Boss Br-800...could it be the best 8 tracker around ? Your inputs please !

scaron

New member
Hey guys,

I'm about to purchase a multitrack, 8 channels. The planned usage and the expectations out of it are to be a portable recorder which allows me to quickly record my song ideas without too much fuss.
Bonus : allows me to fiddle with some arrangments ideas, incorporates rythm beats, effects for guitar and voice, if at all possible. And I need an interface that's easy to operate (reasonnable LCD screen size), also at least 2 phantom power inputs, and internal mics.

I know, it's a lot on my grocery list, but it's a "Wish List" only !

;)

Anyways, after a good research, it seems that what comes closest to that is the Boss BR-800.

It doesn't have 2 Phantom Power (only one) but that's about the only downpoint.

I'm wondering though about the number of real tracks we can record. It seems to be 8, but with the BR-800 configuration, it seems it really is only 4 mono tracks and 2 stereo tracks (unpairable). That's a little strange, and this part is not well explained in their manual. Also, is there track bouncing possible ? That's not explained at all either.

For sure, it's not the ideal machine, but that's the best of the bunch. I compared it to the Tascam DP-008, the ZOOM R16 & R24, the Korg D888. When I say it's the best, I say that in terms of the features. But sonically I have no idea really, YOUTUBE doesn't render sound well. And actually recording with it, is it cool, is it sounding allright, is it functionnal ?

For sure that it wont be my only recording station. For editing and additional mixing and sonic experimentations, I'll work off a DAW. But the reason I'm looking to get the best little 8 tracker possible is to have a portable stand alone machine that follows me and my guitar anywhere I go. Cause I'm the type o' guy to take his guitar along pretty much anywhere !

Thanks guy for your comments and inputs

Stef
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Yes, you can record up to 4 tracks at one time, but there are a total of 64 virtual tracks, remembering that tracks 5/6 and 7/8 are stereo ones, and that when you are bouncing/mixing down, you are always doing it to tracks 7/8. so after the first 8-to-2 mix, you are really doing 6 + last bounce to 2 each time.
I like the sound quality from my BR 600. No computer hassles (crashes, latency, etc), yet you can always transfer files/tracks to a computer and then use a DAW.
Any more questions, let me know.
 
Last edited:

jp68

New member
I have been using the MICRO BR for the last year. I found it fairly easy to use. I wanted to buy a BR-600 but they have been discontinued so I am going for the BR-800. I downloaded the manual and have watched a lot of the tutorial video's on youtube. It seems to me that the BR-800 is very much a super MICRO BR. With the MICRO you can only record one track at a time and for me that wasn't such a big deal, four tracks will be fat city for me. The BR-800 doesn't have the capability to do cut and paste track edits, however, it does come with Sonar 8.5 LE. Also, you can't master down to an MP3 file on the 800 unlike the MICRO. In order to convert to MP3 or WAV you will have to use the USB link and the converter software off the Boss website.

The big selling point for me was that the menu system is very similar to the MICRO, so I'm hoping for a shorter learning curve. I'm a guitar player not a recording engineer. I'm hoping to be able to use the 800 to develop some backing tracks for the Blues Duo that I play in. Also, maybe develop some promotional CD's to sell at our gigs.

My BR-800 should be here in a couple of days. I'll let you know how I like it after I have had some time to get used to it.
 

scaron

New member
RECORDING WITH THE BR-800...LETS USE AN EXAMPLE...

I want to record a song with:

Track 1: Rythm guitar 1 ("x" mic of the x/y guitar recording technique) panned left
Track 2: Rythm guitar 1 ("y" mic of the x/y guitar recording technique) panned right
Track 3: Rythm guitar 2 ("x" mic of the x/y guitar recording technique) panned right
Track 4: Rythm guitar 2 ("y" mic of the x/y guitar recording technique) panned left
Track 5/6: Vocal 1
Track 7/8: keyboards
Rythm track: Rythm

My rythm guitar part is doubled with "Rythm guitar 2" done in Nashville tuning (for example). Each Rythm guitar take is done with 2 condenser mics (x/y technique). So I figure I need 4 tracks right there.
Now....I'm running out of tracks....I need additional tracks to put a Bass line (1 track) and Back vocals too (2 tracks) !

So, with the BR-800, how am I going to fit them in with this example ?
And for the mixdown, must I forget about putting the Keys on track 7/8 cause that's the space reserved for the...mixdown ?
(if track 7/8 really is reserved for mixdown, does that mean it's one precious track I cant use for the recording of my instruments ?)

Maybe my problem is I think too much in terms of "Analog" recording and the easy "track bouncing" where I'd record 3 tracks (on a 4 track deck) onto the fourth track to free up additional tracks. That's why I figure I need to be explained with a practical example like the one I'm giving here above. And I know that I can do anything once I carried my recording in a DAW, but I want to understand the recording principle with the BR-800 with this example, doing it in one session, with no DAW help.

Thanks guys for your much appreciated help

Stef
 

jp68

New member
Use your Virtual Tracks...

You can bounce down everything you've listed into Track 7/8 Virtual Track 2. Actually the BR800 has eliminated bounce down and gone directly to a master track. I believe that you have 64 virtual tracks at our disposal. Although 5/6 and 7/8 are stereo tracks that can't be seperated into individual tracks you may have only 48 virtual tracks... I'm not sure, my BR800 won't be here until Weds.

Another thing you could do is to send all of your tracks to Sonare 8.5 LE throught the USB connection. There you are only limited by your computer's speed and memory.

There are a series of Tutorial Videos on YouTube, I don't have the link but I have watched them and they aren't bad for free. Also, read the manual it only took me about half a day to actually read the whole thing. Between the Videos and the manual you should be able to figure it out..
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
I'm pretty sure Bounce or mix to master track is still using the same 7/8 destination.

I usually bounce all rhythm instruments down first bounce, so in your case 1/1 + 2/1 + 3/1 + 4/1 + 7-8/1 to 7-8/2 (the number after the slash is the virtual track number-level).

Now you have tracks 1-4 ready for bass, a guitar lead and 2 vocals. Next mix/bounce would be:
1/2 + 2/2 + 3/2 + 4/2 + 5-6/1 + 7-8/2 to 7-8/3.

Of course the trick in this type of mixing is knowing how you want the individual instruments to sound in the final mix - before you have the final mix! I sometimes find myself going back to the original bounce-down and boosting up an instrument part, or changing the EQ on one, or some other change (more reverb, for example). There are techniques to this too - you get down to your final mix and realize the bass should have been louder, do another bounce mix, selecting the bass virtual track and the last bounce mix, and voila!
 
Last edited:

scaron

New member
I'm pretty sure Bounce or mix to master track is still using the same 7/8 destination.

I usually bounce all rhythm instruments down first bounce, so in your case 1/1 + 2/1 + 3/1 + 5/1 + 7-8/1 to 7-8/2 (the number after the slash is the virtual track number-level).

Now you have tracks 1-4 ready for bass, a guitar lead and 2 vocals. Next mix/bounce would be:
1/2 + 2/2 + 3/2 + 4/2 + 5-6/1 + 7-8/2 to 7-8/3.

Of course the trick in this type of mixing is knowing how you want the individual instruments to sound in the final mix - before you have the final mix! I sometimes find myself going back to the original bounce-down and boosting up an instrument part, or changing the EQ on one, or some other change (more reverb, for example). There are techniques to this too - you get down to your final mix and realize the bass should have been louder, do another bounce mix, selecting the bass virtual track and the last bounce mix, and voila!

Mmm...Thanks a lot, that makes lotsa sense !.....it's the use of Virtual Tracks that I'm not accustomed to. But, is it possible that in your example abouve, there's a little typo/mistake with your track numbering with the first bounce ? Track 4 is missing and track 5 should indicate 5/6, no ?

But anyways, I get the point. And as for taking my tracks to a DAW to add whatever, this I knew about that. My point was simly to see if I could mixdown a finished product on the BR-800 with more than 8 tracks, like we used to do on our old analog tape multitracks.

Thanks guys for your inputs

Stef
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Yep, you caught the error (changed above) 5/6, as your lead vocal would wait for the next bounce, when you are doing the other vocals.
 

jp68

New member
Just got my BR-800 last night - So far so good. I was able to lay down a rhythm guitar, bass, lead guitar and a rhythm track straight out of the box. I was able to transfer my tracks as WAV files to my ACER netbook using the file converter that came with the BR-800. I then edited the tracks in Audacity and transfered them back to the 800 using the file converter. I was supprised at how easy it was after what I've read in some of these threads.

Having somewhat mastered the MICRO BR helped, and I was also aided by watching some of the online tutorial videos. I don't know if it's just me but the recordings sounded a lot crisper than on my MICRO.

These are my impressions so far:

PRO:

Easy to use, recording tracks is a snap
Good Sound, seems better than my MICRO BR
Contrary to others I like the Guitar and Bass patches..
I like using the sliders to adjust the track levels on playback.
Menus are pretty easly, I don't get the complaints about excesive scrolling
Touch Pads worked perfectly
Software Set-up went quickly, i.e., Sonar, File Converter, Rhythm Editor and Audacity

NEG

Editing on the computer was pretty easy, even thought it would be nice to be able to do it on the machine.
No track editing on the machine, i.e., I miss copy and paste on the machine, one my favorites for editing bass tracks. However, it can be done pretty easily on the computer.
EZ record has no count-in click track that I could find. I'm guessing there is a work-around for this.

Now I guess I will have to learn Sonar LE and the Rhythm editor..

Next step is to try out the mastering tools..
 

Corvette

New member
Good Sound, seems better than my MICRO BR
..
I was wondering about that. I have a Micro-BR and a BR-600 and I've noticed there's no mention of the Roland COSM effects in the Micro. I think the BR-600 and BR-800 are probably pretty close if not identical in sound quality, with the main difference being the useable card size. I love the way Roland milks each incarnation of their recorders. They could give it all to us right now, but they dole it out in small increments to maximize their profits over time.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
For your count-in/click track you have to set the rhythm track for it.
I usually find a close drum pattern, set the tempo, then record a scratch guitar track with that. Then go back and write down all the measure numbers vs song part, select patterns, changes, accents, program them in to match the scratch track. Then, if it sounds right, go back and re-set any tempo changes (if its is all the same speed, set a few 'different' tempos for a more real sound), then record a new scratch track to this. If its a simple acoustic song (minimal parts), I may not bother with the rhythm track after initial scratch track recording.
 

Bubba po

Tiny Stonehenge Moment
I've had my BR-800 for a couple of weeks now, and I have to say I think it's bloody fantastic! I haven't done any home recording since owning a Tascam Porta-one in the eighties, so modern digital stuff is a bit of a revelation, to be honest. Anyway I just wanted to clear up a couple of points regarding the bouncing down and final mixdown of tracks, from my experience.

The first set of tracks that you record, you will want to mix down into stereo to free up the rest of the tracks. This is easy, via the mixdown section, but this isn't explicitly referred to in the manual. What is important to realise is that track "7/8, V-track 8" is only the DEFAULT destination for your bounced tracks - you can send them to any v-track on that channel, or you can send them to track 5/6. You can pick the destination of your stereo mixdown on the "mixdown" screen by navigating around the screen with your up/down/left/right buttons and changing the destinations with the selector knob.

As an example, my only full project so far was done like this:

Drums first - I wanted to record live drums so I set up mics on

Track 1. Kick drum
Track 2. Close-mic'd Snare drum
Track 3. Overhead left (dynamic mics unfortunately, no condensers as yet)
Track 4. Overhead right.

When I'd got my take, I mixed them down to track 7/8, v-track 8 with eq and effects. I wanted to keep the kit on its own.

Next, I recorded:

Track 1. Clean rhythm guitar
Track 2. Overdriven rhythm guitar.
Track 3. Bass guitar

I mixed this trio down to track 5/6 in wide stereo, with the bass down the middle.

I finished off the track with:

Track 1. Lead guitar
Track 2. Harmony lead guitar
Track 3. Lead vocal (once again, apologies - recorded with a dynamic mic)
Track 4. Harmony vocal.

I mastered all those tracks including the two previous bounces to "Track 7/8, v-track 7", then a second mix to v-track 6.

I wish now that I'd done several different mixes of the drums using the v-track facility. As mixing your early tracks requires a fair bit of guesswork, it makes sense to save several mixes. The bass drum is a bit too loud in my final mix, but there's nowt I can do about it now, lol :D

Anyway, for your delectation and criticism, this is how it turned out:

Oh, hang on - I'm not allowed to post a URL, yet! :mad:
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Why couldn't you remix your drums? You didn't record over the tracks after the drum mix-down did you?
Sounds good!
 

Bubba po

Tiny Stonehenge Moment
Why couldn't you remix your drums? You didn't record over the tracks after the drum mix-down did you?
Sounds good!

I'm afraid so, mate - if you refer to the recording sequence, you'll see that the drums were committed to a stereo mix early on in the process. If I'd recorded a couple more versions to the V-track with a slightly different balance then I might have been a bit happier. But if you're a home recordist, you'll know that there's always some gripe, lol.

I know that the vocal track lacks detail, but if I'd got the best mic in the world it wouldn't make it a good vocal performance! :D That said, Thanks so much for your positive comment. It's my mission to record the drums well - I think my kid's a genius, for his age. :)

I forgot to mention, I think - the drummer's 12 years old.
 

Bubba po

Tiny Stonehenge Moment
Just realised - I could have kept the drum recordings in the V-tracks, couldn't I? :doh:

It's a learning process with this machine - I've only just appreciated that your only real limitation is the size of your sound card.

I've just bought a 16 gig card. :D
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
Yes, your memory size is the only limit (as well as the number of virtual tracks). Once you've completed a song, throw all the tracks (not just the final mix) onto your computer for storage, then you've got free memory again. By the way, 16G should give you hundreds and hundreds of minutes of track time (you can use the utility menu to see how much time remains), so no reason to record over virtual tracks on a song unless you messed them up and don't want to save them.
 

Bubba po

Tiny Stonehenge Moment
Yes, that's what I thought. I'm going to have to knock up a studio sheet in Excel or something to keep track of what's on each V-Track for my song projects. Unless you know of some downloadable ones? :D
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
I just make a 6 x 8 grid (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 56, 78 along the top, Vtracks 1-8 on the side) and write in what I've recorded. You could use Excel easy enough.
 
Top