« Stock it's nasally and harsh, but once modded it's great! »Published on 03/22/11 at 12:59
I can't say how well the manual explains things, as I only had it in for me to mod it, but it's not exactly hard to use. The "Tone" knob controls the tone (Duh!) which goes from muddy to incredibly shrill way to fast (More on that later though.). The "Distortion" knob controls the gain, and the "Level" knob controls, well, the level. Plug in the cable from your guitar into the input, and then plug the cable coming from the output into the next effect or your amp, tweak knobs to taste, and play. Doesn't get much simpler than this pedal.
This is where the DS-1 (Stock, mind you) falls VERY short. Un-modded it's very either very shrill, or very muddy, depending on where you have the tone control set. Although the mods for it are very easy to do, this review is for the stock DS-1, so that I'm how I'm rating it.
It just in general lacks the "oopmh" that one expects, and has very little low end. I used this with a BC Rich Warbeast NJ Deluxe loaded with active EMG's, and the amp I was using was a Peavey Ultra all-tube amp pushing a 5150 Straight cab loaded with Celestion V30's and G12T-75's. Even with that rig it still sounded nasty. It was either dark and muddy, or much very bright and shrill. No matter where I tweaked the knobs to I couldn't get a tone that I liked.
Overall, unless you are comfortable modding guitar pedals, then I have to suggest that you stay away from this pedal. It might work OK if you had a VERY dark guitar, baring that there are many better distortion pedals out there to choose from.
I have to say though, for the price that it is, it's a very good platform for modding. I do want to add that after doing the Marshall Mods to the pedal it sounded infinity better. It turned out to be less shrill and had more gain on tap than it did before the mod, but was still able to clean up very well.