Boss Micro BR BR-80 Digital Recorder
When you consider that you can now bag software that offers you multi-track recording on your smartphone, the new Boss Micro BR BR-80 eight-track digital recorder might strike you as a bit old-school, like trading 3D movies for a cartoon flick book.
You can't even update your Facebook page on this thing for goodness' sake… But this is no quaint throwback. Boss has squeezed enough goodies into the big brother of the four-track Micro BR to make your dog and bone vibrate with fear. There's the multi-track recorder bit.
"The BR-80 is brilliantly intuitive. In other words, any numpty can work this thing."
You get eight playback tracks, 64 virtual V-Tracks and a dedicated stereo rhythm track. Note: you can only record two tracks simultaneously on the BR-80.
Next up is Live Rec, a field recorder fed by an onboard stereo condenser mic, and eBand. The latter is chock-a-block with great-sounding backing tracks and a phrase trainer that lets you import your favourite songs, and isolate and slow down the bits you want to learn, all without altering the pitch. Not exactly groundbreaking, but it's useful.
Other treasures include real rhythm tracks (as opposed to MIDI files), quality COSM-based guitar, bass and vocal effects, and an onboard tuner.
The BR-80 is brilliantly intuitive. In other words, any numpty can work this thing. From recording basic tracks to adding effects at the mixing stage, every step is simple to implement - and undo if necessary.
It's really easy to record a live band practice with the onboard mic then transfer the result to the eight-track, add some overdubs and then play back the mastered song with eBand. You can also run the BR-80 as a recording interface with your computer via the USB socket.
The unit comes bundled with Cakewalk SONAR X1 LE software so you can further manipulate your tracks then back them up on your PC or upload them to your SoundCloud page.
Speaking of storage, the unit comes with a 2GB SD memory card but will accommodate SDHC cards up to 32GB. That translates to almost 550 hours of recording time in the Live Rec mode.
The quoted battery life expectancy of six hours is decent enough but we would recommend getting the Boss PSA mains adaptor (street price around £20). It adds to the cost, but you won't have to pay the full retail price of £235 for the BR-80 anyway.
Sniff around the net and you'll find that most stores are already flogging it for £199. That's not bad considering what's on offer.
Easy to use. Good range of effects and backing tracks. Smart price.
Yes, you can take your pick from much cheaper multi-track apps for your phone, but when you see just how much functionality Boss has squeezed into this pocket-sized plastic casing, we reckon the BR‑80 could be a smarter call for your idea-recording needs.
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.
2 x AA Batteries
Number of Tracks