boss Ms-3

Trans­form your ’board with this in­ge­nious hy­brid sys­tem

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS - Michael Ast­ley-Brown

killer tones and cun­ning switch­ing func­tion­al­ity

Pro ped­al­boards are in­creas­ingly based around almighty switch­ing sys­tems, de­signed to swap stomp­boxes in and out with ease. Yet for those of us look­ing to min­imise on real es­tate (and out­lay), Boss has come up with an in­ge­nious so­lu­tion that gives you pro­gram­mable loops for three of your own ped­als and a host of its own ef­fects – 112 to be pre­cise.

The MS-3 can switch your amp chan­nels, ad­just ex­ter­nal ef­fects and in­te­grate with MIDI-equipped ped­als. Then there’s the built-in tuner, noise sup­pres­sor and global EQ. It’s as if Boss looked at every­thing play­ers could want from a ped­al­board con­troller and crammed it into one com­pact unit.

In­te­grat­ing the MS-3 in your rig takes a bit of set­ting up: hook up your ex­ter­nal ped­als of choice around the rear via the trio of send/re­turns, then use the but­tons and three knobs to choose which of the MS-3’s footswitches switch the ped­als in and out (man­ual mode), or which are ac­tive in the cur­rent patch (mem­ory mode). The same goes for in­ter­nal ef­fects. Amp chan­nels and MIDI setup re­quire some deep-menu div­ing, but once the MS-3 is ready to go it’s a dream to use. There are 200 patch mem­o­ries for sav­ing your ex­pertly tweaked sounds, each with four ef­fects or ped­als that can be switched in or out at will, or four pre­sets that can be in­stantly re­called. Want a fuzz for your solo, with ad­justable tap tempo for the de­lay and mo­men­tary flanger con­trol? Fine. Need to swap three of your fave stacked drive ped­als out for a com­pressed clean with re­verb and cho­rus, all with a sin­gle tap? No prob­lem.

For any­one who hasn’t used a loop switcher be­fore, the po­ten­tial is lim­it­less, and it’s backed up by typ­i­cally high-qual­ity Boss tones. The MS-3 is rammed with pris­tine mod­u­la­tions, all the es­sen­tial de­lay and re­verb types, as well as a load of Boss spe­cials, such as the dy­namic Tera Echo and se­quenced tremolo Slicer. Then there’s the niche yet use­ful ef­fects, such as an acous­tic gui­tar sim, Slow Gear auto fade-in and that sitar sim you never knew you wanted. The drive tones don’t live up to stand­alone ped­als, but for most play­ers, we’d wa­ger those three switch­able loop slots will be used for ana­logue drives, with the ES-3 han­dling mod­u­la­tion, de­lay and re­verb.

Com­plaints? The small screen that makes setup a lit­tle fid­dly, the tight jack spac­ing around the rear – are negated by its size, which en­sures it’s small enough to fit on any ped­al­board. With a huge range of killer tones and cun­ning switch­ing func­tion­al­ity, it’s a gen­uinely ex­cit­ing ped­al­board devel­op­ment.

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