Sound — 6
I used it with a classic psychedelic rock setup: 96' Epi Les Paul Standard - Rotovibe -Wah - FZ-5 - Marshall MG 1/2 stack. My first suggestion is don't put it on the distortion channel. It just makes too much mess. I stared all modes of with both controls at 12 o'clock. First, the Fuzz Face setting, made famous by Jimi Hendrix on songs like "Bold As Love" and many other recordings by the master. A good, solid place to start. It's just your basic fuzz. Moving the fuzz into the boost mode, it gave me gobs of gain that would make any distortion fanatic happy. Backing off the fuzz and adding more level, you can get a pretty good. Classic rock distortion. But unlike the Fuzz Face, this pedal is digital. You can't really clean it up like the old pedals by backing up the volume on your guitar. The Fuzz Face is my favourite of the three modes, I'll tell you why in a bit. Now onto the Maestro fuzz, made famous by Keith Richards on "Satisfaction". I rarely use this setting. It is very trebly, and it has some sort of silencer/compressor built in that chokes off your notes. I have yet to find a good setting for this mode. Moving the fuzz knob clockwise into the boost mode, the fuzz just got harsher and less pleasing. moving the fuzz back to about 7 1/2-8 o'clock, the tone was thin and wimpy. Chords and power chords sound like crap. Finally, the Octavio mode. not as bad as the maestro, but not better than the Fuzz Face. It tries to emulate the classic Octavio effect made famous by Jimi Hendrix on songs like "Who Knows" and "Purple Haze". The tone sucks. It's octave up is non-existent and hard to achieve. I had to play on the neck pickup with my tone rolled all the way back, and only using the 15th fret upwards on the E, A and D strings. It's OK, but not very useable. Chords and power chords sound like crap, just like the maestro simulator. I am giving it a 6. if it was just the Fuzz Face simulator, it would probably be an 8, but the two others really bring it down.
Overall Impression — 7
With the magic of COSM technology, Boss has stuffed three of the most famous fuzz boxes into one. Obviously, they are not perfect, but for someone who does not have a lot of cash and wants to try some fuzz, they should check it out. I play a lot of classic rock (Hendrix, Clapton, Allmans, Aerosmith, etc), but you can get some good grit for metal and stoner rock. All in all, it's a good pedal for a good price.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It's a pretty reliable pedal for the F mode, but I never use the other modes. It's built very sturdy, not as indestructable as a Dunlop or MXR pedal, but it's pretty solid. I would use it at a gig without a backup, but if it broke, I would not buy another one. I only got this one because it was all I could get with my trade in (a Boss DD-3 delay). if it broke, I would probably spring for a Fuzz Face.
Ease of Use — 8
this pedal is pretty straight forward. you have three controls: Level, Fuzz and a mode selection Switch. the pedal has three modes: "F" (a Fuzz Face simulator), "M" (a Maestro Fuzz Tone simulator) and "O" (an Octavio simulator). one of the neat features not found on Vintage pedals is the boost function. From 7-12 o'clock, you get normal, Vintage sounding fuzz. but from 12 o'clock on, you get some extra grit not found on Vintage fuzzboxes. I don't usually care about looks when I have effects, but this pedal has the cool grey colour of the Vintage fuzz faces. unlike other Boss pedals, it is textured, like crybabys and other assorted MXR pedals. The manual is pretty short. it gives you a couple of suggestions on how to get a certain tone, a brief history of COSM and other assorted information that is pretty much standard for a Boss pedal. At the back, there is four blank pedal pictures for you to draw in your presets.