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4.2 out of 5 stars16
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on 23 January 2011
I bought this when it first came out, so there were no reviews available at that time.
I was looking for a portable alternative to Cubase so that I could easily record in any room of the house. I needed on-board effects and a programmable drum machine, both of which are included. There appears to be no other recorder that can do this at this price (there are older recorders but they are extremely limited in the size of memory cards they can accept).
The results are very good.
I have some gripes, though.
I did expect this to be a true 8-track recorder, but, as another reviewer has pointed out, it is not. If a recorder is advertised as 8-track it's not unreasonabe to expect to be able to record to each one separately. This can be overcome slightly by recording extra virtual tracks and exporting the lot to a PC for further editing, but this somewhat defeats the object of this machine.
Bouncing tracks is possible but not explicitly mentioned in the manual.
The touch controls are fiddly to use and are not as responsive as I woud have liked; mechanical ones would have been better.
I'm not too concerned re the lack of on-board editing, but I understand that for some it could be an issue.
The lack of midi does not concern me either, but it would be a massive plus (and price hike, probably).
If this had been a true 8-tracker, I would have given it five stars.
As a portable muti-tracker for the guitarist, it's highly recommended, provided you can live without certain features as mentioned above.
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on 16 July 2011
I've owned a BR 800 for a couple of months now. I upgraded from my precious BR 600 basically because the 1gb flash cards you need for recording are near impossible to buy these days.

I'm a 'bedroom' guitarist who plays fairly basic rock so the BR 800 suite my style fine. I particularly like the drum patterns and facility to lower your guitar by an octave to create a bass sound. The range of effects for guitar and vocals is amazing. The design of the system is such that the possibilities for creating great sounding tracks are endless.

The rhythm edit software is a nice touch. The WAV converter for creating finished tracks is straightforward. I've not quite got my head around the Cakewalk Sonar software that comes with it. Maybe when I've got more time on my hands.

There's been a firmware update recently released which addresses some of the criticisms related to the absence of copy and paste within tracks etc though to be honest the BR 600 included this but I never used it. At least this is evidence that Roland listen to their customers.

I notice since I updated my system the USB connection is now a lot smoother and faster.

The criticism that customers have been mislead into believing this a true 8 track recorder are a bit unfair. It says quite clearly on the box, the user guide and the unit itself that this is a 4 track recorder / 8 track playback with separate rhythm. You basically record to tracks 1 - 4, copy the finished tracks to the separate 5-8 stereo tracks, bounce the whole thing to a single track and start again using tracks 1 - 4. You can use the virtual tracks to save your original work should you need to start again. Must admit it took me a while to latch on to this method of recording but it does explain the meaning behind '4 track recorder / 8 track playback'.

I love this machine. If you are unsure whether to buy one there are are plenty of demos on You Tube.

I found it useful downloading the user guide from the Roland website to read up on the machine's capabilities before I decided to make my purchase.
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on 18 July 2012
This is great for recording guitar and vocal tracks. Plenty of effects and not too difficult to use at a basic level. It is possible to get recording quickly. The 'buttons' can be a bit unreliable at times. All the features are hidden deep in the menu so changing settings, especially effects and amp settings, is a pain.

The real down side is that my PC has difficulty 'seeing' the BR-800. Things have improved since I updated the firmware to v1.10 though. I have down loaded my tracks including several virtual tracks to my PC. First the Boss file format needs to be converted to a wave file for cakewalk to be able to read. During this process I found that some overdubs were not copied across. They are still on the BR-800 but on the PC, the tracks remain as if I hadn't gone over the few bars (where I was correcting some duff notes). Then I got a card read error and had to format the memory card loosing everything on it.

Since the editing features on the machine are limited and there is no built in CD recorder being able to, easily and reliably, link to a computer is essential the BR-800 falls down badly at this and is, therefore I'm afraid completely useless for anything other than trying out ideas.

Not got on with the drum editing (again done on computer). The basic drum patterns are fine but if you record a song from a CD, say, to play along with you will need to forget the machines drum track and try and add drums some other way after. You can't really edit the machines drum patterns to fit the recording- at least I can't.

Ive had it over a year and hardly used it as its too frustrating. I am looking for something better I really wanted to move away from recording on my PC but thats what I'm back using.
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VINE VOICEon 10 July 2014
This is not an in-depth review but purely on the ability to bounce tracks. It's not even mentioned in the manual so I did panic after I had unboxed it, and began to wish I'd bought the zoom r16. However I dug around on the internet and bouncing is actually pretty good. Tracks 1-4 are regular tracks - 5/6 and 7/8 are stereo pairs. To bounce you enter mastering mode - and select destination tracks. One of the stereo pairs makes sense but you can select any track. Bounce everything (1-4 and 5/6) onto 7/8. You can also include the onboard rhythm too. To listen to the bounce - and to add to it - you need to enter the track menu and select the vtrack containing the bounce. Then you can record again on 1-4. Leave 5/6 as the destination for the next bounce. So - as long as you get levels correct and a nice stereo mix as you go along - you can add a ton of tracks.
All new kit has a learning curve - but there does seem to be a lot of menu activity on this box.
The touch buttons will definately become a major pain, although apparently you can change the sensitivity.
Sound is great though - a step up from my BR900 in that regard. Very light too. Not yet tried it with the PC.
Manual is surprisingly bad - the above is exactly the sprt of thing that should be covered.
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on 8 December 2010
This Boss recorder is marketed as an "8-track" recorder and also "the ultimate in portability".

First and foremost the Boss BR-800 is NOT an 8 track recorder. Tracks 5/6 and 7/8 are stereo tracks. You cannot separate them or dis-engage them, or un-pair them. So really what you have are 4 mono tracks and and two tracks that record in stereo. That is not, in my lexicon, a true 8 track recorder. Also whatever you record to "track" numbered 5/6 or "track" 7/8 cannot be unpaired. For example, say you record a keyboard to 5/6 and after you want to pan the recorded sound a little to the left and a little to the right, well, that's not possible because the tracks are paired. Now this is basic stuff, I mean even the little Boss Micro will allow you to unpair a stereo recorded track. In fact the Boss Micro, albeit with it's 4 single tracks might actually have more "useable" features than the BR-800. However....

.....the most remarkable step backwards, by Boss, in designing this product is in it's ability (or lack of it) to carry out simple track editing. The most basic track editing like a copy/paste is unavailable to the user. Yes I'm serious, the simplest and most basic of editing functions are remarkably missing on this, their latest multi-tracker. I couldn't believe it myself, after searching through the owner's manual, so I contacted Roland UK. And how do they get around this issue??? Simple! They ship the BR-800 with a stripped down version of Cakewalk's Sonar software which quite frankly makes a nonsense of the ultimate in portability hype. Furthermore the reason why multi-track digital recorders are still popular is, I guess, because some people, like me, still prefer them to using software & computers for recording.
Boss don't see it that way with this model. If you buy one then you will also need to install Sonar LE onto your PC/Mac and use the two side by side....ultimate portability??? Nah.
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on 1 July 2013
This is a very good product. I now have two of them. The original plan was to have one for the studio and another for field work. In my case, the effects and rhythm features are overkill, as I prefer to record dry and play the recordings through computer software where there is more control over the final mix-down, which saves having to re-record things over and over again. It's more than I'll ever need really. But to be fair, most of the time I don't use it fully in the way it was designed for. Everybody to their own I suppose. For guitar buffs out there who are trying to put down their ideas, it's just the ticket. For a rubbish guitarist like me, then there are other more basic down-to-earth uses for the guitar input at times. Hey-Ho. We can't all be Brian May. But my electric violin just sounds fantastic.
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on 13 January 2013
My husband has written his own songs for years, since he initially taught himself to play guitar, and each year I buy him notebooks etc so that he will record his songs - all to no avail! This year though, I remembered that an ex boyfriend had an 8 track studio and thought this might be the answer, so bought it for Birthday and Christmas. My husband loves gadgetry in any case (although never reads instructions!) and it only took him a short while to get to grips with using this product. He has now recorded a number of songs and the quality of playback and the inbuilt drum machine are brilliant. I would definately recommend this product, he loves it to bits and me for buying it (:D) and he uses it in all his spare time, I would only say don't get one for your partner/husband/self if you are in the first flush of a new relationship because you won't see anything of the person it's been bought for!
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on 22 May 2011
This multi-track recorder is so much more than that! Amp modelling, voal effects, bass guitar effects, additional drum track and so easy to use. I would recommend this to any songwriter who is a little fed up with PC based recording drudgery and expensive software solutions. It comes with Sonar LE anyhow. Buy this songwriters and you'll be back on track with recording, overdubbing, mixing and producing music that'll sound just as professional as other more costly methods. Big thumbs up!
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on 21 September 2010
As a newcomer to digital home recording with some experience of 4-track cassette recording I was looking for something to use straight from the box. Delivery was 2-3 days and I was able to set up and start recording within minutes.

Manual is clear and comprehensive for basics at least and navigating the menus is quite intuitive once you've done it with the instructions a couple of times. Built in effects, drum tracks etc are a real bonus for me as I'm more interested in getting my ideas down quickly and sharing them rather than trying to create professional sounding recordings. I'm very happy with the audio quality and it was easy to transfer finished tracks to PC as wav then convert to mp3 files.
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on 7 July 2011
Fabulous little machine. Sounds great. Effects are good. Drums are good. Easy to use. It links to my PC very easily (but make sure you read the relevant sections of the manual first, as well as the 'read me' files on the DVD).
The track editing facilities that others have mentioned are missing haven't bothered me at all yet, and I notice that a firmware update (v 1.10) is now available that remedies those omissions, so I can't see any reason why this wouldn't suit anyone looking for one of these kind of machines.
I think it's really important to get used to the V-tracks - my latest song has now got about 30 tracks recorded and I haven't had to overwrite anything yet, so I can always go back and re-mix anything I want.
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