Boss ES-8 / ES-5 / MS-3 Users and support group

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GMC, Jan 12, 2021.


  1. MS-3

    25.0%
  2. ES-5

    37.5%
  3. ES-8

    37.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. GMC

    GMC

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    I've been a Boss ES-5 user since December 2016 and I though it was high time that we had a dedicated group to discuss the Boss ES-8 / ES-5 and MS-3 represented in a group here on TalkBass.
    These controllers are very powerful and there are a myriad ways of setting them up and using them. Loops, loop orders, Midi, Expression over midi...there's a lot going on with these devices. So there's lots to discuss, especially how they integrate with other devices and brands.
    Please feel free to join in, post your experiences and ideas...plus gratuitous pedal board pictures are always welcome and break up the monotony of large text postings!
    How have you arranged your loops and with which pedals? How are you using Midi to control those pedals? How are your first 5 patches arranged?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
    BrentSimons likes this.
  2. GMC

    GMC

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Here's my current board as of today 12th Jan 2021:
    2020-12-24 - PedalBoard-4.jpg
    My board is 2 tier and has an "under-croft". This is quite an old photo, but It's not changed much under there for a while:
    IMG_0132[1].JPG
    Currently my ES-5 loops are:
    L1 - Source Audio C4 in to EBS Multi Comp
    L2 - EHX Hog 2
    L3 - Mastotron and Source Audio Aftershock
    L4 - Primary H9 max
    L5 - SA Lunar
    Out - SA EQ2 into 2nd H9 max (performing mostly delays and verbs)

    However, Midi wise:
    Ch1 - SA Hub
    Ch2 - Primary H9 max
    Ch3 - SA Lunar
    Ch4 - EHX Hog2
    Ch5 - Boss ES-5
    Ch6 - Post H9 max
    Ch7 - SA C4
    Ch8 - SA Aftershock
    Ch9 - SA EQ2

    Someday, I'd like to align my midi channels numbers to my Loop numbers where possible, but after several years and 75 ES-5 patches later...that's a lot of change!

    My Expression pedal is plugged into my ES-5 and sends Expression over midi to any midi capable pedal on my board. My common options are to use my EQ2 as a Wah or master volume (for swells). Or my Lunar to control the speed of the modulation effect. Although I'm thinking about a 2nd dedicated Expression just for the EQ2, directly attached.

    For me, the Boss ES-5 is a great Looper and Midi controller. I love the expression over midi option, I love the ability to change the order of any loop per patch. I think it's super versatile and easy to program. I love that I can re-assign any of the buttons to perform other roles. I love that it's not TOO big, heavy and power hungry. For me...it's the centre of my board. Everything else is built around it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
    DrMole, GilGB, BrentSimons and 2 others like this.
  3. GMC

    GMC

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    My first 5 patches are my most used. With each patch, the patch button has a secondary function assigned. So push it once to call up the patch, push it a 2nd time and it activates a 2nd feature (loop toggle etc).

    Patch 1 is a clean patch. However, my expression pedal is controlling the master volume on my EQ2 (via expression over Midi). This patch also sets up one of my H9's with a nice simple dotted 8th delay, but the pedal is in bypass. If I repress the #1 patch button, it switches on the delay via a Midi CC assign. The Mute button is also reassigned to toggle the H9's tuner on / off which also makes the patch mute in tuner mode.

    Patch 2 is my goto overdrive patch. The patch calls up a heavy tube overdrive model on my Aftershock. Button #2 toggles on /off the same delay on one of my H9's. The Mute button toggles loop 4 and engages a Harmonic tremolo setting on my other H9.

    Patch 3 is a Hog2 patch with Hold + Gliss assigned to the expression pedal. This is pretty much a direct copy of one of Proton Lenny's patches on his Hog2 demo! Thanks Zachary! It's a cool sound and thanks for sharing! Button #3 toggles an overdrive suited for that patch and Mute toggles a Vibe model from my Lunar on Loop 5.

    Patch 4 is my OC-2 patch. It dials in a great 100% wet OC-2 synth patch on my C4. However, the expression pedal dials in the wet / dry mix. Control 2 on the C4 brings in a C4 fuzz and Control 1 brings in a +1 octave effect. My compressor in after my C4 in this loop if I want extra punch, but it's usually off. Button #4 toggles a gated muff model on my AfterShock / L3 and the Mute button toggles a heavy CE-2 Chorus on my Lunar L5.

    Patch 5 is my Double Bass C4 patch....thank you Quatschmacher for this inspiring patch...it's awesome. It basically adds a synth over my bass signal giving it a fret board slap of a Double bass...and it's very convincing. Button #3 brings in a light Overdrive on the Aftershock / L3 and the Mute toggles the same CE-2 model on my Lunar /L5. Expression controls the speed of the modulation and if I turn off my C4's db bass patch, I've also got a working chorus and / or a tube Overdrive patch. Those last two buttons aren't for use with the DB sound...that's great on it's own. But make a hidden set of 3 more sounds available on patch 5 for me to use as a Chorus and or Overdrive.

    As a general point, at anytime I can select the 6 front panel patches on my Source Audio pedals: C4, Lunar and Aftershock and over-right the current Boss midi patch request.
    My last H9 is on my board output...so that generally handles my verbs and delays. The first 8 patches on this H9 are my most used verbs & delays, so that's an easy toggle through. My EQ2 has 8 patches so far and each one has specific expression assignments. I can select the 4 primary patches from the device face, which include my standard flat with HPF / LPF and volume pedal patch, a Sansamp EQ patch, a Darkglass EQ BK3 patch and a Wah patch. Each patch on my EQ2 has a LPF engaged. From my EQ2....the board output is in optional Stereo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
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  4. Gsnorgathon

    Gsnorgathon

    Jan 15, 2020
    Thanks for all the details. I've yet to take the plunge, but I've been eyeing the ES-8, because I'm greedy that way.

    Love the double-decker board!
     
    bassbrad and GMC like this.
  5. GMC

    GMC

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Thanks! The ES-8 is a great choice, I've been tempted a few times. The extra loops are really useful. Especially the volume loop. It’s also got dual expression inputs..and it’s output is stereo. Two of it's loops are stereo too, which is nice.
    The ES-5 is a lot smaller and lighter option. For some, the ES-5 is as big as they want to go. For others, the MS-3 is a preferred option too. When you get it, drop us a photo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  6. AlvarHanso

    AlvarHanso

    Jun 20, 2011
    Thanks for this thread. I'm still debating ES-5, Soleman, or simply DMC Micro or Midi Baby 3. My last foray into MIDI did not go well. That was probably 2011 with a Behringer unit. I just couldn't wrap my head around it, but with the arrival of the Aftershock yesterday, I feel I'm gonna have to take the plunge somehow or other.

    So, is using the ES-5 to control the SA pedals fairly easy? I was thinking the Soleman since it's an SA product would work better, but I assume you have no issues running 4 of them yourself...
     
    BurningSkies likes this.
  7. GMC

    GMC

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Your welcome. All of your listed options are great options, there's no wrong answers there. The big advantage of the Boss devices is the ability to switch the order of the loops for every patch. There's also the ability to re-assign buttons to different midi functions. This becomes very useful later when one starts to consolidate patches into an easier to use smaller number. So for my ES-5 patches, if I re-hit the patch number button I generally toggle dirt of some sort and if I hit the mute button, I toggle a Secondary effect like modulation or ambience. I some times wish the ES-5 had a double tap or long tap option too.
    However, to control just one Midi pedal, this might be overkill. But it does offer a lot of future-grades as your Midi board / Gas develops. I think with pedals like the Eventide H9's, Helix Stomp and the new Boss GT-1000 Core...there are more midi focused pedals than before and the options just keep getting better and more varied each year. I was very tempted to pass on my EQ2 and Lunar and replace my Strymon Mobius with a GT-1000 Core instead.

    A lot of SA gear look the same on the face, but are very different under the hood. Early generation pedals (lets call these Gen 1) include the Gemini Chorus, Lunar Phaser, Mercury Flanger, Vertigo Tremolo and True Spring Reverb. All of these use a common Neuro Desktop interface. So things like Midi maps, expression etc generally uses the same settings.
    The next gen is the larger pedals units. Ventris, Collider and Nemesis. These have a common interface among themselves. Lets call these Gen 2.
    The next generation is the C4 and Intelligent Filter. These share a substantially different Neuro interface to all the other SA pedals but offer a much better array of setting and options. Lets call that Gen 3.
    The latest generation of SA pedal is the new EQ2 and that currently stands alone with it's interface, although it shares elements of the the Gen 3 units.

    With SA One Series pedals, you'll usually need a Neuro hub. That's the additional component which makes the SA gear Midi Compatible. Larger SA pedals (Ventris, Collider and Nemesis) and the new EQ2 have a midi interface built in. So they connect using the normal Midi Din plugs. But, you can connect all SA gear to the neuro hub. All SA gear has a 3.5mm TRRS Control input jack, this is how you connect up SA gear to a Neuro Hub, which come with 3 or 4 cables. The hub has 6 channels. If you assign a midi channel to each SA pedal, the hub will act as a relay and pass these messages directly to the pedal. This is useful for the newer pedals like the EQ2, C4 & Intelligent Filter. My EQ2 is not connected to my Neuro Hub and acts as a separate entity. It has it's own Midi channel and receives Midi directly from my ES-5.
    Gen 1 pedals lack some of the more useful Midi map options of the later Gen 2/3/4 pedals and that means that they can't access the 6 internal patches via Midi. I can only create "Scenes" on my Neuro hub that are a collection or pattern of pedals and patches stored on the hub's memory. To access these, I send a midi message to the Neuro hub (in my case Midi ch 1) and call up one of it's 128 presets / scenes. Currently on my board, my Aftershock and Lunar are controlled by the Hub scenes. It's a great system if you only have a few Gen 1 pedals. But as your board grows...this system can become a little inflexible, requiring lots of similar Scenes with slightly different SA pedal patches. Thankfully the newer gen pedals have larger internal memories that can be called up via midi, bypassing the scenes.

    The Soleman is a good option. It looks good, it's a good size and weight. It has a nice and clear interface. However (in my opinion) it's limited by the Scene concept and it only allows 2 external Midi devices to be attached and one of those has to be a Neuro hub. No loop order swapping and you still need a Neuro hub for the older Gen 1 SA pedals. The limitation of Midi devices is a deal breaker for me, although not such a problem if you are going all SA via the neuro hub. I currently need 5 attached midi devices in addition to my Neuro hub.

    I can't comment on the other options as I've not tried them. Musicom make some similar units to the Boss and MorningStar make some great midi gear too. I'm not had much experience with DMC but there's a large body of active users here on Talkbass...so they must be good too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
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  8. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    I've been looking for a loop switcher with around 5 independent loops, one or more of which that could be linked up in a serial connection if I so desired. I don't need all kinds of extra technology, midi control, patch memories, etc. ... gigging reliability and sound. quality are my priorities. I'm not finding anything else that fits the bill, would an ES-5 serve my purpose? I'm open to simpler/cheaper suggestions as well. Thanks!
     
    GMC likes this.
  9. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    I have an ES-8 and a pile of pedals I have no Issues getting my patches set up and switching pedal order but MIDI is out of my realm of knowledge. I have a DMC micro and have not had much luck getting things to communicate / Function. I also have a Soleman and I am thinking about hooking all my SA pedals to it and running that into one loop of my ES-8 Because setting up Scenes seems much easier than trying to do anything MIDI. So how does one go about learning how to actually use MIDI? When I get my new camera I will post some Board Pics
     
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  10. GMC

    GMC

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Your Soleman and SA pedals will need a SA Neuro Hub to understand the Midi signals being sent from your ES-8. You'll need to assign a unique midi channel to your ES-8, Hub and each midi device. With Midi, I would start by creating a patch that can call up a specific patch on one of your midi pedals and go from there. You'll need to remember to opens the loops for the midi pedal too.
     
    DrMole likes this.
  11. Subscribed, curious and eager to learn. The Soleman vs Boss solution remarks have been already quite helpful.
     
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  12. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    I have a SA Neuro Hub And the cables. Also sorry if this acme across the wrong way. Was just meant to inform
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Yes. It totally will do that. There are two modes, one for programmed patches, and one that just turns loops on and off.
     
    2112 likes this.
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

    How 'deep' is the secondary function? IIRC, it can only do a second thing, right? I'm thinking about songs where I use two patches and toggle between them...but if I could do it with a single patch space, that wouldn't be bad.

    For instance, I have a song where I use my chorus (Bank 1, Patch 5 activates Loop #5, makes sure everything else is bypassed) throughout...but during the bridge I have a second patch that turns on a certain C4 patch (Loop #3 I think), triggers my volume swell pedal (another loop) and also triggers a non-looped Strymon patch. Is it possible to use that secondary switch function to turn both of these into one patch and toggle?

    Here's my current board set up for those interested. I've had a number of different configurations over the past year or two:

    IMG_0140 (1).jpg

    Normally, there's an expression off-board to the right as well.

    The looped pedals currently are:
    -Polytope (Iron Ether Chorus)
    - Slow Engine (volume swell)
    -Flex Pro (Mantic PLL synth)
    -C4
    -Aftershock (though I currently don't really use the AS).

    The MIDI setup:
    Disaster Area DMC3-XL ->
    Boss ES-5 ->
    Future Impact ->
    NeuroHub (C4-AfterShock) ->
    Timeline->
    Dr. Scientist Atmosphere.

    Signal chain:

    Cali 76CB (Compressor)->
    OctoLimiter (Compressor)->
    Future Impact ->
    ES-5->
    Timeline ->
    Atmosphere->
    Broughton LPF (under board)->
    FDeck HPF-3 (under board).

    -Petersonn tuner is in the ES-5 loop and always on.

    The DA DMC3-XL is used as a dedicated select scroll & activate MIDI controller, so I can pick any pedal(s) in the MIDI chain, turn it on, and go through all the loaded patches on the fly. If I do this, I'll switch the ES-5 into 'manual loop mode' and pick the loop(s) I need activated.

    Another quirk is that I have the C4 & AS separately looped through their second set of output/inputs.

    Also, I'd love for the fine folks at SA to KILL OFF the NeuroHub as anything more than a host unit. I'd much prefer a stand alone MIDI pedal option and hope they're working towards it for a new Aftershock...even better if it's like the EQ2 and has 5-pin on board.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  15. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Thanks for the reply... I'd really like something simpler, cheaper, etc. but I just can't seem to find anything out there with this many independent loops.

    How's the reliability of the ES-5/8? I had read in another thread about ES-5s having a certain known problem that required a full reset, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. Definitely not something I'd want cropping up in the middle of a gig.

    How much of an impact does an ES-5/8 have on sound quality? I know these loop managers are supposed to prevent/improve tone suck conditions when using pedals that aren't true-bypass, but does this actually work and/or do they add any of their own "baked-in" tone? Thanks again!
     
  16. GMC

    GMC

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Thanks for sharing your board! Appreciated!
    You can assign the Mute button to offer any number of functions, as long as you have enough assigns left. It can do Midi assigns, loop assigns. Most of the usual functions that a patch can do. You can also assign an additional function to your #5 patch button, which oddly doesn't action on it's first press.
    You'll need to disable the mute function for that patch, or the mute will do the Midi / loop assigns plus activating the mute toggle. So you could call up the C4 patch as part of your #5 patch assigns. Then use your mute to open loop #3 for your C4.

    The EQ2's 5 pin midi cable jack is a bit weird on the current firmware. It's not accepting Expression over Midi via the din unless I reboot the pedal twice on first start up. However, it works fine over the Neuro hub connection (using the same midi commands). So I guess it's still a work in progress. Personally, I don't mind the Neuro hub, I just wished SA would spend some resource time in making the current older One Series pedals work with Midi patch calling for the 6 internal patch slots. So that I can use midi to call up one of the six internal patches. The current scene based approach is a bit limited for me. Creating scenes for every patch combination...that's a PITA, especially considering I have 4 SA pedals and a hub. As soon as the Ultrawave is on UK release...I'll be up to 5.
     
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  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Ah, thank you. I'll have to ponder on things...not that it's been hard to just toggle between two patches. My weighing process will end up being more about: on a live stage how much tech detail assigns/reassigns will I have to remember...in the moment I often work best with the most simple options and pedals that take hold clicks or multiple button combinations aren't a great thing. It even took me a bit to get used to not just hitting the same button for on/off and instead remember that my #5 is my all clean/all off button!

    I'm sure SA will figure it out. For me having to use the hub to program/save/hold stuff for the Aftershock is a bummer. I'd much rather just do that straight to pedal, and have the pedal hold all the MIDI patches. But then, I'm fussy. I was also psyched at the prospect of the Collider only to find that it didn't have any of the sounds/options that would have been most useful to me. I had hoped it would be a fairly compact solution to me carrying both the Timeline and a separate pedal for reverbs.
     
  18. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Looks like I might actually be willing to take the plunge on an ES-8 if it is also capable of this kind of operation. I presume it is, but I want to be 100% sure before I loose the moths from my wallet.
     
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  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Yes, the ES-8 has a manual loop mode too. Take a look at the manual. Always a good idea to give a read through to any tech you're going to spend appreciable dollars on before you do it.

    BOSS - Support - ES-8 - Owner's Manuals
     
  20. blujosh

    blujosh

    Dec 8, 2009
    Oaklandia
    can any owners/users of the Boss MS-3 comment on the quality of the on board Bass ODs/Distortions?

    i'm looking at one now to be able to easily switch between a Bass Big Muff, MBD-2, and YYZ pedal (and a combo of two of those), but wondering if any of the on-board Bass OD/Dist effects sound good enough to possibly replace one of those.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Dec 6, 2021

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