Andy949494, on january 22, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 145
Purchased from: eBay
Features: The Boss JS-8 is sold as an audio player/practice tool for Guitarists to practice Guitar at home. It is a fairly small device about the same size as a clock radio (with stereo speakers) that can either play complete backing tracks or act as a complete Phrase Player (i.e. small parts of a track can be played and slowed down and repeated) and has an input for your Guitar so you can plug in and "join the band."
To can add to the already large range of backing tracks by selecting music of a USB Stick, copying music onto the SD card via a computer, or recording from an Audio in. You can also use the "Guitar Cancel" facility to try and reduce the volume of the Guitar on a recording.
It effectively has a Boss GT-10 Effects Processor inside so you can configure your Guitar to sound appropriate and play along. It also has a built in Tuner and Metronome. It also has the ability to record your guitar part just simply using a button without using a computer. It was launched with a number of "cheesy" videos which demonstrate it in use. They don't really do it many favours but they do show its incredible ease of use and typical usage.
So far it sounds fairly similar to the Fender G-DEC 3 range of "Intelligent Amps" but having had a G-DEC3 15 it differs in the following ways:
1. The G-DEC3 is a combo amp and is designed for much higher volumes where as the JS-8 eBand really is like playing with your Guitar Output coming out of a clock Radio. This can be a good thing since it is very neighbor friendly but you could never use it with others using combos or drums!
2. The G-DEC3 plays backing tracks but doesn't have the ability to select a small portion of a track and repeat only that - a major defect.
3. The JS-8 is substantially easier to use. There are many examples but the one that used to Drive me mad was that whilst the G-DEC 3 is easy to select one of the pre-installed backing tracks if you want to use one of your tracks it forces you to overwrite presets and generally do things you don't want to. The JS-8 does this really easily. // 9
Sound: As I have said above the sound type is completely different to a traditional Guitar Amplifier. It sounds like a good quality clock radio with the built in speakers whilst it sounds better (deeper) using the headphones (imagine an iPod). That isn't too bad since you like listening to rock normally using the clock radio right?
As is often the case with effects units and "digital amp" the Guitar tone is a little muddy and although a huge range of tones are available it seems to lose the gorgeous tone of my Gibson LP - it doesn't sound bad but the difference between that and my Steinberger spirit is minimal (Its certainly no Blackstar HT-1). This is fine considering the role of the machine. It is a small device for playing along to backing tracks without having to mess about with headphones etc.
For each track you can configure two amp & effects options and switch easily between them using a dedicated button (called solo). This is great. They have also made selecting tones incredibly easy - you can design your tone by selecting a per-defined one with a descriptive name, by using a X_Y selection on two charts or by creating an effects loop manually from the bits of the GT-10. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Hmm this is a difficult one. The Boss JS-8 is not made for Gigging or for throwing loose in the boot of a car like you would a large combo amplifier. It is made to the standard of a well made clock radio and is made of quality plastics. I don't think it is likely to go wrong. The switches, buttons etc seem okay and aren't desperately cheap... It has a external AC/DC adapter like a laptop which is probably good for reliability. There are no fans so it is nice and quiet. Mine is second hand and looks fine. // 7
Overall Impression: I'm quite pleased with this "toy" and use it quite a lot in my flat despite having a Blackstar HT-1 Valve Amp. In fact I use them both and can't Imagine selling either! I could potentially play backing tracks etc on my iPhone using one of the Phrase Trainer applications and tune up using a separate tuner and use my Combo Amp but I find this easier.
In fact sound quality and feature wise it would be similar to using a PC with USB Interface, Guitar Rig Software and a separate Phrase trainer Application. However I find this more natural to use - I hated Guitar Rig but actually I find myself twiddling with this...
I haven't tried the recording feature yet but that also looks very good (being able to record both clean and dirty sounds).
The other thing I haven't used is the ability to use a Microphone or plug in a Bass Guitar. There are patches pre-configured for this...
The new model (JS-10) has two features which might be useful but its current price puts me off:
1. You can plug two Guitars/Microphones in. It can offer separate effects for each.
2. The JS-10 has an extra bass speaker so the sound quality is a little better.
If it got stolen or broken would I buy a new one? Yes although it wouldn't be an urgent purchase. Like this one I would wait for a sensible price -145 for all that it does makes it a bit of a bargain and I like it as a toy to fiddle with - particularly later at night when I can't turn the HT1 on.