Price paid: $ 80
Sound — 6
Okey, my gear is not great. I have a generic Washburn guitar and a Maxtone 20W amp, so that's not the best gear to test it. In my local shop I tested this on a Marshall 50W and three guitars: an Ibanez RG (don't know wich), a Jackson RR1 and (just for fun) a Washburn Dimepro. In all the guitars it was the same, it was (and still is) noisy when you aren't playing on every setting. It's just a noisy pedal, period. I have a friend that picked up a radio station with this so. That's not a good impression. The distortion maxed out or near maxing is very good, very "hard rock" though you can still pull out a metal or a heavy metal in this. The tone knob just muffles it or makes it screech, in a bad way, so as long as it's in the midrange its fine. Tone just defines the muffle-ment more. I've also tried it with my bass, with my keyboard and with a microphone for vocals and I have to remark: it's a guitar pedal. It thins out the sound, its screechy and well, it doesn't cut it, though I did get a nice synth bass sound with the dist to max, tone at min and my bass's tone to max, sounded cool, even though it thinned out the sound.
Overall Impression — 5
well I play a lot of classic rock, hard rock, art rock, metal and heavy, and if it wasn't for the noise it would fit them well you see, I have 5 years playing guitar, 2 years acoustic and electric the rest and this was my first pedal (though I still haven't had the chance to buy a Boss MT-2 or Line 6 ToneCore Uber Metal, I recommend them a lot more than this one, I don't find it worth the money (even though it's cheap). I wish I had tested a MT-2 or the Line 6 one before rushing to buy this one, but I was a newbie. If it were stolen or lost it would be a blessing, 'cause I'd have an excuse to buy another distortion pedal (I'm under age and my dad is who buys them). I hate that noise, it's this buzzing that kills me and I hate the tone knob, it even kills your sustain. I don't love anything about it: it's a nice starting pedal, but I really don't know how Joe Satriani manages with it. If I could turn back time, I would've been more level headed and tested other products before buying this. It's a really good starting pedal, but I'm an intermediate-somewhat-advanced player, and it just doesn't cut it, so if you want a good starting distortion and it's your first pedal, go on buy it, but you'll regret it when you get more advanced.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've had problems with it. I live in an apartment in a 12th floor and the PC, my amp, guitar, bass, and gear are very near the balcony and it rained, now, it was something like a thunderstorm, ok? So a little water leaked into the apartment. The DS-1 didn't get wet, but one of its sides was a bit damp. That was when I bought my bass, and I left guitar for about a month: when I tried using it again, it didn't work! But it was nothing mayor, I opened it and cleaned it up and it worked fine again. I wouldn't throw it aroun the room, not after seeing it inside out, yeah, its metal and all that, but it's a bit thin, even though it is admitabbly a lot more resistant than, lets say, Zoom pedals. I wouldn't use it in a gig, but if I had to do it I'd have it as a backup, 'cause it really is not that great. But if you want to, have a spare battery just in case, it doesn't drain the battery life, but the sound worsens as the battery wears down.
Ease of Use — 10
Well, I bought it used from some guy but it was perfect. When I plugged it into my amp I heard distortion heaven. Of course that was to the untrained ear. It's extremely simple to use, it's just three knobs after all: one tone (I use it mainly on the midranges, very low or very high the tone just sucks, either it's completely muffled or it's uncomfortably screeching), one level (that's just the output volume, it makes your sound clearer within your amp's volume at the time) and one dist. (under the mid the distortion is really sucky) so it's really easy to use. I didn't get a manual with it, it isn't necessary really, but if you want one you can just download it. I'll give it a 10 just for how incredibly stupid of using it is.