DS-1 Distortion review by Boss

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (442 votes)
Boss: DS-1 Distortion

Price paid: $ 39.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 8
At high gain levels, this pedal can be a bit noisy but not so much that it gets annoying. You can get anything from a nice bluesy crunch to a hard rock (and dare I say classic metal) distortion out of it by messing around with the gain and tone knobs. You can get a pretty powerful distortion out of it. The only problem with it is that it is a bit light on the bass and mid frequencies, but still, for the price this pedal sounds great. If you're not satisfied with the tone, there's always the option to mod it, because there are many different mods available for it, of which the Keeley DS-1 mod is one of the most well-known. The manual shows eight different settings that you can use to get the tone you're looking for.

Overall Impression — 8
I play metal and the pedal is not great for it. For rock though, it's great. I have been playing guitar for almost eight years now, and I usually play a Schecter Hellraiser Deluxe through a Crate GTD65. If I ever lost this (and I was actually into rock), I'd definitely buy this again. The price is simply unbeatable and the sound is surprisingly good for such a simple and cheap pedal. The Boss DS-1 is definitely one of the pedals to check out if you play rock or anything in the range, whether you're on a tight budget or not.

Reliability & Durability — 10
The pedal is made out of a very strong metal. The pedal itself is very sturdy and comes with a 5-year warranty as well. I've heard stories of people driving over these pedals with a truck, but that sounds a bit exaggerated. The pedal is extremely sturdy though, and it can withstand even very powerful stomps on it.

Ease of Use — 10
The Boss DS-1 is pretty simple, three knobs: a tone knob, a level (volume) knob, and a distortion (gain) knob. The tone knob allows you to select how much treble you want. The pedal can be powered with a power adapter or a 9-volt battery. Within five minutes you can get a pretty good tone. The manual comes with this pedal, but you can also find it online. The manual explains pretty much everything there is to know about this pedal.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ^that would be at least incredibly accurate. Everyone knows that the real metal guys actually still respect many other types of music, the others are just posers who probably think scorching a bunch of power chords in drop D makes them killer basher metal gods dude!
    WantsLesPaul wrote: My DS-1 sounds pretty crappy through my G-Dec Jr. Should I switch it to a overdrive pedal?
    depends on what you play...over drive and distortion are different things
    I don't know why, but my friend and I both have the DS-1 and for some reason mine sounds like shit no matter how I set the tone, volume, or distortion level. I've compared his to mine, and there's a clear difference between them. And yes I had the battery changed.
    Just got one of these today. It's my first real pedal, aside from my Digitech RP250, but that's a multi-effect pedal. I got this pedal because the distortions on the RP250 are really terrible,and I needed some better distortion than my tiny 10 watt amp could produce on it's own. Found this pedal for 50 bucks, don't regret a thing. Awesome distortion, low price, durable housing, what's better? I'm definitly only buying BOSS pedals from now on.
    mallen i am
    i bought this today and i absolutely adore it. i've been playing for about 20 minutes now, and getting used to a pedal is hard. but the noise it makes. (L)