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Boss Delivers Monster New King of Guitar Synthesizers - the Polyphonic 3-Voice and 3-Engine, Twin Step Sequencer, 150+ Effects SY-1000

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Most are aware that Boss picked up on Roland’s Guitar Synthesizer expertise and leadership - and that the previous SY-300 model was the best in class for ultra-low-to-zero latency synthesis from direct guitar input. The new SY-1000 model fully lives up to ’Bigger and Better’ with much improved processing capacity and speed, more tones, textures and effects. It expands considerably on the range of its former sibling with 3 different synthesiser engines onboard - Dynamic Synth, Oscillator Synth, and Analog/GR-300 Synth. This is in tandem with different amp modelling types, various alternative tunings and a choice of input methods including via 13-pin DIN type and standard 1/4 inch guitar jack.


The very first downside here is obviously an even bigger chassis! The SY-300 was an already huge 255mm x 191mm - albeit just with the 4 footswitches; the SY-1000 doubles footswitches to 8 - but with that increases dimensions to 345mm x 245mm which equates to an increase in footprint of 174% - so this things is pretty huge and obviously tailored more towards specialist players as it would so dominate most pedalboards as to pretty much take up all that space for most players. Of course this is the most fully-featured Guitar Synthesizer pedal currently available to my knowledge - meaning that naturally the size is dictated by the features and capabilities of this device - and your getting all the bells and whistles as it were. Knowing that musicians liked to interface the previous SY-300 with all manner of instruments - harps, woodwind and brass - the new SY-1000 is better calibrated to deal with a variety of input devices too.


In terms of design and layout this is just a somewhat shorter extrapolation from the GT-1000 architecture - occupying near enough the same depth, but lacking an extra couple of footswitches and an Expression rocker pedal as featured on that. The overall topology should be pretty familiar to those who have experienced the GT-1000, while there’s more going on to the right of the display panel - where the SY-1000 has 8 buttons to the GT-1000’s 6. The Output / Level Knob and 6 further Parameter Knobs are pretty much identical to those on the GT-1000.


Obviously you get a very detailed menu system where you can set up multiple vector parameters and effects on the key Synthesizers and Oscillators. This is quite a different approach to the delightfully simple tweakery of the recent Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesizer pedal I have and love (and is in my current pedal-chain) - and which I believe will be the better option for many. For the SY-1000 you have the significant advantage of 200 presets - but each will require some degree of sub-menu work to tweak, alter and setup generally.


It really depends on what kind of player you are and what exactly you are looking for. I think there is no doubt though that this SY-1000 is the current King of Guitar Synthesizers - but you have to be seriously dedicated to that genre to want to accommodate such a large device.


In my image above I’ve indicated my favourite choices of synth pedals at different size enclosures - with the SY-1000 obviously leading the charge but with a lot of inherent complexity and some numerous practicality considerations in tow. Next comes the medium enclosure Meris Enzo which I considered for a while - but decided that my commitment to Guitar Synths was more at the Compact level - and hence the SY-1 being my favourite current choice, with the new Mooer E7 a nice sort of taster or aperitif. I should also probably include mention here of the PandaMidi Future Impact V3 - an also celebrated guitar synth, though mainly associated with basses - this sits between the Meris and SY-1000, and is somewhat less than half the size of the latter. Price-wise things are pretty much as you would expect and somewhat aligned to the different sizes - SY-1000 at £879, Future Impact V3 at €359/£359, the Enzo at £319, SY-1 at £179 and finally the E7 at £84.


If you’re looking for the absolute state of the art / state of the industry Guitar Synthesizer - then the SY-1000 should be your choice, if you want some of the key aspects of that but in a significantly smaller unit - then go for the Enzo. Guitar Synthesis can be something of a specialist discipline which is why I feel most would be more comfortable with the SY-1 - but if you’re not sure, and just want to dip your toes into the genre try the E7.


I find it pretty incredible just how much innovation Boss has released this year - new Katana MKII amp range, the new Waza-Air Headphone Amp, the mew 200 series, and the 2 new synthesiser pedals at either end of the scale - there should be plenty there to get excited about. I would imagine there’s also a SY-200 series Guitar Synth aching to be born - but I would like Boss to up the number of presets to at least double of what they currently are or 8!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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