View Full Version : GT-PRO sounds horrible next to GT-8
07-21-2005, 04:53 PM
I just bought a GT-PRO for my studio setup and a GT-8 for the road show.
I initially took the GT-PRO out of the box and started playing... I went main outs to Mackie Onyx 1620/Alesis ProLinear 820s using the GT-PRO's "Line/Phones" setting to see how the PRO sounded unaffected by an amp. After driving through some of the heavy distortion presets, I was amazed at how awful the PRO sounded. My Alesis GuitarFX had more convincing sounds. I was really thinking I was going to have to give up on multi-effects units altogether.
I then took my GT-8 out of the box and started playing... same setup as the GT-PRO. And WOW, the GT-8 blew me away. There was amazing presence, incredible stock sounds altogether.
This seemed really strange to me, since I paid double what the GT-8 cost to buy the GT-PRO.
Here's my analysis of the sound differences: I tested the exact same patches in comparison from GT-8 to GT-PRO, in the direct-recording "Line/Phones" mode. This mode is crucial for me because I want to record direct-in, no mics. The clean patches are pretty close in sound, except that the PRO sounds a little harsh and tinny on the high-frequency end in some patches. But once distortion is applied, the PRO completely falls apart. The GT-8 distortion patches sound round, full, heavy, and blistering - they really do a great job of cutting through the mix and sounding like a well-mic'd cab. I have done a few recordings with the GT-8 and they sound fantastic. However, the GT-PRO's distortion is almost unuseable for direct-recording. The overall sound is "muffled, far-away, tinny, brittle, and harsh." I tried using EQ and other setting changes to fix the sound, but the Line/Phones output is just completely awful on the GT-PRO's distortion patches.
The best literal description of the sound I can give is that it sounds like an extremely low-bit-rate MP3 or other highly compressed audio. There is horrible crackling, and the overall effect is that you are listening to the sound from inside a trash can across a concert hall. Interestingly, the pick sound and a few milliseconds of signal come through fairly cleanly, and then it is as if the GT-PRO "clamps down" on the signal and squashes it.
My best guess is that there is something wrong with the signal chain; perhaps the compressor is being engaged where it shouldn't be.
Just to get the usual suggestions out of the way: yes, I tried changing all effects settings, rerouting the signal, flipping effect order, turning compression on/off, and comparing clean signal to effected signal; and yes, I made sure I wasn't clipping anywhere in the chain. The setup on the GT-PRO is extremely similar to that of the GT-8, so I am fairly certain I didn't miss anything.
Because the sound quality disparity between the two units was so drastic, I sent the GT-PRO in to Roland for a look. I also came across this forum, which indicated similar problems on the GT-8 had been corrected by a firmware update; and in fact, my GT-8 is at 1.02 while the GT-PRO is at 1.00. I included a note to the techs which basically encapsulated what I wrote above.
Amazingly, the guys at Roland immediately sent the unit back. I called them, and they said they tested it against a stock GT-PRO and that the sound was identical. I said, "OK, but my point was that the GT-PRO sounds completely awful up against the GT-8."
I was informed that they are different products with different components and are not supposed to sound the same. I asked, "So the $1000 product is supposed to sound drastically inferior to the $400 product?" and I was told that that was a matter of my opinion.
This is really frustrating. Anyone who plays guitar with effects often could listen to the difference between the GT-PRO and GT-8 distortion effects and hear the extreme difference in tone quality. Roland says if I don't like it, I should take it back. I merely asked them to see if a similar firmware update might be necessary for the GT-PRO, but I was flatly told that the GT-PRO doesn't have a firmware update. OK - uh, right, that's why I was asking for one.
SO - those of you with a GT-PRO - please go A/B test your PRO against a GT-8 firmware rev 1.02 using the Line/Phones setting on monitors or headphones. If your PRO is like mine or Roland's "stock" unit, you will hear a MAJOR difference on distortion patches and be extremely disappointed with your PRO. If you can, please do this and let me know your findings. Seriously - if your PRO sounds like mine, you will want to go GT-8 immediately.
For now, the distortion patches in my GT-PRO are completely unuseable for direct recording purposes. I hope Roland comes out with a fix before I decide to return it.
07-21-2005, 05:23 PM
Sorry about your experience with the PRO. I would be bummed too. Your description is totally unlike my experience with the PRO so far. I am surprised by some of Rolands answers to your questions which contradict some of the assumptions I've had about the PRO. Of course Rolands customer service & support has a reputation of sucking anyhow.
I don't really have a way to A/B the two unless I want to drive 2 hours to the nearest store. I certainly don't want to order one just to test. Hopefully someone on this forum will be able to do an A/B comparison as I am interested in what they find.
For now I'm almost totally happy with my PRO and am impressed with the tones & capabilities.
07-21-2005, 08:14 PM
Well, thanks -- I didn't realize my Pro sucks. 8O
Seriously, I don't have an 8, but a friend does and this does make me want to compare them. I'll try to A/B as soon as I can -- could be next week, could be next month.
You're saying with the units on the same patch, with exactly the same signal from the pick all the way down to the audio track, you get these drastically different results? Can you post some samples so we can hear the difference?
Like rcknrllmn, I didn't know I had it so bad; while I haven't got my own tone dialed in yet on it -- mostly because I haven't had time to look for it -- I certainly don't hear anything I'd describe as "a little harsh and tinny on the high-frequency" and "like an extremely low-bit-rate MP3 or other highly compressed audio".
There are still many, many variables involved. For example, Is it possible you input leveled the 8 for your guitar, but not the Pro?
Going beyond routing / configuration, Is it possible the Pro's firmware doesn't have some of the refinements in the output select / spkr sim that the 8 picked up in the newer firmware? Did you try some of the other output selects, to see how the sound changed?
"I just bought a GT-PRO for my studio setup and a GT-8 for the road show." Interesting.....If money were no object, I would buy two of the same -- either Pro OR 8, just to have total consistency in my rig.
"Line/Phones" mode. This mode is crucial for me because I want to record direct-in, no mics.
I may be a total idiot here, but I thought the conventional wisdom was that Output Select was just EQ compensating for different signal destinations, so there's nothing stopping you from trying the others and still recording direct-in.
Interestingly, the pick sound and a few milliseconds of signal come through fairly cleanly, and then it is as if the GT-PRO "clamps down" on the signal and squashes it.
Hmmmm, this part sounds vaguely familiar to me -- although I never got the crappy audio quality you describe, there have been a few times where the Pro was "choking" notes. Can't recall what it was, but it was always some sorta user error on my part.....
Anyway, I understand your surprise at not getting "identical" results out of these two, but there's no getting around the fact you've got two different models, two different firmwares, and two different units that may have been configured differently. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out...
07-21-2005, 08:17 PM
Another thought: What's the "Output Level" set to on the 8, and what's Main Out set to on the Pro? Are they comparable? Does cranking it on the Pro help equalise the sound quality?
07-21-2005, 11:07 PM
Thanks so much for your quick replies and suggestions. I really appreciate it - great feedback.
First, yes, the GT-PRO I own does sound decent on some patches - it is still more convincing on those patches than a GT-6, for example. And through an amp, the GT-PRO sounds pretty right on. I believe the issue is the speaker sims and the way the signal is routed through them; on the stock distortion patches in Line/Phones mode, I just cannot get a useable signal out of them, regardless of tweaking, whereas the GT-8's great distortion sounds are effortless.
Hopefully your units do not exhibit this problem! Since Roland is unwilling to A/B a PRO with an 8, I just ask that if you can, try this yourself to see the results you get. Just use a good pair of headphones and do the A/B, and if your PRO is like mine and the 8 you use is at 1.02, you WILL hear the difference, guaranteed.
To answer your excellent questions:
1. "You're saying with the units on the same patch, with exactly the same signal from the pick all the way down to the audio track, you get these drastically different results? Can you post some samples so we can hear the difference?"
Yes; I have been involved in pro audio for about 14 years and I am fairly confident that my setup is identical between the two units, minus slight input gain changes to accommodate the different electronics. As soon as I have time, I will gladly post some samples.
2. "There are still many, many variables involved. For example, Is it possible you input leveled the 8 for your guitar, but not the Pro?"
I went through the normalling process three times just to make sure I wasn't wreaking havoc somehow. In fact, on the patches the PRO sounds OK on, the levels were perfect and there was no clipping, so I have to assume the problem is in the hardware's configuration.
3. "Is it possible the Pro's firmware doesn't have some of the refinements in the output select / spkr sim that the 8 picked up in the newer firmware? Did you try some of the other output selects, to see how the sound changed?"
Perfect question - you should be paid big bucks for your brainpower and problem solving skills. Yes, I have since tried some of the other output selects, and the GT-PRO signal (while unuseable for direct recording) does seem more comparable to the GT-8 while in non-speaker-sim mode. The strident, muffled tones only really seem to occur in Line/Phones mode; although the non-speaker-sim tones sound good only through an amp.
4. "If money were no object, I would buy two of the same -- either Pro OR 8, just to have total consistency in my rig."
Haha - money can be an object. Plus, I like the feel of the 8 over the rack unit, and I don't want to mess with external foot controllers, etc. I prefer to mix the GT-8 in with other floor gear and be done with it.
5. "I may be a total idiot here, but I thought the conventional wisdom was that Output Select was just EQ compensating for different signal destinations, so there's nothing stopping you from trying the others and still recording direct-in."
You are definitely no idiot. Genius, perhaps. The Line/Phones setting actually activates the physical modelling algorithm; without using it, you're running a dry signal that's appropriate for amps. That's where the GT-8 sounds ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE - the 8 can be recorded directly and has such a great presence, while the PRO sounds mucky. Back to the question - the reason you don't generally record out of a bunch of traditional pedals and into the line-in of a DAW is because the signal has no psychoacoustic properties to speak of; the grit and low-end power generally comes from the physical properties of the amp you use. Where and when I record multitrack, however, I can't crank up amps and chug away; because a lot of people have this problem, Roland spent a lot of money R&D'ing ways to make their multi-FX sound "real" even when going direct out into a computer, multitrack unit, etc. And in fact, for the first time, they have really succeeded in the GT-8. But the PRO doesn't cut it, which is strange since they are really more or less the same unit, right?
6. " 'The pick sound and a few milliseconds of signal come through fairly cleanly, and then it is as if the GT-PRO "clamps down" on the signal and squashes it.' Hmmmm, this part sounds vaguely familiar to me -- although I never got the crappy audio quality you describe, there have been a few times where the Pro was "choking" notes. Can't recall what it was, but it was always some sorta user error on my part....."
It may be user error, but I don't get the clamping at all on the GT-8. The clamping-down occurs on almost all distortion patches for me in Line/Phones mode.
7. "What's the "Output Level" set to on the 8, and what's Main Out set to on the Pro? Are they comparable? Does cranking it on the Pro help equalise the sound quality?"
Again, great question. I tried going to the extreme high and low on both units to find a middle ground and never found a comparable signal on the patches in question. In general for testing purposes, the mains are set straight-up on both, where the signal runs at about 0 on the Mackie mixer. And no, changing the Patch Level doesn't help this problem.
Again, thanks for your invaluable input![/i]
07-21-2005, 11:27 PM
Well, interesting stuff, for sure, but a few random thoughts:
1. My friend's 8 hasn't been updated, so perhaps it's a 1.0 unit -- it'd be interesting to A/B that, and then update it (since he can't do that himself) and A/B that.
2. I think the "choking" effect may have been when I was clipping somewhat -- pushing the input too hard but not noticing the Peak light or anything. Keep an eye on that, but it sounds like you have and the two are configured similarly.
3. We really need to hear your samples.
4. I've always subconsciously assumed the Pro would get a firmware update after its release, and that this would be roughly comparable to the 8's 1.02. That could dramatically equalize things, no pun intended..... My guess is that this is the root difference, although I can't explain your sense that the Pro is nearly useless as-is.
07-21-2005, 11:55 PM
I figured the PRO came out so much later than the 8 that the 1.0 already contained the firmware update.
Are you using the USB output for recording?
IF not -
Is there any reason you are not using USB for recording since the PRO is optimised for recording using a USB connection? Not to say that you should still have the same results using the PRO or the 8's outputs. Seems to me you could have gotten by with two 8's if you are not using the USB connection.
07-25-2005, 09:04 PM
Here's another thought: Try the exact same patches, same configuration on both units, everything as identical as possible --
And then turn the Spkr Sim Mic level to 0, Spkr Sim Direct Level to 100.
Are they more comparable after this?
[I'm just wondering if the 8's newer firmware updates the Spkr sim modelling.....]
07-25-2005, 09:27 PM
Interestingly, the pick sound and a few milliseconds of signal come through fairly cleanly, and then it is as if the GT-PRO "clamps down" on the signal and squashes it.
Hmm? just another off the wall thought that makes me wonder - are you using some type of compression on your DAW?. Maybe the output level of the PRO is alot hotter than the 8's & is getting squashed by compression in your DAW.
07-25-2005, 09:55 PM
Good thought, but supposedly the signal chains are all but identical and he sez he was using Main out (which is a conventional line-level -10 dBu and hopefully comparable to the 8's output).
[Apropos of nothing: Was supposed to do a lot of work-from-home tonight, but after a couple of beers I gave up and cranked up the Pro. 8) I think I got a decent patch started, but then my 6 year-old ran in to help me play guitar -- he knows I need all the help I can get! :roll: He's been doing that alot lately, and he always seems to run into the room with one of my "special" picks. :x We somehow wound up on the Octave + Slicer patch (I think) and he and I spent twenty minutes just having a blast with that, me fingering the chords and him strumming. In that moment, the Pro paid for itself. ]
07-25-2005, 10:03 PM
he and I spent twenty minutes just having a blast with that, me fingering the chords and him strumming. In that moment, the Pro paid for itself. ] :) - Thats AWESOME! :)
07-27-2005, 03:21 AM
Thanks to everyone for their input.
I only had about 30 free minutes tonight so I quickly ran thru a few patches that exhibit the problems I have described. A few notes:
1. The "guitar playing" you hear is just an attempt to really show where the tightness of the sound, the bass frequencies, and the distortion quality differ between the two units. This is by no means an example of good guitar playing; think of it more like a guitar-based tone generator. Just close your eyes and hear the differences.
2. The setup was identical. On both, patch level set to 100. Input gain set exactly the same. Output levelled exactly the same on recording DAW. Even the same cables (you can hear me switching the cable in the recordings). These are precisely the same patches between the GT-PRO and the GT-8.
3. There are even more noticeable differences in other patches, but I ran out of time to find them.
That said, here we go. The samples are 44.1k .wav files for maximum clarity, so please be patient with the downloads. 96k shows off the sonic differences even more, but that's overdoing it, right?
--GT-PRO first, then GT-8. Notice the squashed sound in the GT-PRO, and an increase in clarity of picking and tone in the GT-8.
--GT-PRO first, then GT-8. Notice the harsh sound of the GT-PRO, followed by the more rounded out, controlled sound of the GT-8. Yes, these have exactly the same settings. There is not more gain on one than the other. Changing input gain/patch level does not fix the sound in the GT-PRO; it remains harsh.
--GT-PRO first, then GT-8. This one is more subtle, but you can really feel the difference when you play. The GT-PRO feels/sounds more squashed, where the GT-8 really feels and sounds like you have a lot of control of the bass response. The 8 does a much better job of articulating the picking than the PRO does.
--GT-PRO first, then GT-8. The GT-PRO sounds fuzzy and washed out compared to the GT-8. The GT-8 rips through.
--GT-PRO first, then GT-8. The GT-PRO sounds mp3-compressed compared to the GT-8. The GT-8 has a clarity and presence that is missing in the GT-PRO patch.
--GTP-PRO first, then GT-8. The GT-8 simply has more presence and tighter bass response in this patch than the GT-PRO.
--GT-PRO first, then GT-8. Another patch that has subtle differences but feels very different on the 8 and the PRO. The 8 has more presence.
--GT-PRO first, then GT-8. Note the much cracklier, compressed sound of the PRO compared to the 8. The 8 sounds tighter and cleaner. (Again, no gain differences between the two units, and no tweaking of the PRO fixes this.)
--Just the GT-PRO. It sounds compressed and flat.
--Just the GT-8 on the same patch as #9. Notice the cleaner sound, more presence, and more clarity on the picking.
Here's the patches used above (stock factory):
1. Metal Stack - U6-1 on GT-8, U2-5 on GT-PRO
2. Tweed Crunch - U2-3 on GT-8, U1-5 on GT-PRO
3. Plex/T-Amp - U3-1 on GT-8, U4-1 on GT-PRO
4. Plex/T-Amp - U3-1 on GT-8, U4-1 on GT-PRO
5. West Coast Drive - U21-1 on GT-8, U5-1 on GT-PRO
6. did not write down
7. Natural Speed - U15-1 on GT-8. U4-5 on GT-PRO
8. Natural Speed - U15-1 on GT-8. U4-5 on GT-PRO
9. Stereo MS HiGain
10. Stereo MS HiGain
These 44.1k recordings don't even do the difference justice. Listening realtime with headphones, the bass response and overall tone quality of the 8 is just better than the PRO. Flipping through all the patches, the 8 shines bright while the PRO sounds squashed, sibilant, and in some cases, distant in comparison.
Thanks for your help!
07-27-2005, 07:05 AM
I listened to a few of these hurriedly as I got ready for work today; here's my FIRST IMPRESSIONS.
-- The overall tone and character is the same.
-- However, there IS a difference.
-- The differences I heard were generally small enough that I think most people would simply try to compensate the Pro somehow. In other words, in a typical mix, are they different enough to matter?
-- I don't really hear the "MP3 compression" you describe. I understand your use of the phrase, and I think I hear what you're saying, but it's very, very slight.
-- I agree they SHOULD be identical, or the Pro should be better.
-- I'd describe the differences as something an Audio Engineer might get exercised about, but one of us long-haired guitarist-types would simply futz around it.
Again, these are all FIRST IMPRESSIONS. I wanna listen to all your samples later, at volume thru my phones.
I'm more convinced of my basic theory: It's the speaker sims. Would you mind doing just one more A/B of a distorted patch, with the speaker sim turned off on both devices? I'm guessing -- nay, hoping! -- the 8 and the Pro will then sound identical.
Perhaps if I'm proven right about the spkr sims, we can then take your samples to Roland/Boss and say "'splain this". I'm not the most connected guy, but I've had good success e-mailing one of the Roland support guys -- I think he'd at least try to get the samples evaluated or get somebody in their company to try the same exercise.
07-28-2005, 10:37 PM
any further thoughts?
07-30-2005, 09:57 AM
I listened a bit to the clips.
I do hear slight differerences, but not as drastic as you described. With that stated I still would expect them to be the same. I would still like to hear another A/B comparison with 2 other units.
Maybe you should send Roland the links to your A/B comparisons so they can listen to what you're talking about. (If they even care)
Perhaps if you cannot resolve this or get any satisfaction from Roland & the difference bothers you, you should return the PRO for another 8.
None of this really changes how I feel about the PRO as I am really satisfied with the results I am getting. I'm hoping this is either a fluke with your unit or there is still some other explanation.
I hope you get this resolved to your satisfaction.
07-30-2005, 12:44 PM
Thanks for the insight, guys!
I agree that, even from these clips, the sound difference could come across as no big deal.
However, if you will grant me that there are other patches that sound even worse on the GT-PRO compared to the 8 (I just didn't have time to find them) , then here's the deal:
The clips sort of outline the issue, but when you are actually playing the two, it's like night and day. I have to fight the GT-PRO to get solid bass response, clear picking, no squashing, etc. When I plug in and use the stock sounds on the GT-8, it just FEELS great, like the best analog setups I have used. There's a power in the 8 that I just don't feel on the PRO, and when I am actually playing real music, there's a total difference.
That said, when you're playing the GT-8 and everything sounds great, and then you're using the GT-PRO and you can't get the same solid sounds, then you have to decide to record with the GT-8 and forget the GT-PRO.
I have returned my GT-PRO to the dealer, and I have asked him to get me a replacement because I would like to try another one myself to make the comparison. I will also send Roland tech support my links.
Thanks - I will post my findings when the new unit shows up.
07-30-2005, 01:50 PM
I definitely heard the differences, some more pronounced than others as you say, but i would be unhappy with what i heard from the Pro.
I look forward to finding out if it was just that unit or the Pro in general
08-09-2005, 02:48 PM
Question about the guitar used in the A/B tests:
Does it have active electronics (battery)? It could be putting out some funky stuff that is normally inaudible but effects the PRO's processing more. Did you try it with more than one guitar?
Just a thought.
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