DS-1 Distortion review by Boss

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (442 votes)
Boss: DS-1 Distortion

Price paid: £ 45

Purchased from: Guitar, Amp and Keyboard

Sound — 9
I'm using this as my main distortion along with a Big Muff and a Small Clone Chorus pedal, through a Marshall solid state MG15DFX.It can be noisy this pedal but only if you over do the tone control. It is a powerful distortion, that's great for anything really. I'm a big Nirvana fan, which is why I've got it really, because he used them as well but I use this for a bit of Led Zeppelin, Guns n Roses and also a bit of Hendrix. As I say, this is my main distortion pedal as it gives a good tone for Nirvana but also for many other styles. I use it with a Squier Strat, with a Duncan JB in the bridge and an Epiphone G310 SG. Really, really versatile.

Overall Impression — 10
It just suits my styles really well. It is more versatile than I thought it would be but I was obviously wrong. If it was stolen, I'd have to get another one, couldn't play without it-I rely on it so much. I did think about getting the DS-2 distortion but didn't think there was a huge difference in sound, even when the DS-2 was on the turbo setting. Overall, easy to use, reliable, versatile and great sounding.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Boss pedals are built like tanks-the whole things pretty much made out of solid metal. I haven't dropped at all but I know that if I did it would not break in the slightest. I would definitely not take a backup if I played live, though you could count my big muff as a back up but the big muff can't do half the stuff that the DS-1 can. Really reliable pedal.

Ease of Use — 10
The DS-1 is really easy to use. Using the Tone, Volume/level and Distortion controls you can get lots of different sounds ranging from just warm Overdrive to some impressive high gain stuff. The manual you get tells you everything, including some sound samples to get you started, which I found useful. The DS-1 is a great pedal for people who are maybe new to pedals and have maybe no knowledge on how to set them up, use the controls etc. Boss have clearly thought about this in the design and also the manual.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    You can use it for an Overdrive boost like a Tube Screamer with the controls set quite low. I find that if you just lower the drive knob to around 1/4 of the way up then it works okay. It can depend on what you're using it for though. If you just want a volume boost then raise the level and keep the gain quite low. If you want sustain then raise the level slightly and set the gain so it isn't squealing, but gives enough to sustain notes for the desired time. Obviously it is really designed for just giving the overall distortion using the clean channel.
    These distortion boxes are really brilliant. People say they are just beginner/intermediate pedals but really that's not true. As long as you have a decent clean sound and your amp controls are suitably set then you can get a perfectly usable sound. This pedal can do anything from soft blues to some hi-gain metal. You can use the controls in many different ways to achieve the sound you want. You don't need to ask "Will it do this Style?" because whatever you use it for I'm sure it will do a good job. I use it for Nirvana,Avenged Sevenfold,Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Black Sabbath and lots of other bands,artists and styles.It really is versatile.