Price paid: $ 445
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I exclusively play a standard Strat, using mostly the 2nd and 4th (out of phase) pickup selector positions, through a Peavey Classic 50/212. With the Peavey's ultra-clean sound at higher volumes, the modeled effects of the GT-8 can really be exploited, once you tame the EQ for each patch. It's best to leave your amp set flat and use the GT-8's EQ, as it makes for repeatable sound from gig to gig (and keeps your sound guy from slapping you). Some of the hotter patches are noisy, but you can find other ones that get the same crunch and scream without as much noise, or you can simply choose another amp model and/or tweak the EQ for the patch. You can come very close to Eric Clapton, George Benson, and even Joe Satriani. I find that the sitar sound is pretty pathetic, but most of the other patches are quite believable.
Overall Impression — 10
I play in a Portuguese rock band (yes, they exist) but we do a lot of American and British classic covers, basically album-accurate, so I need realistic modeling, which this unit provides. And since the ethnic tunes are mostly on clean patches, they have to be clarion sparkly, which this processor excels at, with shimmering chorus, delay, and flanging. But I run in mono, so some of the bigger, stereo-panned patches are wasted. I returned a Vox ToneLab when I heard the Boss GT-8. I would definitely replace this unit if stolen or lost (as soon as I got out of cardiac ICU).
Reliability & Durability — 8
So far, so good. No hardware breakage, but then I have not had it that long. As far as the electronics go, I would imagine that they will Live long, barring spilled beer and giant magnets.
Ease of Use — 7
It's got a whole bunch of really usable patches ready to go right out of the box, which is good because, as all Boss owners will testify, there are more variables and parameter settings to play with than the average Joe would ever want to have to tweak. The user guide is fairly forthcoming, but it reads as if the author wanted to get through it rather than to inform us. But it does get the point across, despite a few typos.