Boss Micro BR

Boss Micro BRIt’s no big secret, like many other musicians I suffer with G.A.S. But of late my syndrome has taken a bit of a twist. Instead of wanting lots of flashy, big gear, I’ve been hankering for small, portable devices.

Also, since buying myself a nice amp (see The Stick Must go) I’ve found that I’ve just not been using my Boss GT-8 pedal. It’s very big and kind of awkward to take places (like if I go on holiday). I’d been ‘mm-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ about the Boss Micro BR, so I finally took the plunge and bought one.

Where to start? I know, holy gadget batman (in my best boy wonder voice). This thing is awesome!

  • Let’s start with the basics, it’s SD Flash card based and handles up to 1G of card. SD cards are great because they’re small and very cheap.
  • Next, it’s a 4 track recorder, yes, 4 tracks! More than that, each track has 8 virtual tracks.
  • It has a stereo line in, high-z guitar input and a built in mic. I’ve had a play with the mic and it sounds fine, more than adequate for speech or general noises (my dog decided to bark at me whilst I was testing this function, it played it back perfectly).
  • It has built in guitar FX, and they sound sweet.
  • It’s got a drum machine built in, with literally hundreds of drum patterns.
  • And there’s more! It’s also an mp3 player. But the real kick here is, you can play an mp3 and practice your guitar along with listening to the mp3, what’s more, you can slow the tempo of the song, without altering the pitch.
  • Finally you can record MP3s (think taking minutes of meetings) and you can ‘bounce’ your 4 track recording to an MP3, the either download it via the USB slot, or pop the SD card in a card reader and copy it off.

I’ve been playing with it for a couple of hours on and off, whilst reading the manual and tinkering with my guitar. Whilst enjoying my wander through the various effects I suddenly had an idea for a tune, it took me less than 30 seconds to find a suitable drum beat and set it up to record, blam, the idea is down and saved. This is just superb, I have an abysmal memory and being able to ‘snapshot’ ideas this quickly and easily is just awesome.

I’ve heard that the battery life is a bit lacking, some people have reported less than 2 hours use. I’ve played with this gadget for around 2 hours, and the supplied batteries are down to half (there’s a little battery meter on the main display). I’ve got some 2700mAh Ansmann batteries somewhere (if I can remember where I put them) and I’m sure these will go to good use in this beast.

I plan to take this gadget along to my next guitar lesson, and record it. When I get home, I can practice, with the headphones on (much to my wife’s delight) and play along, if my teacher goes to fast, I can slow him down until I ‘get it right’.

In short, to say that I’m blown away with this £150 gadget is an understatement. Let me phrase it another way, if you play guitar, get one now!

37 Responses to “Boss Micro BR”

  1. MG Says:

    Hi:

    Just purchased the Micro BR and quite like it in general. Have you worked out how to bounce 3 tracks down to one? Also,is it possible to assign one of the rhythm presets to a track? I’d appreciate some help..

    regards,
    MG

  2. Paul Says:

    MG,

    not tried 3 down to one, I guess teh quickest solution is to bounce the three down to a pair (say pair 1+2 and Virtual track 7) and then just reuse one of the pair you bounced down to (ie, change Track1′s VTrack to be 7 and Track 2′s VTrack to be 2).

    As for the drums, they’re on their own track, so you have in effect 4 tracks of audio + Drum track. If you want to change the level or reverb on the drum track, hit the ‘rhythm’ button, and move the cursor right a couple of times, it takes you to a second page where there’s volume, press it again and there’s a third with reverb settings. (I think that’s how you get to it, I don’t have mine to hand so I can’t check).

    The thing that wound me up the most with the drums was the changing of tempo, if you pick a pattern, change it too say 105 BPM, then record your song. Turn off the micro, turn it back on the drum pattern will have reverted to it’s original tempo (say 120BPM).
    The way around that is to use the ‘arrange’ mode for the drums, and just have the one entry. Slightly irritating, but once you’re aware of it, you can work around it.

    Paul

  3. sonic Says:

    Yes, I also think that is the best way. But bear in mind that you will lose some sound information, converting from stereo to mono.

    There’s a Micro BR community at http://microrecorders.org/. All of you are welcome to join in.

  4. ernes Says:

    i had my micro br last month and it was awesome… but the thing is i want my songs to be havier….. like double pedal stuff like that…i tried to change the tempo of the rythm to make it havy but still not enough for me…can i download drum loops… in micro br…i already tried it but…its nowere to be found…. i need big help…tnx

  5. Paul Says:

    You can’t lood loops in as such, but you could load in a sample using the micro-br software. The problem is, it needs to be as long as you want your track to be.

    You can change the drum sounds (there’s a hard kit, which might help).

    For more info, updates and a user forum check out http://microrecorders.org/

    Best of luck with it

    Paul

  6. poppy Says:

    i’m getting annoyed with this. trying to convert my recordings to mp3. 4-tracks. I tried bouncing it but when i put it on my computer it comes up with separate recordings. grrr.

    any help, please
    thanks!

  7. jo Says:

    did you ever find out the answer to this question? my son is having the same problem!

  8. Paul Says:

    You need to put it into ‘mastering’ mode.
    Then when it’s done it’ll say “export to audio file?” Select yes, then you can choose MP3.
    It then pops the file into the MP3 directory on the CD card. Simply pop it out, into your computer and you’re good to go.

    Paul

  9. Wolf Says:

    I am about to buy one of these (same syndrome…). One of the uses I have in mind is to play short vamps (like 2 bars in D and 2 in F) and then loop them and practice on top of the loop whilst recording (so I can hear the horror afterwards).

    Can the BR to so?
    Thanks

  10. Paul Says:

    Hi,

    Sadly no, it won’t do looping like this.

    Paul

  11. Penfold Says:

    On the contrary this is EXACTLY what I use mine for – works like a dream!

  12. Paul Says:

    Great, can you tell us how you do this?
    if I hit record and record 4 bars of guitar riff, how can I then repeat this, say 20 times, whilst recording a new guitar riff on a second channel?

  13. will Says:

    can you convert your drum track into mp3 or wav. at all?

  14. Paul Says:

    Will,

    You can ‘bounce’ the whole recording to MP3 or WAV, so if you want you can program a drum arrangement and then bounce that to mp3 or wav.

  15. DOm Says:

    probably a really simple answer, but im stuck trying to bounce 2 tracks down to one, and ive lost the manual to get help from. could you possibly help me out?

  16. Paul Says:

    DOm,

    Sorry I haven’t a clue, I’ve only ever bounced from 3 or 4 tracks down to a stereo pair.

    According to the SOS article here’s how “To bounce a mix, you first select Bounce mode, set the balance, then select the virtual track onto which your bounce will be recorded. Bounces can be mono or stereo, with or without the rhythm track.”

    Sos article is here – http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb07/articles/bossmicrobr.htm

  17. uncleparsnip Says:

    IF YOU WANT TO LOOP USE THE A-B BUTTON. PRESS IT ONCE AT THE START POINT AND THEN AGAIN AT THE END POINT. IT WILL THEN LOOP CONTINUOSLY FOR EVER AND EVER UNTIL THE END OF TIME….OR UNTIL YOU PRESS STOP…WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.

  18. uncleparsnip Says:

    WILL ANY STANDARD 9V POWER SUPPLY WORK…OR DO I HAVE TO GET THE BOSS ONE?

    (IM IN UK, THIS PROBABLY DIFFERS FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY)

  19. Paul Says:

    hi,

    I’m afraid I’ve no idea about the power supply, give roland uk a call and see what they say.
    I use recahrgeable batteries in mine and they seem to last for 5 or 6 hours (ansman 2700maH NiMh) so I don’t use a PSU as it’s one less wire to get tangled up in :-)

    Paul

  20. Adam Says:

    Hi all, can anyone advise me (a new BR owner) whether I can transfer tracks – including virtual tracks – onto a PC and then edit/manipulate them in Cubase or a similar package? And in that way can one end up with more than 4 tracks? Does the drum pattern come across too to Cubase?

    Any help appreciated,

    Adam.

  21. Paul Says:

    Adam,

    There’s a bit of software you can download from Roland that allows import of the audio from the BR’s 4 tracks and 8 virtual tracks to your PC/Mac, from there you can just import them into cubase/logic/whatever.
    Again, microrecorders.org is your saviour for the software -
    http://microrecorders.org/downloads.html

    Sadly, the drum tracks don’t come across as they’re not audio (The BE has a built in drum machine).

    Paul

  22. Adam Says:

    Thank you, Paul.

  23. Adam Says:

    Another question, Paul….has or will Boss (or anyone else) create other drum patterns and/or effects which can be downloaded?

  24. Adam Says:

    And yet another question: I have a Shure 55SH II microphone. I don’t know how to plug it into the mic socket…when I use an XLR to 1/4 inch with an adaptor to the smaller plug (so it fits in the BR mic socket), there is no volume. I have tried it in the GTR socket but it it’s alost silent. Someone has suggested an XLR-to-USB adaptor. Any thoughts or advice?

  25. Paul Says:

    Adam,

    I don’t believe the drum machine is programmable by anyone, I think it’s set with the patterns it has.

    I don’t know about the Shure 55SH, it may need phantom power (check first), but I’ve used shure SM57 and SM58′s without any problems.

    I don’t think an XLR->USB adapter will help, but a mic preamp (Behringer make one for about 30 UKP) may be a better solution.

    Paul

  26. Patrick Says:

    I have a really specific question about looping possibilities in both the mp3 and recorder modes. I want to be able to set up A/B loop points, and play a 48-bar riff. in either mode.
    In mp3mode, I want to be able to time-stretch it (for super-primitive beat-matching), and in recorder mode, I want to volume up/down up to 4 layers that loop together.
    How is the looping mode a problem with gaps/clicks, hiccups in either mode?
    Also, few more questions:
    …are loop-points saved on a per-song basis.
    …how can I save tempo into a project
    …how easy is it to mute/unmute the drums while looping a stack of tracks.
    i know this sounds more like some perverse DJ application of a guitar-product. It is!
    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  27. Paul Says:

    Patrick,

    I’m afraid I can’t comment on the looping mode, I used it once and it worked perfectly, but I’ve not used it extensivly.

    – Loops points, I have no idea if they’re saved or even how, sorry
    – Saving a tempo, this one drove me BATTY for days, the trick is to put the drum machine into ‘song’ mode and put the pattern you want in the first slot, it then repeats forever. And set the tempo. It’s far from ideal, but it does work!
    – I’ve never tried muting or unmuting the drums, the mixer that’s built in is fairly basic and only has volume controls.

    Basically It’s not really geared up towards looping, it’s more of a ‘musical notepad’ than a looper.

    I hope that helps

  28. Bob Says:

    Hi
    Although the drum machine is quite verstaile, everything is in 4/4 time – does anyone know how to set up rhythms in 3/4 time?

  29. Paul Says:

    Good question,

    I have no idea, but the mteronome has some odd time signatures, including 3/4 if that’s any help.

    I doubt you can change the timing of the drum patterns, maybe there is a ‘waltz’ type drum pattern in there. With over 300 patterns I’ll admit I’ve not tried many :-)

    Paul

  30. Steve Says:

    Hi,

    I’ve just bought one of these. I’m looking to connect my SM58 – I have a standard XLR male/female – is there a standard gizmo to connect it to the BR? I think from my first read the BR records the mic in stereo – given the mic is mono, can I save myself a track?

    Second quicky – I put some noise on TR1, and was then hoping to be able to play that back (and listen on headphones) while recording on track two – couldn’t spot in the manual how that’s done.

    Cheers, Steve.

  31. Paul Says:

    You can get an adapter to convert XLR to 1/4″ unbalanced, you’ll then need a 1/4″ to 3.5mm adapter.

    As for the multi-track thing, you just need to make sure the micro-br is in multi-trackmode, and not MP3 mode.

  32. Simon Says:

    Hi Adam, I was wondering the same things about new drum patterns, if I find any I’ll be sure to let you know.

    As far as plugging in an external microphone goes, I recall thinking I had that problem when first plugging my SM58 in. In my case I wasn’t selecting the line input after pressing the input button, and therefore was just using the built in mic. I hope this helps.

    By the way Paul, those microrecorder.org links don’t seem to be working. s the site still there?

  33. Justin Says:

    Hi,
    I can’t quite figure out how to take the four tracks that I recorded and get all of the tracks onto my compter in one MP3 file I keep getting only one part of what i recorded. Can you give me a step-by-step on how to do it?

  34. Paul Says:

    Justin,

    You need to “bounce” the tracks to an MP3, I can’t remember how to do it off hand, but the user guide explains it in about 6 steps :-)

    Paul

  35. Johnny Says:

    Converting tracks to mp3 in this was a bit of a pain to get my head around. I finally figured it out (it’s easier in mastering mode I found)

    If anyone else is having problems, then try using this software http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=699#
    When you connect the BR to your computer you can draw the tracks and convert them to your pc in a wave format then use Audacity (awesome free program) to convert them to mp3 and mix them.

  36. nix Says:

    don’t buy! it’s impossible to convert the stored files to mp3 once you’ve copied them to your computer.

    I hate that damn machine…

  37. Paul Says:

    That’s true, but you can use the internal facilities and bounce them to MP3 inside the micro-BR and then copy them to your PC.