The Boss Pocket GT

DougM

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I hadn't heard of this device before, which is basically a mini GT processor/Katana, with all the features of them and more, including linking to YouTube, as well as the Boss Tone studio, for IOS, Android, MAC, and PC, and also has USB and an analog aux input too. Seems very cool

 

NeverTooLate

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Mine arrived Friday night. I have about 5 hours on it now. I may write a separate review later but here are some initial thoughts:

1/ It has insane optionality, which is why I got it over the Fender Micro Mustang.
1A/ This is a plus if you want to fool around endlessly with amps and effects
1B/ This is a minus if you are both a newbie (I am) and using this as your only amp. The Fender Micro had a lot but ultimately limited options that are presumably well thought out. This one...you can drown right away. The factory presets are mostly meh if that.

2/ It works extremely well in a 3-way connection: computer with Tone Studio-guitar-headphones. Forget about using this without Tone Studio. Once you program what you want, you can save to a preset and then use that preset w/o computer. But nailing a sound without Tone Studio....

3/ The above-mentioned optionality exceeds what a pedal has. Like, an MXR Phaser has 1 button. This has like 4 controls. So, again, a ton of options.

4/ The use of gain command and volume is clear as mud and it can kill you with volume as you move between presets. If my 250 ohm DT 990 were not open end, I would be using those. I use Sennheiser 280hD with them or the equivalent Beyerdynamic, switched from the latter to the former due to 32 vs 64 ohm. Switching between factory presets to test them out became an ears-resilience test. I have to mildly change the volume, like from 25 to 24 to get it to, indeed, the 24-25 original setting. But at the moment of switching it changes volume to like 100 sometimes. It is crazy. That, or I do something wrong.

5/ In terms of individual amps, the 5150 simulation is working well for me, I am struggling with the two Plexi simulations. For the moment, I prefer what I am getting from my Blackstar HT5 when it comes to Marshall sounds. It has a bunch of usable clean simulations but there is something about the HT5's clean channel that I like. It has a warmth that it is commonplace to attribute to the tubes but I don't want to go there. I am just saying that the Ht5 gives pretty good sounds out of the box (at least when using the emulated out for headphones) while on the Pocket GT you have to work to get something you really like.

6/ The Fender Micro's plug in like a cable is genius. The Pocket GT requires a separate shorter cable and you have to wear something with a good enough pocket. Well, but here in AZ...we rarely use pockets! The Fender would be far more convenient in this respect while, conversely, the GT switches easily between presets while with the Fender you have to keep clicking all the time and learn the lights. So the convenience factor is a toss up.

And #5 is really the bottom line of this initial review: the Boss GT is for fooling around and learning the basics about various effects and settings. While it is marketed for beginners, I won't be surprised if the Fender Micro is better for most beginners. UNLESS you want to download presets created by more experienced people, the Fender is probably better at giving you fully usable sounds out of the box.
 

johnnyASAT

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My boss (no pun intended) gave me the okay to bring my guitar to practice during my break provided I could keep it quiet and have been looking at one of these. Really only need a clean Princetonish model with tremolo and spring reverb so even this might be overkill but you can’t argue with a C-Note for everything that’s crammed in here. I looked into the Mustang Micro and it had something like that but control parameters on the effects aren’t as flexible as I would like judging from the manual.

Can you only play stuff from YouTube or can you play any audio from your phone, like your favorite metronome app?
 

Spudly

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They are on sale now at your favorite online store for around $99. Pretty good deal for being able to have a Katana with simulated midi switching in your pocket. What a great tool. I just ordered one. This will be a game changer for me. It will eliminate excuses I've had for not learning more songs, technique, tone shaping etc.
 

NeverTooLate

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My boss (no pun intended) gave me the okay to bring my guitar to practice during my break provided I could keep it quiet and have been looking at one of these. Really only need a clean Princetonish model with tremolo and spring reverb so even this might be overkill but you can’t argue with a C-Note for everything that’s crammed in here. I looked into the Mustang Micro and it had something like that but control parameters on the effects aren’t as flexible as I would like judging from the manual.

Can you only play stuff from YouTube or can you play any audio from your phone, like your favorite metronome app?

I have not gotten to exploring that type of functionality at all...there are a variety of clean options, even an acoustic simulator.

They are on sale now at your favorite online store for around $99. Pretty good deal for being able to have a Katana with simulated midi switching in your pocket. What a great tool. I just ordered one. This will be a game changer for me. It will eliminate excuses I've had for not learning more songs, technique, tone shaping etc.

Yeah, you can stack a further 10% from Cream City Music in WI. They have a 10% coupon when you sign up and then every time you buy, you get another.

This thing can be taken on any prolonged travel from home as well. At this price, it is a total no brainer indeed. Whether the Boss or the Fender, is a personal preference. Point is...I remember what my friends who started to play in the 80s had to go through...we have no excuses nowadays!
 

NeverTooLate

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I finally got a 3ft cable that works, which allows me to try the Pocket GT as, indeed, a pocket amp.

Well, yeah, it ain't really a "pocket" amp with two cables going out in two opposite directions. So if someone has ease of use while walking around as the No 1 variable, the Fender wins.
 

NeverTooLate

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Is there a way to connect the pocket GT to an amp?

I have been using it daily; so far it sits on my desk in a 3-way connection with guitar and desktop and headphones. But I am curious if it could be used with an amp.
 

Blrfl

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$99 is dirt cheap for this much gadget, so I bought one. Considering how far down it is from the original $250+ MRSP, I wonder if they're going to discontinue it. Either way, mine arrives today, I'll be taking it on a trip next week and will report what I find. Looks really, really promising, though.

I'll be taking it on a trip next week and will report back on

Under the heading of Everything's Better with Bluetooth: Boss is now shipping the FS-1-WL, a wireless footswitch that can, be paired up with the Pocket GT and several other Boss products and mobile devices to provide three external switches. What really caught my eye is that it has inputs for two additional switches and an expression pedal, which might enable the dormant pedal settings in the PGT. On the other hand, it's $130, and I could buy a used the completely-compatible GT-1 for the same money.
 

NeverTooLate

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$99 is dirt cheap for this much gadget, so I bought one. Considering how far down it is from the original $250+ MRSP, I wonder if they're going to discontinue it. Either way, mine arrives today, I'll be taking it on a trip next week and will report what I find. Looks really, really promising, though.

I'll be taking it on a trip next week and will report back on

Under the heading of Everything's Better with Bluetooth: Boss is now shipping the FS-1-WL, a wireless footswitch that can, be paired up with the Pocket GT and several other Boss products and mobile devices to provide three external switches. What really caught my eye is that it has inputs for two additional switches and an expression pedal, which might enable the dormant pedal settings in the PGT. On the other hand, it's $130, and I could buy a used the completely-compatible GT-1 for the same money.

Yes, exactly (on the switch price). I bought instead a Behringer Multi Effects pedal for 33$ from Sweetwater so I can also explore the effects of interest to me via foot and with my amp. I intended to wait months and then buy proper pedals if any but for 33?

NOW, be careful when you switch between pre-sets! The volume goes NUTS. I just took my head off strumming an A cord after changing presets and forgetting to touch the volume knob. I just wrote to Roland in annoyance but so far all I have found out is that I must touch (like turn minimally) the volume and/or gain knob EVERY time I change presets.

And it is not like I ever have set 100 anywhere on volume.

Otherwise, still greatly entertaining 10 days after purchase. I have developed some pain in fingers and forearm because of over-practicing (and I am sure I am applying too much pressure as I learn/practice new cord changes; I also tried to learn a neoclassical motif on Friday and it killed my little finger, I am under 6 months since Day 1). So I have had to be more careful and to learn to stretch hands.

Anyway, the Boss is highly useful but it has its quirkiness. Because of how it has to be wired, mine spends a lot of time in the air between myself/guitar (standing) and my desk. I keep it plugged into the computer as I constantly tweak presets for now.

SO two down-sides for now:
1/ The volume issue (and I am using studio headphones, either 64 or 250 ohm, will stay with the latter)
2/ The fact that the main cables come out from opposite sides of the body so it is hard to actually fit it in a pocket of any kind.
 

Alamo

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$99 is dirt cheap for this much gadget, so I bought one. Considering how far down it is from the original $250+ MRSP, I wonder if they're going to discontinue it.
Hey for that money I'd snag one too.

Thomann has them for €203 Euros. well no thanks then :rolleyes:
 

NeverTooLate

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Hey for that money I'd snag one too.

Thomann has them for €203 Euros. well no thanks then :rolleyes:

That's crazy! How much is the Fender Mustang Micro?

A positive update today. I was able to dial in a tone that:
1/ I am not familiar with (which does not mean much at all)
2/ I am loving it, it is a highly saturated tone based off the 5150 simulation.

So I wrote my first riff:) Now if only I could play it consistently right, LOL.

The Tele can sound gloriously metal, especially on the series setting.

I finally got a very rough approximation of AC DC tone that works just fine enough for me. I ended up using OD 1 at 100% and Natural Clean Amp with mids at 100, less treble, and bass at 70 or so. Minimal gain on the amp.

I am making some progress on Mesa Boogie III (BG Lead) by using Treble Boost. But no luck on the Marshall yet.

Considering how much I love to play with the 5150 sim and the progress on the MB III, I may just let go of my Marshall attempts for now. I tried initially an AC 30 sim for U2 and I need to revisit that setting.
 

Blrfl

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After a couple of weeks of owning this thing:

Picks:

Considering that it's the entry-level Boss MFX unit (the GT-1) in a smaller package, the sound's decent. Patches between both units are interchangeable. Like anything else, there's a little work involved in getting things exactly as you want them. I've done a couple of patches that show it off in a good light.

The six settings on the front panel (Gain, Level, Reverb, Distortion/Overdrive, Modulation, Delay) are enough to make a variety of sounds with little effort and without needing to run Tone Studio. Patches 90-99 arrive "empty," meaning they're a very-basic clean sound that can be turned into a lot of other useful things just with those controls. If you're looking for something that mirrors the experience of fiddling around with an amp and a small handful of pedals, this is it. The default modulation is a chorus, but it can be re-saved with something else. Many of the built-in patches have DS/OD, modulation and delay pre-configured even if they're not on by default and are tweakable without using the app. Also nifty is that, for those three things, the knobs can shut them completely off (display shows o-, n- or d-), use the setting configured in the patch (oC, nC, dC) or whatever amount you want (1-99).

The media controls work when you're paired to a Bluetooth audio source, which means you're not tied to using Tone Studio for practice. I like that, because most of the stuff I play along with is already on my phone. The session feature in Tone Studio is handy; it lets you put markers in a YouTube video or MP3 that changes patches when playback crosses them.

The built-in tuner works surprisingly well, even without Tone Studio, which shows more detail. That means one less thing to carry.

Pans:

The build could be a little better and the style of the housing has 1996 written all over it. Mine's probably going to be semi-permanently mounted in this organizer with cabling permanently installed to cut back on wear and tear and for the convenience of quicker setup. One positive I found in Tony MacKenzie's YouTube review and dissection of this thing is that the input jack is on a separate, floating PC board, which should help prevent damage to the main board from the heavy 1/4" connector.

Neither the MIDI nor audio implementations are USB class-compliant so, like most Roland products, you have to install a driver to use it on a computer. Tone Studio can't be run on Linux under WINE, either. Booooo.

A few parts of Tone Studio on mobile are a little fiddly, notably trying to set delay times relative to the tempo (e.g., 1/8, 1/4). The desktop version is okay in that respect. I'm also not crazy about the Bluetooth MIDI pairing ritual you have to go through when starting up on mobile; that should really be automagic like it is for the audio.

The functions of the three parameter knobs can be configured to tune almost any parameter in any of the effect blocks but, since no good deed goes unpunished, those settings are global and apply to every patch. Storing that per patch would make it a lot more useful.

Neutral:

Like most modeling whatchamacallits, the levels on the factory patches are all over the map. I've settled on streaming in audio over Bluetooth at full volume, setting the main volume to something comfortable and setting the patch level to something good relative to that. Most of the factory patches will require minor adjustments.

This thing has pretty much the same quirks as the Mustang Micro with the variety of headphones I tried. My AKG K182s and Sennheiser HD-599s and HD-520 IIs seem to be the best for both. Earbuds, even good ones are just... meh, although I was able to tweak up a couple of patches to make them sound good. The K182s will get packed in my suitcase for hotel room use and I'll limp along with earbuds elsewhere.

Battery life seems to be about the claimed four hours. The charge indicator turns red about 30 minutes from running out, although it's on the side and not prominent-enough to notice easily. You can also check the battery state from inside Tone Studio.

The Verdict:

Not the epitome of digital guitar processing, but awfully good for the price and form factor. It's fun, and I think it'll be even more fun as I make adjustments and develop some patches that suit my personal tastes.

This won't replace my Mustang Micro, but I think both will come along for travel depending on whether I want something quick to set up and use (MM) or the ability to do more-sophisticated things (PGT). I definitely enjoyed having it along on my trip last week.
 

NeverTooLate

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After a couple of weeks of owning this thing:

Picks:

Considering that it's the entry-level Boss MFX unit (the GT-1) ...

This is great, thanks.

Do you or anyone else know if I could get the Pocket GT go through the Blackstar HT5 amp (home use, beginner)? I could get an adapter to use with the headphone output. The amp's effects loop has in and out though so would I be using the in? Or I could run it through the front on a clean channel maybe? I guess I will get a converter tomorrow and try anyway.

The goal is to make certain patches hearable live to others at home. Nothing special.

I guess the alternative would be powered speakers that could in the future be used with a higher-end modelling amp?

What powered speakers would be a good solution, strictly for home use?

Thanks!
 

Blrfl

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Do you or anyone else know if I could get the Pocket GT go through the Blackstar HT5 amp (home use, beginner)? I could get an adapter to use with the headphone output. The amp's effects loop has in and out though so would I be using the in? Or I could run it through the front on a clean channel maybe? I guess I will get a converter tomorrow and try anyway.

The input, effects return or auxiliary/MP3 input (if your HT5 has one) would work. Just keep the output level on the PGT down to something that won't overdrive the input.

Powered speakers would work fine, too; I don't have any recommendations for you. For travel, I use a Bluetooth speaker with a line input, although you have to be careful selecting those because many of them have a lot of latency, even on the line in.
 

johnnyASAT

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About to start using this thing, but quick question for people who use this: do regular off the shelf earbuds do okay with this thing or do I need to use my nice set of cans to hear anything? My cheapo buds that I use with my phone are certainly more portable.
 

Blrfl

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...do regular off the shelf earbuds do okay with this thing or do I need to use my nice set of cans to hear anything? My cheapo buds that I use with my phone are certainly more portable.

Cans are nice, buds are serviceable. Kinda.

I don't know what it is with buds and headphone amps, but I've got three (amPlug 2 AC30, Mustang Micro and the PGT) and none of them seem to get along well with any of my earbuds, even the good ones. There's something lacking in the bass department and maybe the mids are a little crazy. What's weird is that music pumped into the MM or PGT via Bluetooth sounds great, even the bassy stuff. Plug in a decent set of cans and everything sounds good.

For travel, I pack a pair AKG K182s and a Bluetooth speaker with aux input in my luggage and keep a set of buds in with the guitar in case I end up stuck somewhere without my luggage and need a six-string fix.
 

Peegoo

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Do you or anyone else know if I could get the Pocket GT go through the Blackstar HT5 amp

I don't have the GT, but I've had a Line 6 Pocket Pod for about ?eight years? now and it does have a 1/4" out to drive an amp. It also has a headphone out for quiet playing.

Cans are nice, buds are serviceable. Kinda.

Both work for these little headphone amps, but the big difference is in battery life: cans have larger voice coils and larger diaphragms, and they move more air than earbuds. Therefore, use of earbuds greatly extends battery life.
 

mystichands

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I’ve had the PGT for about three weeks now and it’s pretty good overall. Yeah it’s got its quirks, but it’s still a useful little gizmo. I compare it to my old Korg PX3, which I still use occasionally. The Bluetooth feature is cool, although I don’t typically play along with YT videos. I dialed in a few Quist backing tracks to play along with, and with headphones, not earbuds, it was really nice sounding. I’ve run the headphone/out jack into the aux input on my Vox VT40+, and the sound was good, using the amps variable power knob. Low wattage around 15, I found to be the best. As others have mentioned, you must dial down the volume on the GT, because when you switch patches somehow the volume is high. And annoying as hell. I’m going to try to run it into my old tascam tape machine to see what I can do with 4 analog tracks. For a hundred bucks, it’s a fun little piece of kit.
 




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