Price paid: £ 99
Purchased from: Sound Control
Ease of Use: From the moment you open the box, it couldn't be simpler to get started with the Black Box Reloaded. Plug it in, plug your guitar in and you're pretty much off. If you're wanting to do some recording with it, there's only one more stage to be fair, the genius inside you will have figured out this is plugging the USB in. Editing patches is made rather simple, it can feel a little too fast sometimes since half the work is done turning knobs rather than pressing buttons and you tend to have to be careful not to fly past the level you want. The maximum levels of each setting hit 99, which is slightly confusing at first and made me wonder why everything was so quiet, but atleast now you know! Every patch is fully customisable and has almost every effect you can imagine to play with. Hell, you can even choose which type of amplifier you want it to sound like and there's a nice selection to choose from.
Me being me, I didn't pay mutch attention to the manual as technical sides of things tend to get the best of me, but I read some people's online guides on how to use it as reference to get me further into the functions. The M-Audio site has quite a lot of tips on making the best of it too. // 9
Sound: My setup is what you'd call neighbour friendly. I have some large headphones plugged into the blackbox since the emulations of the guitars are top notch. I've used it through P.A. Systems and amplifiers without any loss in quality, sometimes certain settings may need a slight tweek but nothing too drastic. Everything I've played it through so far sounds fantastic, not found any noise as of yet, unless you want it to give some. I can't find any effects that sound anything lower than great. There are some really innovative ones along with what you'd expect and some artist ones too (Steve Vai and the Greenday effect from the intro of Boulivard of Broken Dreams feature). The variation you can get from different distortion settings is amazing and the choice of amp can really help you compliment what you were aiming for. Like I said before, everything is customisable down to the smallest detail. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Once I bought this, I never needed anything else other than my guitar. It comes with a handy attachment on the back to attach it to a mic stand. My only quarell with that is that at certain angles you can't see the screen very well, but aslong as you know which effect is where during a gig you have no problem. It's a very sturdy device, I wouldn't recommend dropping it, but that goes without saying really. I've dropped a few things on it (by accident before you start) and it's still in it's prime. // 9
Overall Impression: Given that I never stay with one style of music, this thing is bang on what I needed. I've been playing now for 7 years and I've had all kinds of pedals in that time, nothing comes close. If you do buy this product and decided to just use it to practice and/or record, fair does, but you can buy a pedal attachment with it which has two pedals for selecting and a wah pedal. This comes in very handy with gigs.
If you are recording with it, another great feature is that it has an XLR input too for your mic so you can get those vocals down. If I had to change something about it, I'd have had the pedal addition to be thrown in with the actual device, but in all fairness, it's not just a gigging Tool. // 9