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Rating and Reviews: Boss JS8 eBand Player

The Boss JS-8 eBand is the ultimate practice and jamming tool. With COSM effects to help jam with your favorite MP3s, the Boss JS-8 eBand helps you rock.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"An excellent purchase if it does what you want it to" submitted January 5, 2011

By a customer from aol.com
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Features
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Singer Songwriter
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Sound: This box is basically a jam along guitar processor / recorder that plays back recorded clips or songs. The sound of the included clips is excellent, but suffers a great deal when using the built in speakers (similar to inexpensive computer speakers) rather than a high quality external system. The guitar processing is very diverse (pretty much everything you could think of) but isn't of spectacular quality even though studio monitors. I give it an 8 overall based on a 10 for the quality of the backing tracks, a 7 for the guitar processing, and a 5 for the integrated speakers. It has a pitch and speed changer (for learning / practicing difficult passages) and a center track remover (for voice or guitar karaoke) which are pretty poor sounding but can be tolerated long enough to learn the desired material. Feature: The JS-8 is very different from its predecessor, the JS-5 (which I also own). Many features have been added, many taken away; whether you like the JS8 depends on what you want to do with it. The JS8 lets you phrase train, jam along with recorded material (from the included clips, from MP3s, from ripped CDs, from downloaded material) either on convenient USB thumb drives or ported over from your computer. This box has loads of guitar friendly features such as a tuner, a metronome, effects, amp and speaker sims, effects, etc. You can use it as a poor man's USB mic/line/guitar interface (no XLR or phantom power) or even as a modest quality reamp device if you've ever wanted to try that. The JS8 is pretty cool for playing live shows with prerecorded backup tracks. The output is high quality stereo sound, you have a lit screen to easily scroll between songs on a dark stage, and you can use two foot pedals to control a variety of things including stop/start. Just bring a thumb drive with your mix minuses (e.g. bass and drums only) and play guitar and sing live. What the JS8 is NOT is a drum machine or rhythm box. You can't program songs on this as you could on the JS5, there is no MIDI. You have to port over all music from elsewhere, the machine does not produce drum beats or bass notes or chords it simply plays back pre-recorded audio. So, if you want to build songs from scratch, create them on your computer or record the instruments yourself first, then port them over to the JS8 - OR you can purchase backing tracks for many of your favorite songs and download them into the JS8. Ease of Use: Not complicated at all to use. The front panel interface has play, stop, rew, etc buttons like a recorder, a scroll wheel lets you pick what song to play and guitar patches to use. You can organize your songs, you can save patches along with songs. You can play back songs from USB thumb drives by simply inserting the drive and scrolling through its contents. You can move MP3s or even rip CDs over to the JS8 using the provided sofware which is easy to install and simple to use. You can turn the integrated speakers off (and you should!) and listen through your stereo, studio monitors, earbuds, or headphones. Connection to your PC or Mac is straightforward. The user manual seems daunting until you realize you have the instructions in seven languages. Quality: Everything works on mine, no problems. It looks nice, though I'd be happier with this unit minus the stereo speakers - I'd just use my earbuds for better quality. It is, after all, just plastic and electronics, so don't drop it or spill a beer in it! Value: This was kind of expensive for what it is, but it's new. If you look at it as an elaborate phrase trainer, then it's pretty pricey. But if you look at it as a backing track box, maybe the price is not so high as you can have high quality sound playing as a duo and only pay your bassist and drummer for the larger shows. Manufacturer Support: Roland has always had decent support. I've not had to contact them about this unit, other than to use their website which contains backups and updates for the OS and included sounds, as well as 7 more sets of sound files. The new sound files are pretty cool in that they sound great and have tab for the guitar parts (you get backing tracks with and without guitar for your jamming pleasure) but probably not of great interest to the average guitarist as they tend to be Roland "demo" type material, i.e. rock/fusion tunes. I'm hoping for additional free jam tracks to come. The Wow Factor: It makes it a little quicker and more fun for me to improve my chops, learn new covers, practice for shows, and experiment with leads for my original stuff. I don't need my recording gear or my computer, just a thumb drive with the tracks I want to practice recorded on it. Just pop in the thumb drive, plug in my guitar, and jam - bedroom, hotel, or band van (with proper cigarette lighter adapter). Anything that makes it easier and quicker to practice or jam means more time spent practicing, and that's a good thing. Overall: I was hoping to retire my JS5, but I see the JS8 is an entirely different animal. It has much better stereo sound and is set up better for live performance, so I think I'll be doing my live shows and practice with the new box. I'll keep my JS5 and continue to use it as a rhythm machine for songwriting. So the JS8 meets 2/3 of my musical goals. I wish I had known everything I know now (and hopefully have laid out for others in this review) before I bought it, but I think I still would have decided to get it for the two functions it does perform well. The things I like most about it is that I can play high quality stereo MP3s (or even WAV) files as backup tracks for live shows or for jamming / learning with a minimum of setup time. The controls are well lit and can be seen on stage. I can rehearse or learn new songs with it and there are guitar effects so that I don't have to play uneffected guitar along with the tracks. I love the USB connectivity. What I like least is the attached speakers, and I really wish Roland would at least provide a library of drum and drum + bass patterns on their website so it could be also used as a minimal drum machine to assist in songwriting.
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"Its a great product, I'd say its worth having one if you love to jam.Great sounds." submitted December 8, 2010

By a customer from embarqmail.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: blues
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Sound: I rated sound very poor coming straight from unit. I know you can put great sounds in small speakers. Everything else about eband is great. Hooked it up to a Roland KC amp, sounds great. Could improve on speakers. Quality: Not road worthy. Overall: Like it very much. Would like to have complete jam tracks as well as loopers.
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"A versatile learning tool to take your guitar skills to the next level" submitted March 2, 2011

By a customer from toyota.com
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Musical Background: semi-professional
Music Style: Praise and Worship
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Sound: The Roland eBand sound is excellent for what it is designed to do, to accompany the player as they learn new song,riffs, patterns. It is even good enough to use live as you can plug the line outs into a amp or PA. Feature: The slowing down and phrase training/looper. I wish you could change the pitch if yo wanted to.
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