« The #1 go-to distortion pedal »Published on 04/07/11 at 11:09
Boss uses their infamous enclosure to house this pedal. It's one of the most sturdy pedal enclosures on the market, and it'll withstand a drop from a skyscraper. That said, it uses a FET bypass. This can be good or bad, depending on how it's implemented. The Boss DS-1 doesn't exactly have the greatest bypass. I notice that it sucks tone compared to when it's out of the circuit. The manual describes what every knob does, but it's not really needed considering there are only three knobs.
This pedal sounds like the definition of a distortion pedal to me. It sounds very disconnected to the amp when you start to crank it, and it kinda sounds weak when it's trying to be used to boost the amp into overdrive. I find it best to leave it on moderate settings with a mostly clean amp and go from there. It can work at delivering some decent tones, but I find the RAT to sound a little better, personally.
The pedal is cheap on the used market, and there are tons of them out there. The sound, however, is fairly mediocre. I usually prefer using something like an overdrive to boost my amp. Back in the old days, amps didn't have that much gain. Instead, they had to rely on super high output pickups and distortion boxes like these. Today, amps have so much gain on tap that things like these aren't really needed anymore. I can't really recommend it, but given how iconic it is and how people have gotten some good tones with it, I can't really dismiss it, either.