Hands-On Review:BOSS GT-10 Multi-Effects Pedal
Powerful and intuitive sound shaping
By Dan Day
Musician’s Friend Staff Writer
Some guitarists are content with simple effects. However, a phase shifter stompbox with an on/off switch and a single knob doesn’t offer a lot of sonic choices. Many musicians are tech-hungry and tweak-happy—they want complete control over a virtually limitless range of guitar sounds for recording or live performance. Much more than just another guitar pedal, the BOSS GT-10 is a powerful guitar effects processor. So what’s the difference? Command and control—in addition to offering myriad pedal-type effects including many BOSS favorites, the GT-10’s high-performance processor lets you adjust the parameters of the guitar signal chain from amp input to speaker output. It allows you to duplicate well-known guitar rigs or create new sounds of your own design. You can select the type of guitar pickup and amplifier preamp/speaker configuration; adjust EQ; and choose from a vast selection of modern and traditional distortion, delay, and modulation effects; and many more types of standard and non-standard effects.
COSM is cosmic
At the heart of the GT-10’s digital sound processor is BOSS’ COSM technology. COSM stands for Composite Object Sound Modeling that includes amplifier preamp, speaker configuration, and mic modeling. You can choose from a comprehensive list of 38 modeled guitar amps including clean sounding, vintage clean, crunch, combo, classic, modern high-gain, metal, and boutique amps. You can create a custom preamp setting with parameter adjustments for gain, EQ, presence, and then add the speaker complement ranging from a single 8" to a massive 8x12 double-stack. You can even select the type of cab miking including position and distance from the speakers.
The amount of control you get with the GT-10 is astounding. For example, you can adjust parameters to select the number of phasing stages, adjust the phase rate, depth, center frequency, resonance, and step rate for a cosmic display of phaser power that would make Scotty and Data drool (assuming androids can drool). The GT-10’s two parallel effects paths let you easily switch or mix between two different tones such as a clean, rotary speaker sound and a high-gain drive with delay. You can also run the channels together or blend them with the expression pedal.
Out of the box
When I first pulled the GT-10 out of its box I was struck by its sleek metallic sheen as well as its heft and solid construction. This monster is built like a Humvee. I soon discovered that, unlike some lightweight floor processors, this beast wouldn’t budge as I got into some vigorous wah-wah action with the expression pedal.
The 150-page owner’s manual makes a great reference tool when you’re ready to go deep to learn all of the GT-10’s capabilities, but I didn’t look at it at first. I just plugged in my guitar, hooked up a couple of practice amps for stereo output, and started tapping the footswitches to see what sounds I could get. I accessed the 200 preset patches by first selecting a bank using the bank up or down footswitches. Each bank contains four patches activated by footswitches 1 through 4. The bright display indicates the bank number and the name of the patch selected. In addition to grooving on the usual suspects such as Stack Lead, ’60s Fuzz, and Texas Riff, I discovered the joys of Irish Delay with a second amp hooked up for pulsating, widescreen stereo crunch. I got especially hung up on the Ring Modulator effect with stereo delay through the headphones. I found myself getting tranced-out by playing a simple three-note sequence, adjusting the oscillation frequency, and letting the sound echo between my ears. Now I know how David Gilmour must have felt when he first played the signature guitar riff to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”
Even if you don’t know anything about patches or parameters, the GT-10’s EZ Tone wizard offers an intuitive way to create sounds. I pressed the Create button and the display took me through the four-step process. I was playing an SG through a practice amp, so I selected humbucker pickup and small amp output. Then I chose my Basic Tone, selecting from genres such as jazz, blues, punk pop, progressive, soul funk, and ’80s metal. Each genre has 10 tone variations. I chose the ’70s Hard Rock tone and the Burnin’ Riff variation so I was free to keep some bad company. Next, I used the display’s Positional Tone Control to select the amount of drive using the parameter knobs to move a pointer along an X-Y axis called a Tone Grid. Totally graphic! Turning one knob to the right moved the pointer from Soft to Hard. Another knob moved it up from Backing to Solo. Since I could hear the changes instantaneously, I tweaked until I got to the desired sweet spot so I could start burnin’ for you. The fourth and final EZ Tone step let me use the Tone Grid to adjust delay from Short to Long and Dry to Wet.
I employed the Phrase Looper to practice some harmonized sweep picking parts. I also recorded the bass riff, some sliding 9th chords, and blues lead to a version of “Driving Wheel” in G. I was able to record up to 38 seconds for each loop—enough for a full 12-bar blues, adding a seemingly endless number of sound-on-sound parts, each of which I could modify on playback with different effects and tones. Move over Robert Fripp and Willy Porter—hey, who needs a band?
I have just enough space to mention that the GT-10 has an impressive array of I/O that lets you connect your home studio computer or digital recorder for realtime USB streaming transfer of audio and MIDI data.
With its advanced modeling technology, 24-bit processing power, and intuitive controls, the GT-10 is an advanced tool for sculpting and controlling your sound onstage and in the studio.
Features & Specs
- 39 preamps plus custom preamp setting
- 134 pedal-type effects
- 25 types of overdrive/distortion plus custom
- Modulation effects
- 200 factory presets
- 200 user-defined presets
- Noise reduction
- EZ Tone wizard
- Parallel effects chain
- Amp control
- 24-bit + AF method AD conversion
- 24-bit DA conversion
- 44.1kHz sampling frequency
- 1/4" input
- 1/4" output (L/mono and R)
- 1/4" EXT loop jacks send, return
- 1/4" amp control jack
- 1/4" TRS EXP pedal 2/CTL3,4 jack
- (1/4" TRS phone type)
- USB connector
- Digital out jack
- MIDI I/O
- DC in jack
- Included AC adapter
- 21-3/8"W x 3-1/16"H x 10-3/4"D
- 10 lbs. 13 oz.