DS-1 Distortion review by Boss

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  • Sound: 4
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Ease of Use: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 7.9 (444 votes)
Boss: DS-1 Distortion

Price paid: $ 40

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 4
I used it with a Fender H-S-S Stratocaster which was connected to an amp which my friend (an owner of an aspiring amp company) made. It's an all-tube 160 watter, not a bad amp at all. I also played it though a Fender Frontman 10 watt (solid state) practice amp to see how it would sound through a "normal" (and bad) guitar amp. I'd like to point out that I originally used this pedal with the Frontman, as I didn't have the tuber when I first bought the pedal. It sounded so fizzy and tinny that it was almost unbearable. The built-in gain on the Frontman actually sounded better (more depth, though still not much). I tried to make it less tinny by turning the "Tone" left. That made it slightly less tinny, and very muddy. Well, maybe not muddy. Picture some mud. Then picture somebody washing most of it away, but not all of it. That light brown residue is what the non-tinny settings sounded like. The best sound I ever got out of it was with the "Tone" at about 2 o'clock and the "Dist" at around 10 o'clock. Fizzy, but livable. Through the main amp, everything was better. Less fizziness on the right, less semi-muddiness on the left. It still sounded bad, but not to such a strong extent. It just had more life to it. That goes to prove that what amp you use can greatly shape the sound the pedal will make it have... If that makes sense. Basically, through the main amp, the pedal sounded like a swarm of mutated bees. Through the Frontman, it sounded like a swarm of mosquitoes. I was seeking a very powerful metal distortion sound (think Children Of Bodom, Oomph, Rammstein, Amon Amarth, In Flames, etc.) and this pedal didn't do that at all. All it did was fuzz and make my amps sound like they were stuck inside a tin can. There are 2 practical uses for this pedal: As a "boost" to add more sustain to your notes (though there are better ways of doing that), and as a projectile. Well, maybe you could have some fun modding it as well.

Overall Impression — 5
I play a wide variety of styles, including rock n' roll, melodic Death Metal, punk, ska, funk and blues. I just play what I think sounds cool. This pedal isn't suited for what I think sounds cool. I'm not saying it's not good for those genres, I'm just saying that it doesn't sound good to me when it is. If it were stolen of lost, I wouldn't care. It's broken anyway. Come take it. I wish it had more of an EQ, not just a single tone knob. I was looking for more of a heavy metal pedal, and there are some out there. This is not one of them. A dude at Guitar Center was annoying me, so I hurriedly bought it and left without trying it. I wish I had tried it first, then I definitely would have bought something else.

Reliability & Durability — 5
Ok, first of all, it really annoys me how everyone, in this space, writes "This thing is built like a tank!". Dudes, face it, mostly ALL pedals are meant to be "built like a tank" these days, that has almost nothing to do with the quality! I bought this pedal about 6 months ago, and a few days ago it quit working. I did not drop it or anything, it just quit on me! Yes, the outside is built like a tank. The inside is not! As for gigging, well, first of all, I would not take such a bad-sounding pedal to a gig. It IS gig-worthy in construction, but not in sound. If you like the sound, then go ahead and gig with it, it should be safe. The main thing to watch out for is the fact that it'll probably randomly quit on you some day.

Ease of Use — 7
This pedal is very basic, and the controls are straightforward. There's a "Tone" knob (turn it left to make it sound worse than averagely muddy, turn it right to make it sound fizzy and tinny), a "Level" - basically a volume knob, and a "Dist" knob for controlling the amount of distorted fizzy-fuzziness. The manual that comes with it has a couple of preset settings; none of which sounded very good to me in my first few minutes of playing around with it. I later understood that it was the pedal's fault, not he presets'. All in all, this pedal is very easy to use, unless you're actually looking for a good sound.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    This pedal is ok, I think it is kinda trebley even if you mess with the tone knobs and gain controls. It has a certain sound to it and either you like it or you don't.