Boss crams 11 tasty amp and speaker tones into compact floor stomp
Roland-owned Boss has launched a new compact pedal that offers guitarists stomp-sized access to digital recreations of 11 amp tones matched with Celestion Impulse Responses, for "consistent, high-quality sound while performing, recording, and practicing."
The basic idea is that, rather than having to haul your huge rigs from gig to gig, or blow the neighbors away at full tilt from your bedroom, you'd just need to add the IR-2 to the end of your pedalboard and plug in. The stomp comes with mono/stereo outputs, and even includes a headphone jack for quiet practice. As for the tones on offer, Boss says that "every selection delivers the same expressive nuance and dynamic touch response of a real amp and cabinet."
Some of the available options will be familiar to players who tap into tones on the company's excellent Katana range of modeling amps – from a clean sound designed to mimic output through a 12-inch Celestion V-type to distorted crunch exploding from a pair of Celestion G12-65s and a high-gain "Brown" sound from four Celestion G12M Creambacks. Boss has also added a modded amp tone "with extreme gain and high definition" via an Impulse Response (IR) of a cabinet rocking 4x12 Celestion G12K-100.
The remainder are flavors of well-known tube amp heads: the TWN (Fender Twin Reverb), the Tweed (1959 Fender Bassman), the Diamond (Vox AC30), the Brit (Marshall 1959 Super Lead), the SLDN (Soldano SLO-100) and the RFIER (Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier) – all paired with IRs from Celestion Digital designed to sound like speaker cabinets captured by a high-end microphone. And if Celestion speakers are not your thing, third-party IRs can be plonked in via the IR Loader app.
In addition to the tone selection knob up top, the compact pedal also features three double controls for tweaking the EQ (lower control) and dialing in level, gain and ambience (upper knob). That last one adds a kind of reverb to the output. Boss has even cooked in the ability to switch between two amp/cab tones via the unit's stomp or an external footswitch, which should be useful for moving between rhythm and lead playing during a set.
The IR-2 boasts a sampling frequency of 96 kHz and 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion with AF, a proprietary technology designed to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, plus 32-bit digital-to-analog conversion. The system also benefits from powerful 32-bit floating-point processing. And the pedal works from a 9-V battery or AC adapter.
It's possible to chain up external modulation effects, reverb and delay thanks to the inclusion of a send/return loop. There's a USB-C port too, which allows the pedal to serve as an audio interface for music production software.
All in, this looks like a very useful addition to the Boss arsenal. Sure, there are larger and more complex tone machines from the likes of Line 6 and Neural DSP, but the beauty of this box of tricks lies in its pedalboard-friendly form factor and its relatively low price. It's available now for US$199.99. The video below has more.
Product page: Boss IR-2 Amp & Cabinet