We’ve seen a bunch of guitar synth pedals released in 2019 – it’s been one of the bigger pedal trends this year. Now comes the Boss SY-1000, a full-on guitar and bass synthesiser that Boss hopes will become the new reference product in this category. With three synth engines and loads of hot features, this could be the new king of guitar synthesis.
The general look and construction of the SY-1000 reminds me a lot of the GT-1000 multi effects unit from 2018. Except for a few extra buttons, 2 footswitches less and the missing expression pedal, the overall visual feel is very similar. There’s a large LC display, which, although still only monochrome, isn’t too grainy. Below are 6 controls and lower still the 8 footswitches. On the right, there is a master level control and the control buttons for more detailed settings.
The heart of the Boss SY-1000 is a “custom DSP” that processes audio at 48 kHz and 24 bits. Boss/Roland says the SY-1000 uses modernised versions of the in-house modelling and synth technologies of the OSC Synth, GR-300, E.Guitar, E.Bass, Acoustic, VIO Guitar and PolyFX.
Like the GT-1000, the SY-1000 has presets that can be adjusted with the Boss Tone Studio editor on your computer. A few features are worth mentioning here. One is the new Dynamic Synth that follows the envelope (velocity) of the guitar playing. Another is the inclusion of two 16-step sequencers to give you lots of ways to layer up your sounds live and in the studio. All this eclipses the functions of the popular SY-1 synth pedal from earlier this year. I suppose, if you are a power user, then this will be the guitar synth system for you!
Separate guitar and a bass modes are available, setting up the unit to the specific needs of those two instruments like amps and effects choices. There are 200 preset banks available for each mode; that should be more than enough space to store all your favourite sounds.
On the I/O side, there’s plenty of connections on the back panel: MIDI In and Thru / Out, EXP 1 and 2, Main Out Dual Mono, Sub Out Dual Mono, FX Loop Send and Return, USB and an Input for the Roland GK Pickup.
Price and market launch
Looking at the specs, I think you cannot really go wrong with the Boss SY-1000 *. At a price of 999 euros, however, it is five times the cost of its little brother the Boss SY-1*. That costs about 200 euros, with the Source Audio C4* coming in at around 290 euros. Presumably, Boss is basing this price point on its GT-1000*, and matching that price for the SY-1000.
My advice is to take listen to the video demos below and head over to the official Boss site to read up on the full specifications. If you can afford it, this new synth has a lot to offer guitarists and bassists.
RRP – EUR 999
* = Affiliate link