The front panel
Let's start the review of the BR-532 with the analysis of the front panel of the recorder. We can divide it in three main sections. Well, let's start.
The left side of the front panel features two different zones. The upper zone is dedicated to the three inputs of the device, while the zone below includes some controls for playback and recording.
It features three different inputs. The user can connect an instrument, with a dedicated Hi-Z input for guitar and bass, or a microphone (XLR or 1/4"). In addition, the Line In input can be used to connect a keyboard, a CD player and so on.
In the upper image we can see the three knobs for the adjusting of the input sensitivity.
- INPUT SELECT
These three buttons can be used to choose the input source for the recording. A special function, called SIMUL, lets you activate the simultaneous recording of two inputs (guitar and microphone).
- EFFECTS (COSM)
This button activates the insert effects. The BR-532 provides 30 effects for guitar and bass, 10 effects for voice, ten effects for the Line In signal, and 10 amps simulations.
- INPUT LEVEL
The volume of the input, during the recording, can be adjusted with this knob.
The button to turn on and off the onboard tuner.
Playback and recording
The section below of the left side features all the buttons for playback and recording functions, as for instance the automatic punch in/out, that turns out rather useful in a 4-track recorder, or the LOCATOR button, to store some locations on the tracks that can be, successively, recalled.
Well, the central area features the display and, in the zone below, the heart of the recorder, the mixer.
The display is really minimal, but shows all the most important informations, like the active effects and the signal level.
In the mixer area we can see the faders for the single tracks, with the buttons for the activation, and the fader for the volume of the rhythm guide, with its dedicated buttons for the pattern choice. We can see a button with a number, 32. The BR-532 is a 4-track recorder with 8 virtual tracks for each physical track. The use of this feature isn't immediate, but it exists.
By pressing this button the user can choose the location (right/left of the sound) of each track.
- PHRASE TRAINER
A useful function, above all for the guitarist. It enables the center cancel function, that removes voice, or the time stretch function. This function can slow down playback and turns out very useful if you want to study a solo, for example.
- BOUNCE ON/OFF
This function mixes all the recordings on the tracks onto one or two tracks.
On the right of the front panel we can see some buttons for general purposes of the recorder, a great knob that can be used to change the values of the various function settings, for example, and the fader for the master volume.
Rear panel and connections
The rear panel features the jacks for the inputs, the outputs, both analog and digital, the input jack for an additional footswitch, the MIDI OUT connector and an interesting switch, called AUDIO SUB MIX. When this switch is turned on the signal of the Line In is mixed with the signal of the output. It can be very useful.
In the image below we can see the rear panel and all the possible connections. This image is included in the manual. The manual is complete and explains, in detail, all the functions of the recorder.
Considering the price of this Boss recorder, rather low, i have to say that it can be an excellent solution for a single musician, above all a guitarist. The perfect "first" recorder, with all the necessary for the guitar and some basic features for the recording.
- Excellent audio quality.
- Complete effects section.
- Good construction.
- The 32 Mb card (SmartMedia) supplied with the unit is too small.
- The AC adaptor isn't included and must be bought separately.
- Editing of the drum machine isn't easy.
- The display is too small.