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Tascam GB-10 review

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by catyak, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. catyak


    Sep 10, 2010
    Denver, CO
    I picked up the GB-10 last week. I got confused between the models and thought that this had the bass removal feature but it doesn't. Feel kind of foolish, but that's not going to influence the review :meh:

    I got it the GB-10 to slow down songs so that I could practice.

    For that, it's pretty good. You can alter the speed of songs by +/- 50%. It does that without altering the pitch. It does this by grabbing a slice and repeating it. You can hear that pretty easily in the song - it comes across as a wavering effect. On some songs (eg, Tom Sawyer), it makes the drums sound terrible. Other songs (eg, Drives Me Crazy) come out okay. I think that it's related to how much reverb there is in the mix.

    You can also change the pitch. You can shift it up or down almost an entire octave, going up and down a key at a time. Pretty much everything I played with it sounded like blue cheese (you know, just a bit funky) but the pitch was on.

    The GB-10 comes with a standard jack, so I plugged in the bass and started playing. I noticed right off the bat that I could not actually hear the bass until I set the input level to 9 or 10 to hear my bass. It's passive and I had the bridge set to 80% and the neck to 30%. There is an input meter on the display, so I could see that I was getting signal. I just couldn't hear anything.

    First thing I checked was my headphones. I piped the output through the stereo and confirmed that it's putting out sound on the low end, so I know that my headphones were part of the problem. That didn't surprise me - cheap headphones don't carry a lot of bass.

    Then I remembered that I had set the output to minimum because when it plays an MP3, it is extremely loud. Sure enough, turning up the output level gave me sound. And it sounded pretty good, too.

    Naturally, the next thing that I tried was playing along with a song. That was one big ouch. Turning up the volume increased the level of the bass but it also increased the volume of the song. That was painfully loud.

    After going back to the owner's manual (there's a quick start in it but you'll have to go through a lot of the sections carefully to figure out what some of the buttons do), I discovered that the balance is what you have adjust. I thought that it was "left to right," just like on the stereo. Nope. It is the mix of input to song.

    The default is set to the maximum, which is about 95% song. I think that I've mentioned that is pretty loud. I suggest turning it down to about 50%. For reasons that are probably clear to the engineers at Tascam, the range is from 1 to 20. Set to 10 when you first start using it and work it from there. I turned the balance down to 8, which is about 60% input, 40% song. That seemed about right.

    It also functions as a recorder. You can record solo or overdub. I thought that the reproduction in solo was pretty true. I like the tone coming out of my Jazz and this created a very faithful WAV file. When I listened to a recording, I found out that the balance of 8 was actually too much bass. I get the feeling that I will be forever tweaking the balance.

    That, in my opinion, is the biggest flaw with this unit. I don't like playing with the balance on every single song. Maybe I wouldn't have to do this if I let iTunes set everything to the same level. I'm not cool with that for general listening but it may be something that I do just to get along with the GB-10. :atoz:

    Anyway, I played a song at 50% speed and recorded it. You can record as a solo or as an overdub. I was wondering what it would sound like when played back since it was at 50%. When I played back at 100%, I noticed that the GB-10 did a good job of recording and converting my line to the right speed. I haven't tried recording at 150% speed, though.

    The unit has some built in effects. You can change the amp and cab settings, adjust the "tone" and add reverb or some effects like wah, chorus and tremolo. There is also a built in compressor. You can change the amount of compression, the attack and volume. None of these were very impressive. They're not meant to replace the real deal, but, if you're on a bus and bored, they're fun to play around with. You can save your settings to the memory card for later recall.

    One more thing - I did verify that you can use this with classical music, too. Now I can actually play along with the Suzuki recordings for violin. The unexpected thing is that the speed change "tremolo" effect sounds pretty good on these recordings.

    Edit - I didn't mention it but you can use the amp settings to bring out the bass. I was able to get acceptable sound out of the buds that way. Still no substitute for good headphones.
  2. I got one of these a few weeks back as well. Does a fairly good job at what it's supposed to do. If I really want to learn a song, I like using the repeat feature, as the slow down feature is too harsh sounding for me.

    For me, the FX section is pretty much useless, but I can see how you would use it if you were bored on a bus.

    I like the USB features of the unit - you can select between Mass Storage mode to transfer your files to the included 2GB SD card, or you can use the USB port to power the unit as well, which was a nice touch, as one can easily burn through AA batteries (although I have yet to change mine after about 10 hours of use).

    The one thing I would've liked to have seen is an Aux Input jack, for plugging in an MP3 player, or my laptop. I'm a spontaneous player, and it kinda breaks that up when you have to hunt for the song you want to play along with and then upload it to the unit, although a 32GB SD card should solve this problem.

    All and all, a pretty good deal. They normally go for $150 - J&R has it for $120.
  3. DJJazzV

    DJJazzV Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir... Supporting Member

    May 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I have gone from the Tascam CD Bass Trainer, to the BT1 Bass Trainer, and now to the GB-10 Bass Trainer/Recorder. I like them all, and certain ones stand out for certain things.

    CD Trainer: Kind of a pain to keep burning CDs to play on it, but the tone was the best of the 3 units. Outstanding EQ, and the bass just sounded so good.

    BT1 Trainer: Much easier to simply put MP3s in it, the EQ was good, and a nice library of editable bass effects. Great backlight as well for night practicing.

    GB-10 Trainer: I bought it because it was like the BT1, with more storage, and the ability to record. Excellent! The effects are really for a guitarist though. I really can't fine a use for them, and there is no EQ??? All I wanted was an EQ setting like the prior 2 versions of the trainer. The BT1 had a library of preset bass effects. This has none. Even just having maybe 5 simple basic bass ones would have been a plus.
    No backlight? That's a huge hassle to switch songs/folders while practicing late at night.

    The perfect Tascam bass trainer would be the GB-10 with the EQ from the CD Trainer, and the backlight from the BT1 Trainer. It's also important to use good headphones. Cheaper headphones always lacked some bass. I'm using the older model Bose headphones, and they are just right for the trainer.

    Tascam did just put out a Firmware update for the GB-10 on 12/22/10.
  4. 2011Bass


    Dec 31, 2010
    If you had to pick between the Tascam GB-10 or BT1, which would you choose?
  5. A tempo

    A tempo

    May 23, 2010
    I have both and I would choose the GB-10. Having the ability to record your practices is the biggest difference. The metronome is also more useful. I like many of the other features, MP3 downloads and looping specifically, but I mostly use it for (1) tuning, (2) 'nome, and (3) recording.

    My only beef with any of them is that they should include a bracket that would allow it to be mounted on a music stand. Considering their lack of real weight, they are a bit unstable when you consider the cords sticking out of them (headphones, bass cable, DC charger or USB cable). The bracket would add some stability.
  6. dorfmeister


    Apr 3, 2008
    Any more thoughts after using this for a while?
  7. catyak


    Sep 10, 2010
    Denver, CO
    It eats batteries, so I'm happy that I got the power supply.

    I didn't realize until after I got the foot pedal, but it is really difficult to use without the foot pedal. I had to push the start or repeat button and then position myself to play pretty quickly. I got used to doing that. Then I bought the foot pedal. Now I can get ready, hit the switch with my foot and start playing without the scramble.

    The foot pedal is a contact switch and only controls a couple of functions. They have a trainer mode but it doesn't work well with that. The switch is touchy. I'll tap it too fast and cause the unit's display to get out of sync. It still plays okay, but it shows as being on the wrong part of the song. Have to power it off to reset that.

    It plays MP3s but the quality is much better with WAV files, so I had to re-rip some songs.

    You need to use the playlist feature if you're going to go through a set of songs. Really obvious after I figured that one out :meh:.

    It only slows down or speeds up in increments of 10%. That's annoying when you want to play something just a bit slower or bit faster.

    The range is plus or minus 50%. I freely admit that I suck, so a lot of the time 50% is not slow enough for me. I have to learn the piece the old fashioned way and then use this to bring myself up to temple.

    When slowing down, it introduces a weird warble in the sound. It's especially noticeable with the drums, makes it sound like the guy is playing in an echo chamber. Took me a bit to get my ear used to that.

    It's really convenient to play with headphones on, but you need good headphones to hear the bass lines. Ultimate solution is to plug it into your amp.

    Off topic, I love this thing for practicing with the violin. It keeps the pitch well nigh perfect so that I know that I'm getting the intonation correct.

    Overall, I use the thing every week. It's easier than my prior process - I'd enter the notation in Sibelius, set the tempo to X bpm, export to my iPod and play along.
  8. lovenotfear


    Aug 15, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    I wish it played back AAC audio files as that is what my vast library in i-tunes is set to, that would save me the time of having to convert the files to MP3 or WAV.
  9. GW98


    Nov 14, 2011
    Hello everyone!

    After 35 years, I want to pick up playing bass guitar again, not with a band, but by myself playing bass in my favorite songs of the last 40 years. I am looking for a device that eliminates the original bass line in any song and lets me play the bass line instead. I would like to connect the device to a stereo system through which I want to play the songs (minus the original bass line) while playing my bass guitar through a separate amp/speaker system.

    At this year's International Music Fair in Frankfurt/Germany, I discovered Tascam's bass trainers. The Tascam M-BT1 bass trainer seemed to be the right device for the purpose, but i just saw that it was replaced by the Tascam GB 10. Does anyone know, if the GB10 let's me do the things I described? The manual seems to suggest that the "balance" button "minimizes" the original bass line. However, the GB10 is a guitar & bass trainer all in one. How does it "know" that I want the bass, and not the guitar lines eliminated? Many thanks in advance for any answer/advice you can give me!
  10. catyak


    Sep 10, 2010
    Denver, CO
    It won't separate the bass line. It's main function is to change the speed of a song. It does some other things like provide a virtual amp and allow you to record.

    It doesn't. That function adjusts the balance between the guitar input and the song being played. That allows you to hear your line better.
  11. GW98


    Nov 14, 2011
    Many thanks, Catyak, for your feedback which confirmed my suspicion that the GB10, unlike the Tascam M-BT1 bass trainer, strangely does not offer the option of eliminating the bass track in a given song.

    I do recognize the many great features the GB 10 offers, but what is it like to play along with your bass and hear it on top of the original bass track? I try to imagine playing bass to one of my favorite songs by "The Who" and having to "compete" with John Entwistle ...
  12. catyak


    Sep 10, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Not much different than playing along with my instructor at a lesson. It'd be highly annoying if I were trying to improvise a bass line, but for a cover it's acceptable.

    BTW, I'm getting ready to do a review of the Tascam DR-07 MkII. It has almost all of the functions that I'm using on my GB-10. The big difference is that I can't use the foot switch with it.
  13. palladium


    Aug 3, 2005
    Madison, WI
    i just got my gb-10. ive uploaded a bunch of 16bit/44.1 wavs. they play back way too fast though...even tho the unit says its at 1x playback. ***??? same thing happened with some mp3s i uploaded. really f'in confused and pissed.
  14. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    Maybe the playback is at 48kHz?

  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Just bought one today. So far I like it. I need to spend some time with it so I can master all the functions. I liked the simplicity of my Pocket Rockit but this is nice with some added features.
  16. I downloaded a few songs, and today it won;t connect, just keeps saying there is a problem with you gb-10, scan the drive to correct (windows 8)
  17. davidoross


    Mar 17, 2017
    Hi there. New member. Same problem, Tascam GB-10 and can't hear my bass. I read the response about adjusting the balance, but I couldn't find a spot like that on the machine - or were you referring to Output of 4 and Input of 8, or similar? This is my third trainer - the other two broke - and am pretty frustrated with it. Sigh. And not a tech guy in the least so find it hard to figure out. Thanks.

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