What is it?
The Boss Pocket GT is what happens when the 21st century comes for guitar technology. It is an amp modeller, multi-effects unit and practice tool all in one, and it is about the size of a mobile phone.
In this compact little headphone amp for guitar, you will find over 100 amp models and effects to play with, drawing upon Boss's excellent work with its Katana series of guitar amplifiers to offer a mind-boggling range of sounds to play with. And with its integrated YouTube support, it comes with the bold claim that it might change the future of practice.
Simply draft a YouTube playlist, save it for instant recall and use the Pocket GT's loop function to revisit and drill a troublesome phrase or lick that is giving you trouble.
Furthermore, its USB output allows you to use it as a recording device. Bluetooth compatibility allows you to pair it with your phone and stream audio. You would expect nothing else.
Performance and verdict
Let's fast-forward to the YouTube feature. Is this a paradigm shift for practice? Well, to be able to stream this audio and hear it in the mix with your guitar – in headphones – makes for a very useful experience. It is one thing playing along to a record at home, quite another to do so without worrying about the levels driving all around you to distraction.
Here, you can put the hours in with no inhibitions. The centre-cancel function can be very useful in clearing some space in the mix for your guitar. Anything in the middle of the stream's mix is dialled back for your guitar to take precedence. And remember, it's not just YouTube. Prime, Spotify, whatever your streaming service, just connect your smartphone via Bluetooth and use the Pocket GT's controls.
Nothing will get you up to speed faster than playing along to records (they are never out of time) – except, perhaps, recording yourself, and you can do that here, too.
What we really liked about the streaming function was the ability to place markers on the track, looping troublesome sections for extra attention, and setting the guitar tone appropriately, so you can be playing clean tones during a mellow verse riff before splitting the atom with gain for the solo.
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With its initial five amps and cabs, and 11 effects, there's plenty here to create a wide range of very playable sounds as well as a tuner, metronome, song player and a single track recorder.
Finding these tones is a piece of cake, but it's quite a big slice; taking the brains from the GT-1's processor, there is so much to get through here. Downloading the Boss Tone Studio app will give you access to the online preset library and more deep-editing options.
The factory presets might be a little vanilla for some but they make for a great starting point for exploring the Pocket GT's features. That Boss has such a rich catalogue of stompboxes to pull from and digitise really elevates a device such as this, with all the cool delays, modulation, filter and drive effects you could need for practice.
You will get four hours of playing time out of one charge, but that is okay. The Pocket GT remains operational while it charges. There is also an onboard tuner to keep you honest too.
MusicRadar verdict: Compact, convenient, fun, and with amp and effects models from Boss's GT-1, the Pocket GT is a powerful tool for practising and recording, and ably demonstrates how the digital revolution can be harnessed in service to guitar.
The web says
"Trying out and tweaking sounds is an idle pleasure, and the quality of those sounds is no different to what you’d get from any other Boss GT or Katana source: that is, leaning towards stadium rock but hugely varied and generally pretty good."
- TYPE: Compact amp modeller
- MODELS: 108 amps and effects
- FEATURES: YouTube and audio streaming via Boss Tone Studio app, Bluetooth, audio interface, centre-cancel function
- CONTROLS: Value, 3x rotary controls, model select switches, centre cancel, play/pause, fast-forward, rewind
- SOCKETS: Input, headphone/line out, aux in, USB
- POWER: Internal rechargeable battery, mains (via USB port)
- CONTACT: Boss