Price paid: $ 395
Sound — 10
Sound quality is superb. Once you get things tweaked the way you like them you'll be amazed. I wanted something that I could use in front of a power amp or straight into a board and this is just the thing for that. The effects are very good. Compressor is a little noisy. This has a synth bass that you can actually use. you have to play really clean, and play with the sensitivity setting to suit your own playing, but it does work. If you're playing through a bass amp you might want to skip the cabinet models, but if you are using a power amp and full range speaker or lining in to a mixer the cabinet models make a big difference. I'm still not sure about the fretless simulator. I need to play with it a bit more. I haven't really been able to come up with a sound I like for that yet. There is a factory patch called "Rockabilly" that has a cool upright bass sound with a short delay. The "auto slap" is really just a programmable arpeggiator. It's fun to play with, but I cant see using it in live performance, unless you're synced to a MIDI clock. One thing to watch out for. If you are using a bass with active electronics you will have to adjust the preamp gain down on the factory patches. I have a Spector NSQ2000, and when I first plugged it in I was getting distortion on every patch. I guess these were programmed with a passive bass.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for 35 years. Pro and semi pro. I wish I would have had something like this in the '80s when I was playing full time. As I mentioned earlier, I had purchased a DOD bass 30, which did sound good and was dirt simple to operate, but is not even in the same ballpark as this thing. This is a very professional unit. XLR jacks, a master volume knob,(which only works on the 1/4" outs) MIDI, an on/off switch, (get a clue DigiTech) the list of features goes on and on. I will admit that I wasn't sure if I would keep it at first. I really had to work to get it to sound like I wanted. But once I got it, well, I won't be sending it back. This thing is simply the best. One other thing. With all those distortion, overdrive, wah, etc. models I had to try it out with my guitar. If you use the bassman or SVT amp models and the 4 or 8 ten speaker model. or plug it in your guitar amp and just use the effects. After all it has the Boss overdrive, Blues overdrive and Heavy Metal (plus other) distortion pedal models, and the crybaby wah. Plus the harmonizer. Who's going to use that on bass? Anyway it sounded killer with my Strat. Bottom line. Buy one of these, spend a few hours tweaking it to your taste and you'll be happy. Nobody else even comes close to this.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The GT-6b is big and heavy and built like a truck. All metal. Did I mention heavy? There is a bar that sticks up across the upper side of the footswitches. This helps keep you from kicking the knobs. Very smart. i believe Boss has quite a reputation for dependability with their floor units.
Ease of Use — 10
Right out of the box it shows it's bells and whistles with the factory patches, but I had to do a lot of tweaking to do to get sounds I could actually use. I must say, this unit had me scratching my head a bit when I first got into it. I had previously had a DOD bass 30 which I was getting great sounds with right away. This is a much more complicated processor. The upside of that is it has a lot more to offer than the bass 30. However, after spending a little time with the manual, (which is very good) and getting to know how this thing works, programming is a breeze and I am getting tons of great sounds. Just be patient and read the book and you'll be fine. I think they must have listened to customer feedback, because this thing has some nifty features that make life a little easier. One being a patch swap feature. This allows you to have two patches switch places without having to find a third location to for temorary storage. Another minor but nice feature is a button that allows you to switch between upper and lower case letters when naming a patch. Saves a lot of scrolling around. Aother great feature lets you rearrange the effects chain. It would have been nice if they would have put an explaination of the cryptic symbols and abbreviations used in the display for this. The front panel knobs are great for quick edits, but using the menus and data wheel lets you get into the deeper editing. When you activate each effect (compressor, chorus, distortion and reverb/delay), there are a few "quick settings" for each. These give you a starting point to use or edit as you wish without starting from scratch. Very handy. There is also a feature called E-Z tone which gives you basic templates to create sounds. Boss has taken what otherwise could be a programming nightmare and really put in a lot of user friendly features. This thing is loaded to the hilt with features and more effects than I'll ever use.