DS-1 Distortion review by Boss

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (443 votes)
Boss: DS-1 Distortion

Price paid: $ 39

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 8
I use a Squier HSS Bullet Strat and a Roland Cube 20X and this pedal could not be more effective. However, on already distorted channels, it seems to either go all treble or all bass. I'd use it on only the clean channel. Then again, that's what it's made for. It's not particularly noisy until you've got EVERYTHING cranked to 10. Then it becomes partially noisy. At normal and louder levels, however, it sounds great. The distortion on the DS-1 is almost never weak. You can get a ballad rock, blues, hard rock, metal, rock n' roll, or punk sound out of it. Hard when it needs to be, soft when it needs to be. I can get the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal sound I want out of it always, but when I want to play some Blues, it is also right there. It's a Boss DS-1. Probably one of the most versatile pedals to come out of Boss. There's one effect that stands out of this pedal - it's the distortion. Kidding guys, the distortion on this pedal is amazing.

Overall Impression — 9
I play anything from Blues Rock to Hard Rock and this pedal is a perfect match. It's loud when it needs to be a Distortion pedal, and warm and fuzzy when it needs to be an Overdrive pedal. I have been playing for around 1-2 years and I own a Roland Cube 20X and HSS Squier Strat. The DS-1 is a cheap but solid piece to add to your collection, from beginner to expert. I wish I had asked if I could of got a deal on it. These things are damned expensive, but with good reason. If it were stolen/lost, I would probably break down and cry, and then go buy it again, that or the MT-2 Metal Zone. There's not much to hate about this. The only thing I'd like to see more of is just a little more deep lows, but I guess it's not for hardcore metal. Overall, this is a very versatile, great pedal that every guitarist should have in his/her arsenal. Go get yours!

Reliability & Durability — 10
There's an old saying for the toughness of musical equipment. Therefore I have one thing to say on the reliability: "Built like a BOSS." No doubt in my mind I would use this as my one and only distortion pedal at a gig. I've even STOMPED on the thing to test it. It's truly a harda-s pedal.

Ease of Use — 10
It is fairly easy to get a good sound out of every Boss effect pedal, and this one is no different. There are three knobs: Tone - When you turn the tone knob to the left you get more of a low, warm, fuzzy sound. In the middle it's a very nice balance of treble and bass, a versatile sound, if you will. And turning it to the right will give you a very treble-heavy sound. For all those punk riffs and whatnot. Level - Simply adjusts the volume of the distortion. The more right you go, the louder it gets. Dist(ortion) - Adjusts the amount of distortion you get. More to the left you get a nice bluesy sound, perfect for some blues rhythms. In the middle you've got your rock n' roll. Perfect amount where you can hear those major chords, but with a nice BA twist. And to the right you've got your metal/hard rock. This pedal does a great job of giving you MASS DISTORTION but making sure that it's 100% guitar and not 10% guitar 90% feedback. The manual tells you what you need to know. A monkey could figure out a Boss pedal, but just in case, the manual comes with help for most everything. And the best part? It gives you great tones for your pedal right in the book! Love it. It's the DS-1 for a reason. This old fart needs no changing. It's been badass since 1978. This pedal is easy to configure so you have more time to hammer out some riffs.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    hiwaychild1 wrote: nightonthesun wrote: This pedal really sucks. Its one of the worst I have heard. But then again there only about 35 bucks so u get what you pay for. Plus most of the reviews on here on done by newbies, thats cool, they just havent had enough time to experiment with other high quality pedals. I am tube amp kinda guy so I use an Ibanez Tubescreamer TS-808, so basically anything compard to the tubescreamer is gonna sound bad. This pedal just has way too much hiss and noise, and its really trebley and just sounds horrible.
    Kurt cobain, Steve Vai and Joe Santriani all use this pedal. You need to learn how to work a pedal before you go bashing it mate. why dont you go play drums or something easier?[/quote] No, I agree with nightonthesun. The pedal is weak. The modern day version is made in Taiwan and is NOT the classic DS-1 that everybody raves on about. The original version was made in Japan, but when Boss moved production to Taiwan (lower labour costs) they also started using cheaper, poorer-quality components. In fact, Boss have changed the preamp three times since the days of the original. Thus the modern DS-1 is a shell of its former self and is NOT the same pedal as used by Cobain, Satriani et al. If you can get your hands on a Jap model then, fair enough, youve got yourself an amazing distortion pedal. If youre buying one new these days then Im afraid youre not getting the classic DS-1 of lore.