Price paid: $ 225
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 10
I'm playing thru a passive Jackson DKMG dinky with EMG-HZ pickups. Boring right?:) ad thru an audio technica ATH-700 pro headphones. I have a Blackstar HT-1R but I have not tried the Br80 with that yet. This this sounds thick through the headphones. And I guess the best way to go with this one is with headphones because its meant for portability. The effects are cool. Some of the distortion sounds may feel dry but most of it are pretty thick and fat especially when playing thru some blues patches. There is an acoustic guitar emulator, which in my opinion is good but definitely not as good as a real acoustic guitar. But its not bad. The cool thing is that it also has a bass guitar emulator and its awesome. I play metal most of the time, the is this group of patches for progressive metal and the progressive clean tone is just like John Petrucci's!
Overall Impression — 10
For me who's got a full time job from 8:30 - 8:50, cooks at home for my fiance, reads books about finance, does swimming to keep fit, this is my dream guitar gadget! Its small, packed with features and a whole lot of fun. I have been playing guitar for 10 years or so. As of the moment, owning the unit for 2 weeks now, I have not seen any major flaws. For the price that you pay for it, its definitely a good buy. I can see that this one could have been better if the LCD screen were as like those of smart phones, colored with good resolution, but that would make the price go up. I also which that it could have had more knobs because the mixing part would have been easier to operate. Not that its hard or complicated. I compared this with the Tascam GB-10 but the BR-80 owned it! If this thing got stolen, broken, I'll definitely buy another one. I'm a happy consumer when I bought this product!
Reliability & Durability — 7
Can I depend on it? Yes I can, but I would say only in a room or practice setup. It may sound good thru headphones but playing at a huge venue may not be this thing's game. The construction of the unit it pretty sturdy. Heavy duty plastic body with rubber lining on the sides. The condenser mics are protected as well. The buttons don't feel cheap when you press them. My only concern is with the rotating knob. I believe it may have some issues in the future. But hopefully not.
Ease of Use — 9
I would not say that operating this unit is a no-brainer. For its very compact size, just about the size of my Samsung galaxy s2, there are not that much buttons but yet its packed with a full featured recording studio, practice tool. There are really awesome out of the box sounds that you can get out of it. Editing patches is, I would say a breeze. Its got an LCD screen so that you can see the signal chain that you are working on. But for the meantime, in not into editing the patches as jamming along with the backing tracks inside, automatically chooses a good patch to match it so when you jam along, it just feels so good. There is a good manual that came with the product. It was laid out in a very comprehensive manner. Its divided into different sections highlighting the 3 main functions of the unit one being a full featured recording studio, two, the eband mode and three the live rec mode. The product came with firmware version 1.02, which you can see on the loading screen when you power the unit on. And when I went to register the product online, I downloaded the new firmware ver 1.06.