Boss BR800 multitrack recorder review

RED DOG PRICE: £365
(RRP: £427.92)

What we have here is a pretty swish-looking, affordable, battery-powered and most importantly PORTABLE digital recording studio. The reason that this digital recording studio is a whole heap cooler than the others though is – it’s not just a digital recording studio. Get ready for this…

First of all; it can be used like a dictaphone for the simplest of recordings. For those of you who are just starting out and want some very basic level recording equipment – this is perfect for you. You can plug your guitar straight into the front of the machine and use instant ‘Song Sketch’ mode to get your basic ideas down. The BR800 also has built-in stereo condenser mics so when inspiration comes along and whacks you in the face, you can record the wrath of your musical genius on the spot. This is also very handy for field recordings so if you want to record a session in the pub or the after party jam session at your flat, it’s ideal.

Second of all, for those of you who are maybe a little more advanced with your recording skills, the BR800 can be used in a far more creative and complex fashion. It has four inputs meaning you can record up to four separate things at once. Then, once you’ve got these down, you can record on top of them (you know, for those face-melting guitar solos and such). It also has a bunch of rhythm patterns programmed in as well as a heap of brilliant effects. Basically, the more you get to know the BR800, the more creative you can get with it – a digital multitrack recorder for life, if you will.

Thirdly, it has an EZ Record feature which allows you to select a) which instrument you’re using and b) what style of tune you’re going for. The BR800 will then open up a blank song canvas for you, select a suitable rhythm pattern and suitable effects for you and all you have to do is play your instrument. Whether you like to dabble in blues, rawk, metal or jazz… this little machine will sort you right out. And wait, there’s more – it can also be used like a loop station! Probably not for live use, mind, it might be a little bit fiddly… but if you want to record something with loops, you can do just that.

The final thing that sets this digital recorder apart from the rest is it’s also a USB audio interface which means it can plug straight into your computer and be used to in conjunction with whatever software it is you’re using. In fact, it even comes with Cakewalk SONAR 8.5 LE software with full audio loops and backing tracks included, just to get you on your way. Isn’t that nice?

To sum up – the BR800 is a dictaphone, a portable recording studio, a bunch of effects pedals, a loop station AND an audio interface… all in one swish-looking, touch sensor, super sleek music-making machine. Maybe you won’t believe me when I tell you it’s only £365 but would I lie to you, baby? Would I lie to you? Of course not.

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Roberta Pia is a freelance journalist for Bob'll Write It and the front-woman of musical mind-busters The Banana Sessions.

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