PS-5 Super Shifter Review

manufacturer: Boss date: 11/22/2016 category: Guitar Effects
Boss: PS-5 Super Shifter
It is a next-generation intelligent pitch shifting pedal with killer sounds and Boss first features. It provides pitch shifting, harmonies, detuning, and wild tremolo arm/flutter effects? All with simple, knob-based control.
 Sound: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 8.7
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Ease of Use: 8.2
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (6) pictures (2) 19 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.3
PS-5 Super Shifter Reviewed by: MoroneSaxatilis, on january 05, 2010
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: Boss PS-5...Takes some time to get your sounds out of it- read the manual, please. If you have more music theory background you will get more out of this pedal quickly, but if not, some playing around will be required to get a few sounds you like. It's simply not that easy to use if you are a novice. // 6

Sound: Running a Xaviere XV-500 (Les Paul copy), GFS Crunchy PAFs, Crate V18 tube amp, and chained it with a DigiTech Bad Monkey. Sounds are amazing- this pedal opens up a huge new sound library to pull from. Gives you nice backup sounds to your playing (as though there's a bass player with you), or high harmonies to give you that Scorpions / Judas Priest / Queen sound. If you like 90's hair bands, then the detune setting gives you a wonderful, open 12 string sound (think Tesla, Cinderella). Don't expect the pedal to harmonize or shift chords- it won't do it well at all. Keeps up well with about three notes maximum- any more and it's noisy. The trem arm setting is cool to mess with, but too touchy. The flutter setting is cool as well, gives you that old school Johnny Cash vibe, but it also is touchy. I think there's an add on pedal for this device, but in my opinion, not worth it just for those two effects. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Heavy and quite reliable- by Boss, nice work! I don't gig, but if I did, I would be confident this could take quite a few bumps. It makes the Bad Monkey seem like a flyweight, and I thought that was quite solid. I would use it without a backup on a gig, and in the future I would get an adaptor for it. // 9

Overall Impression: I play mainly classic rock, and this pedal is a great match to it. It's given me a lot of new, versatile sounds to play with, and even compliments some of the older sounds I was comfortable with on my amp / Bad Monkey. I've been playing for about four years now and this pedal was a great purchase. If it were stolen I would replace. I think the bigeest thing for anyone buying this is to realize that this pedal is like adding a new group of sounds that your equipment can make now- whether it's harmonizing, phase shifting, detune, this pedal does them all quite well, it's what I consider a great pedal. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8
PS-5 Super Shifter Reviewed by: toyboxmonster, on march 27, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 149

Purchased from: Spaceman Music

Ease of Use: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 7

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 7

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 10
PS-5 Super Shifter Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 17, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250.74

Purchased from: Feedback Music

Ease of Use: This thing is awesome, if you know what you want you can a desired sound. However, of course you don't know all settings and sounds and tweaking the perfect does take time and patience. The manual is good, it tells you the basics of all effects and all how-to's. // 10

Sound: I use it with a Roland Cube 30 and Yamaha Pacifica 112 with SD pick-ups. This thing doesn't get noisy, A) because this thing is solid and well built B) my guitar doesn't feedback C) neither does my amp. The effects sound great though I prefer the T. arm setting over the Pith shift, the pitch shift effects has some kind of weird sound in the background of it. Maybe it's just my pedal but I prefer the T. arm setting with the octave settings because it gives me the more desired sound. I can easily get the sound of my favourite artists, for example Muse. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This thing is highly dependable. This is obviously not something new because we all know how reliable Boss pedals are. I would definitely use it without a back-up, I mean what can go wrong. Unless you're some kind of dumb-ass that likes to toss it out of your window to your neighbour who you dislike. // 10

Overall Impression: I mostly play alternative rock which for example means music like Muse etc. This thing does fit in since I like to play with crazy Whammy effects. I've been playing for 15 months and I also own a Cube 30 along with a Pacifica. I'm soon going off to buy a Wah. I love the T. arm/Harmonist mode it just sounds so sweet and really fills in your sound. I compared this with a Whammy, now a Whammy is way more expensive but is a bit easier to use. All settings available have been preset and you only need to use the knob to choose which one you want, however, it's not as compact as the PS-5 and sometimes sounds a bit digital. But that's because the Whammy is a re-issue which is a bit crap compared to the almighty original. I simply choose the PS-5 above the Whammy for it's compactness and price. Whammy still rocks though. And if this thing would be stolen, I'd just buy a new one or consider buying a Whammy if the prices are better. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.3
PS-5 Super Shifter Reviewed by: [travis], on july 10, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 169.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: In order to get your perfect sound out of this pedal, it depends on what selection you have it on: "Pitch Shifter," "Harmonist," "Flutter," "Detune," and "T. Arm." Each selection has you either adjusting 2 knobs, 3 knobs or 4 knobs. The knobs are Balance, Pitch, Key, Delay, and the Selection knob. The manual that the pedal comes with is helpful. The manual explains to you which knobs to use on which mode you're using, and what to do with those knobs. Towards the end of the manual, you get illustrations of how to set up the knobs for each mode. For example: you can get a Hawaiian type flutter sound, Bass guitar sound, D tuned sound, or a 12 string sound (for clean tone). The good thing about this pedal is that your konbs won't get loosened or rotated as you step on this pedal. The pitch knob can have (2 Octaves below; Octave below; 7th below; 5th below; 4th below; 3rd below) or I can have the pitch at (2 octaves above; Octave above; 7th above; 5th above; 4th above; 3rd above.) The Balance knob helps adjust your noise level with the Harmonist mode. If I want to make it sound like two guitars dueling, or make it sound like one guitar but with the pitch changed. There's a delay knob for the "D Tuned" mode, which can give me a real quick delay, almost like half a second off, and make it seem like I'm missing notes. The Key knob gives you all the Major Keys with the Minor keys in a silver box, righ next to it. The only keys you see written down are only the (A B C D E F G) keys. All the Major Flat keys are not written down, but there's a line there for them. Meaning, you can dial in the knob to that line for that key. Don't worry, the keys are in order. C (Am) starts at the 7 O'Clock mark, and the B (Gm) is at the 5 O'Clock mark. Basically, it's in clockwise order. The manual will tell you which knobs to use on whichever mode you choose. The only problem with the "Harmonist" mode is that you have to know a little bit of Theory. If you have your guitar tuned at Drop B (B F# B E G# C#) and you want to play at F Major (Dm) then you have to drop the key a certain # of steps in order to get the Harmony right. The pedal isn't a "smart pedal" like the "Harmony Man" pedal, so it'll always think you're in standard tuning. If you're at Drop D Standard (D G C F A D) and want to play in C Maj (Am), then have the key knob set to B Maj, since your tuning is a step lower than Standard tuning. // 8

Sound: For my setup, I use this connected in order: Line 6 Spider II 120V --- Morley Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Wah --- Super Shifter --- EVH Flanger --- (Whatever Guitar I'm using). Whichever guitar I use, the pedal still gives me a great sound and doesn't effect my tone at all. When the pedal is on any mode, it doesn't hum or hiss at all. Turning it on and off is no problem at all. This pedal to me has multi-effects on it. Meaning, I can get a short delay effect, a Whammy pedal effect, tremelo effect, chorus, or a Harmony effect. If I have the mode knob set to (T. Arm): I adjust the pitch knob to an octave up. Then, I can step on the pedal when I want to to get a DigiTech Whammy Pedal effect. It gives me a good enough effect to play a Tom Morrello solo, or a Dragonforce solo. For that mode only, whenever I step on the pedal, and then release it, the pedal goes off. For the Whammy Pedal Effect, I can set the time knob to how I want to note to be approached: I can have it set to where I step on the mode, it slowly raises the note to an octave above, or whatever I have it set off. Or, I can have it set to where I can just step on the pedal and it immediately goes to an ovtave above, or etc. For a 12 string effect, on clean tone, I can change the pitch to an octave above, on the "Pitch Shifter" mode. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I would definently use this pedal in a gig without a backup. All I need is a 9V battery or 9V adapter. I can use this if I want to have a guitar solo duel, or Harmony, without having to have a second guitarist. If I had a second guitarist, I could just use this pedal for a Whammy Pedal, or a D Tuned effect. I could really depend on this pedal without it breaking down, or bustin, or a knob coming off or the on Switch jamming. // 10

Overall Impression: I use this pedal on a variety of different music styles. It's mainly used on Metal though for me. I do use the chorus type effect or the 12 string effect for cool jazzy chords or easy blues tones. I've had this pedal for about a month, and I've been using it every day since I bought it. If this pedal were to get stolen, I think I would buy this pedal again, or even buy the Harmony Man Pedal, so I can use the Whammy Pedal effect in it and the Harmony Man at the same time. There are two thing I really like about this pedal: the Harmonist mode, and the Whammy Pedal effect on the T. Arm mode. I compared this pedal to it's previous version: The Phase Shifter, but it didn't have as much features as this pedal does. I really wish this pedal was a smart pedal like the Harmony Man, becuase then, it would've been just as better, and at a lower price than the Harmony Man. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.8
PS-5 Super Shifter Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 04, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 59

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: Very easy to use, manual explains it very well, quick to get the sound you want out of it. Has four knobs but one doubled up so there's 5 really and they're all fairly self explanatory. Some of the knobs aren't relevant in certain modes but it's easy to learn what does what, it's a short but informative manual which gives some fairly useful guideline settings which with a little fiddling can be fine tuned to exactly what you're after. Obviously not as simple as a distortion pedal but not complex either, I'm giving it a ten because any moron who can read can use this easily. // 10

Sound: Setup is: Standard Fender Telecaster, Korg tuner, the PS5 into a Carlsbro amp with the dry output (output 2) and through output 1 a into a Boss BD2 and a Big Muff then a Blackstar HT60 stage. The pedal isn't noisy but sucks a very small amount of tone in the trem arm mode but that's barely noticeable unless listening very intensely. This pedal is very easy to get a DigiTech Whammy sound out of and has tons more features, I can get a jack white octave up and down sound easily and even two up or down. Using the detune setting and some of the delay on you can get a nice pixies rhythm sound, think caribou or where is my mind. The flutter also works great, muse use that sort of effect a lot, great "Knights Of Cydonia" type sound, harmonist setting is very effective as well for solos. The trem arm function is great for solos and riffs, like the intro to lonely boy. Also the pitch shift mode can be set to half a step up and down and because it's polyphonic you can play chords and they'll come out perfect but half a step, or more, either way depending how you set it. Very useful function that avoids fiddly retuning on stage. Been completely blown away by this pedal it's just so diverse and useful for so many things that you wouldn't expect from similar pedals. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Dependable but battery compartment comes loose quick. Would and have gigged without a backup. It's a Boss so naturally it's gonna be strong, got a nice but of weight to it which is nice because it stops it feeling like a flimsy piece of crap that will break if you tread on it a bit heavily. Obviously you aren't going to shoot it and expect it to work but it is up to gigging pressure, as I'm sure you know stomp boxes don't have it easy on stage but I'm not worried at all about this one, so long as I tighten the battery compartment before I go on so it doesn't spring up halfway through the set. // 9

Overall Impression: I play mainly garage rock/grungy blues in my band but it works well with all other styles I play, a lot more useful than I knew it would be, would definitely recommend it to anyone. Tried a Micro POG, DigiTech Whammy, a Boss PA6, and a Boss Super Octave, and it topped all of them by miles, keeps up/tracks very well and has the most functions, all of which I find useful and useable. If it were stolen I would buy a new one as soon as possible, not that I'd let it out of my sight long enough for it to be nicked. Definitely the best octave pedal I've used, and the other features just make it even better. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 7.5
PS-5 Super Shifter Reviewed by: Mad-Mike_J83, on november 22, 2016
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: This pedal is a complex beast to beginners, but rather simple to a guy like me. It' pretty easy to get a good sound out of it, but hard to get a DESIRED sound out of it without some reading and experimentation first to get to know how the pedal reacts and it's parameters behave. Changing settings is all easy save for one thing - the sensitivity of the knobs in some cases can be a little too touchy for fast adjustments, luckily I tend to pick one setting per project and keep using that one over and over to keep the problems down. // 7

Sound: I love noises - I love pedals, and I love glitch stuff.....which is what this is to me. Originally I bought it to see if I Could reproduce some older material I wrote live that I did with a BOSS ME-33 pedal that had an intelligent pitch shifter - except something is a tad up with this one for some kooky reason.

I list my style as being very much a mish mash of 80's/90's rock. Think of Johnny Marr peels his face off and then becomes Dave Grohl, whom then peels HIS face off and reveals James Hetfield was strolling us all along. I like to mix genres and do weird stuff....weird is good, at least on my solo stuff. It's the best way I can describe it - either that or The Police being chased down the street by a highly armed Def Leppard and the Big 4... all the way to Toon Town.

I really bought this pedal with no pre-conceived notions, or any real plans other than that I could come up with some weird ideas - and I've waited years now to review it. I'm using it most of the time with a pre-Infinium Bugera 333XL 120 watt head with EL34 power tubes, and a Peavey 412M Cabinet, and it hangs out on a board as of 2016 with a Digitech Whammy, Crybaby Classic, Behringer Phaser, SmallClone, DOD Stereo Flanger, and Boss DD-7... and maybe something else soon... we'll see.

Not very noisy at all, usual for Boss. No real complaints there. The real thing about this pedal is it is very complex for a BOSS Pedal - for less technical players, this thing could be a nightmare if you don't read the manual first at least. For people like me who love tweedling knobs though, this thing has some real merits.

The first and primary feature it has is a basic Pitch Shifter. Not an adaptive one based on your key - but a basic one. It works okay, but not as well as my DigiTech Whammy WH-4. The Algorithm Boss used tends to sound a lot more fake and "synthy" compared to the DigiTech, and it's tracking is a bit... eh... meh by comparison, it's got that "this is powered by a gear missing teeth" sort of effect in certain situations. It also does not take multiple notes as well as the DigiTech does - which when using 5th's in my case (something I use a lot) - is a major downside.

Then there's the intelligent pitch shifter, which is every bit as cheesy as I recall it being on the ME-33. It's either very easy to sound like you're having a duet with a Nintendo, or have the pitches too far back that it's almost not even worth using the pedal at all. One thing I noticed is it does have some tracking/pitch detection issues when in the right key. I've had some times where it is half a step down/up when it should be the opposite.

The Trem arm momentary effects are what I use this for the most though, either for diving or raising the pitch like a wacko, or my #1 favorite - the T.ARM thing - which dives down or up, and then drops back at pitch with a warble. That last one I use a lot to get a seasick uneasy sound with a wacky hook on it.

There's quite a lot to be done with this thing compared to other BOSS pedals, I'll give it a 7, I don't hate it, and think it's quite useful, but a lot of stuff it conventionally offers is limited by a slightly less-than-perfect pitch shifting system, and is more useful for noises or funky accents than full time use like I use the Digitech for (5th's, artificial retunes, and so on). // 7

Reliability & Durability: It's the standard BOSS pedal, so of course it's a durable piece of Cast Magnesium bodied sonic power. It's so ubiquitous I almost feel like it's a waste of words mentioning it more. I depend on it and have used it without a backup for 8 years, about the only falability about it is the battery life is totally horrible (I ran the battery out within a day of using it) - but that matters not to me as I run this on a powered pedalboard. I've depended on it pretty well. About the only thing taking damage is the cosmetics, the paint is chipping off - but when you stomp on a stompbox on a regular basis with size 15 clod-hoppers, that's what you get sometimes. // 9

Overall Impression: Already mentioned what style(s) I play, though I have a bit of experimental bent to them - maybe I forgot that part. This is a good match for a few experimental things I like to do, though sometimes I mix it up with other effects to get far more big and grand sounds. More often than not I use the T.Arm and Whammy settings on it as those work out best for me, though sometimes pitch shift is used when I want more of a "video gamey" sound than an actual effect used as usual. For all my other gear, see my profile, I own too much stuff probably.

If it were lost or stolen, I would not sweat it, probably replace it with something newer and more botique as that's where I'm headed these days. What I love about it are the arm effects are unique in style, and I don't need to rock my bashed up ankle to use it, what I hate about it is that I can't get the trem arm flutter without having to go down first - which is not what I want, they should have put a "Brad Gillis Beatdown" setting on it or something (you know, that thing he does in Night Ranger where he starts punching the bass side of his Strat with his fist to flutter the vibrato bar). But for what it does for me it does great, so I can't complain.

I compare it the most to the DigiTech Whammy as sit's immediately obvious, especially with the Expression pedal output - that this pedal is indeed meant to complete. Personally, I think DigiTech has the algorithm or whatever they use for pitch shifting down better than most of the other manufacturers who are seeking to do a serious pitch shifter. I also compared it to the Boss PS-3 Pitch Shifter which I used way back when I was first starting out in store and wanted that pulsing synthy thing that has - but I can't seem to replicate it with this device.

The things I wish it had...

- Better algorithm for pitch change, one that does not have the broken gear teeth effect, or does not have the Nintendo-Esque upper/lower pitch. I should be able to transpose 1/2 a step and have my guitar still sound like a guitar.

- The effects of the PS-3, which was the first pitch shifter I ever tried out many many years ago when people still recorded to tapes at home. That pulsating synth thing was what made the PS-3 cool, for some reason they took that out, which bugs me from an effects standpoint. If it had that, I'd be using it a metric ton more.

- I wish it had a mode where you could get the trem arm flutter WITHOUT having to go down or up first. Some musical things I want to do call for NOT having that "bwaaaaaaararararararar" when I just want "rarararararararar" instead.

But it serves some purposes on my board so I'll keep using it. Overall, I give it a seven, not bad, but not an everyday use pedal. // 7

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear