SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Review

manufacturer: Boss date: 07/25/2011 category: Bass Effects
Boss: SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer
The BOSS SYB-3 was the world's first bass synthesizer to be packed into a compact pedal, and it found favor with experimentalists and tone afficiandos alike. Today, the next-generation bass-synth pedal has arrived, the SYB-5. Utilizing the latest in DSP technology, the SYB-5 faithfully reproduces the fat and sharp sound characteristics of classic analog synthesizers.
 Sound: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 7.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.2
 Ease of Use: 6.7
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reviews (6) 33 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.3
SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Reviewed by: UG Team, on august 08, 2008
6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 159.99

Ease of Use: 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. // 6

Sound: 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. // 6

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 7

- Nicholas Cole-Klaes (c) 2008

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overall: 2.8
SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Reviewed by: aaciseric, on may 23, 2008
5 of 10 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Music Exchange

Ease of Use: This pedal is impossible to get a good sound out of. I've had it for a year and no matter how much tinkering I do I cannot find a use for it. There are only a few types of sound and one of them sounds like a laser, sounds fun but it's a complete headache and gets very boring very quickly (and you look a bit silly pretending to shoot your band mates with your guitar, trust me). There are six editing patches and I just can't work them, a patient bass player could probably sit down and find some good sounds but I just don't want the hassle. // 2

Sound: I use it with a 5-string bass and an Ashdown amp and it does not work well at all. The pedal is OK for making some unusual sounds but you can't play an actual bass line with this on. There is a very small variety of effects and they are ear piercingly horrible to hear. // 2

Reliability & Durability: This thing is quite strong but I wouldn't take it to a gig at all, I wouldn't take it anywhere. If you like this crazy sound then you could trust it (like most single effect pedals) to have a long life and to last but it would be a relief if mine just exploded. // 5

Overall Impression: I play funk music so a synthesizer pedal sounds perfect in theory but in practice this thing has not delivered for me. This pedal has been a complete dissappointment since the day I got it (especially seeing how there was a nice multi-effects bass pedal in the shop for the same price but the foot pedal was faulty so I got this instead)and I would not recommend buying this to anyone unless I truly hated them. 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. // 2

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overall: 8
SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Reviewed by: rebreh, on august 02, 2007
3 of 11 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 149.99

Purchased from: B-Music

Ease of Use: Well I went into the music store looking for a bass wah. The store was sold out of them. So I decided to try out some other pedals. So the guy at the counter said I should try the synth. I first heard it was wierd. It was look a wah only more water or deeper tones and then errie space sounds. For the cost I was a little sceptical but still I bought it. And I am glad I did. There are a lot of sounds. They did not give me a manual for it but it is pretty easy getting the sound out of it. // 7

Sound: I used a Fender bass strat with a small practice amp for it. It turned out pretty good for it. Although for certain effects you have to turn the bass up louder. But there are enough effects so if you have to you can just swicth it. Now with the 11 efects there are 4 other nobs.(eight if you count the little ones in them.) SO that is already an endless possiblity. One of the best things on this pedal is the pitch holder. So you can pluck a note and hold it and play something else with that note held. Also with holding pitch note you can turn the nobs wile pressing it down and make like a wierd eirry sound like what you hear through a tube. Only bad thing about the pitch holder is when you hold it down you have to play with your normal bass tone. And on certain effects it won't work. One thing I don't like about it is there are a lot of controlls to use and if someone is new to guitar like I was when I bought (my first pedal) you can get a little lost at times. But overall it is excellent and a great alternative to the wah or disortion. It gives your bass a unique tone. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I could definitly depend on this not breaking. I mean every now and then you will get a wierd sound wich goes out of place but it is not to bad where everyone will notice. I would use this on a gig no doubt and no unless you jump on this thing as hard as you can it might break, then you would want a backup. // 9

Overall Impression: Well this pedal is mainly used for sychedelic and such. And I am mainly '90s rock and alternative but this pedal gives my bass new life. I would say it is a good match. I like to use it on sabbath songs to and improvising. It even works for blues. One thing it does not work for is slap and pop wich I am getting in to. I have had this pedal for a few months and it works with my Fender strat and Fender practice amp. If anyone had ever stolen it I would probally buy one again. I think it gives more life than a wah. My favorite thing about it is the pitch note. Because you can twist certain nobs and give it new effects. Also there is enough options to keep me entertained. One thing I don't like is on a few of the effects you can't hold pitch. One thing I wish it had (wich will never happen) is a controll where you don't have to bend down to swicth the tone of pedal. // 8

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overall: 9.3
SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Reviewed by: Indiemad, on january 19, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 85

Purchased from:

Ease of Use: Really easy to use. plug it straight in through the mono output and stick it on a power suppy. the sound is easy to get and it's wonerful, if you want to feel like your at a rave then this is the pedal for you. the manual is short and tells you how to get started quickly and you can play straight away. editing the sound however, can be complicated but, with a bit of playing around it is easy to get used to. // 9

Sound: the sound is magnificent and you can get any sound you want. it can sound retro or have a more modern synth effect. Setting 6! gives the most versitile sound so ii would reccomend that one but they all sound great and will never weaken. the pedal responds to the weight that you play, play lightly and get bass play louder and get synth. the controls have two switches on them one for bass level and one for effect level and this is real useful. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This pedal is extremeley versatile and you can depend on any Boss pedal and this is no different. As I trust Boss and the price I payed for it, I would go without a spare although the battery power is sucked up so I would use a power supply, although the effects it gives out can't be used a lot as some decay slowly and don't fit with some songs. // 8

Overall Impression: This is a great sound for my brit-pop/electronic Indie style of play but I think that it is suitable for any kind of pop but I don't think it would be good for metal classical etc. I have played bass for a few years now and this effect fits perfectly with my bands style of playing. if ever I was to lose or break this pedal I would not hesitate to buy a new one as I love it and it does not compare to anything else and the Boss SYB-5 has a firm place in the line up of my gear. // 10

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overall: 8.3
SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 02, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 60

Purchased from: second hand store

Ease of Use: Very very easy to use, no trouble getting great sounds for playing funk. If you understand what res/freq etc do on a synth then you'll have no probs with this pedal either. I use it with the expression pedal which gives you control over the filter sweep (on most settings) tracks the bass notes very well on the mono settings when playing fingerstyle (breaks up a bit if you play fast stuff), tracks really good on the polyphonic settings for notes, chords and slap lines. Some people compare this to the EHX bass micro synth (which I have as well) but I feel a comparison is unfair as they're completely different beasts, the EHX is great as well but in a different way, if it's out and out synthness you're after I think the SYB-5 is way better + the option to hook up a exp pedal. didn't use the manual as it's so straightforwrd:: gave this pedal a 9 as mine eats batteries like no other pedal I've owned.. Get a power supply or a big pile of 9v's! // 9

Sound: I mainly use a Fender Jazz with rotosound flats, old school trace head with GK speakers and various other pedals and I love the sounds I get from this. I have a couple of settings I use on the pedal but just requires turning the mode knob to a different number. I wouldn't want to be fiddling with the tiny controls on stage so best keep it simple. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Pretty solid but I don't like the look of the tiny controls, I've had no probs with them but the don't look very strong (I could be wrong though I've yet to break a Boss pedal and I've bust loads of others)I use it without a backup but then I've got other pedals on the board which could substitue if need be. // 7

Overall Impression: Like I said before I play funk so this is perfect, I've been in gigging bands for years so have seen a lot of gear come and go but if this was stolen/lost I would get another straight away, I love the exp pedal option but think the tiny controls could be improved. To improve it for live work I wish it was in a bigger pedal layout with mebbee with a switch for scrolling the sounds and another for a true bypass but it is what it is and I like it anyway. // 8

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overall: 9
SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer Reviewed by: ToddJames, on july 25, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 92

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: Pretty difficult initially set up, there are lots of different things to set! Having had this pedal for a few weeks, I still don't fully understand what everything does and sometimes have trouble getting it to do what I want, but now I've come up with some pre-sets and I can always rely on them. // 7

Sound: I use this pedal with a Peavey Cirrus and an Ashdown Electric Blue 180. This pedal has some AMAZING sounds. The best settings are the one octave below sounds. For drum and bass and other dance styles it really is a great piece of kit. The only problem I've found is that on the octave below settings it can have trouble tracking lower notes, but only really below A. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I haven't had it very long but it's made by BOSS, and if that's anything to go by it should work just fine for as long as I need it. I bought this pedal second hand from a seller on EBAY, so it has also had use before I owned it. It's my first Boss single pedal, but I know lots of other players who use a variety of Boss products, and I've never heard a single complaint. I would use it without a backup. // 10

Overall Impression: I use this pedal for dance styles, but also for some rock music (in the same way as Chris Wolstenholme of Muse). It's probably the best pedal I own or have played with, even if I only use it sparingly. It has a number of great effects that are all better than the best settings on other Synth pedals I have played with. The reson I'm giving 9 and not 10? It isn't an Akai Deep Impact. // 9

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