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Boss BR-80 Digital Audio Recorder ImageThe Boss BR-80 Digital Recorder fills a very useful niche in the portable digital audio recorder market.  Unlike most of the other recorders on the market that fall into its price range the BR-80 offers true 8 track recording and throws in dozens of background rhythms and special audio effects in as icing on the cake.  Users can make use of the two built in microphones or they can plug in their guitar or other unbalanced audio source to record from.

Main Features of the BR-80 Digital Recorder

  • Three modes: MTR (multi-track recorder), eBand, and Live Rec
  • Records directly to SD/SDHC memory card (up to 32 GB)
  • High-quality stereo condenser microphone built in for instant audio capture
  • 64 V-Tracks and eight simultaneous playback tracks
  • eBand function for phrase training and play-along tracks
  • Huge library of built-in backing and rhythm patterns
  • World-class COSM® amps and effects onboard
  • Use as a USB audio interface with built-in effects
  • SONAR X1 LE software included

Provides three different ways to record, either the basic live recording mode, MTR (multi track recording) mode, or eBand mode which allows the user to record along with an existing audio track stored on the device's SD card.  The unit also has a center channel cancellation function which allows it to remove vocals from the songs being accompanied.

  • Guest - Chad Criswell

    As one of the first true multitrack recorders that I have tested I was very impressed with the capabilities and built in features that Roland has packed into the Boss BR-80. The inclusion of dozens of backing tracks and the ability to record up to 64 virtual tracks of audio goes a long way toward making the BR-80 a no-brainer for almost any guitarist or any musician who wants to create new music on the fly. Here are my major pros and cons with the Boss BR-80 Digital Recorder:<br /><br />Pros<br /><br />* A very compact and easy to use multitrack recorder allowing up to 8 separate tracks of audio to be recorded on top of each other and up to 64 virtual tracks for advanced users. Two tracks can be recorded at the same time (L/R).<br /> <br />* Many audio effects can be added into the recording or removed at the push of a button. Dozens of guitar and vocal effects are available and easily added using the COSM button on the BR-80.<br /> <br />* Comes with an integrated tuner and metronome that can be used while recording.<br /> <br />* Built in stereo condenser mics provide fairly accurate sound capture.<br /> <br />* Dozens of built in rhythm and backing tracks that can be looped behind your unique creations in many different styles ranging from rock and country to electronic and many more.<br /> <br />* Plug in the BR-80 to a computer via USB and it becomes an audio interface to get music into and out of the computer quickly and easily.<br /><br /><br /><br />Cons<br /><br />* Interface not quite as intuitive as one might like but with a little experimentation and practice navigating the menus becomes fairly easy.<br /> <br />* Rewinding to the beginning of the track seems to require the user to hold the rewind button until it scrolls back to 0:00. On a long song this can take some time. The scroll wheel can also be used to rewind or fast forward through a track. Maybe there is a way to jump all the way back to the beginning but I was unable to find it during testing.<br /><br />* No internal speaker.

  • Guest - Not The Boss

    To immediately rewind to the head of a track, you hold down the "Stop" key and press the "Rewind" key.<br /><br />Strictly as a multi-track recorder, an alternative like the Zoom H4n offers several advantages: Fancier onboard mic's, more physical inputs, live recording to 4 tracks at once (rather than 2), option to record directly to MP3, playback tolerance for wider MP3 bit rates, onboard speaker, tripod mounting, longer and fancier delay effects, and more bass-amp models.<br /><br />Where the Boss BR series excels is as practice tools. Dedicated buttons on the face let you set/reset loop points (on the fly) within an extended recording. Automatic (hands-free) punch-in/punch-out help you clean up your tracks. There's an intricate drum machine (the Zoom H4n has only a metronome), and this model also lets you import drum tracks as MIDI. Like the original BR, it's ridiculously lightweight and compact -- a bit larger than a smartphone, slides easily into a gig bag's pocket.<br /><br />Compared to the original BR, the BR-80 adds stereo onboard mic's, a limiter option, several more guitar-amp models, basic bass-amp models, acoustic-guitar simulation effects, octave-drop and octave-double effects, several distortion-box models, more-flexible EQ (with much finer control than on the Zoom H4n), vocal harmonizer effects, and an option for separate left/right delay times (a-la-Pat Metheny). But maximum delay time remains under 1 second, oddly. Unlike the original BR, playing back MP3's no longer locks out reverb.<br /><br /><br />There's a learning curve, and you'll definitely need to read the manual. But once you learn the basics, this works and sounds much better than dedicated guitar practice tools from (e.g.) Tascam and Korg.

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