SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer review by Boss

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 7.5 (23 votes)
Boss: SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer

Price paid: $ 159.99

Sound — 6
The Boss SYB-5 is set up to produce a nearly infinite number of sounds. The effects that this pedal makes take a new, modern approach to synthesizing a bass. The effects are applied through eleven different modes of saw, square, sine and w. shape waves. These modes are then controlled through a decay rate knob, a freq/res knob, and a blend knob. While all of these controls make for an incredible range of sounds, not all of them are useful. Without careful tweaking, the effects are simply overpowering to the natural tone of the instrument, causing other-worldly tones that would even be out of place in the most psychedelic of bands. That being said; with a large chunk of time this pedal can be made to get some really incredible, smooth, rich sounds perfect for any situation.

Overall Impression — 7
While the SYB-5 has many major advantages when seeking an alien-like, tripping, psychedelic rock sound, its major downfall lies in the amount of time that it takes to get a decent sound out of it. Overall it is a rugged, Precision tuned, beastly culmination of all things modern.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal is built like every other Boss pedal I have ever played; like a tank. It has a strong metal chassis, and a very rugged pedal. I thought that with all the DSP effects on the pedal that it would suffer from fast battery drain. However, this is not at all the case. The battery life is very long, despite the DSP. Everything about these pedals points to it lasting longer than anybody reading this article.

Ease of Use — 6
While the Boss SYB-5 is loaded down with four controls knobs (two with dual concentric pots) and an infinite number of sonic possibilities, it will take a hardy investment of time and work to get any of them to Shine through. The four control knobs do allow for a large range of sounds, therein lays its blessing and curse. Each of the knobs is so incredibly sensitive that turning it even the slightest touch can amount to massive sound changes, making it incredibly hard to dial in the perfect sound. This is exemplified in the effect/direct knob. While this knob is a good idea in theory, in practice it seems to blend in way too much, or not nearly enough of the sound. This makes it just another step between you and that perfect, funky synthesizer sound.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If it were stolen I wouldn't buy a new one I would just go get a decent pedal, maybe one you can actually use, like one from the DigiTech X-Series.
    dude... just no. both reviews are terrible.
    Sgt. Pepper wrote: dirtymexican863 wrote: dointime024 wrote: 'Fender Bass Strat'....your probably shouldn't be writing reviews if you don't even know what your instrument is called. There was such a thing as a Fender Strat Bass actually, I think Sting used one on '84 Police tour - sorta sounded like a mix between a Rickenbacker and day old cum but was pretty enough. He might be talking about, unless I'm wrong, which is another maybe.
    no i think the guy doing the review just doesnt know the name of his instrument.Maybe Sting's bass was just a rickenbacker with day old cum on it he also spelled "psychedelic" wrong
    This pedal sucks imo. I'm a very careful player but it just makes random squarks and noises for no apparent reason.
    idiots...all of ya! hahaha decent pedal for experimenting with different things, nothing too fancy
    I have had this pedal going about 2 years. While i admit that it can be duanting in terms of a good tone it is well worth the wait. One thing no one mentioned was the EXP hook up. This allows to dial in the just the right about and add even more flavor. It all depends on what your using it for. I do a lot of 90's shoegaze, emulating Kevin Shields type shimmer, techno, hip hop beats, and pyschadelic. The biggest every one makes is knowing when to use effects in what situation. Doing a Sabbath song with this is not recommended. And as far the slap bass, it specifically says in the manuel that slap bass will not work! I would suggest you guys go and read the manual or download it from boss and make informed opinions.
    I think he is just retarded. Fender Jazz Bass and P Bass shape is what he would be talking about. And I think anyone would say Fender Bass VI if that is what it was because those things are rare. I think he has a cheap copy brand that has a "strat" shape to it and he called it a Fender Strat Bass to make it sound like he didn't have some crappy piece. He mentions he was new to guitar when he got the pedal and that he had only had it a few months when he wrote the review. So he was still new to it guitar when he wrote it...I just look on his profile, it is a Squier P-Bass. He even spelled Squier wrong... To rebreh: It is Squier BY Fender. I don't think I want to trust a review by a guy who doesn't even know what kind of bass he has--especially when it turns out that the bass he has is made by a company that makes hello kitty guitars... A Squier by Fender should never be confused with a real Fender. I heard this pedal on YouTube, I wasn't too impressed. I wouldn't use one except for experimental purposes. If you can master it and put it to good use that is awesome, not everyone has the time.
    Jeeze guys does it realy matter if this guy doesn't know what his bass is. this review is about a pedal not a bass. Does it really matter that he may have the wrong details.
    i have one of these and all it does is collect dust. it was fun for about the first week i had it, and then i realized there was nothing practical i could do with it except make weird noises occasionally. as my friend put it, it's "the stupidest sound in the world". now i have a $160 paper weight.
    About the "Fender Strat Bass" argument: I'll admit, several years ago when I bought my very first bass (SX copy of a Fender Precision), I did refer to it as a "Strat Bass" because I didn't know any better. However, I learned about three days after getting it that it was modeled after the Precision. I hope Rebreh has been playing bass for more than a few days (as of the time he wrote the review), because that's a pretty ****ing bizarre pedal to get for a beginner. Sting mostly uses a special type of Precision bass that is modeled after the original 50s P-basses. A Telecaster Bass is actually a different kind of early bass that did indeed look vaguely like a Telecaster, but had more in common with P-basses at the time than it did with Telecasters themselves. I had a friend who had one a while ago, I don't know if he still does. I would never EVER refer to a Fender Jazz Bass as a "Strat bass," and I don't think anybody would.
    K guys lay off i just began playing a few days when i wrote this. So what it was just a typo. Who knows maybe its just a vermont thing with me saying it that way but glad to see that everyone wants to get deep into this.