Price paid: C$ 149
Purchased from: Spaceman Music
Sound — 7
As with most pitch-shifters, the PS-5 does best at the very front of an effects chain. According to the manual, it can work post-gain, but that's really only true of the Pitch Shift mode, and even then, it's a little murky to really be satisfactory. I haven't noticed a great deal of noise from this unit, even though I don't use the recommended PSA-series adaptor. For straight pitch-shifting, this is a great pedal with very good sound quality; however, for some other effects, it isn't so great. I bought this mainly to do Whammy sort of effects but quickly discovered that the Trem Arm mode is nowhere near precise enough to do it well. The Harmonist mode is extremely irritating. The Flutter setting sounds great, but the annoying little dip that is produced upon pressing down the pedal makes it difficult to do anything but hold it down for an entire song, making it essentially useless. One real consolotation is that the Detune sounds heavenly and easily achieves both strange, space-rock sounds and breezy 12-string sounds. An EV-5 Expression pedal can be hooked up to this stompbox. I imagine that using one would make Whammy effects much easier and would make the pedal much more practical. But seeing the price of both the EV-5 and the PS-5, it's hard to justify not just getting a DigiTech Whammy.
Overall Impression — 7
I play ambient music, and I was counting on this pedal to provide pitch-shifting and Whammy effects. It did not deliver the second, but I am willing to try out an EV-5 to see if that will make it possible. I have found a use to the Flutter mode, though it does require me to keep the footswitch down for the entire duration of the songs in which I use it (this gets very, very irritating). An EV-5 would allow me to produce the same effects by rocking the expression pedal back and forth in pitch-shifting mode. I really wish I had tried it out a little more extensively; I may have decided on a DigiTech Whammy instead, simply for it's versatility. I really can't imagine anyone getting any real use out of the Harmonist function, though I have heard people claim that it's useful to them. Once again, the PS-5 had the potential to be a very versatile stompbox, maybe even the quintessential pitch-shifter, but the good people at Boss rendered all of it's Stranger and more interesting functions entirely unuseable. In the end, it is simply a pitch shifter, nothing more, nothing less.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Like all Boss pedals, it's pretty well-built. The metal chassis seems durable enough, and the Switch doesn't look too fragile. The knobs look like DigiTech's knobs but are much more sturdy; each is secured with a steel bolt. The thumbscrew securing the footplate makes the PS-5 much more reliable and efficient than pedals that require unscrewing of the backplate and pedals that have a more flimsy footplate like DigiTech products.
Ease of Use — 8
The PS-5 Super Shifter is probably the single stompbox with the most information packed on it's face. At first, this seems rather confusing, and even now, switching between my favourite settings can take a little while. There are four switches: 1- Balance/Speed, which controls the amount of wet signal (only active in Pitch-Shifter, Harmonist, & Detune modes) and the speed of the effect (active in Trem Arm, Flutter, and Detune mode). 2-Harmonist Key, which sets the key in which the harmonist will be working. 3- Pitch, which will determine the variation in pitch. 3- Mode, which allows the user to select from five modes (Flutter, T. Arm, Detune, Pitch Shifter, Harmonist). The manual helps a great deal in explaining the pedal's numerous switches in detail and is absolutely essential in gaining an understanding of all the modes.