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 Post subject: BOSS BRC 1600 Anyone ?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:36 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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Hey Guys. Recently picked up a BOSS BRC 1600 CD. Not tired of the AW but i don't have much gear to put some effects on my electric guitar and thought this was an interresting piece Also because they promise that it helps with songwriting since it has a drum kit and bass pattern system which is programmable. It also has usb which is a tempting option.

I'dd like to know if any of you are interested i a review as i go trough it. In that case i'll put some of my findings here...

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:32 pm 
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I'm absolutely interested in a review and a comparison!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:50 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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damn! i have just been typing for an hour or so then clicked submit to find that i had to login again. Then i was returned to my review which was ... empty ! :cry: :cry: :cry: i can't type all that again right now. You're gonna have to wait...

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:16 pm 
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Robbie The Botkiller
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I know that. It's downright frustrating. That is why, when I know I'm going to type a larger document, I type it in a word processor first, save every now and then, and then copy&paste to a forum editing screen. BTW you can "save" on the forum, too. It's next to the submit button.

Take your time, Dirk, and I hope you can reproduce the post.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:49 pm 
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At one point in time I ran the largest group on the web for the Boss BR recorders - from the BR-532 up to the BR600.

I never made the step up to the 1600 for a couple reasons:

1) The sound always came out WAY too compressed for my liking. It has to do with their proprietary storage algorithm. Everything recorded always sounded like someone threw sludge on the speaker cones.

2) The gain stage is wired oddly.

Each channel has its own trim control, then there's another one that all controls are summed through...

The only real way for you to tell if you've peeked or not is by a single red led (if memory serves me correctly) - this general weirdness lends you to messing up the signal to noise ratio.

Those were my 2 primary complaints... but a fun and easy to use unit!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:49 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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OK, I promised a review and test repport so here goes.

I have been playing with the BR1600CD for two weeks now and i have to say that i find it not the easiest device to work with. The machine offers what the add promisses and you can record 8 tracks + four stereo tracks just like the AW16G. It does lack a seperate stereo track however. This means you have to do your bouncing to one of the stereo tracks. You can use a virtual track for bouncing but as far as i can see you can't bounce a track to it's own virtual tracks which leaves us with one stereo track out of order. I may be wrong here but couldn't find a solution.

The machine has a lot to offer clearly but it works in a totally different way than the Yamaha. It seems to be build to be as easy as possible but i'm sure many people will get anoyed by some of it's peculiarities. Making a new song for example starts by asking you how you want to use the tracks. You can use a dedicated drum track and program the internal drum machine which has 12 sounds times 4 drums sets.(you can sample your own or use midi out) A great feature because you can program the rhytms you like and don't have to put up with the fact that that special rhythm you just heard or thought off just isn't provided (as happens with must factory programmed stuff). The downside is that you have to sacrifice yet another stereotrack on which you wont be able to record anything else.

Same thing goes for the Bass. You can program chord progressions and a bass patern which is great by itself but here are three things i don't like. There's only 12 bass sounds, It costs yet another stereo track and what i missed the most is the fact that i tried to put in a verse and a chorus which was tedious because you have dial in each chord and each variation and length of the chord (in measures) and the i tried to copy this 4 times to get 4 times a verse and chorus totalling some 48 measures but there is no way to copy this so i had to do the same thing ovber and over again. In my opinion the computers should work for us and not the other way arround. There is no software that makes it possible to do this on the pc like the Boss BR900 for example.

There's also a phrase track on which you can put one phrase sample ( yes only one ) and program when it should play. If you need more phrases you have to bounce them on top of each other. Great if you have the time... Needles to say that this costs yet another stereo track. So if you want to use its full potential you'll have to do without stereo tracks. I find that a little strange.

I have been searching for a week to be able to find how to use reverb on the input to record vocals and give the singer a little reverb in the monitor. After i found out how it works it was nice to see that reverb and chorus/delay (one of these but not simultaneous) are dedicated and seperate from the other effects. That leaves you with a big aray of effects to choose from for guitar and vocals. I have to say that the guitar effects sound great. The same goes for the vocal effects. There are a lot and they all can be extensively edited and stored. The different effect blocks can be rearanged freely.

The scenes are not stored in a song and can be freely recalled within any situation which is also nice.

The machine has USB which is great but you need to convert the tracks to wave with software that you can download.

It seems that routing is a concept which is not understood by most amateur mucicians because boss chose to play a strange card. You can't choose which input is record on to which track if you choose multiple input mode. You have to put up with the fact that input 1 is either recorded to track one or track 9 if you choose multitrack mode. The inputs are routed fixed to a track in this mode. this has led me to believe that it did not record at all in the beginning. After putting up all the faders i noticed that the machine decided which input goes where. You can copy them to a different track later but that takes a lot of getting used to.

After all this i would recommend the Boss BR1600CD for people that record their band or for people that use it for guitar practice and need simple acompaninment. (it does play midi files !!) if you are a multi instrument guy that makes entire productions by yourself i would stick to the Yamaha way. i find it easier but that may be me.

It has been a very interesting tryout and i have learned quite a bit that i now can use on the yamaha. I had problems getting enough gain from the XLR preamps and my dynamic microphones. I learned from the boss that you should not care about the volume of the input. Just lower the music tracks so you can hear yourself clearly. Don't worry about the hiss. After the recording is done switch on the compressor for that track and dial up the out gain. You will be screaming over the music so you can balance it out perfectly. If your guitar sound is to weak compared to the drums do the same.

If you record a band don't listen too much to all the incomming signals, just make sure that in the view pane you are getting adequate signals. You can boost them later.

I hope this is usefull information. If you still have questions i would be happy to try to answer them for you.

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Last edited by fordirk on Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:25 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:52 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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acoustic356 wrote:
At one point in time I ran the largest group on the web for the Boss BR recorders - from the BR-532 up to the BR600.

I never made the step up to the 1600 for a couple reasons:

1) The sound always came out WAY too compressed for my liking. It has to do with their proprietary storage algorithm. Everything recorded always sounded like someone threw sludge on the speaker cones.

2) The gain stage is wired oddly.

Each channel has its own trim control, then there's another one that all controls are summed through...

The only real way for you to tell if you've peeked or not is by a single red led (if memory serves me correctly) - this general weirdness lends you to messing up the signal to noise ratio.

Those were my 2 primary complaints... but a fun and easy to use unit!


You are right about the leds but you can also see the peaks glued to the cealing in the signal view.

The compressors for each channel are on by default as oposed to the yamaha where they are of by default. Could that be the reason ?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:03 pm 
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Thanks Dirk, a great read.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:26 pm 
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My pleasure Robbie. I hope i have done them justice.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:35 pm 
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Quote:
The compressors for each channel are on by default as oposed to the yamaha where they are of by default.


Unless you forgot to delete the demo song. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:40 pm 
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Good report Dirk.

I've only played around with it a little. I could never get past the Input know and how it was summed after the Sens knobs for the tracks.

Great for quick and dirty recordings...

Much easier than the Roland VS-880 and 890 which it kind of replaced.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:43 pm 
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mrskygod wrote:
Quote:
The compressors for each channel are on by default as oposed to the yamaha where they are of by default.


Unless you forgot to delete the demo song. :lol:


?? i am missing the point here ...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:53 pm 
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Robbie The Botkiller
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The demo song has a lot of different scenes in its tempo map so after playing the demo song they're probably on.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:01 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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Ok, Thanks.

I have been wondering if the AW16G allows for some automation like recording pan, eq and volume settings that change during playback.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:49 pm 
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Hi,

great review, Dirk. Thank you for sharing this.

Before I stepped into the Yamahaworld I used a Boss BR600 for 2 years. Great little machine to start with homerecording but I never got decent result. Absolutely overdone effects and presets. The buikld in drum machine sounds good and was easy to edit.
The Yamaha are more serious, like you said before.
Andreas

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:22 pm 
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Great review indeed!

I remember when I was in the market for a stand-alone DAW. I went to see a buddy who works at a local music store, that carried a huge selection of recorders. I went in thinking about a Korg, Roland or maybe a Boss unit. Yamaha wasn't even on my radar. My buddy hooked me up with the sales guy in the store, with the most amount of knowledge on recording and the gear they sold.

He listened to what I wanted to do....and I tossed out a few model numbers of units they carried. He said....they're all good, but you should look at the Yamaha AW16G. And, in the end that's what I bought....although I didn't buy it from the store. I used my Sony connections at the time to get a deal via the Yamaha rep I knew. But I did buy a lot of other gear from the store that recommended the Yamaha, and I am truly thankful to that one sales guy who took the time to steer me in the right direction.

Quote:
I have been wondering if the AW16G allows for some automation like recording pan, eq and volume settings that change during playback.


Yes, it does...absolutely. The AW16G uses 'scenes' to achieve this. A scene is essentially a snap-shot of all the settings at any given time. So, you can make changes to the song mix, and save each change as a scene. Then later, you map all those scenes to the songs tempo map, to allow the scenes to actively change during the playback of the song. However, the faders are not motorized so they do not move....even though the various fader / eq / panning / etc settings are changing on the fly.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:34 pm 
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utah wrote:

Yes, it does...absolutely. The AW16G uses 'scenes' to achieve this. A scene is essentially a snap-shot of all the settings at any given time. So, you can make changes to the song mix, and save each change as a scene. Then later, you map all those scenes to the songs tempo map, to allow the scenes to actively change during the playback of the song. However, the faders are not motorized so they do not move....even though the various fader / eq / panning / etc settings are changing on the fly.


And i could not ask for more ...

Thanks a lot ! Will be trying that later on. From this moment the BR-1600CD is officially for sale...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:38 pm 
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You can do a lot with scenes and it works relatively easy, but the major downside is it's always in steps. No gradual changes possible like riding the faders. For that, you need the AW2400.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:27 pm 
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The BOSS BR-1600CD. Part Two.

There is quite a bit of interessting stuff in BR-1600. One of things i tried is the pitch correction. It's actaully based on the chord progression map you type in for the bass (yes this means sacrificing a stereo track). Once the chord map is in place you can sing in a vocal. When you start ptich correction it will compare your voicals with the chords at that point and you will be able to see how far of you have been singing. The correction is bounced to another track which you can use or delete later. Once the chords are there it's easy to automatically correct your singing and you can edit the corrections or set some degree of correction to get a more natural sound. It's a shame that getting the chords in is so tedious.

Once your main vocal is there you make backing vocals using the same algorhitm which will produce the backing vocals by pitch shifting your voice. Again if the chords are in it's easy to do this. But believe me, you wouldn't want to be caught dead with these backing vocals. And i thought my korg delivered artificial sounding stuff. I have never deleted anything so fast in my life. So no. I don't feel they should say you can make backing vocals with this machine.

I have tried out the guitar sounds and found them really good. I did have to ground the device however because if i didn't i would get an amazing amount of noise that made recording useless. Once grounded the noise was completely gone. I don't have that problem with the Yamaha.

The manual says you can do loop recording with auto punch in and out. I have tried this and found the same problem as on the Yamaha. You can loop but there is a short delay when the loop switches back to it's beginning. That means you get kicked out of tempo every loop. Needles to say that you can't use it as a looper although the adds and the manual leads you to believe it does.

It has a store for one hundred scenes that can be assigned to markers. These markers are defined in a song. Efectively the markers wil call up scenes during playback or recording allowing for automation much like Yamaha does.

The Bass simulator is a cool thing. It allows you to play bass with a regular guitar by changing your electric guitar sound. Don't play chords however. Don't sound to well.

Next to it's effect foot switch it also has a effect pedal input which allows you to control the amount of effects or control a wah wah sound. Its assignable to certain effects and is pretty cool.

I also like the four knobs that are used to directly control the parameters for effects. Interessting to put in the scenes.

It also allows you to assign loop phrases to the 12 track knobs so you can recaal them while recording. Each song can be assigned it's own set of loops.

You can only use 8 compressors at any one time.

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