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Boss BR-864 8-Track Digital Studio
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Boss BR-864 8-Track Digital Studio

Digital Multrack-studio from Boss belonging to the BR series.

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MGR/Dean Brewis MGR/Dean Brewis

« Boss BR-864 Digital Studio »

Published on 09/06/04 at 15:00
Having played in a band when I was younger and having now taken up the guitar instead of drums, I wanted a way of recording an entire song with myself producing every sound within the confines of my spare room. I looked at several alternatives and settled on the 864 - it was purchased from Sound Control in Bristol (England) and I paid £350 cash.

The sound quality is exceptional given that I used to record with a microphone - there are no longer dogs barking in the background and I don't annoy anyone else - I can record at ANY time and although I have not taken it out of the house since buying it, anyWHERE.
The range of effects if outstanding, particularly on the guitar and vocal side of things. The list of features is vast and providing you can be bothered to invest the countless hours to learn how to achieve the desired result (it will do just about everything you can conceive of) - then it is an excellent buy.

The first thing that annoys me is the construction. Yes it has to be lightweight, but I fear that I have to treat it with kidgloves as it does not seem to be very robust. It consequently lives in its box which I have simply modified with scissors to allow the lid the shut despite it being permanently connected to the relevant cables. I would personally have prefered to sacrifice some of the weight aspect for an aluminium case and paid more.
The second point is by far the most daunting aspect. Initially I was lead to believe that the 864 was simple to use in that it is like a conventional cassette recorder - well it has stop/start/record buttons like a normal recorder but there any similarity ends. It is horrifically complicated to operate beyond the basic recording functionality. Having had it for nearly 8 months I am still struggling to assimilate the basic ways of doing things. Although the manual is well written and has lots of diagrammatical help, there is something incredibly convoluted about the way the instructions are phrased - and I am a systems analyst, not some uninitiated numpty with no clue. In fact I would go as far as to say it is beyond the reach of many of its purchasers and despite what other reviewers may write, I suspect few wish to lose face by admitting we are in rocket science territory. A 200 page instruction manual should tell you something about the product before you even turn the device on and that is - there is a lot of stuff to learn.
The built-in drum sounds are extremely weak also and lack any real 'kick' - I prefer the more laborious route of connecting my Yamaha pads and laying the percussion side down manually.

As above, I find it lacking in the longevity department - a more durable case would inspire more confidence. That said, it is of a reasonable quality and the rear panel offers a great many connectivity options.

Too complicated - FAR too complicated.

Excellent audio quality.

Excellent range of features, provided you can be bothered to assimilate all the modes and buttons and flashing lights. Yes you can take it out of the box and record within 10 minutes, but do anything else and be prepared to let your instrument gather some dust whilst you go back to school.

The price is about right.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com
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