Price paid: $ 25
Ease of Use — 5
The Boss PS-2 is pretty reasonable with getting a good sound out of the short delay settings. It is pretty easy to use when you use the one octave up or one octave down modes. The Boss PS-2 has a diagram on the pedal below the knobs to help you out. However, in the manual mode the Boss PS-2 can be hard to get a good sound of. You have to hook up a tuner to the tuner out jack and use its reference frequency to set the pitch manually. The Manual knob should be set to middle C which will be at the 12 o'clock position. Then you can adjust up and down from there. The pedal has a little bit more than a two octave range for its manual adjustment. Going for a low b one octave below middle c all the way up to a c# and octave above middle C.
The pedal was made from the late '80s to the early '90s. It not a very sophisticated device in that sense, so it has little need for patches or editing them.
There is a manual for the Boss PS-2 and it not the greatest manual but it does its job. It goes into detail about the manual pitch settings for harmonies and such. The Boss PS-2's manual also have a few sample presets in it. As well as a few pages for documenting the users own presets. Pages the user could photocopy for use through their many sets.
The device is digital all the way however there is no way of knowing its firmware number. I'm sure that even Boss wouldn't be able to tell me either. No my unit has not been upgraded. The process would probably be quite difficult to do. There are some upgrades that feature circuit bending. Another upgrade is a capacitor replacement to remove the high pitch noise the pedal produces. This only occurs on early models of the Boss PS-2.
Sound — 5
The Pitch shift modes don't suit my music style as well as I would imagine. My style is a mixture of almost all reneges and variations. This pedal kinda fits more in with the more experimental sounds, shred and dual-like guitar work. However, the delay modes do suit my styles as the repeats can become a feedback loop.
I've used a few different amps with it: Peavey Backstage, Laney LX120H, Peavey Valve King 100 watt head, and the Peavey Tubefex. For what it is it does work with those amps. With all of them the effect may not be as pounced as the later pitch shift pedals.
It can be noisy if the feedback is all the way up in the delay modes while the pedal is off. I can be noisy in the delay modes with the power on as it does loop the feedback into itself. It can even be noisy in the manual pitch mode with the Manual adjustment knob at 12 o'clock. By offsetting the Manual knob in the Manual pitch mode the pedal can produce a chorus like sound. The Boss PS-2 seems to make your guitar tone shallow. Since, it has very primitive Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog converters.
The pedal is capable of creating various sounds. Using the feedback knob in the manual mode make the guitar create some synth like sounds. With the balance you can mix in the harmony and delay sounds.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I think the PS-2 could withstand live playing. I've used it live before. I'm sure there were musicians that gigged with it years. Well until Boss the PS-3. Or until the Whammy came along and became so iconic. Though I probably wouldn't use it live now. I use the Whammy or my Amps built-in effects if I need a combination of the two.
The hardware has seemed to last for three decades. Through the harsh humidity that the southern part of the United States is known for. Sure I've got corrosion settling in on certain places now. So the Boss PS-2 would probably last several more years. I wouldn't use it for live sets because of my other effects as well as the fact it's a vintage pedal.
The Boss PS-2's finish has lasted for quite some time. It is thick and high quality finish. Probably a higher quality finish than what Boss is offering on their current pedals. It seems to have multiple layers of primer building up to is blue metal flake paint job. Mine has some dings though most of the being from the last eight years. Since I used it with the bands I was part of.
Overall Impression — 7
Most of the music I've been playing has ranged from rock to metal with some electronic and shred mixed in. Sometimes the Boss PS-2 is a good match sometimes. Other times I've let it become a distraction. There were a few times where the pedal made me a salve to my own creation.
I've been playing on and off for over ten years. Gear I own: Fender F5 Acoustic, Ibanez GRG250DX, ESP EC-10, Dean EAB bass, Ibanez GTR 70 Bass, Boss PS-2, DigiTech Whammy, Dean Markley PT-13, Electro-Harmonix LPB-01, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi NYC Reissue, Electro-Harmonix Nano Clone, Ibanez WD-7, Fender Classic Phaser, Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95, Boss CS-3, Danelectro Chill Dog Octave, Peavey TubeFex, Peavey Backstage.
I wished I would have had asked for a demonstration of the pedal or some more time with it.
If it were stolen I wouldn't buy it again as I have something else already to fill the void. If I didn't I would buy a DigiTech Whammy instead. However, I already on the DigiTech Whammy.
I love the feedback it has with the delays, the synth sounds it has with the feedback and manual pitch adjustment. I love that I could create organ effects. I hate that it the Boss PS-2 sounds so primitive and weak. I hate having to use a tuner to set the pedal up. My favorite feature is the tuner out. I hate having to use it to adjust the pedal. However, it can be fun to use as a second output. In the Pitch Shift mode it generates a frequency you can play with.
When I bought it I didn't know that much about pedals or things to compare it to. Later on I did compare it to the other Boss pedals, Behringer's pitch shifter, the Whammy. I chose the pedal at the time mainly because I was given a exceptional deal on it.
I wish it had either a expression pedal jack or a treadle to shift the pitch. As well as, better pitch shifting and tracking. Such as the kind of chord tracking the Whammy five has. Not to mention a drop tuning setting.