Need feedback on BOSS BR-xxx units - BPM slow/off-speed

Do you have gear that doesn't "keep time", set at same BPM settings as other gear?

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • What does "BPM" mean???

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    2

shredd

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Hi gang; forgive me for straying from Tascam topics; I’m hoping this is the right category for it. If not – mod’s, feel free to zap it. I’m just fishing for feedback.

My studio gear is all Tascam; but my “portable“ gear has turned out to be BOSS: the terrific BR-800, and the equally excellent teeny-weenie MICRO-BR.

They’re both fine units; but I have discovered a bizarre flaw that I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced; I’m thinking these are unique to BOSS BR gear, because mine BOTH have it!

The issue is the “internal clock“ – the built-in rhythm/drum machine features they both have.
I have found that they are not accurate!
I recorded tracks on the BR’s; then, when exported & put into projects on other gear, they “ran slow“ & did not “sync“ with other gear & tracks recorded on them.

I did a bunch of “elimination“ testing: I ran several different drum machines known to have perfect timing into the BR’s; sure enough, every time, the BR is behind an entire beat or 2 by 30 or 40 measures into a song.

ALL my other gear line up perfectly, even w/out MIDI clock-control…112bpm is 112bpm, no matter what gear is generating it. But the BOSS units seem to have their own way of reckoning time!!!

The problem with that is that it makes any track/s you record on them unusable in projects on other equipment, because the timing isn’t the same.
They are fine for “self contained“ projects that don’t have to “interact“ with anything else. But that’s not what I bought them for (I bought them to ‘go mobile’ & record people playing parts that I could bring home and put into my studio projects).

So after all that - my question is:
Has anyone else observed this in their BOSS BR units?!?
 
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There was a similar thread recently. From what I've found, timing accuracy is a matter of luck unless you use a proper sync system. Maybe the Boss units are worse than others, but any free-standing clock can be affected by temperature, voltage, age etc. Will be interesting to hear what replies you get from other Boss owners...
 
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There was a similar thread recently
Hi Phil - simultaneous thanks for your sage reply AND the link to the other thread (which I hadn't found in my clearly inadequate search) that pretty much settles this...my BOSS units are NOT "defective" or otherwise incapable of keeping time - they are simply not keeping the "same" time as my other gear is, just like the examples in that other thread.
Unfortunately, neither BOSS unit has MIDI capability to receive a clock...

The strange part is that my 3 Zoom drum machines (all are MIDI capable) ALL keep PERFECT time with BOTH of my PortaStudios (2488neo and DP-32), even WITHOUT being fed a MIDI clock.
But the BOSS BR's are way off - frankly, they're not even close.

This pretty much kills the idea of using them as portables/mobile to capture tracks for home-studio projects. Am SUPER-BUMMED at this, and am genuinely re-thinking the value of remote/on-site recording, at least for the purpose of importing said tracks into home-studio projects.

The one POSSIBLE solution is an interesting one, perhaps unique to BOSS units:
On the BOSS units, the BPM of any project can be set to a BPM at the ONE-TENTH BPM level...for example, you can set a song's BPM to 106.3bpm, or whatever.
I'm thinking that it's possible I'd use my drum machines (which seem to have bpm-time that matches my P/Studio's perfectly) to determine what BPM setting I'd have to put into a BOSS song to make it match the BPM's of everything else. For example, maybe a song I've created in studio at 112BPM will require the BOSS to be set to 112.4, or some such horse-puckey.
In addition to the grueling project of matching these up, I'd have to make some sort of chart or formula for future reference.

I wouldn't HAVE these problems if Tommy Emmanuel would return my phone calls inviting him over for recording sessions and nachos!!!:rolleyes:
 
Another option is to change your workflow. Maybe you can re-arrange the song so the Boss does all the percussion for the entire song in a single pass. If so, record this first and use it as a master guide for any human-based overdubs. It won't matter if the master drifts as the humans will compensate as needed.
Whenever there's more than one master (boss!), it's bound to end in tears :)
 
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Another option
Yes - technically, that would work...EXCEPT:
I am DEFINITELY not willing to make the BOSS unit/s the "master" of any project - I prefer to focus on the considerably better capabilities of my home studio, and not be limited by the capabilities of the BOSS.
So the Tascam gear is the "master"; the BOSS units are meant to "serve" that process by capturing parts elsewhere, to "drop into" my home-based studio projects.

The other important aspect of this is that the rhythm/drum machine capabilities of the BOSS - while very impressive for a small, portable machine - are a drop in the bucket compared to what my ZOOM machines are capable of, and don't sound nearly as good either. So I definitely aren't going to make the BOSS tracks the "master"/guide framework of my projects...

Read on to next post to hear about the "work-around" I was able to achieve...
 
Hi Kidz...gather 'round. This strange dilemma has come to an interesting end. I spent all afternoon on it.
This really threw me for a loop...I'm just dumb enough to think that time is time, time is constant, and it moves in one direction...only to find that BOSS's units reckon time in their own way.
I have to agree with Phil - I think the BOSS units just have a certain "chip" or crystal that is microscopically different from everyone else's, so that there's this teensy difference (that adds up, over 80-100 measures!).

I mentioned previously that the BOSS units have an interesting capability in that its' drum machine/metronome feature can have it's bpm set in increments of 1/10 bpm, rather than whole bpm's.
So - it occurred to me that perhaps I could "compensate" for the difference between BOSS "time" and "everyone else's time".

The SHORT version is: YES. I did in fact accomplish this to a reasonably acceptable degree. It's not MIDI-clock perfect, but SO close that I think my problem is essentially resolved.

The LONG version is below, for the edification of tech-nerds, gear-junkies, or anyone who has experienced this and is looking for something to try.
It's probably notable that the only reason I even have this problem is that I'm a geezer and I tend to use old-school gear, instead of bleeding-edge MIDI-chained DAW-embedded tech-wiz stuff.

Here's the layout:
  • I tried to match the BOSS's 'clock' to my ZOOM drum machines (which are deadly accurate).
  • I did test-songs at numerous bpm's ranging from 78-134bpm.
  • I'd set the ZOOM at the specific bpm - for example, 106 - then run it against the BOSS, playing IT'S rhythm at varying tempos, until they'd match up over the course of an approximately 4-minute duration. This would be anywhere from 70-130 measures, depending on the bpm.
What I found was that by increasing the bpm setting of the BOSS by those tiny, 1/10th bpm increments, I could get it to keep time with the ZOOM, playing at it's full-bpm setting.
This varied from 0.4-0.6bpm ahead of the ZOOM. The faster the song, the "farther ahead" the bpm setting of the BOSS needed to be. For example - the slower tempos (78, 86, 98, 106bpm) could be matched by setting the BOSS to 78.4, 86.4, 98.4, 106.4 - but the faster songs (120, 134bpm) had to have the BOSS running at 120.6 or 134.6bpm to keep time.

The result: in all cases, the rhythm stayed reasonably well-matched (to the human ear - MY human ear...:rolleyes:) from beginning to end of an approximately 4-minute song. At least well enough that a part played at that slightly higher tempo is going to precisely match the relative "whole bpm" tempo that my studio work is done in.

So that means I can get back to stopping in at Satriani's house for nachos and git'r-part tracking, and have them fit right into my projects. At least that's the theory...we'll see if it works!!!

Stay tuned...
 
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@shredd said:
So the Tascam gear is the "master"; the BOSS units are meant to "serve" that process by capturing parts elsewhere, to "drop into" my home-based studio projects.

Phil means to just record the drums first and then you're playing everything to that track. If you record it instead of using MIDI to playback every time you make a pass, it won't drift.
 
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Phil means to just record the drums first and then you're playing everything to that track. If you record it instead of using MIDI to playback every time you make a pass, it won't drift
I think I got the gist - what he said makes total sense.

But - even though it's a definite solution - what it doesn't do is allow use of either the BOSS's or the DP's time metering - especially as it concerns the measure/beat count, which I use often, especially post-production/editing phase.

When I was young and stewpyd (as opposed to OLD and stewpyd, like I am now) I used to record in "real time" - not using beat counts or measures or whatever - and the results were unsurprisingly horrificly bad. It skrooed up everything - NOTHING was in sync with anything else.
Years 'n years later, it STILL bothered me so much that I did total re-do/remasters of numerous songs, 'cuz I just couldn't listen to them - even as proud as I was of the songs I'd written...
 
Phil means to just record the drums first and then you're playing everything to that track. If you record it instead of using MIDI to playback every time you make a pass, it won't drift.
Hm. Have stewed this over and I think I "get it" now...it just took me a coupla hours. I TOLDJA I was stewpyd...:rolleyes:

I think what was implied is that I'd record an "accurate" bpm rhythm onto the BOSS - as my home-studio would have - and use THAT to record parts remotely, rather than using the BOSS's internal drum/metronome, which is the one that's NOT accurate.
That way, whatever I record remotely will be time-accurate when I drop it into my home-studio project.

I think why this didn't make sense to me at first is that I've become accustomed to using a MTR's rhythm, click, or even measure/beat timing. And, of course, I'd prefer to NOT have to take up a track for rhythm...a BR is not a DP-32, with room for everything you want to track!!:confused:

All this means is that I'll ignore the BOSS's clock & measure/beat indicators and NOT use any internal drums/metronome, as they are NOT accurate and will make recorded parts unusable.

That's sort of counter to my normal work-flow/methodology...but - like Phil and MJ said - I'm going to have to do things a little different to make the different gear play nice together.
 
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@shredd, I'm sorry but I don't know what those Boss units do. But, if you use the DP-32, and set the BPM in the metronome in the DP machine, it will drive a drum machine at that BPM. You record the drum tracks first and then you play the instruments to that drum track and use the DP's metronome function for a click track too. I found the DP to be accurate enough to play the MIDI sequencer too. It all matched up very well.
 
if you use the DP-32, and set the BPM in the metronome in the DP machine, it will drive a drum machine at that BPM. You record the drum tracks first and then you play the instruments to that drum track and use the DP's metronome function for a click track too. I found the DP to be accurate enough to play the MIDI sequencer too. It all matched up very well.
Hey MJ - thanks for the feedback. I'm a lot newer at this, and not as tech-savvy as a lot...
ANYway. You're EXACTLY right - the DP's metronome is DEADLY accurate - matches the BPM/tempo of ALL my gear (various Zoom drum machines, my Roland synths, etc) perfectly, even when not MIDI-clocked.
And, of course, it has MIDI that can be master/control and/or clock other MIDI-capable gear. So I've had NO problem with tempo on that gear. It's just the BOSS BR's.

My problem - and this thread - started with the purchase of the BOSS BR's to do portable/remote tracking, and put those into my DP projects. I'd set the BPM to the same as the DP project was, and found they didn't match.

Oh well. If life was perfect, EVERYbody would be happy...:rolleyes::cool:
 
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@shredd go ahead and use whatever workflow works for you. If something happens with the timing there are a number of us here on the forum who can take your tracks and re-align them for you. So you can work with confidence that at least the timing issue is recoverable.
 
If something happens with the timing there are a number of us here on the forum who can take your tracks and re-align them for you. So you can work with confidence that at least the timing issue is recoverable.
THAT is very good to know!
Not that I wouldn't prefer to NOT have this problem. But in a pinch, if I had some great take that I just HAD to use, but needed the timing fixed...it's good to know it's possible. THANKS!!!:geek:
 
Yes its possible down to sample resolution.
 
@shredd Yeah, what they said. Record you're ultimately accurate drum track from the DP onto the Boss sloppy rhythm recorder (maybe include a metronome sound), ignore any and all Beat/ Bar/ Measure indications or sounds from the Boss - and tell Satriani to do the same - then record Joe's ripping solo for your song. Back home, transfer the stellar tracks back into the DP and look! Satriani played perfectly in time with the DP you left at home! ;)

Disclaimer: ofcourse this will only work if the Boss is consistently sloppy [ehm, is that even possible?]..
 
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Yeah, what they said
Thanks for the pointer - in fact, that DOES seem to be the only genuinely effective solution to this. You, MJ, Phil T - all the resident geenyusez - have more or less said the same thing. And, in reality, I think that's the ONLY thing that's gonna overcome the sloppy timing of the BOSS units.

I think the reason I've been trying so hard to overcome this flaw in some other way is because I'm "one of them" - I routinely use the beat/bar/measure points for both editing and punch in/out purposes, and accuracy is important...and neither of the BOSS units have the incredible mark-setting accuracy the DP offers (via the Jog Dial/scrub function).
So I fear my takes will sound even more amateurish...not that they don't already sound like Elmer Fudd trying to channel Freddy Mercury...:rolleyes:
 
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For anyone who hasn't been following this long-winded thread:

Basically, I suffer from terminal G.A.S. and routinely acquire various gear to try/experiment with, some of which ends up in my "permanent" collection.

In recent times, I've been buying various small recorders (Tascam DP-008 - converted to 008EX by instructions from this forum!; and several BOSS BR-series units).
The intention was to be able to be away from my "real" studio and track parts, or record others playing a track, and bring them home and put them into my "real" studio projects (DP-32).

The problem arose (well-documented above) that most of these units do NOT track time accurately - meaning if I set a song's rhythm to xxxBPM and a track is recorded...when I export the track and import it into my DP set at the same BPM - they DO NOT MATCH. Within 10-12 measures, the time "drift" becomes apparent, and by 25-30 measures, it's not even close - often off by several beats, or more.
The only reason this is a real problem is because my DP (which is MIDI-capable) and my ZOOM drum machines (also MIDI-capable) keep time to the microsecond. And, frankly, my "internal" rhythm/clock is so bad that Neil Peart is thrashing in his grave when I play.
Stewpyd me - I thought "time was time", and x-many BPM meant that in a minute (a fixed unit of time) there would be x many beats. NOT!!!

SO I came up with the stoopid solution described above, to try to time-sync the little units as best as possible.

The reason I'm bringing it up now:
I recently purchased another of the same ilk - this time, a BOSS BR-600.
And it keeps time like the atomic clock. NO drift at all.

WTF?!?:confused::eek:o_O
 
Imo there's no wtf about it, for the reasons stated earlier... you just got lucky :)
On the off-chance it's a voltage-related cause, you could try different power sources. Are you using the genuine Boss PSU or a compatible? Maybe try batteries if it takes them.
 
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On the off-chance it's a voltage-related cause, you could try different power sources. Are you using the genuine Boss PSU or a compatible? Maybe try batteries if it takes them
Yikes...now I'm feeling very smart-ish...I actually DID think of that back them, when I was having this problem with multiple units...I tried full batteries on the two BOSS units that wouldn't keep time...sadly, it did NOT correct the time-inaccuracy, or even change it.

ONE of them has a 'factory'/OEM p/supply (one of the ones that doesn't keep time!)...the others all have aftermarket ones.

So...I'm going with your original advice, which is to NOT use the internal drum machine/metronome to keep time...
For example, if I'm working on a studio piece that's at xxxBPM...I use one of my ZOOM drum machines (which all keep time like an atomic clock - even with aftermarket p/supplies!) and record a 'click track' or a basic rhythm onto the mobile unit; when I go to record somewhere, I/they just play to THAT, without using the internal drum machine or metronome. Then the tracks plug into whatever I'm working on in the DP, with proper timing.

UNLESS - there is no chance of/necessity for the tracks to conform to actual time...for example, a strictly "stand-alone" project...and doesn't have to keep time with anything else...

"Better Living Through Technology", riiight??:p
If I could keep a beat, I wouldn' thave this problem. But I'm like Steve Martin down-home on the porch in "The Jerk"...:oops:
 
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If sync is important then all your gear should use a common word clock.
 
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