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

15 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

  5. Jim what was I believe the old roland gp 8 or 16 that had a rotory effect it had two side by side one was clean and was distorted do you know what model that was? the preset said (rotory)

    1. Found this on the net –

      Preset ‘058’ is ROTARY on the GP-100
      Roland GP-100 Rotary Setting

      I have the GP-8 and a GT-10 – but do not own or have ever used a GP-100

      Hope this helps –
      Randy Smith in Amarillo Texas
      aka RCSBlues

  6. RCSBlues

    Rotary Setting on the GP-100:
    Roland GP-100 Rotary Setting video:

    Just what I found on the net – I have the GP-8 – and a GT-10 – but no GP-100
    Hope this helps –

  7. mark via

    My GP-8 that I bought new back in 1988 is not functioning correctly. It just suddenly happened. When I turn it on the main screen comes on with the version then it goes to just “guitar processor”
    Nothing works on the unit at that point. No volume, none of the buttons, the pedal board, I cannot access any banks. Any ideas. Any help would be appreciated. I am asking because I see you have synth repair experience and own this unit. Mark V

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