I like keeping things as close to what they would be in the real world so no biggie here. Preamp first, then EQ, Noise gate, Digital Delay. I don’t know why the noise gate is there where it is, but it seems to work.

My Marshall amplifier simulation on the GT Pro.

This one works great for a bluesy Stevie Ray Vaughn sound stratocaster neck pickup position, and cleans up very nicely when you back off a bit on the guitars volume control. It’s also quite effective as a main hard rock sound when you use higher output humbucking pickups.

Here are the settings: Channel mode is Single, Channel select is channel A, Type is MS HiGain, Gain is 8, Bass 80, Middle 50, Treble 50, Presence 0, Level 50, Gain SW High, Solo Off, Speaker type is 8×12″ again (the only one I use), Mic Type CND87, Mic Dis = on mic, Mic Pos = 7, Mic Level = 100, Direct level 0.

EQ settings: These are the same as 5150 stereo, but here they are again anyway. Equalizer on, Low cut 55hz, Low EQ +10dB, Lo-Mid is 0dB so frequency doesn’t matter. Hi-Mid f (frequency) is 4.00kHz, Hi Mid Q = 1, Hi Mid EQ +3dB. High EQ is 0dB and High cut is flat.

Delay settings: Same as 5150 patch above. Okay, I’m getting lazy now.

Reverb: Type is Hall 1, time 2.5s, pre delay 0ms, Low cut 165 Hz, High cut 4.00kHz, Density 10, Effect level 39 and direct level 100. The effect chain is the same as 5150, but with reverb after the delay.