I’ll jump straight to the obvious here in calling this Boss’s contender to go against current category leader and long-term reigning champ - the Line 6 Helix HX STOMP Multi Effects Processor and Amp Modeller - which interestingly retails for $599 in the USA, but only around £399 on this side of the pond. While starting RRP tag for the GT-1000 CORE will be £615 (vs GT-1000 currently retailing at £799UK/$999USA). In fact prices are weirdly quite disparate between UK, Europe and USA currently which is unusually odd - Thomann is for instance typically quite well-aligned to UK pricing but for the Line 6 Helix HX STOMP and Boss GT-1000 / CORE there is a very significant difference between territories.
In any case - if you’re in any way familiar with Boss’s flagship GT-1000 - pictured as an inset in the above visual, then be amazed that the One Fifth Size GT-1000 CORE carries the WHOLE feature set of its original bigger brother (obviously minus some footswitches and expression treadle). This means ALL 150 or so Effects and AIRD technology (Augmented Impulse Response Dynamics), 32-bit AD/DA, 32-bit floating-point processing, and 96 kHz sampling rate. Also 250 User and Preset Patches featuring up to 24 Simultaneous Effects Blocks and Seamless Carry Over.
The GT-1000 and CORE are in effect an amalgamation of the OD-200 + DD-500 + MD-500 + RV-500 + IR/Cab Sim with even more additional elements on top and further ones evolving constantly. I’ve grown up on Boss and am very familiar with all those classic pedals and effects - and indeed own most of those referenced ones - with Boss being the most prevalent brand in my sizeable now 500+ collection. At the time, I updated my Strymon Stryfecta to Boss 500 Series and Empress EchoSystem, and nowadays employ the OD-200 and DD-200 amongst other key Boss pedals in my current pedal-chain.
I had the pleasure of getting some hands-on time with the GT-1000 CORE a couple of weeks ago and it’s one of the most attractive and appealing boxes Boss has ever put out - in many ways it feels better balanced and more attractive / appealing than its larger sibling - certainly for my preferences.
When you compare the GT-1000 CORE to its nearest most obvious competitor - of course the aforementioned HX STOMP, then there are certain key characteristics and features you will likely have in mind for your own decision making process. In fact I had all those same queries and points of comparison I needed to get to grips with - and thus set out my own rudimentary basis of comparison.
It's immediately evident that both these devices are targeting the same demographic with largely the same sort of feature set and core functions, while there are distinct nuances and differences - and you will need to weigh those up against your own preferences and requirements as to which pedal is the better match for your circumstances.
The first most obvious thing is the almost identical form factor and size. I've extrapolated a number of the key factors as follows and tallied the Wins and Draws for both devices - I've tried to be as objective and unbiased as possible - by all means take me to task if you believe I have erred! :
I was in two minds about whether to post the LCD Display as a Win for the STOMP or an overall draw. In some ways the STOMP interface is more colourful and appealing and has a higher screen resolution, while the Boss display is actually larger and more prominent overall though lower in resolution - and presents more parameters onscreen at one time than the STOMP - it seems like a draw to me really is the fairest result - but it could go either way depending on your preferences.
There are of course various other factors that come into play - both solutions have their own app / studio style interface and lots of individual nuances in how things are done slightly differently. You may find you prefer the logic of one approach over the other - and that one of the pedals better suits your accumulated experience and preferred way of doing things.
The HX STOMP has obviously evolved a significantly larger library of effects and IR Models than the current Boss iteration / generation - but you have to weigh up the quality and high-fidelity of those effects and algorithms versus Boss's own many classic voicings. Quantity is not not always independently preferable over quality - while ideally you want a mix of both. Generally though I think you have to award the Effects Coverage to the STOMP - as well as likely significant pricing advantage. For most else it's either a Draw or a CORE Win by my reckoning.
I know lots of people have had issues with powering their HX STOMP pedals - where guidelines indicate a 1500mA requirement, but peaks are more typically between 1200 and 1400mA - with idling usually around 1000mA.
I feel that both of these devices are really great and would equally delight the owner whichever way they chose, while as I frequently confess - I tend to be somewhat more Boss-centric, and am so familiar with Boss's classic effects that I already know how to make the most of them and how to tweak to my satisfaction. On a very basic top-line comparison of c300 vs c150 effects the deck does seem to be loaded in one direction, but that never tells the whole story - and there are subtle differences in the quality, range and application of each of those different effects - so it's never going to be exactly like for like.
There's also the fact that you have instant visual and control-access to 5 onscreen referenced parameters at any given time on the CORE vs just 3 on the STOMP. There are already two tribes out there which find Boss or Line 6's control interfaces and overall device topology more closely matched to their preferences. I've actually been considering the HX STOMP for quite a while - in fact since it first materialised - which you will have seen reflected on my blog with an occasional projected visual which then never evolved to status quo. I was very conscious of the fact that the power-supply challenge would have been an issue for me, and I would have had to buy in a Cioks DC7 to help power the HX STOMP - while with the lower Current Draw of the GT-1000 CORE I'm already covered with my existing supplies - so it immediately takes away one of the most significant challenges.
When I checked out the GT-1000 CORE with my good friend Matt Knight (Mr Boss Europe!) he only had the one demo version - while I was resolved even then that I would add this to my collection. When I get my own unit in - I will most likely put it on the #34 slot currently occupied by the GFI Synesthesia - which is where I had determined I was going to place the HX STOMP - before then settling on the Empress Zoia instead - since pushed out by the Synesthesia - which will soon have to yield its spot to the CORE!
I think how much the GT-1000 CORE appeals to you depends on how impacted you are by the practicalities of the STOMP vs the CORE and which brand and way of doing things you are better predisposed to. The GT-1000 CORE just seems to be the perfect form factor for me and contains everything I am already so familiar with. I think by and large that it will be the better candidate for many, while some will of course still prefer and be better served by going the Line 6 Way.
Would be interesting to know what all you readers think - I know a lot of you have succumbed to the charms of the HX Stomp - would the CORE have been a contender for you had both been available at the same time? For those who have been on the fence like I - are you tempted by what the CORE offers - or have you already decided on another way that better matches you requirements and preferences?