If smart-home tech is the Internet of Things, then we reckon we’re currently witnessing the Internet of Strings unfold.
From interfaces and mobile devices to amps that figure out chords for you to computer-based plug-ins that all overlap with multiple duties and communicate with the outside world in some way, we’ve never had so many options when it comes to sounding like AC/DC, playing along with songs and recording ourselves at the tap of a screen.
With this in mind, the new Pocket GT from Boss is a practice tool designed for now. At its core, it’s a compact effects processor/amp modeller offering over 100 models derived from the Boss GT-1, but the Pocket GT is also equipped with USB in order to work as your audio interface for recording your guitar to a computer.
Completing the trifecta of sound, USB and wireless is Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to hook the Pocket GT up to your phone.
As we’ve already established, this is fast becoming the standard for many do-it-all products, so what’s different here? Well, once you hook it up to your mobile device, you’ll need to download the free Boss Tone Studio app to unlock the jewel in the GT’s crown.
The app acts as a gateway to a world of additional features: additional, touchscreen tone editing, sound management and preset downloads from Boss’ tone library. But the big one is its ability to connect to YouTube and other streaming services.
The end result is that you can hear your guitar and song audio in your headphones, as well as watching video and controlling the Pocket GT: all with minimal cabling and without latency.
Starting with the sounds, it seems almost complacent to brush over the fact that we have access to so many great-sounding tones coming from a rechargeable battery-powered box the size of – you guessed it – an iPhone.
But, here we are: they’re great, with plenty of useable presets straight out of the box you’ve got enough clean/crunch/hi-gain amps, as well as a whole host of drive, modulation, pitch, filter and time-based effects to play with.
Boss has even included some digitised versions of old classics such as the Slow Gear and Feedbacker pedals. But the big sell from Boss is the connectivity and integration with YouTube.
First, we made the mistake of loading the app and connecting to the MIDI side (used for sending control messages between your phone and the Pocket GT) of the Bluetooth connection before the audio.
Don’t do this, unless you want to find yourself in a tedious spiral of resetting/switching off Bluetooth and rebooting your device. Connect to the audio side, and it’s plain sailing. The phrase ‘RTFM’ springs to mind...
Once you’re hooked up properly, though, the Pocket GT is a breeze. You can edit and store presets a lot easier than using the GT’s on-board controls, manage and download presets, and most importantly add videos to the Session section by pasting-in the video URL.
We loaded up a number of Total Guitar’s own YouTube lessons and tracks and got busy learning and jamming, just as promised! What’s more, you can set up markers within the song that can in-turn be used to create looped sections, and can even act as switching points.
This way, the Pocket GT will take you from, say, a clean sound to screaming lead automatically as you play through the track without you needing to take your hands off the guitar. It’s a well thought out way of allowing you to practice, and actually, could serve as a performance tool for buskers or guitarists performing to backing tracks.
The internal battery time is a solid four hours, which means you’ll probably be charging this every other day or so, but fortunately you can still use the unit while it’s charging (it’s a micro-USB socket).
There’s a lot to get your head around because it does so much. We’re not complaining, though. If extended home-time is in store for us all, products like this are sure to make it more bearable.
- 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