Boss Tone Central and Tone Studio
Going deep with Boss’ new editor/librarian software
With its penchant for valves, magnets and other generations-old technologies, the guitar world has always eyed newer, modern tools with more than a hint of suspicion. Like an iPhone user walking into a Nokia 3210 fan club meeting, there’s sometimes been an air of “that’s not how we do things round here, young man”.
Things do seem to be changing though. In fact, it almost seems a pre-requisite these days. Amps, pedals and even guitars are making use of our ever more powerful computers and tablet devices to allow precise control over a multitude of tonal parameters, without a glowing glass tube in sight.
From basic control over EQ and effect settings, through to intelligent modelling of alternate tunings, instrument voicings and re-amping, the ways in which we can utilise our computers to adapt and improve our guitar’s capabilities are gathering pace in the music world.
For example, newer multi-effect units and amps often offer some form of connectivity, be that USB or Bluetooth, which provides an on-screen representation of what is going on behind the curtain, so to speak. This makes for a far simpler, and more visually appealing, way of exploring sounds than on a two-inch LCD display on the floor. It has given rise to the term ‘deep editing’, whereby the functionality of the unit is increased exponentially by simply plugging in to a computer.
As one of the biggest names in guitar effects, you’d expect Boss to join, and subsequently define, the party at some point. While earlier units like the ME-25 did feature USB connectivity, this was geared more towards basic organisation of saved patches. Think of it like a spreadsheet in which you can change the names and order of your saved settings – perfect for the covers band which needs to alter the order of their patches as they change the order of a setlist, but of little use to the guy sat playing in his room.
Step forward Boss Tone Central, and its cohort Boss Tone Studio.
Currently compatible with Boss’ flagship GT-100 multi effects unit, the GT-001 desktop variant, the ME -80 and the astounding new GP-10 (which, in the best possible way, is madder than a box of frogs), the new software lifts the veil on computer editing in typical Boss style.
Boss Tone Studio
Boss Tone Studio is Boss’ variation on deep-editing. Amp models and effects are represented on screen in their familiar styles, with each different setting and parameter ready for changing in just a few moves of your mouse.
The fruits of your sonic adventures can then be saved back onto your unit, to be recalled at a moments notice. This makes it perfect for studio and live applications; one box to rule them all. With that amount of power at your fingertips, you’ll find it hard to go back to scrolling through preset lists to find a sound you like.
Tone Studio is really where the magic happens; by loading this up you can really get into the nuts and bolts of your sound. Without a plethora of physical knobs to turn or menus to drain your creativity, there is much more opportunity for aural exploration and sound design. It works in real time too, so by making adjustments on screen you can manipulate your sound in all manner of weird and wonderful ways.
Boss Tone Central
Tone Central, on the other hand, is perfect for the tonal browsers who know roughly what sound they want, or need a solid base on which to begin their tweaking. With its ability to load patches from a wide range of bona fide guitar legends like Marty Friedman, Steve Lukather and Gus G, Boss Tone Central brings genuinely brilliant tones to your compatible Boss pedal in a matter of clicks.
Working with the artists themselves, Boss has been able to concoct professional sounding signal chains which can be altered, amended and tinkered with to your heart’s content. Say, for example, you’re trying to get that tight, scooped Megadeth thrash tone but no matter how many combinations and settings you try, you cannot escape wasps-in-a-jar syndrome. Who better to program your sound for you than the very guy who’s tone you’re trying to nail?
Best of all? Both Boss Tone Studio and Boss Tone Central are free to download, and all patches (current and forthcoming) are also free to add to your unit.
The really is no limit to the possibilities here. If you can think it, you can create it.
See for yourself. Visit www.bosstonecentral.com where there are loads of videos and sound files showing the magic in action, as well as the links for you to download the software to your PC or Mac.