DS-1 Distortion review by Boss

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (443 votes)
Boss: DS-1 Distortion
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Purchased from: Caldwell's Music

Sound — 10
Putting this between my Squier SE-100 (a crap guitar, yes, I know) and my Roland Cube 30, I was very pleased with it. It gave me a nice crunch on the clean channel, and when set just right on a dirty lead setting, you could really hear some shred/metal tones. There is some feedback from the amp if the pedal is turned up very high and it's about 4 feet away from the amp, but I've been able to put the level at a nice 5 or 7 and get a fairly noiseless sound. Just remember to step on it again to turn it off if you're not going to be using it, because the feedback it produces can kill. The distortion is very rough if you set it at a near full level, but you can get sort of a buttery Overdrive for less distortion and more tone. I was able to get some old punk and Grunge sounds from it, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the Sex Pistols, but when I got to tweaking it more, I could get an old classic rock sound, like Zeppelin, and a nice chunky metal sound a'la Metallica (riff-wise, that is).

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this pedal has been a mainstay for my effects. It was the first pedal I bought when I started playing electric guitar, and it will always be a major part of my sound. For over a year now, I've been able to find new tones that I use to capture the tone of many a heavy metal and shred guitarist without feeling the need to get rid of it totally. I think this is probably the best distortion pedal I've used, compared to the results I've gotten from DigiTech and other pedals I've tried out. I couldn't live if this little guy was stolen from me. So, this definitely gets the best rating I can give to it.

Reliability & Durability — 10
First and foremost, I have to say it: It's a Boss. Of course it's reliable and durable. It's been dropped twice by my friends when I let them borrow it, I've probably stomped on it harder than I should many a time, but it still plays like the day I got it.

Ease of Use — 9
This pedal has three basic knobs, as any other distortion pedal, for distortion, level, and tone. It was very simple to use, especially if playing in a punk/grunge fashion (in other words, set the Tone to 11 o'clock then put the level and distortion all the way up). The manual is very helpful for those who don't know how to operate a pedal giving you about 5-6 tones that are very basic. A very simple device.

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