This pedal is easy to hook up with any amplifier, just put it in front of your amp's signal chain and you are off to the races. It is possible to get a slight breakup overdrive type of distortion out of the pedal and all the way up to a standard rock and roll type distortion. This is not intended to be a warm overdrive or a metal pedal, but more of a middle of the road type distortion pedal. A warrenty and manual are included with the pedal when purchased, but honestly neither are needed. The pedal works like any other dirt pedal and is built like a brick. Boss is known for making very reliable pedals and this one is no exception.
This is where the pedal is lacking. There are a few good tones to be had out of this pedal, but mostly the pedal sounds generic and stale. It lacks depth and texture of more expensive pedals and while it's meant to be a middle of the road type distortion, it rides the fence too much and does nothing exceptionally well. The light overdrive sounds are grainy and thin, and the saturated sounds are sterile and fizzy. The pedal does a decent basic distortion sound with the Gain set around 2 oclock, the Tone rolled back a little less than noon, and the volume to taste, but it is nothing inspiring. The pedal is also useful as a solo boost with the gain lowered and the volume increased to push the front end of a tube amp, although there are better pedals out there for this job in the same price range with better EQ options.
Overall this is a good pedal for a beginner to intermediate player with a single channel amp that needs some distortion sounds, but the experienced player with a taste for tone will probably be better served going in another direction. Boss tried to make a jack of all trades pedal and came out with a pedal that does neither low or high gain well. This pedal is useful in one or two aspects (basic generic distortion or as a tube amp boost), but is mostly just too bland for most applications. I believe the price bracket is why Boss has sold so many of these, and these days there are just better options (Digitech Bad Monkey or Blues Driver, Danelectro Cool Cat Series to name a few) Some people send these off to pedal modders to be tweaked, but I would just count my losses on the "orange brick" and go for a nicer pedal all together, or open the pedal up and try to do some of these mods myself for the learning experience using a platform that is inexpensive. Though Boss is a great company with reliable products, there are just better sounding pedals out there than the Boss DS-1.