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Boss GT-10B

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BassBus, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Secracon


    Nov 12, 2008
    Hello people!
    First of all I'd like to apologize for my simplified and often bad English.

    I am a complete newbie on this forum, but have been playing bass for some 15 years.
    I happen to own a Boss GT-10B for a couple of months now, and thought I'd share some of my views considering this product.

    As many people, I have been thinking a lot too (prior to buying the Boss), whether to get the Line 6 POD X3 or the GT10-B.
    I happen to be quite familiar with the Line 6 products, and my initial approach was slightly leaning towards the X3. However I had no serious encounters with BOSS processors for a couple of years, and had a feeling that I should give this one a try. I still own my first multi-fx unit, a BOSS ME-6B, mostly for emotional reasons, but I don't use it quite much. I realized a couple of years ago the supremacy of the POD XT series over the GT 6 series, and simply haven't dealt with BOSS that much since.

    The GT-10B seemed like an okay thing based on the brochures and various demos. So did the X3. Both units have a parallel signal chain, and are based around that concept.
    Finally I'd got a X3 Live from a friend of mine and spent some hours tweaking it. I realized it is basically TWO parallel Pod XT's with all the expansions. It is plastic, fragile, and not the most trustworthy considering its construction, but it sounds very much ok. No big audible sonic improvements compared to the POD XT. The same thing with more options.

    Having figured out that both effects have their respective drawbacks and advantages, and having faith in my tweaking ability, I realized that in either case I'd be missing something, and would eventually end up overtweaking the patches in order to sound the way I want to.
    For no particular reason I decided to buy the Boss, and try it out.
    (there is no return policy 'round here, so that means that I'd practically doomed myself to owning one)
    After a couple months my impressions are:

    Steady construction.
    The COSM amps have been improved. The simulations now actually resemble the actual amps, and this being Boss' weakest point so far compared to Line 6, means a huge plus for this unit.
    It is possible to program it in such a way that the delays and reverbs die off naturally after you change a patch. Impossible on any Line 6.
    The signal can be split to the two signal chains based on frequency (x-over frequency can be set from 100 Hz to 4kHz, I think, I use it at 100Hz) (I haven't found that option on the X3, although I am not 100% sure it doesn't have this option), so you can for instance leave your subs uneffected and live-sounding, and play around with various effects in the other chain without the fear of loseing your low-end.
    The distortion and preamp sections both have a "bottom level" parameter (beside the regular direct level and effect level parameters), that allows you to dial back the sub-frequencies only. Something like a "direct low". I find this quite usefull.

    The general tweakability has been reduced in order to make this thing easier to use. It still has more options than the POD X3 (such as assigning controllers and similar stuff), but is way less complex (and with less options) than previous GT multi FX.
    In my opinion if one doesn't know what a parameter does, and needs the EZ TONE for adjustments, he should be using simple pedals with three knobs instead of playing around with physics. In other words, if one's stupid, one shouldn't be using clever equipment, that is the sollution, not trying to make equipment for retards. IMO. The GT-10B is so dummy-proof and user-friendly that you actually HAVE TO be an idiot to be satisfied with the way of operating it. That's not a con necessarily. :)

    There are two signal chains, but ONLY ONE SET OF EFFECTS!!! BEWARE!!!

    This means you're either stuck with using the same preamp AFTER both chains, or using no preamp on one of them.
    Same goes for distortion (only 1), reverb, etc... The effects can be placed at any position in any chain, but having only one effect per section (except for the effects in the FX section, as these are practically doubled, in other words the two FX sections have the identical set of effects) is a notable limit of possibilities.
    And the major drawback is the bass synth, which is an utter disgrace. Even the crappy ME-6B sounds millions of light years ahead that crappy plastic bullcrap the GT-10B's offering under the name "bass synth". I have spent hours and hours tweaking it (just to mention that I happen to know quite a lot about all those parameters, I am not an "EZ Tone" guy, and am quite skilled with FX) and have achieved some decent sounds, but:
    -they all need some major and radical EQing
    -they need some radical make-up (modulations, distortions, whatever) to hide the very basis of the tone that is crappy.
    -and they all sound crappy again, once you compare the result to any other bass synth pedal (untweaked!!!), even the ME-6B.

    The chorus (the regular one, not the one in the FX section) is the worst I've heard so far from a Boss unit. The multi band chorus is a little bit better.
    Almost impossible to get a light chorus sound. It sounds okay while practicing alone, but gets lost within a band. On the other hand, if you turn its level up enough to be audible with a band, it is too much.
    I own a Digitech Bass mutichorus pedal, which is not a top of the line pedal, but it is possible to achieve a mild, light, but present chorus sound with. Not with the GT-10B. At least not that good and not that easily.

    Comparisons of some emulated pedals with actual pedals:
    I compared the built in BD-2 overdive with my actual one. I believe their frequency characteristics would be quite the same if measured, so basically the Gt's BD does what the real one does. Theoretically only. Once I switched off the OD section and turned on the loop with the real BD in it the sound has gained another dimension. The simulation lacks some depth, and the highs on it are noticeably more artificial than the actual pedal.
    I also compared the GT's Bass driver, with a behringer BDI21, which is also a ripoff of the Sansamp Bass Driver DI.
    They sound very very much alike. Having previously compared the BDI21 with a real Sansamp BassDriver DI, I dare to state that the GT's bass driver is much closer to the original, than the BD2 is to its respective original.
    I have a Marshall GV2 also, but I have lended it to a friend of mine, so I cannot make a relevant comparison yet, until I get my original back. :)
    I also did a comparison of the Big Muff simulation to my actual Russian Big Muff, and came to similar conclusions as with the BD2. The emulated Big Muff can be tweaked to sound very similar to the original, but lacks the actual fuzzy character (sounds like a trebly distortion compared to the original), lacks depth and warmth, and some of the lows are lost (but that can be fixed easily with the bottom level parameter). Note that the simulation is probably of the USA made Big Muff, while the pedal I own is a Russian made one, that is known for having more low-end.

    Some other observations:
    The blue LED display can be very annoying sometimes. On dimly lit stages it can be seriously disturbing. I have thought about changing the LEDs in the display to some less "shouting" ones. The display, the red LED buttons, and it's silver housing look too "metro", "hyper", "cyber", ...(you name it)... and for no particular reason. Okay, it has some style, but IMO a wrong one. As if a Massey Ferguson had fluorescent spoilers or something...
    It is too big for most of the regular bags, that's one more thing to keep in mind too. Boss sells a bag for this baby, but it's (around here at least) almost half the price of the actual GT10B.
    The phrase looper is a nice toy. Unfortunately it's tempo cannot be set to BPM, but is determined when the pedal is pressed. I cannot think of any rational use of this feature besides self accompanied and otherwise unaccompanied soloing. No good in a band situation live, unless your drummer can hear your bass extreamly clearly and very loud, which is not quite common.

    Bootom line:
    If i had to choose NOW between the POD X3 and the BOSS GT-10B, I'd wait for a new product. :)

    Nevertheless, I like it. I haven't regreted buying it, for I was very much aware that there'd be things I won't be satisfied with, and these turned out to be the lack of some options previously present on GT series, the single set of effects for 2 chains, a weak chorus, and a worst ever bass synth.

    ...oh, yeah, almost forgot: The wahs aren't agressive enough either if used with distortion. IMO. A standard for Boss.

    I use it that way all the time. The output level (not of the XLR outs, but of the regular 1/4'' jacks) can be set to either +4 or -10 dB level, and in case you're plugging into a power amp "+4" is the way to go. That way the output amp settings and the output level knob remain in function, so you can set your volume as you like, and the SUB OUTs are still free and can be used for any other DI-related purpose (FoH mixer, recording, you name it...)


  2. fightthepower


    Jan 7, 2008
    San Diego
    Hehe, I think your english is just fine :smug:
  3. Steveaux

    Steveaux Safe-Guardian of the Stoopid

    Jul 1, 2008
    The Wilds of NW Pa.
    +1 ... better than many here for whom it is native. :scowl:

    Thank you for that fine review. It was thorough enough to convince me to keep my GT-6B. I like the deep editing, I don't use the synths, and the OD works fine, for my purposes.

    Again, thanks.
  4. Handreas


    Nov 16, 2007
    Thanks for the in depth review! :)

    I have experience with the GT-6(not B) and I own a GT-8. The 8 is a absolutely great piece of equipment for my home studio, and the occasional guitar-gig. But I was put off on the GT-10B because of the ez-tone-"so simple a child could do it" interface. I couldn't help to think of those cheap Digitech multi-fx pedals. :p

    However, a guitarist I play with have been praising it through the skies, so I ordered one last week. I'll post a short review when I've had time to play a bit with it. :)
  5. I have been using the GT-10B now ever since it first came out, and I have never used the ez-tone, so it´s just there for those who´d like to use it, if you want to program just like on the GT-6B (which I did own/used for years) you can. :)
  6. Handreas


    Nov 16, 2007
    Arrived this morning. :) I've had about 15 minutes to play with it in between customers. I must say I'm very impressed how this thing sounds right out of the box! Compared to the presets on my GT-8 this thing is smokin'! I fiddled around with the EZtone a bit, and I'm glad I don't have to use it, because it kind of annoyed me. :p

    I have a practice with my 80's pop-rock-metal band (Bon Jovi to Black Sabbath & everything in between) this evening, I'll make a "first-5-hours-how's-it-going!" post afterwards.

    And I have to add:
    I've read countless complaints about the lights being annoyingly bright, but I figured it was just whining. Now that I've sat with it on my lap I can say, no! it's not. :p It's actually painfully bright! I was hard to look at the damn box without squinting! Oh well.
  7. Secracon


    Nov 12, 2008
    Glad I could help. :)

    True. I don't use the EZ TONE either, however even when using traditional parameter adjusting, there are some options missing, such as (the first things that come to my mind) you can't globally turn off the speaker simulation and leave the preamps active (you're stuck with the three global amp settings, and the "output select" options), and you can't assign/determine the wah pedal range, the wah works always on the entire range (0-127), so you can't make it to be active only, and do its entire sweep for example between 50 and 127. The sweep always starts at 0 and ends at 127. The GT 5 series had all these options (too bad the 5 series has never been made for bass)...

  8. Froaderick


    Sep 26, 2005
    Mine Hill, NJ
    Just got mine yesterday and fiddled with it at a little jam session last night. Since I already have the 6B I was able to make my way around it but there's so much more to it that I'll need some time to keep fiddlin' :hyper:

    So far I'm liking the way it's setup and how configurable it is. Cant wait to really dig in and 'break it in'
  9. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    Had my GT-10B since it was released, and i must say it is far superior to the GT-6B on most levels.
    The amps & cab sims are much more realistic, the compressor has more and better types, FX1 and FX2 have an extensive list of available effects in both (you can have 2 of everything),
    and the parallel effects chain which can also split the frequencies as a crossover.
    There are endless options with the Assigns, a Expression Pedal or Footswitch can control up to 9 parameters at once.
    Things can can controlled by picking intensity, patch change event, and with an internal controller oscillator (wave pedal).

    any way i though if you didn't already know, i have produced a free ware patch editor for the BOSS GT-10B (and other BOSS modellers), which allows graphical realtime tweaking of patches and save/loading/editing of patches and system & customs settings.
    it only requires a USB cable to a computer for connection (and the BOSS GT10B USB driver installed).

    download link is

  10. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    Subscribing again to read later......
  11. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    Interesting. I thought so from the manual, but it wasn't really spelled out. Or I'm really tired.

    One question tho (I might let this drop to the bottom and start a new thread if no one answers LOL):

    Is the DirectLevel a constant tone? For example, say I go Fuzz->Manual Wah with some direct level mixed in. Will the sound be Fuzz->Wah with clean bass mixed in, or will it sound like Fuzz->Wah with fuzz mixed in?
  12. As far as I can understand the question, it will sound like clean bass with Fuzz->Wah mixed in :)
  13. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    Cool. Again, kinda what I figured, but the manuals a little fuzzy (or I am LOL).

    One final (huge) question: Are ALL the FX blocks able to be put in any order and on chain A or B, and can you specify when the chain splits and joins?

    So like if I wanted to, I could go Fuzz->ChainSplit, then put a Wah on chain A and use the A+B mix mode to achieve crazy mixing stuff?

    Would I need an FX block other than the standard noise suppressor on chain B?
  14. Secracon


    Nov 12, 2008
    Think of these parameters as if they were called:

    effect level = level of THIS particular effect
    direct level = parallel addition/mix of the signal that came into THIS particular effect
    bottom level = parallel addition/mix of just the bass portion of what's come to the input of THIS particular effect.

    If these are too confusing for you, just turn the direct level and bottom level to zero, and then you've got things working in the good ol' stompbox way.

    Anyway, let me get back to your example of Fuzz -> Wah:

    The direct level on the wah mixes in that what has come to the input of wah, but without the wah itself. So if you set the effect level and direct level of the wah both to 50%, and you're using a fuzz before the wah, then you've got some FUZZ tone mixed with the Fuzz->Wah.

    However if you consider that the Fuzz has its own effect, direct and bottom level, then you realize that you have plenty of options. You can mix in the clean with the fuzz and then let both of those in parallel with the wah, so you've got clean, and fuzz and fuzz->wah and clean->wah at the end all blended together.

    If you set a parallel chain to begin before the fuzz and go back after the wah, then you've got even more possibilities.

    You can achieve pretty much anything (with decent to excellent results) on the GT-10B, as long as it is not synth related. The synth on this unit is an insult to musicians. It would be less bothering for me if they'd put a sticker on this thing that says "We here at Boss think you're an idiot, and are all laughing behind your back". But that's another story.

    You can specify where the chain splits and joins as well as you can put ANY effect ANYWHERE! That is a whole lot of possibilities. As I said above, you can do pretty much anything, considering FX order and blending. Take in consideration the fact that splitting the signal can also be freqency- or dynamic based, besides the regular plain and simple splitting too.
    Bizzare ammount of possibilities...

    You don't need to use the parallel chain to achieve that, the direct level parameters will do the job too.

    That depends on your imagination and your sonic demands. As I said, you CAN do almost anything, question is whether you want it or not...


    I just have the urge to warn you all once again: there is only ONE set of effects, and BEWARE the synth on this babe, it can seriously damage your music.

  15. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    :meh: Very informative post Secracon......

    Helps a LOT :D
  16. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    Now now, the ME-6B (and ... even more so the ME8B) is known for its excellent bass synth section. good enough for stuart zender's live shows (not his studio recordings)

    no other boss multi unit after the me-8b ever came close.... or any multi unit.....
  17. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    Strange question, but since most synths (BMS comes to mind) are a combo of fuzz octave and t-wah, why not just experiment with those modules on the GT-10B?
  18. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    if you trythe GT-10B EZEdit thingy, it does have a few different synth type setups, some that don't use the synth effect at all, but the Fss and wah like as you mentioned.
  19. Secracon


    Nov 12, 2008
    I didn't know Boss' early ME series for bass was that much praised for its synth sounds. I own the ME-6B and based on my experience only I have figured out it has quite a primitive but HEALTHY SOUNDING synth section. What it does, it does very well. Thanks for the info. To tell you honestly that very synth section of it is the main reason I haven't sold that unit for all these years.

    Done that, and even tried combining the GT-10B's synth with auto wah, wah, fuzz, almost everything to make it sound better, and have achieved some results. However those results are not even close to the ME-6B's synht sounds. The GT tracks better, but what's the use of a better tracking when the sound is crap?
    After years of playing the ME-6B's synth, I got quite used to its way of tracking, and have developed a technique of playing it without getting it "confused".

    If you want to use a few synht-ish sounds here and there, the GT-10B will do the job (either by simulating synth sounds with fuzz, wah, delay tons of EQ and various FX, or by using the crappy synth, as both sollutins can provide a fuzzy synth-ish sound), but if you want a real synth, a nasty, NON FUZZY, fat, brutal, deep, and DEFINED synth sound, you'll need an additional unit for that. Luckily, the GT-10B has an external FX loop. I keep my ME-6B hooked up there all the times.

  20. Such as a Moog Taurus simulation?...I get that from the GT10B, just took me more time than it did from the ME6B and GT6B, but not only the tracking is better from the 10 also the stability, and that is more important, what use is a synth sound that starts a life of it´s own?
    But, I suppose if you´re happy with whatever you use, than that´s the main thing isn't it? :) Every Multi FX units has it´s pros and cons I think

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