NMFXD - Boss GT-1

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by Clifdawg, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    585
    Sometimes lots of mandatory overtime has it's advantages. :thumb: Had a hole burning in my pocket and a need for some effects, so here I am today.

    Haven't broken it out at home with my own amp yet, but I gave the Boss GT-1 a fair shake today at my local music store before purchasing... Plugged into a Marshall Origin 20 head and a 2x12 Marshall cab.

    First impressions are pretty darn nice. With the output set to "Stack" and the preamp set to "MS 1959 I + II," it sounded *just* like I had cranked the Origin and let her rip. Setting up a "natural clean" preamp with some Univibe and Tera Echo and using the expression pedal gave me some immensely satisfying ambient swell sounds, with very little "dialing in" necessary.

    My understanding is that the GT-1 has the same DSP as the GT100 and is also extremely similar to what the Katana uses. I have high hopes for this unit when I really get to plugging it into the Marshall DSL. I'm hoping it will be a really solid, compact solution at church when I want to DI or use very little floor space, or in the effects loop when I want to use my footswitch, OCD, and Crybaby wah. I fully plan to complete my pedalboard with a two-button boss footswitch and another OD (thinking about an EHX crayon to shape my tone a little more before it hits the OCD).

    Anyway, more thoughts to come later!

    [​IMG]
     
    Beery Swine, DanB, fos1 and 1 other person like this.
  2. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    585
    Got home and got to work on this puppy.

    So this thing is really small... Smaller than I expected. That's not a minus though, it's a plus. I found it surprisingly easy to manipulate the foot pedal and hit the switches. Also fits in my Gator SG case's pocket with room to spare.

    [​IMG]
    New Balance shoes shown for size comparison and for Dad cred.
    [​IMG]
    Leaves enough room in the case for cables, strap, and an emergency can of Red Bull.
    [​IMG]
    It lights up blue, so you know that THE FUTURE IS NOW.

    Build quality: solid. It's got a plastic base and the buttons and switches are plastic, but the top panel is all metal and the plastics feel of a hard, durable quality. Behringer this certainly ain't. It's a substantial-feeling unit with satisfyingly clicky buttons and tight knobs. The footswitches don't feel awesome, but the travel and resistance is good. A plus - the switches are much quieter than the loud "clink!" of a traditional metal footswitch.

    No AC adapter in the box. Boo. It requires a boss adapter "only" and doesn't give me specs on the back of the unit, so I'm hesitant to plug up a One-Spot to it. I'll just pop in the extremely cheap-looking AA batteries (yes, it's battery-powered) and hook a cable to it (unhooking a cable automatically powers the unit down).

    One of the best features of this little box is the ability to adjust output and tone according to the device you're plugging in - you can choose from "JC-120," "Small Combo," "Combo," "Stack," "JC-120 Return [for bypassing the amp's preamp altogether by sending the unit through the amp's effects return jack]," "Combo Return," "Stack Return," and "Line/Headphones/PA." It has a small but noticeable effect on the tonality and volume of the unit's output, which helps you dial in a more natural sound for whatever you happen to be hooking this up to. My Marshall DSL40C's front end responds best to the "Combo" setting (so a point for Boss there).

    I started with the "High Gain" preset, because it's the default first patch. It's... Alright, I guess, but not great. Still better than most cheesy stock high-gain patches on similar devices or modeling amps. Going through the pre-amp models, there's a lot of tone shaping to be done here. I settled on a "Natural clean" which I then adjusted to give me more of a sparkly, semi-compressed Fender-ish clean. The cab simulations are blessedly subtle; the coloration of them were probably dialed back because I'm running this into the front of an amp. Twenty minutes in and I've got a really, really solid clean tone. Just as good - if not better - than running my guitar straight into the clean channel of the Marshall. Now to be able to flip a chorus effect on and off with the "CTL1" button.

    This is where I started to have some problems. There are some really advanced functions in the form of "assign" functions buried in the signal chain menu. The unit's not hard to get up and going at first, but figuring out what's going on here took me some time and more than one glance at the manual. I finally figured out how to disable these "assign" functions, but it's extremely unclear what these functions do from the manual or even the supplemental parameter .pdf from the website. I'm sure it's powerful, but having these perform unusual functions isn't intuitive and is immediately frustrating. I'll have to dig into this more (or possibly find a YouTube video that explains it all). Oh well, chorus assigned! Now to move to patch 2.

    I added some Blues Driver to fatten up the same tone I just created, then brought in tons of Hall reverb and added a "Tera Echo" to the mix and assigned it to CTL1. With the feedback and the level set fairly high, I'm able to get some really great swell effects with that funky modulation the Tera Echo provides (if there was any question about the value of this unit at this point, consider this - a single Tera Echo pedal and a single volume pedal will run you more than the cost of the GT-1). Man, this is a great sound. A really unique ambient tone here. Since I play a lot at church, I could see myself using this A LOT, especially when the guitar's dropped out and I'm just adding a some depth and space behind the piano.

    Now to try some drive tones... So I dialed up a Tweed preamp setting next. Man, this freakin' rules! It was so easy to get a tone that really had that amp-in-the-room feel... No artificial sounding distortion here. Just a nice, warm, syrupy breakup with that slightly out-of-control bottom end that the Fender Bassman is known for. I added a treble boost to the CTL1 button and it's just enough to take it over the top for some really crunchy rhythms and leads. I also decided to try out the spring reverb, which is also excellent - at higher levels, the "springs" start to "ping" and "sprong" with your pick attack in a very natural-sounding way. Now time to get *really* crunchy.

    It was at this point that I dialed up a Marshall 1959 I + II preamp and added a Tubescreamer model and... Yeah, this is where the device begins to show it's limitations a bit. Not badly, mind you, but the more gain there is, the harder it is to get an authentic sound out of it. Still, with a little more time, I was able to get a really great classic rock tone for rhythms out of it (although I would still prefer the natural distortion from my amp for this, because of course I would). With the TS model, though, I was able to get some really nice, smooth, violin-like sustain that the DSL's red channel often feels a little too hairy to give me, even when boosted with my Fulltone OCD. A trade-off here, but the fact that the GT-1 isn't roundly worse than the all-tube circuitry of my DSL is pretty impressive.

    I've got a lot to learn, but man, for 200 bucks, you can't beat this thing. I'm of the understanding that the Boss Katana uses a form of it's DSP (the "sneaky amps" for the Katana are basically just the models from the GT-1 and GT-100), and I really feel like it has the same quality tones built into it. Except, you can control it with your feet and use whatever amp you want, which is nice if you have one that you really love (like mine!). If you, like me, are open to the idea that digital modeling and good old fashioned analog amp circuitry can coexist in perfect harmony, then give this a shot. The honeymoon hasn't ended, but this is a seriously impressive piece of gear, and I'm sure it will continue to impress me as I learn and experiment more with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
    fos1 and Ray like this.
  3. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    585
    Not that anyone is following this anymore, but...

    [​IMG]

    Finally got the chance to run it through the FX loop. It works great this way! Even bypassed, it does color the tone ever so slightly, but... strangely enough, I think the coloration sounds better. It seems to tighten up the pre-amp gain just a little bit. The difference is almost imperceptible, though, so color me impressed. I dialed in a graphic EQ setting that more surgically cut the 800hz frequency while leaving the upper mids intact (and maybe a little boosted), and now I'm getting some butt-kickingly tight metal tones from this thing. Tuner and volume still work great in the FX loop - on higher gain settings, there's still some sound from the speaker, but it's whisper quiet.

    I also found that yes, you can alter the functionality of the Down and Up buttons to act as control buttons, and the assign functions can allow you to add extra functionality to each. It was easy to create a patch where the down and up buttons toggle delay and reverb, respectively, with the CTL1 button acting as a tap tempo. I could just as easily assign both effects to either of the patch buttons and use the other for something else (modulation, maybe?). I'd really like to get my hands (feet?) on a two-button Boss footswitch for the additional controls. Maybe... Set it up where Up=clean boost for volume, Down=modulation, CTL1=reverb, CTL2=delay, CTL3=tap tempo.

    There's a whole lot of functionality to this little box, and for such a low price - even with the two-button switch, you're all in for much less than 300 bones. I haven't even dug deep into some of the stuff this thing can do yet.

    I'd really like to integrate this into a pedalboard with the additional two-button footswitch, and I'm still wanting a fuzzy distortion pedal to keep company with my OCD (I'm thinking a DS-1 or RAT, just to give me a different flavor of distortion that the amp doesn't)... Made a little schematic of how this would look:

    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking this will be a very clean setup for virtually any type of sound I'd like to get - from ambient, warbly swells to thick metal and everything between. Can't wait to finish this board!
     
    fos1 likes this.
  4. Beery Swine

    Beery Swine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2018
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    I have a BOSS GT-3 from '99 and the MS 1959 I+II sounds great on that, too. Probably the best sounding preamp or gain pedal model on the unit. I wonder if the COSM modeling has changed much in 2 decades?

    EDIT: if you want another really, REALLY good OD to put in front of everything for toneshaping, look into the Wampler Tumnus or the JRAD Archer. Unfortunately, it'll cost you as much as that floor unit, but I swear by my silver Archer. It's a "make everything better" pedal, and even tho most would say you'd never use the pedal alone and crank its drive, I think it sounds just peachy keen when you do just that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    fos1 likes this.
  5. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    298
    Thanks for the in depth review of the GT-1! I came back to it as I am currently considering getting one, too.

    Do you still like it? Have you tried it standalone with the integrated preamps running directly into headphones or a power amp?

    I would like to know how good it sounds this way. I have a Katana 100 and consider the GT-1 because I like the tones and effects of the Katana but hate to use my computer to edit them. The built-in user interface of the GT-1 that allows easy editing of all the parameters is more and more appealing to me. On the other hand I don't want to get rid of the Katana as I really like it tone wise (the amp models, the speaker and all). So I want to try the GT-1 in front of the Katana one day. Or maybe direct into its effect loop's return, just using the Katana's power amp and speaker.
     
    fos1 likes this.
  6. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Messages:
    2,414
    Likes Received:
    932
    Location:
    North East Illinois
    Well. Like the OP, I had some cash I just needed to spend on gear..... So I got the GT-1. The idea being to replace the cheapo multi-effect box I’ve had for years. I have not plugged mine into an amp yet. What I have been doing is use it as my “practice amp.” Plug in headphones. Find a patch I like. (Have not created any of my own yet) Play away. One of my favorite patches right now is the Fender Twin. Playing with the guitar volume I can go from pretty clean to pretty darn dirty.

    I’m also thinking if I ever played electric in a public setting, I’d forgo an amp and just show up with my guitar(s) and GT-1 and plug straight into the house. I’d try it at least once. But I think it would work pretty nicely. Plus..... wouldn’t break my back hauling my YGM3 that I’m pretty sure weighs close to a ton.
     
    Clifdawg and Worblehat like this.
  7. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    585
    I do still like it! In fact, its proven to be useful for a whole lot more than just adding effects to my DSL40C. I've recently taken a new music leader position at another church and now I'm playing acoustic almost exclusively. Turns out that the GT-1 makes a fantastic pre-amp to run straight into the PA for acoustic - the JC-120 preamp model, noise gate, and reverb really go a long way to making my acoustic sound very natural through the PA. I haven't tried electric through it, but I think I'm gonna give it a shot today so I can play some soft ambient stuff along with the piano. We'll see how that works. Unfortunately I've never really had the opportunity to play some higher gain stuff live (I do most of that at home), so I can't speak to the quality of those models through the PA.

    Really, it seems like the GT-1 excels in whatever scenario I throw it in. As an old-fashioned multi-FX box in front of or in the loop of an amp, it works brilliantly. It's surprisingly high-headroom and takes distortion pedals very well. It's preamp models are great, although I rarely venture outside of the JC-120, Tweed crunch, and MS 1959 I+II models. As an acoustic preamp, it's wonderful.

    Really, my only gripes are the semi-plastic construction - the expression pedal has, at least once, let out a concerning squeak and pop if I lean into it with a little more weight than I intend. It's definitely a unit you'll want to treat with a little more care than you probably would, say, a GT-100. But it's essentially a compact GT-100 for 300 bucks less than a GT-100, so I'll forgive the plasticky squeak.

    If you need a compact floor unit on the cheap, this is the whole package for not a lot of dough.
     
    Worblehat likes this.
  8. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    298
    Thanks both of you for your opinions. Your enthusiasm for this unit really fuels my desire to get one. The plastic case does not bother me as I would only play it at home. I very much like the ability to use it on battery. So I could just grab it with a pair of headphones and for example sit in the living room or practice in any other place. I like this flexibility.

    The only thing that I am missing is to instantly switch between presets or effects (midsong) without going through the list of presets. I think the Gt-100 has this feature.
     
  9. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2015
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    585
    My preferred method is that I just keep a handful of presets (1-6 or something like that) with each of the three switches toggling an effect on and off (I usually keep boost, modulation, and delay on mine, and keep some light reverb on all the time), and use a distortion pedal in front for distortion. I change presets between songs with the rotary dial for doing so. IIRC, you could also set the three switches to individually toggle certain presets, if you wanted that.

    Remember, you can always invest another 35 bucks for another Boss momentary footswitch, or another 70 bucks for a Boss dual momentary footswitch, and greatly expand the options on the GT-1. You could, for instance, use the dual footswitch to change between two presets (like channels on an amp) then use the other three on the unit itself to toggle individual effects within those presets.

    It's pretty much up to you how you want to use it. Boss left a lot of room for customization here, and it's one of the reasons I prefer this unit through a traditional amp to using the Katana and it's infuriatingly limited effects processing.
     
  10. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    298
    Sounds like it offers more possibilities than I expected! I need to try them at a store on occasion.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice