Price paid: $ 75
Sound — 8
I use this mainly to complement the Drive channel on my 100W Fender Frontman solid state amp and the results are really pleasing. I can get it to augment the Drive without increasing volume or altering the tone of the amp, or can use it as a boost to increase volume and gain, or just volume, or shape the tone. I can get a wide range of rock tones, from smooth classic Santana to Hendrix and even into metal territory, although a metalhead would probably prefer the metal zone to this. Now to judge the pedal on its own: I don't really care for its sound not combined with the Drive on my amp and would only use it that way to practice, never play live. It sounds harsh and squeely. However, when I bought this I compared it directly alongside an Ibanez Tubescreamer TS9 and found this Boss with the color knob rolled all the way to overdrive, that it sounded almost identical. Plus, the Boss is much more versatile, and cheaper, so I went with it instead. One thing to keep in mind though, the reviews and manual state it is voiced for a single coil guitar. I use humbuckers so this might be a disadvantage but I've found all that really means is I have to roll the tone a little forward for more grit if I want that. One disadvantage is the noise. When not playing this thing hums a lot. Might want to get a noise supressor to tame this.
Overall Impression — 9
I'd say it's one of the best distortion/overdrive pedals I've had in every aspect and an excellent value. However I'd still like to stress that if you really want to get a great rock sound, you shouldn't rely exclusively on any distortion pedal. This is why all our favorite guitarists usually either get their gain from the amp's natural breakup, or with a pedal combined, but never just the pedal on its own.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's a Boss pedal so I imagine it can pretty much go to war and come back in one piece. I've collected several of these boxes over the years and usually second hand, with chips and scratches all over the place, and have yet to have one fail on me. Particularly live they are great because they come with an electronic footswitch that activates instantly and silently, unlike many pedals out there that have a time laps and/ or footswitch noise that can make you sound a little amateur live. It's always good to carry a spare battery because this thing does eat up power quickly.
Ease of Use — 10
Very easy to use and get a good sound out of it, as are most Boss pedals. Yes it comes with a manual but you won't need it because the controls are self explanatory. Very easy to use and get a good sound out of it, as are most Boss pedals. Yes it comes with a manual but you won't need it because the controls are self explanatory.