Price paid: $ 40
Purchased from: Uncle Bob's
Sound — 9
I use a mid 80's japanese contemporary Fender strat (single coil neck, humbucker in bridge) and a Mexi-made tele with much better pickups, a hot rail in bridge. Amp I'm using is a Peavy Windsor head with a 4x12 Randall speaker cab. It can get a little too high end with some solid state amps- tube is the way to go, really evens out nicely that way, and it just sounds real smoothe. Easy to get sounds you want, or mimic. May buzz when all dials are jacked up, but you'll never need to do that. In fact I'd encourage people to try another distortion pedal along with the DS-1 if you're any good at harnassing cool feedback sounds, it's pretty fun to use this as another flavor in your sound arsenal, but you know, only when necessary, don't be the guy in your band that has to overpower everyone else, no one likes that guy.
Overall Impression — 9
I play aggresive alt-rock and works great for it. Been playing for about 10 years. I also use a Pro Co Rat2, they have similar circuitry and you can make the two pedals sound nearly identical, but I use the rat2 depending on the song, and set it to a more muddy-dirty sound, and use the DS-1 as my main dirt box at a smoother setting. I also use it with the Rat2 to create some nice obnoxious feedback. I love the pedal because it looks cool and is so easy to dial in what you need, even between songs at a gig. If it was stolen, I'd find the person that stole it and jam the DS-1 down there damn throat, then I'd take the money from their wallet and go by another one. Oh, and some of the reviews that complain about this not having enough Overdrive? Get with the program people, the DS-1 is a distortion pedal, not an Overdrive pedal, there is a difference.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It is a very dependable pedal with a sturdy Orange metal casing. It never cuts out on me or fades out or anything of the sort. I'd use it without a backup if I didn't have other distortion pedals. However, I generally take really good care of my gear, so I wouldn't really tell anyone to play a gig without some sort of backup gear. And come on, pedals are awesome, so why not have some more? It's great getting a new piece of gear, but when you go back to your Original baby, sometimes you forget how much you missed her.
Ease of Use — 9
It is very easy to get good sounds out of this pedal. There is a manual, but as others have noted, it's not really necessary. Even if you're a beginner, just experiment for a few minutes and it's pretty simple. The tone knob is your high and low end with the high going right of noon and vice versa. Level is simply your volume, so set your amp where you want it's volume first, and go from there with the pedal level. Distortion is simply that; the more you turn it to the right, the more you get. Some people have mentioned some buzzing all the way right, but I haven't noticed that, it does get real grainy all the way right, but sometimes that's ok. There are no mods or upgrades on mine.