REVIEWS

Boss Gigcaster 8 Streaming Mixer | Review

Published 9 months ago on September 24, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Boss Gigcaster 8 Streaming Mixer

MSRP: (UK) £665 / (US) $699

Boss' Gigcaster 8 is a powerful all-in-one audio command powerhouse, purpose-built for musicians who livestream and create audio and video content. Plug in a guitar or bass and play with flagship-level GT amps and effects. Connect mics and process voices with studio-grade processing from the VE series. Or bring in a keyboard or drum machine using the line inputs. The Gigcaster 8 could very well be an essential partner for anyone creating music-focused media. Nick Jennison reviews.

When the world closed in 2020, I (like many other musicians) was thrust into the world of live streaming. The learning curve was pretty steep, and much of the gear I was using was pretty janky, but I quickly came to love it. Our weekly education streams on the GI YouTube channel quickly grew into a community of like-minded guitar players, and Monday nights quickly became a highlight of my week. As much fun as the streams are, though, I'd be lying if I said the tech always cooperated, which is why I was so excited to check out the Boss Gigcaster 8.

While the Gigcaster 8 is ostensibly digital mixer aimed at streamers, it's way, way more powerful than its name suggests. On the surface, it has four combo XLR/jack inputs on its back along with a single jack input for a guitar on the front. It also offers a stereo output along with four headphone outputs, one of which is compatible with a headset mic. Each input has its own fader, and each headphone output has its own dedicated volume control, along with faders for a USB input, the "mobile" aux input jack, a device connected via Bluetooth and the 8 "pads" (these are VERY cool - more on this later). Each of these faders can be easily assigned to the main mix and headphone mixes via the "mute" and "headphone" buttons, and each comes with a full suite of EQ, compression and effects, accessed via the channel's top button or the large touch screen. Yes, touch screen.

This bright and generously proportioned display is the heart of the Gigcaster 8, and it's how you access its more detailed features. It affords huge "tweakability" for all of your inputs via a very intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface - something that's absolutely invaluable in a live broadcast, especially if you're doing it solo, like most of mine are! Mic inputs can be easily configured for singing, dialogue or console-style processing that's appropriate for synths, drums, acoustic instruments or any other source you might want to connect. There are reverb, delay, modulation, and even special effects presets for things like radio and telephone vocals. These effects are not just for musicians - they're great for adding interest, humour and drama to your live content.

The most powerful effects suite in the Gigcaster 8 is definitely on the guitar input though. This channel comes loaded with an entire guitar signal chain, using BOSS's latest amp and effects models taken directly from the GT-1000. There is a huge range of tones available in the bundled presets alone, from fantastic feeling high gain amps to beautiful ambient cleans, acoustic simulation, rotary speakers, you name it. Of course, you're not limited to the presets - you can get as deep with your signal chain as you'd like in the edit window, or using the dedicated Gigcaster app.

Perhaps my favourite feature - and perhaps the most misunderstood feature, based on the other reviews I've seen - is the 8 touch pads. They fulfil two functions - triggering sound effects, and also for quickly and easily controlling both the built-in features on the Gigcaster, but also external software and hardware via MIDI. You can assign these pads (in banks of 8) to do all manner of things, from switching guitar presets to enabling and disabling vocal effects, all the way through to switching scenes and playing effects and overlays in software like OBS. What's more, you can also mirror these pads on a GA-FC footswitch! This gives guitar players the option of controlling everything from their tones to their camera angles without having to take their hands off their instrument!

So yes, the Gigcaster 8 is a fantastic live-streaming audio tool, but it also works wonderfully as a recording device. It functions as a 20x18 USB interface, compatible with any modern DAW, but it also records both stereo and multitrack audio to a micro-SD card. There's also a large button to write markers to the audio being recorded, to greatly speed up your workflow when it comes time to edit.

All in all, the Gigcaster 8 is a hugely full-featured and very well thought out device that's perfect not just for streamers, but also for content creators, video professionals, online guitar teachers, podcasters… you name it. Perhaps my only criticism is that the name "audio streaming mixer" doesn't come close to describing the capabilities of this unit. It's fantastic, and I will most certainly be adding one to my streaming setup.

For more information, please visit:

boss.info

 

 


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