Tom Quayle reviews the amazingly powerful and ultra-versatile, GT-1000CORE. Billed as the most complete guitar and bass processing experience available in a single stompbox; the full DSP muscle of the flagship GT-1000 lives inside this mini juggernaut, providing class-leading sound quality, advanced AIRD technology, 24 simultaneous effects blocks, and over 140 unique amp/effect types for unlimited creative expression.
As Boss’ flagship amp modelling and multi-fx unit, the GT-1000 has been a great success since it’s launch a couple of years ago, finding it’s way onto many guitarist’s live and studio rigs. Boss takes a slightly different approach to the ‘every amp model under sun’ strategy used by much of their competition, instead utilisingtheir AIRD. Technology to provide a smaller number of amp models, but with a focus on nailing the feel and response as accurately as possible. Much like their superb Katana and Blues Cube amps, the result is a modelling floor unit that feels fantastic under the fingers and has an incredible amount of power under the hood thanks to 32-bit floating-point processing, 32-bit A/D D/A conversion and 96kHz sampling rates.
It’s a common trend in the industry for companies to release compact versions of their modelling hardware, often cut down versions of the flagship hardware with compromises in power to accommodate the smaller footprint. You’ll generally find fewer effects can be used at once, only one amp/cab block per preset, less signal path flexibility and of course fewer switches and I/O. Once again though, Boss is taking a different path with their GT-1000 Core, a compact version of the GT-1000 with surprisingly few compromises compared to it’s bigger sibling.
Putting aside the obviously cut down I/O and footswitch setup, the GT-1000 Core is essentially offering users the ‘full-fat’ GT-1000 experience with almost nothing taken out to accommodate the smaller form factor. The processing power is 100% intact from the bigger unit, offering up 24 simultaneous blocks of effects and amp models with the same incredibly flexible serial/parallel signal routing, dual amp models/cabs, hundreds of effects and 16 custom IR slots. Boss have included many of their vintage stomps, MDP effects and algorithms from the DD, MD and RV-500 pedals. You even get two external send and return loops for incorporating your own stand-alone effects which can also be run as a pair in stereo, be used in 4-cable method or switched up to be used as Sub Outs on stage or in the studio.
The GT-1000 Core’s design will be familiar to anyone who’s used any of Boss’ 500-series pedals before since it’s the same chassis but with a larger, monochrome screen and a series of intuitive buttons and continuous dials. The screen is easy to read, but may feel a little dated for any fans of the latest Line 6 or Fractal products, but editing patches is really easy either on the front panel or via the Boss Tone Studio software connected to a computer via USB. You do lose the Bluetooth editing functionality of the GT-1000, but most users won’t miss this too much considering the obvious benefits of such a small unit.
The three onboard footswitches can be run in Memory or Manual mode. In Memory mode, foot switches one and two switch between patches whilst the third can be assigned to control a swathe of different parameters as required. Manual mode allows the three switches to be assigned to switch chosen effect blocks on or off, functioning more like a traditional pedalboard.
The compact, yet super powerful design of the GT-1000 Core allows you to utiliseit in simple and portable or highly complex, expandable setups as your needs change. It works superbly on its own, but can be combined with external fx pedals, controllers, midi switchers, multiple outputs and can even channel switch your amp if required.
A pair of expression pedals or four external footswitch controllers can be connected for even more control with, quite frankly, an astonishing amount of control available if you want to dive into the menus and explore all the options. TRS midi jacks allow for even further possibilities when combined with other midi enabled gear or switching systems where the GT-1000 Core can be the switcher or be switched externally. Needless to say, the level of signal flow control, integration with external gear and creative controller assignments are mind-blowing for those that want to deep dive.
The amp models and effects sound, and just as importantly, feel fantastic to play through. You might not get quite as many amp models as some of the competition but you can craft pretty much any tone you can think of and many that you might never have dreamed up before if you’re prepared to explore what’s on offer here. Stompbox mode is a nice addition, allowing you to save a customised version of any effect block as a ‘Stompbox’ that can be saved, edited and recalled across multiple patches with ease.
The AIRD. Modelling technology’s feel and EQ can be tailored to whatever situation you find yourself in - plugging into studio monitors, an audio interface, the front of an amp or the power amp return of a tube amp for example. This optimises the signal path for your chosen setup and ensures you always get the optimum feel, response and tone for your setup. There is even a dedicated Bass mode with specific bass amp models, cabs and effects for those that double up on the bass or are looking for a powerful stand-alone bass processor.
Finally, the GT-1000 Core also operates as an incredibly high sound quality audio interface for both Mac and Windows with Core Audio and ASIO drivers respectively offering low latency operation in your chosen DAW.
Boss has once again knocked it out of the park with the GT-1000 Core, managing to produce a tiny modelling unit that retains the vast majority of features and power of it’s larger sibling. Those looking for a compact modeller and multi-fx unit without the compromises in processing power usually associated with the form factor should absolutely put this product at the top of their shortlist. If you’ve always stayed away from modelling due to the lack of tube-like feel, the GT-1000 Core may surprise you - definitely worth checking out.
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