Boss Micro BR
When building stuff there’s need to record what they can do and share with the rest of the world. Portable recorders such as this one seemed appealing to me because they are easy to carry around and don’t require a lot of additional gear to run. There are several similar products on the market, most of them in the $200 range. I got this one from a forum member for half the price they are usually retailed.
- Guitar/line-in/mic jack
- Built-in mic
- Fully grown effect processor with amp sim, effects and cab sim
- MP3 player
- 4 track recorder with MP3 output
- Headphone out
That leads to the obvious issue – a lot of features and options are crammed into a small unit with just a few buttons. I consider myself a techy guy and never read the manual, but in this case I couldn’t figure out some basic features like backing tracks and exporting to MP3 without reading the manual. So read the manual :). Another thing I’m not a big fan of is the effect processor. Of course it’s there only to use in a pinch, but it could be a bit better. I used to have a Line 6 Pocket POD which is similar in size, but it had noticeably better effects. It’s not a big minus, since this unit is a recorder and not an FX processor.
Once you get used to menus, MicroBR does what it’s supposed to rather well. Recording tracks or adding guitar to “naked” tracks can be done in a matter of minutes and the result can be exported to an MP3 file, so all that’s left to do is to copy the file to the computer and upload it. It’s good that it has input and output level settings so you can boost or cut your signal to prevent it from clipping. It has a visual indicator that pops out every time the unit is overdriven so it’s not a bad idea to reduce input level until the “OVER” sign disappears.
- It’s consistent and doesn’t depend on mic quality, mic placement or ambient noise.
- I can record my stuff at 1AM without worrying about the neighbors.
- I got myself a very decent cab sim – Palmer PDI-09, so I’d need a very nice cab, mic and knowledge to beat it. Besides, these take a lot of space and Palmer is very compact.
Built in reverb is nothing to write home about, but it can be added just a tiny bit to add some space to the sound when recorded through line-in.
Click on a thumbnail to play the video on YouTube.
What I like about it?
- Small and highly portable
- Does a lot of things
- Although reverb is not great, it’s nice that it doesn’t mix the same way other effects do. You can adjust it even after you have recorded tracks
- Ability to use SD cards to store songs
What I don’t like about it?
- A bit complicated to use
- Built in effect processor could be better
- Eats batteries relatively fast, but that’s expected. Using rechargeable batteries or a DC adapter is recommended
- Not being able to remove the SD card without removing the batteries first
- Some MP3 files (in my experience around a third of my files) could not be recognized and have to be re-encoded on the computer. This can be annoying.
I figured out what was causing annoying “Unrecognized Format” errors when trying to play some MP3 files. It turns out that Micro BR cannot read files that have rate of 48K or over. If you’re getting these errors, try to encode files as 44.1K @ 128kbps.