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Microphone Month

Boss BR-800 Reviews

3.5 stars based on 20 customer reviews
Questions about the Boss BR-800?

Questions about the Boss BR-800?

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  • Ray Stilwell
    from Brownsville, PA USA August 4, 2014Music Background:
    35 year hobbyist

    Boss BR-800

    If you are on a budget the Boss Br-800 is a solid choice!
    One of the things to know is when you first get the BR-800 be sure to pull the SD card out to set the touch sensitive pads. You have to go thru & touch each sensor except for enter & exit.
    I find that between 4 & 5 is a good setting.
    Overall VERY pleased with the sound quality and effects!

  • JP
    from Denver July 5, 2013Music Background:
    Musican, Guitarist, Bassist and Vocalist

    Firmware Upgrade 1.10 Fixes

    I wish that I could edit my previous review. There has been at least one reviewer that downgraded the BR-800 because you couldn't edit the tracks as we could on the Micro BR and the BR-80... Well Boss/Roland listened and fixed track editing in their firmware upgrade 1.10... Also, in the same upgrade they made it possible to save your edited effects... Just wanted to set the record straight on those two issues..... For my two cents this is a great little recorder, but my preferance is for hardware recorders... I use the Sonar package that comes bundled with it for creating drum loops and some editing of tracks... I agree with the one post that wished you could download directly to mp3, but the file transfer program is pretty easy to use and there are plenty of free conversion software packages out there...I didn't buy this recorder for recording a band so the fact that you can only record four tracks at one time doesn't bother me at all. The most that I record is one track at a time sometimes two, most often only one.... If I need more than 6 tracks I can bounce down, and the times I have had to do that is never... Like I said this is great quality little recorder, that does everthing that I need...

  • JP Illes
    from Denver, CO July 5, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, Guitarist, Bassist, Vocalist....

    Patrick Steele is Wrong

    Patrick Steele wrote in his review that you cannot bounce tracks down on the BR-800, this is not true. If "MASTERING" is selected then you can bounce any open tracks down to a selected "Virtual Track." You have total control over the tracks you bounce down and where they are bounced to.

  • Bill
    from South Florida December 19, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    High Tech made simple

    This is a unit that can be up and running right out of the box. I have no experience with recording and wasn't sure if I would be able to put together my creations, but this little unit just blew me away. There is a demonstration on You tube on how simple it is to use but that only scratches the surface on the many features it has. High tech recording has never been made any easier. This unit comes with a built in effects box along with a drum machine that produces a professional recoding that is just as good as a studio. If your in the market for a recorder at an affordable price, you just found it!!

  • Bruce Boatner
    from Boise, ID October 28, 2011Music Background:
    Ex-professional musician - now just for fun.

    The more I use it, the more impressed I am!

    I'm willing to bet there was a corporate meeting at Roland to decide where to apply their best and brightest, and they decided that the best market decision would be to upgrade the BR-600 to the BR-800. The quality of recordings that this little machine produces is phenomenal, due largely I believe to the integration of very advanced (and quiet) hardware that has evolved over a long time. If you look at, say, the BR-1600 (at 3 times the cost), you will immediately become aware of the significant advancements of this product.

    Maybe they'll give the BR-1600 the "star treatment" as well in the future, and if so, it should be a doozy! But I don't think that's going to happen, because of one thing - the DAW. They can still afford to optimize a product like the BR-800 because it is a niche market due to its portability, etc.

    Personally, I prefer the hardware solution, and I have used a couple of DAWs with far less success in the final product than I have produced directly on the BR-800. Because of the built-in signal processing, the BR-800 produces an incredibly CLEAN sound, which takes a great deal of effort to duplicate in the DAW. The menu/function set of the BR-800 is very intuitive and straightforward and its functionality (make sure you download V1.10 of the operating system) is adequate, although it does leave a few things to be desired. First, you've only got 6 faders, and sometimes you really feel like you've only got 6 tracks. 5/6 and 7/8 are stereo pairs. You've got 64 virtual tracks (good), but you can only use one virtual track per "actual" track (not so good).

    Also you cannot bounce/mix multiple tracks down to a single track (not good). Additionally you're limited on how you can move and copy tracks based on pairs, etc. HOWEVER, once you buy into their scheme, it starts to make a lot of sense and you can work around it rather easily. I use spare virtual tracks as convenient backups for other tracks I'm experimenting with.

    There are PC/MAC support products that come with the BR-800. The WAV converter is great - move audio files back and forth to PC - and the Drum Editor is good too. It comes bundled with Cakewalk SONAR 8.5 LE, and all I can say about that is GOOD LUCK!

    Another shortcoming is only 1 phantom power port. Still, I would say that it is one of the best purchases I have ever made. I had it Fed-Exed in for the "Y" job and was producing usable audio within a couple of hours. I have looked at the specs of the Zoom products, and I believe that they would not be able to give me the flexibility and concrete results that the Boss does.

  • larry york
    from brunswick Ohio November 10, 2010Music Background:
    40 rs experience, musician, hobbyist, guitarist.

    One great litttle package.....one great value

    The boss br 800 is like all other boss products that have come before it. Much more features and a great value for your money. Setting up and recording is easy and getting just the sound you want is a piece of cake. Get yourself a decent pair of headphones and desktop monitors and your well on your way to making fantastic recordings. The built in mics are a great alternative also and give credible results. This thing makes you want to play and record all the time.

  • Tony Houston
    from Columbus, OH September 10, 2010Music Background:
    Guitarist, home recorder, songwriter

    A great portable, powerful and easy to use 8 track recorder

    I love my BR-800 and already have recorded several songs. As mentioned in the other reviews, more advanced track editing wasn't added in the system...but after talking to BOSS tech support, they told me that a new firmware update will soon be released to correct this oversight.

    As far as the absence of MIDI-in/out.....so what? I record with Reaper DAW with a Axiom 25 USB-2 MIDI keyboard controller & a Edirol UA-4FX external audio. When I installed the BR-800 software, Reaper found the ASIO drivers and I can use my BR-800 as a external audio/controller interface.

    The BR-800 does come bundled with SONAR LE, but my vintage single core AMD PC crashes with SONAR if I record more than five tracks with plug-ins. I'm building a quad-core system and will install SONAR on it.

    But, lets get back to the BR-800...it is easy to learn to record. You'll spend more time recording, and less time learning how to record.

    The guitar, bass, and vocal COSM effects are great IMO..plus the BR-800 has drums. It's really easy to create a drum arrangement and export/import Wav files with the BR-800 (check out my BR-800 video tutorials on YT).

    The BR-800 will operate on batteries for remote recording as wave recorder, and will power-up via USB from a PC/laptop, and with a 32GB SD card you get have hours of recording time.

  • ROY
    from R.I. December 28, 2011Music Background:
    Guitar hobbyist and more

    boss br800

    It is a great recorder to get started with. If you need to record something, to record on the fly ,or at home or studio this is for you. Text support is there to help you if you run into any problems. Full of effects for guitar and a ton of drum beats and I said guitar because that is what I play. By it and you will see.

  • JP
    from Denver, CO February 17, 2011Music Background:
    Guitarist/Bassist/Singer/Blues Musician

    Upgraded From my MICRO to the BR-800

    I was pretty much up and running right out of the box. Put down bass, lead and rhythm guitar parts and a rudimentry rhythm tracks within an hour or so of opening up the package.

    Editing on the computer was different, but went fairly quickley. Loading the software that came with the BR-800 was a snap. Converting tracks to WAV files, editing them using Audacity Software and then re-converting them and sending back to the BR-800 went fairly smothly. Had one hick-up in trying to get the files to transfer using the USB, but was able to work through it.

    I miss using the track edit comands, it is my favorite method of creating bass lines, however, with my acer and Audacity software I don't see where it will be a problem. Eventually I will get aroud to learing Sonar.

    I thought the touch screen worked perfectly, although I don't have reall big hands. The sensitivity on the pads worked perfectly for me.

    All in All so far so good

  • Larry Wright
    from AL January 31, 2016

    BOSS 800 Not Supported

    My BOSS BR 800 has served me very well for gig backing tracks. I have also uploaded
    many songs to Audacity with the USB cord. Now, Audacity is not working for me at all.
    Neither is MixPad. Flat line recording signal. What gives ?
    I may be getting a "not supported" signal ? Can anyone help ?

  • Dennis Lee Bieber
    from Sunnyvale, CA September 19, 2011Music Background:
    Dabbler

    Recent Firmware Update Greatly Improves Usability

    When I first obtained the BR-800 I came to the conclusion that it wasn't really worth it compared to my BR-600.

    Sure, it allowed for greater memory (what did BOSS/Roland do with the 600 that it couldn't be converted for larger CF card addressing); had true XLR inputs, and even Phantom Power on one of them, AND had that lovely high resolution display.

    But it had given up rhythm pattern editing (couldn't they have ported a form of the computer editor to run on that lovely display? up/down for selecting instrument, left right for beat/subbeat, and rotary for intensity?); the mastering effects are a joke [there is no way to produce some of those effects "from scratch"; you take a preset and just tweak the levels or equalization curves]; the "pitch corrector" works more as a special effect voice modulator -- no duplicating Cher's "Believe" warbles which was possible with the -600 Pitch Map; AND NO subtrack editing!

    The -800 seems to have given up all of the features that made the -600 a true STAND-ALONE unit.

    Well, VERSION 1.10 of the -800 firmware has partly redeemed the device. One can, once again, do subtrack level edits (no "trim", but that can be duplicated by "delete" and "move" operations). Just pray that you do not encounter the "edit list full" condition, as they forgot to add the "clean-up" operation (the "clean-up" basically rebuilds the internal files so the audio is again linear, rather than using the edit list to jump around in the file for each edit change -- being able to do a lot more edits before such a condition may lessen the problem).

    In Conclusion:
    The BR-800 is now capable of being used in a stand-alone mode for main editing/mixing. You still need a computer to create custom rhythm patterns, and likely for final mastering, Performing mixing and editing on-board should retain the internal 24-bit sigma-delta (or is it delta-sigma) digitization, only dropping to 16-bit during WAV conversion to the computer.

    If BOSS can find a way to incorporate a pattern editor, I would consider the device "great" (I'd still miss the mastering toolkit and pitch map, but the latter is considered a gimmick by many)

  • joel kaminer
    from nyc September 7, 2011Music Background:
    pro musician/recording engineer

    boss br-800

    ive a very expensive system,my digital mixer being refurbed and want ed,as my friend jim swain said 'something to tide me over.' this is much more than that...got some really listenable recordings from it...works easy and intuitive...wished there was compression on individual tracks..there is in master 2 bus,and would like the tracking to b not 24bit compressed but uncompressed...it is 24 bit uncompressed in the ez record mode of 4 tracks...dont know why they did this ..i hear the difference..yet with all this for around 400 cant b beat...for beginning songwriters and more advanced a great tool...thanks jim/boss

  • Icewind
    from Austin, TX August 30, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    WAIT!

    I am a previous user and big fan of the BR-600 and Micro BR. Once I saw this and I had to have it. This thing has a slick new look, new effects and drums, touch controls, and you can use it as a control surface for your PC DAW if you're so inclined. A lot of great steps forward!
    But then they took a giant leap backwards. I feel the need to make sure as many people as possible know about this before purchasing:

    You can't edit tracks on this unit.

    That's right, a crucial feature that was in the BR-600 and the Micro BR (and all other digital recorders of this kind) has been REMOVED.

    On previous units you could work within a track by moving segments around or copy/pasting them to other parts of the track/other tracks.

    On this one, there is no way to do that. You can copy a track in its entirety to another track, but that's it. They actually expect you to export all of your stuff to your computer in order to do any track editing. So much for the "portable music production solution" as they print on the box; you've been chained to your computer, like it or not.

    If this matters to you (and if you're looking for a portable digital recorder that frees you from your computer, this DOES matter to you), then wait. Maybe they'll update the firmware and correct this ridiculous decision (and yes, this was a conscious decision by Boss "based on market feedback"). Or maybe you should look elsewhere.

  • mike donn
    from January 12, 2014Music Background:
    song writer guitarist

    br 800 downfall

    I have been around various m/cs for the last 40 yrs,i decided to buy a br 800 2mths ago,it is a sound recorder giving good quality, however the touch control is extremely fussy, the pads have different pressure values, which is not supposed to be, so I adjusted the sensitivity in hope that a harder setting would make a difference, unfortunately it was not so, there is still an annoying difference from one pad to another, if my finger hangs over the selection wheel it changes the left,right,up,down selection around the wheel without touching the pads. while other pads need considerable pressure to make them work, I have also lost whole tracks for no apparent reason, I am disappointed as I have used many different boss products over the yrs, this being the first that I have had problems with,

  • Patrick Steele
    from United States August 18, 2012Music Background:
    hobbyist musician, songwriter

    Disappointment

    I am so disappointed that you cannot bounce multiple tracks to one track, which I do constantly with my vocals. I think BOSS dropped the ball on this important function (or lack of). I loved the BR600 and was anxiously awaiting the upgrade BR800. I don't know what they were thinking when the eliminated this important function. I will now look for another digital recorder that has the bounce function included

  • Chuck Keyser
    from Santa Barbara, CA August 25, 2010Music Background:
    Flamenco Guitarist

    No MIDI - Keep your BR-900CD AND your BR-600

    I agree with Eric's review, and just want to add that I was very disappointed that the BR-800 has no MIDI, either thru USB or even from the PC Editor. (There should be at least a "Save As Midi Format 1). So you can't save the rhythm tracks you've created to your DAW.

    Not only that, there is no MIDI sync out, so you can't even sync the BR-800 with the DAW. (Not to mention, there is no abiity to play rhythm pads, so you'll have to order another interface for that.)

    The Rhythm Editor and Toneload are great (as in the BR-600/900CD), and the LED menu is a big imporvement, however. The effects are excellent, but so are the other BR's...

    I returned it (reluctantly - it is pretty neat if you have extra money), and now am using Live (w/ nanoKontrol/nanoLive) with a Netbook which works just fine with one guitar VST (PodFarm 2) and a Drumrack or two...

  • Eric
    from Alaska August 23, 2010Music Background:
    Home recorder, Hobbyist

    Keep Your BR-600s

    This recorder is a slick, easy-to-use, attractive interface covering a backwards-stepping, regressing mess. It's improved with SD card storage. Finally Boss moves into the 2000's. It's fast and easy to use. Recording is a breeze. Also, the insert effects are VERY high quality. But the good stops there. Loop recording (a touted feature) is clunky and the device will NOT overdub on the same track. This means that there is an audible pause between repeated measures. Also, NO track editing. None. You can move one whole track's audio to a different track or delete a whole track. That's it.
    The BR-800 also lacks any count-in or pre-record feature. That means if you use this device without a foot pedal (an additional $30 cost) you must press record and move lightning fast to your guitar if you even hope to get close to recording in the first measure. There are cheaper multi and single track recorders that have this feature built-in. Why not the BR-800?
    If you're looking for linear recording on four tracks, then this device would be fine but the price is for bloated features that you most likely won't use. When Boss says 8 track recorder, they mean, there are 8 simultaneous playback tracks. You can only record up to 4 tracks simultaneous on this machine. Considering most bands have vocals, guitar, guitar 2, bass, and drums, right there you're already 1 input short from being able to record the whole band at once. Although this thing does have excellent built-in mics that could capture your band in a two track stereo configuration but it should do so much more for the cost.

  • Clark D
    from Denver, CO January 6, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Not microphone friendly

    I had an old Boss direct to disc recorder way back (when 2 Gigs was a huge hard drive). I wanted to get back into recording and I thought that the BR-800 would be similar to my old machine. I especially wanted the v-tracks. Sweetwater was out of stock, so I bought it somewhere else, but it's the same machine. However, I just sent mine back.

    If you are planning on using mics with this, there are a few things to be aware of. Yes, you can record four mics at once, however, only one of them (input 4) can have phantom power. Also, no input effects are available when recording four. You cannot record 3 at once except through the rather cheesy trick of recording four at once with one channel recording silence (hope you didn’t have anything already recorded on that track). Recording 2 at once is doable, but fairly annoying. The mics have to be plugged into inputs 1 and 2, which means that neither one of them can have phantom power. And they have to go to tracks 1&2 or 3&4, or stereo to 5&6 (which share the same fader). You cannot put them to tracks 1&3 or even 2&3. Furthermore, mine only gave me 2 modes under the “input 1 & 2” option. I could record “mono” which only recorded to one track (I’m not sure if it mixed the signals or chose one, either option seemed useless so I didn’t explore it) or I could record “stereo,” which put each input on a track (what I wanted) BUT it also panned one track hard left and one hard right. Yes, you can go in and straighten out the pan, but it’s several button pushes to get to the right screen and then several times round the jog wheel for each to set them straight. Then you decide to recut the tracks and you have to go change it back all over again. It is more than annoying to have to do this every time you record two mics.

    But the deal breaker for me was the fact that when you are recording, the track faders have no effect at all on the level of the incoming mic signal in the mix going to the monitors. So if you’re wanting to record a vocal over something you’ve already laid down, you are forced to wear headphones (which I can’t stand). I end up with much better performances if I don’t wear headphones, but listen to the mix fairly low through the monitors. On my past equipment, I have always been able to turn the volume on the monitor for the incoming track down to zero so I got no feedback through the mic. I get a little bleed of the instruments into the vocal track, but not enough to cause problems (as long as I don’t try to recut the guitar track or something), and the looser feel of the vocal performance more than makes up for it.

    If you can live with these things, it might work for you, but I sent mine back.

  • Walt
    from November 22, 2010

    Boss BR-800

    I read all the pre-release info and was really looking forward to this recorder. I bought this to replace a MicroBR that I loved but it's main shortcomings in my opinion were no vocal toolbox and no rhythm editing.
    Both things that the BR-800 includes.

    I was excited to unbox it and put it through it's paces. Guitars sound terrific using the cosm effects but I immediately found a flaw. You cannot cut and paste the tracks like you can in the MicroBR. You can move the entire track but you cannot excise measures. Boy what a great feature they inexplicably removed. That was the first strike on the BR-800.

    Next I edited the drums using the pc editor and while it's a cumbersome process, it gets the job done. I then laid a bass track down and upon playback I heard some strange pops and clicks. It's not my bass as it sounds clean through the MicroBR and it was not any clipping issues it was just random static-y clicks. That was worrisome.

    And then the whopper...after I had the two tracks recorded and the drums sussed out it was time to master the song.

    What? No mastering to MP3 in the machine? I use the feature in my MicroBR so often and I love it. If you want to get a quick song recording out to some band mates or want to quickly throw a song onto the web mastering to MP3 is a very useful feature. Except they took that out too.

    All I wanted was everything the MicroBR had going for it merged with the BR-600 and that is what the BR-800 looked to be.

    Unfortunately it isn't that at all and in my opinion doesn't even do as good a job as the BR-600.

    Not sure what ROLAND/BOSS was thinking when they created this unit. It's too similar to the BR-600 without adding some of the great features of the MICROBR.

    Not worth the money so I returned it.

  • chris hess
    from Ohio May 9, 2017

    Boss BR-800

    Have to say i am not happy about this purchase,frustrating just to simply record,too many options..Not keyboard friendly..Had a Boss BR-532 years ago,thought i would update..not the same..This company is great..but not this item..

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