Roland GP-8 GP-16 Guitar Effects Processors

Roland GP-16 Digital
Roland GP-16 Digital Guitar Effects Processor

Today I picked up a used Roland GP-8 and Roland GP-16 guitar effects processor for a total of a hundred bucks over at the music second hand shop. They were just brought in today and were in excellent condition. The GP-8 was in very good condition considering the age of the unit. The Roland GP-16 was in mint condition which was very surprising. I didn’t get any manuals or foot controllers, but I do already have an FC100 so that should work fine.

The GP-8 is mostly an Analog Effects Processor with basically 8 Boss stomp boxes in one unit. The Roland GP-8 Guitar Effects Processor is one of the earliest (1987) multi-effect racks with 8 effect blocks that included Dynamic Filter, Compressor, Over Drive, Distortion, Phaser, Equalizer, Digital Delay and Digital Chorus. The digital delay and chorus are both 12-bit. There is a slight bit of noise with this unit but nothing that a Noise Suppressor can’t take care of. There also is no reverb, but I can always get that out of the GP-16 or somewhere else.

Roland GP-8 Analog
Roland GP-8 Guitar Effects Processor

The GP-16 is a Digital Effects Processor that contains a Compressor, Distortion, Overdrive, Picking Filter, Step Phaser, Parametric Equalizer, Noise Suppressor, Short Delay, Chorus, Flanger, Pitch Shifter, Space-D, Auto Panpot, Tap Delay, Reverb, and Lineout Filter respectively. I heard a rumor that the Space-D is the same as the Boss DC-2 although that I believe was analog and not digital. So that’s probably the only difference between the DC-2 and GP-16 Space-D. The Parametric Equalizer, Chorus, and Flanger are really good on the Roland GP-16 as well.

I already have the Boss GT10 and GT8 pedal boards. I didn’t need the Roland GP-8 or GP-16, but for $100 together, I couldn’t pass them up. I’m really glad I bought them. Of all my pedal boards now, I think I like the Roland GP-8 Distortion the best. It really reminded me of the boss distortion pedals in my room when I was a kid in the 80’s. It’s really fantastic in my opinion. The Dynamic Filter, Compressor, and Phaser are also really good.

With the Roland GP-16 (1990), I particularly liked the Dimension Space-D, Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser effects. Just about all of the modulation effects are fantastic. The distortion is not as good at the GP-8 to my ears but still usable. The GP-8 sounds fatter and more full, while the GP-16 is a bit thinner, BUT, not as thin as my Boss GT-10 when I first plugged that in. The GT-10 I thought was really really tinny and had a lot of fizz. The GP-8 had no fizz at all in the distortion department and the GP-16 almost nil as well, but it did have something a little fizzy which I can’t quite put my finger on but not so bothersome as with the Boss GT-10.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised by both the Roland GP-8 and GP-16. I didn’t expect to use them much for guitar, but rather for my older synths and keyboards. However, I think I’ll be taking the GP-8 for it’s wicked distortion the next time I’m out playing. I think the GP-16 should sound great with my keys and even my guitar synth. It’s pretty cool too.

I should also note that both the Roland GP-8 and GP-16 worked perfectly with Midi Quest Sound Librarian and editor. I tested them both today and I was able to transfer all Patch banks for editing. So effectively, I can now edit patches on the computer very easily for both processors. I also have the older Emagic Sound Diver for PC and noticed there is an instrument file for the Roland GP-8. I’ll have to try and see if that works, but for now Midi Quest is good. Both the GP-8 and GP-16 came with the original patches as well, so I didn’t have to go looking for them. Manuals were found on the UK Roland FTP site.

I STRONGLY recommend the Roland GP-8 for a great all around and cheap effects processor if you can find one in good condition. I would also recommend the Roland GP-16 but only after you get the GP-8. I also think both make great effects processor for synths too. If anyone can confirm that the Boss DC-2 is indeed inside the Roland GP-16, please comment. I’d love to know if this is true as I’ve never heard a real DC-2 to compare. The Roland GP-16 Space-D sounds sweet though.

In conclusion, the Roland GP-8 and GP-16 are still very good effects processors despite their age. The Roland GP-16 has some very unique patches and effect combos in it which I can understand bring some people back to them. The Roland GP-8 is just warm and friendly. I love it!

Discuss at SynthJapan Forums

10 thoughts on “Roland GP-8 GP-16 Guitar Effects Processors

  1. kevin keel

    Jim, how do you use Midi Quest Sound Librarian with the GP-8? I have a GP-8 that I’m currently trying to perfect the patches with, and from what you’ve said, using that would make things much easier. Thanks!

  2. I’m still curious if the Boss DC-2 is inside the Roland GP-16. In the Roland GP-16 manual on page 37 is the following info. ( Note that the Boss DC-2 had 4 presets just like here in the GP-16 ).


    Produces a natural sounding digital DIMENSION with little wavering of the sound. It’s impressive breadth easily surpasses that of chorus.


    The mode should be set to match the mood desired for a song.

    Mode 1: A slow, light dimensional effect.

    Mode 2: A slow, deep dimensional effect.

    Mode 3: A fast, light dimensional effect.

    Mode 4: A fast, deep dimensional effect.

  3. Another note. If correct the Boss DC-2 is an analog pedal while the Roland GP-16 is a digital rackmount effect. Also, the Boss CE-20 twin pedal is know to have a spot on version of the Boss DC-2 as well.

    I’m definitely interested in teh Boss DC-2, but the prices here in Japan are really high. I may play with the Roland GP-16 more and possibly pickup a Boss CE-20 when I see one.

    I also noticed a guy in Japan selling a Boss DC-2 for US $499.99! Wow! At that price I don’t think I would ever want to use it. To me the Roland GP-16 and possibly the Boss CE-20 are the best bets at emulating the DC-2 sound or getting close to it. Unless I find one on the cheap, I don’t think I’ll ever pay the price of a vintage Boss DC-2. I’m not sure it’s worth paying US $499.99!!!

  4. RCSBlues

    Have – and still use today – my Roland GP-8 since purchased new in 1987; had the battery replaced in 2006; the electrical tech said the battery was still good with about 80% still left on it – had it replaced anyway while the unit was in service; also have a purchased new 2010 Roland GT-10 – it seems to be more for studio work; the GP-8 is easier to use during gigs. RCSBlues

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