BOSS ME-80 is an effects processor for both experienced musicians and aspiring musicians looking to experiment with sound. For aspiring guitarists, it is important to choose a universal processor with the maximum number of effects in order to determine the style of sound, try different sounds. It can be said unambiguously that the BOSS ME-80 can satisfy almost any need of a guitarist who needs an effects processor. At the same time, the huge power of almost all “Boss” pedals is placed in a small casing, which makes this gear a versatile partner for a good musician.
The BOSS ME-80 represents the rare type of guitar processors based on proprietary algorithms rather than emulating other processors. It makes gear sounds inimitable. Before we move on to the technical features, you need to define the concepts. The point is that the BOSS ME-80 is not really a processor. In fact, this is a collection of different pedals in one box plus a preamp. But usually the processor is a device with the help of which the whole track is emulated. Such a device can be connected to an amplifier and play the guitar without using combo amplifiers. The BOSS ME-80 is equipped with a preamp section only. It lacks the AMP and CAP Sim sections. It means that the OUTPUT of BOSS ME-80 must be connected to the amplifier’s INPUT line. When deciding to buy a BOSS ME-80, pleace pay attention to this feature.
BOSS ME-80 – a versatile bestseller with a huge potential in customization
The guitar processor was first introduced to the audience in 2014 at the “NAMM” International Exhibition. The BOSS ME-80 is a collection of eight categories of premium effects. At the heart of each effect is a real-life “Boss” pedal with additional customization and advanced features. Despite its wide range of capabilities, the BOSS ME-80 is a very compact processor. The effects pedal is slightly larger than a glossy magazine. It is made of durable plastic and this significantly reduces the weight of the device – the processor weighs only 8 lb. This makes the pedal convenient for transport and live performance, but life expectancy raises questions
Performance and technical issues
The BOSS ME-80 is a truly sophisticated effects processor. Therefore, each control element and technical issues need to be described separately.
Sound processing circuit
The main purpose of the BOSS ME-80 is to simulate the sound of the legendary “Boss” stompboxes with just one device. The audio processing chain starts at INPUT and runs through the entire effects sequence. The processing sequence cannot be changed. At first the signal from INPUT goes inside the BOSS ME-80 through the “Pedal FX” block. Then it goes into the “Comp / FX1” compression block, after which it is time for the “Overdrive and Distortion (OD / DS)” block. After that, the processed signal goes to the “Preamp” section, after it’s time for the “Noise suppressor” section. Finally, the sound enters the “EQ / FX2” and “MOD” equalization section. At the end there are the “Delay” and “Reverb” sections. Let’s show the sequence sections one by one according to processing odred (clear sound inputs in number one section):
- “Pedal FX” block.
- Comp / FX1″ compression block.
- “Overdrive and Distortion (OD / DS)” block.
- “Preamp” block.
- “Noise suppressor” block.
- “EQ / FX2” block.
- “MOD” equalization block.
- “Delay” block.
- “Reverb” block.
- “OUTPUT LEVEL” controller.
This complex structure allows you to achieve every possible sound. The effects circuit is complex and has several disadvantages. For example, a user could turn on three “Delays” at the same time and not to understand what is happening with the sound.
Controls in BOSS ME-80 are represented by 30 controllers, 4 buttons, 8 switches and 1 pedal. An impressive variety! The Boss engineers took care of the guitarists and grouped all the controllers depending on the effects type. For better understanding, it is easier to think of each group as a separate pedal with its own settings. Each effect group has an effect selection controller. The rest of the controllers in the group are responsible for sound settings. There can be from three to five controllers in a group. So, for example, in addition to the controller with the choice of effect, the “Distortion” group contains such well known controllers as “Drive”, “Tone” and “Level”.
BOSS ME-80 Guitar Multiple Effects featuring
Mobile, battery powered, and filled with a diverse selection of flagship-quality BOSS COSM amps and effects, the ME-80 is the ideal compact tone processor for performing guitarists.
BOSS ME-80 modes
The BOSS ME-80 operates in two modes: “Memory” and “Manual”. They are switched using the top of the rightmost switch. In the “Memory” mode it is possible to save the effect settings. Simply put, you can adjust the effect sound in “Manual” mode and save these settings. Switching between settings is carried out using switches with numbers located at the bottom of the front panel. The currently running setting number is shown on the display. A total of 8 effect settings can be saved in “Memory” mode.
BOSS ME-80 engineers paid special attention to usability. If you look at the way of writing on the effects processor case the words “Memory” and “Manual”, you will notice a peculiarity. The word “Memory” is written in white letters on a gray background, and the word “Manual”, on the contrary, is written in gray letters on a white background. This writing pattern matters when you pay attention to the switches. To the right of each are designations also written in different ways. Depending on the “Memory” or “Manual” operating mode, the operating mode of the switches changes. The switch mode name corresponds to the effect pedal mode. For example, in the “Memory” mode, the second switch is responsible for turning on the equalizer.back to menu ↑
Now that we’ve covered the controls on the BOSS ME-80, let’s take a look at each section of the effects processor separately. Any section of the processor can be switched ON or OFF from the circuit by pressing one of the 7 switches in the “Manual” mode. There is an LED indicator next to each switch. If the indicator is green, then the sound is processed by the specified section. If the red indicator is ON, then the section is not involved in the process of sound processing.
The section is switched on by pressing on the upper part of the extreme left switch labeled “AMP”. The Preamp section of BOSS ME-80 has the largest number of controllers. There are five of them in this section. The first controller is responsible for selecting the effect. It has 9 settings in total:
The other four controllers are responsible for sound settings and are essentially an equalizer. There is a “Gain” controller, which is responsible for the brightness of the sound. “Bass”, “Middle” and “Treble” are a simple 3-band EQ for adjusting the bass, mid and treble. The “Level” controller is responsible for the strength of the INPUT signal. As you change the settings of each controller, the values on the display also change. It is very comfortable. If you use the BOSS ME-80 all the time, the digital values of each controller can be memorized. The enabled preamp mode is capable of completely changing the sound. Turn ON the “Fuze” effect in the “OD / DS” section, then switch ON the “Crunch” mode and set the “Treble” controller to maximum in the “Preamp” section and you will get the traditional for rock music hits overdrive.
The Equalization section is combined with the effects section. For its enabling in the BOSS ME-80 is responsible the upper part of the second pedal in the middle with the label “EQ”. There are 5 controllers available for customization. The first of the controllers is responsible for the section operation mode. In addition to the EQ mode, there are 5 more effects available. In effect mode, three of the other four controllers are responsible for setting the effect. Options such as “Rate / Time”, “Depth / FB”, “Level” are available. Among the effects it is worth highlighting is “Tremolo”, which creates a surround, chamber sound with long tails. All four controllers work in EQ mode. Each is responsible for its own frequency range. The last controller is responsible for the overall volume of the effect. Extreme sound levels can be achieved with the controls in this section. For example, make a “scoob sound” when the low and mid ranges are cut off completely, leaving only the mids. The sound becomes harsh and sharp. This effect can often be heard in modern music.
The section is enabled by pressing the upper part of the third middle switch labeled “REV”. The Reverb section is the smallest one. There is only one controller in it. It allows you to switch between three effects:
- “Room” – simulates the sound inside a large room;
- “Hall” – simulates surround sound. The best reverb effect in the BOSS ME-80.
- “Spring” – simulates the simultaneous play of two instruments. Sounds pretty dull.
The compressor section of the BOSS ME-80 is combined with the “FX 1” section. Enabling this section is done by switching the bottom left switch labeled “Comp”. The section has 4 controllers in total. Traditionally, the first controller is responsible for selecting the effect. In addition to the compressor, there are 10 other effects in this section. In any of 10 effects mode, the rest of the controllers are responsible for the equalization. In compressor mode, parameters such as “Sustain”, “Attack” and “Level” are available for adjustment. This is the usual functionality of a simple compressor, which will help to thicken the sound, get rid of unnecessary noise and make the tails of the effects shorter.
Typically this section is configured last. This section is enabled by pressing the lower part of the second middle switch labeled “OD / DS”. The section has 4 controllers in total. The first controller is responsible for selecting the effect. There are 6 overdrive and 5 distortion effects available for customization. The other 3 controls adjust the effect settings. “Drive”, “Tone” and “Level” are known knobs. This section has a very interesting “Boost” effect. Its strength lies in the fact that it makes the INPUT guitar signal stronger. This makes all effects sound brighter. Combined with the correct compressor settings, a unique sound can be achieved.
The next section is the “MOD” section, which has an effect pack and an overtone function. This section is enabled by pressing the lower part of the third middle switch labeled “MOD”. The top section controller allows you to select one of 10 effects or turn on the “Overtone” mode. While the effect is running, you can use the controllers to adjust parameters such as:
- E. Level.
In the “Overtone” mode, settings such as “Upper”, “Lower”, “D.Level” are available. In this section, the “Harmonist” mode deserves special attention. In this mode, you can transpose notes and use the controller to select the pitch. So, with the “Key” controller, you can select the key, and with the “Harmony” controller, you can select the interval. In this case, signal processing occurs instantly.
Finally we have the “Delay” effect section. The section has three modes of operation. The first mode is responsible for setting the effect itself. It is activated using the upper controller. To the right of this controller are the delay settings. You can adjust the delay in the range from 1 to 6000 ms, select the analog sound mode or modulation mode. The second mode is responsible for setting the way delay sounds. The available modes are “Reverse”, “CHO + Delay” and “Tera echo” – proprietary effects of the “Boss” company. It makes the sound croak.
The other three controllers let you adjust the “Delay” using the “Time”, “Feedback” and “E. Level” parameters. The third mode allows you to set the tempo of the delay. This mode is activated using the same controller in the “Tempo” position.
The BOSS ME-80 is set to TEMPO mode by pressing the bottom of pedal number three for two seconds. Next, you need to set the desired tempo of the “Delay” effect using the large pedal with the “Boss” logo. Exit the TEMPO setting mode by pressing the lower part of the number four pedal for two seconds.
The “Output level” controller allows you to adjust the output level.back to menu ↑
The back case of the BOSS ME-80 contains INPUTS and OUTPUTS. On the left side there is a guitar INPUT and “2 R” and “L” outputs. The” L” OUTPUT contains MONO. Two OUTPUTS are needed to play on two combo amplifiers separately. INPUTS and OUTPUTS have 1/4 “Jacks. At the right side there are the headphone and AUX outputs. To the right is the DC IN adapter INPUT and the device power button.
The main mystery of the guitarist is the following ideas: a guitar without accompaniment and with accompaniment sounds different. The BOSS ME-80 is built to keep your guitar sounding great with flexible connectivity options.back to menu ↑
Using the BOSS ME-80 does not cause any negative emotions. From start to finish, this is a positive experience of finding good sound and those very correct settings. The guitarist becomes a true experimenter with the BOSS ME-80. This effect pedal is designed to let you spend hours playing your guitar, oblivious to the passing of time. Based on this feature, the main disadvantage of the BOSS ME-80 follows – the complexity of the setup. This pedal is unsuitable for those guitarists who know exactly what sound they want to achieve. For such guitarists we advise to buy a specific pedal with the desired sound. As far as the BOSS ME-80 is concerned, by creating this pedal, the engineers violated the main principle for which all Boss guitar gadgets were famous – all controllers in the noon position sound great. The very idea of the BOSS ME-80 is to fine-tune and, as a result, time-consuming processor tuning in order to achieve the desired sound.
- Huge functionality, 8 effects, informative screen, well-thought-out control knobs, friendly interface, proprietary “Boss” sound .
- Complicated pedal setup, no mounts for case and pedalboard, plastic body looks unreliable.
There are several important points to understand before purchasing a BOSS ME-80. As you can see, there is no cabinet emulation section in the chain. It does not exist as such, but when listening to sound through the headphone output, or when recording through the USB interface, the signal passes through the simulator speaker and the sound is excellent.
If we talk about recording sound to a computer, then a few words should be said about the “PREAMP” section. The BOSS ME-80 uses a relatively old COSM technology and cannot be achieved with super clear sound. However, the sound during recording is of high quality, without interference and artifacts. By the way, it is more convenient to control the processor when using a computer using the regulators on the processor itself, and to observe changes and save presets using special software. Otherwise, in terms of sound recording, the BOSS ME-80 is a high-quality conversion of sound to digital and vice versa, high-quality effects of temporal, modulation and spatial processing, comfortable control of both hands and feet, and wide switching capabilities.
BOSS ME-80 online presets
The BOSS ME-80 has one nice feature. This is the online repository of BOSS TONE CENTRAL presets. Connection to this wonderful bank is made directly from the processor control program and any of the selected presets is instantly loaded into the processor. The presets are divided both by genre and according to their creators – eminent musicians. The presets selected in this way can be saved in the processor and used offline. Let’s repeat once again – the collection contains presets created by the legendary musicians. Isn’t that what every guitarist dreams of?back to menu ↑
The Boss ME-80 left a good impression after use: on the one hand, the device is easy to operate and offers guitarists a dense, high-quality sound. A clear advantage is BOSS TONE CENTRAL with presets from legendary musicians. Complex settings can confuse aspiring musicians, but a huge number of articles and videos on the web and a clear interface will help to understand every nuance. The case raises questions. Will it last long on tours? Also, the old COSM technology may put some musicians off. The only thing that can be said for sure is that the Boss ME-80 is worth testing.back to menu ↑
– Yes. BOSS ME-80 allows you to loop your samples. To do that, you need to pay attention to the “Delay” section. In order to turn on the “Phrase loop” mode, you need to move the mode selection controller to the appropriate position. To start loop recording, press pedal # 4 labeled “Delay” once. To finish recording the sample, you must press pedal # 4 again. Phrases with a total length of up to 38 seconds are available for recording.
– It’s possible. To do so you need to disable all effects. Still don’t forget that you are dealing with digital bypass. The sound in “bypass mode” reminds the sound processed in the studio. Thick and crisp.
– BOSS ME-80 provides a preamp simulation. So guitars could plug in the headphones or sound system and start playing.
– The BOSS ME-80 provides full interfacing with Windows and Mac OS devices via USB port. Also, all software is available for any Mac OS device.
– We must say, it is not an easiest device to operate. But today we have a plenty of information online. To start you can read this article. As well there is a manual in the box.
– Yes, completely. The BOSS ME-80 is an effects processor. It provides “Overdrive” effects. But don’t forget that this is a digital effects processor. The sound is denser and narrower than with analog devices.
– BOSS ME-80 is made of high quality alloy. Indeed, the pedal is made of plastic. According to the reviews of musicians who used it on concert tours, the case did not crack after active use.
– Unfortunately, there is no dedicated application for controlling the BOSS ME-80 using a mobile phone. You can control the BOSS ME-80 using a computer.
– “Boss” has always been concerned about the comfort of the musicians using their products. Therefore, BOSS TONE CENTRAL was created. This is the BOSS ME-80 settings library. The trick is that all the settings are created by popular musicians. On the official website of the company, you can download these settings and upload them to the BOSS ME-80. More than 40 presets are currently available. Also, on the official page of the “Boss” company on “Soundcloud”, you can listen to the sound of each preset.
Well. The sound itself at a high level. The quality of the effects is nice. The guitar sounds tight in Bypass mode. Keep in mind, however, that the BOSS ME-80 is an old pedal. More modern pedals sound better.