I'm always keen to try out new guitar gear to see if it will help me improve my playing. Boss came out with their eBand JS-8 Audio Player with Guitar Effects a while back. On paper, it sounds like the ideal device for me:
- Hundreds of built-in backing tracks & drum tracks
- Hundreds of guitar tones with easy-to-use interface
- Modeled amps, cabinets, effects pedals
- One button recording capability
- USB, SD card interface
- Ability to jam along and record over built-in tracks or any MP3 or WAV file
- Center channel cancel to reduce vocals and guitar on MP3 files
- Built-in stereo speakers, headphone jack
- De-caf espresso maker
Ok, it desn't really have an espresso maker, but it has everything else you could dream of. It's easy to use and BOSS continues to create new backing tracks that you can add.
Unfortunately, the sound quality from the built-in speakers is pretty weak; It sounds much better with headphones. Still, it's great for use in an office, bedroom or dorm where you wouldn't want to crank up a full-blown amp.
Here's a quick and dirty video I shot of the eBand JS-8 to demonstrate the built-in tones and backing tracks. This was shot using the iPhone 4 low-res VGA camera.
Bottom Line: It's a good product for any aspiring amateur that wants to practice to backing tracks to improve their playing. But it's not a professional quality device and not something you could use in a live gig or professional recording situation.
As with any of modeling devices from Line 6, Fender, Korg, etc., some of the tones are better than others. And while the backing tracks are decent, you'll definitely outgrow them at some point. So its good that you can add your own MP3 and WAV files.