DS-1 Distortion review by Boss

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (443 votes)
Boss: DS-1 Distortion

Price paid: $ 39.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 8
I'm rocking this with a Fender MIM Tele and a FM212R, and it does everything I need it to. Occasionally one of my friends will bring over a guitar with buckers, and they make this thing wail. If your volume is fairly high and your distortion is past 3/4, it creates a fair amount of feedback, but it's not unmanageable. Whether you have it set for mild and dark or saturated and bright, the sound is good. Be careful with the tone knob though, it doesn't sound great at either extreme. I've never been one for mimicking anyone's sound, but I've found a good number of record-like tones, and it's recreation of Crass guitar tones is flawless, if you're into that scene. I've never run it with any other effects except my amps reverb, which it blends well with.

Overall Impression — 10
I play a lot of anarcho-punk and some ska-punk and some death-rock. This is a perfect pedal for pretty much everything I want to cover from those genres. I've been starting to learn some neo-classical shred stuff, and I have to admit, it's not great for that. I've been playing for about four years, the DS-1 is the only piece of equipment I've had the whole time I've played guitar. If I had to replace it, I'd probably buy something different, but only for the sake of trying something new. Love: batteries last at least a hundred hours in this thing, it's as resilient as a cockroach, it has a variety of sounds, most of which are very good. Hate: Only one setting suitable for metal music, which still isn't that good for metal. I wouldn't say I have a favorite feature, they are all equally important to achieving a good sound. I've A/B'd this with a Boss MT-2, while the MT-2 gets a heavier and more distorted sound, it's also a lot noisier, even at low levels. I'd say the DS-1 is more versatile, as well. One thing I do wish had been included is a multi-band EQ (or even just dual), rather than one tone knob that can only cut or boost treble.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I've had this pedal for 5 years and it works as well as it did the day I bought it. The casing is still scratch free, none of the rubber pads are coming off, the screws hold, the wiring is tight, I almost want to punch myself for getting talked into buying a warranty. I would certainly gig without a backup pedal.

Ease of Use — 10
This pedal provides a moderate range of distortions, which are easy to dial in because it only has two real sound shaping knobs. The quality of the sound it puts out really hinges on the quality of your guitar and amp. The manual is very straight forward and for the most part unnecessary (make sure you know you have to unplug the input when your done, though! ). Manual presets provide a good place to start, following the diagrams I found I only needed minimal changes to get the sound it said it would make from my setup.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    GuitarGod610 wrote: Give someone a Squier Bullet Strat and a shitty solid-state amp, and they're gonna sound like crap no matter how good they are. The tone is in the player, but also in the gear.
    True, you're never gonna be concert-ready with basic gear, but out of a 50 FX pedal, what more can you expect? I've got a BOSS HM-2, I got it second hand off eBay for 3... and If you haven't guessed it already, the ''HM'' stands for Heavy Metal... Yet it's about as heavy metal as me mum. As for the first review here, what utter Shiite - Th UG team is letting itself down letting such un-realistic reviews to be published.
    this is a great pedal to have ive had one since i started playing guitar and its easy to use for beginners but gives out an expierenced sound and its given me every sound ive needed anywhere alternative, metal, grunge, punk, hardcore, and even deathcore this pedal is great to have it comes in handy if your amps distortion sucks or if your looking for that extra boost during a solo 10/10
    GuitarGod610 : Give someone a Squier Bullet Strat and a shitty solid-state amp, and they're gonna sound like crap no matter how good they are. The tone is in the player, but also in the gear
    wronger then wrong but oh well