I purchased this machine somewhere back in 2006. You know, that every day the industry is publishing new music electronics and I am one of these customers, which are reading many reviews, comparing, then buying, selling, buying again, a never ending search for the best gear. But over the years of buying and selling some things are staying. You feel no need to look for something better and sometimes you even still wonder about the usability or the quality.
One of these rare species is the Boss BR-600. I will not take a look again on technical specifications, because the interested reader can find many reviews and lists regarding this machine. I just want to point out, why this little box is a strong keeper, what is outdated and what is still up to date.
- Battery powered: A very helpful feature, when it comes to mobility. You can go into the forest for field-recording. You can record your vocals in every improvised vocal-cabin like inside your car or inside the toilet. The Boss uses standard AA-batteries and while I can not specify, how long I can run it from batteries I can just say, that it’s pretty long.
- Dead easy use: I use the BR-600 as a classic multitrack-machine. I never edit tracks inside, because this is easier done inside the DAW, but straight recording works like a breeze. Specialised buttons for the inputs, exact input-levelling and metering are the strong pros here. The menu-structure and the handling via the small display is logical and easy.
- Versatility: An internal stereo-mic, a dedicated guitar-input, balanced stereo-inputs for external mics, Line-In for sub-mix provide flexible options.
- Sound quality: Though the recorder is working with a Data-reduction, which was developed by Boss/roland, the sound quality is top. The mic-preamps are very usable, I could even achieve good results with a ribbon-mic, which needs a lot of preamp-power. Especially if you use external mics and keep good care of the input-level I can not hear any difference compared to 16bit/44.1khz Standard. No drop-outs, hiss or other phenomenons known to DAWs, just reliable clear recordings. The internal stereo-mics are looking like toys, but don’t under-estimate them, they deliver very good results, when highest quality is not necessary. In all other cases I would prefer external mics. The headphone-output delivers enough power for all recording-situations.
- Reliability: I never experienced any crashes or unforseeable behaviours.
- File-exchange and Computer-Compatibilty: The software by Boss called “BRWC” is stable (working on OSX 10.6.8), USB-connection is working fast. I use the recorder to record long stems, then transfer them to Logic for further editing.
- Guitar-effects and amp-modelling: Meanwhile you can achieve much better results with actual software like amplitube, so normally I record a D.I.-signal or a physical effect-chain.
- Internal Drum-computer: Don’t expect the quality of decent librarys like EZ Drummer or BFD, so just for practicing. I never use this feature.
- Compact Flash storage: The maximum card-size is 1GB. Nobody knows how long Compact Flash cards will be available
The Boss BR-600 is still my work-horse for recording, while further editing is done inside the DAW. Unfortunately Boss has failed to present a better successor, because the ease of use and the reliabilty is missing regarding many complaints of the online-community. I have not tested myself the successors, but as along as the BR-600 can satisfy me, there is still no need to look elsewhere.