Boss DS-1 Distortion
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Boss DS-1 Distortion

DS-1 Distortion, Distortion from Boss.

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All user reviews for the Boss DS-1 Distortion

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tonmazz08/08/2012

tonmazz's review" Boss DS-1 Tried and True for basic Distortion tone"

Boss DS-1 Distortion
No rocket science in the features of the Boss DS-1, just straight ahead fizz when you need it. Three easy to use controls for tone level and distortion. That's as straight forward as it gets. Well made and instruction manual is more than sufficient.

UTILIZATION

The tone control takes the DS-1 into bright to bassy territory depending on the setting. Level sets your level of the pedal tone in comparision to your amp tone. FInally the Distortion dial gives you more or less distortion depending on your preference. As I said, very straight forward and easy to use configuration with few bells and whistles. Typical Boss battery configuration for easy changing of the 9 volt. Can take a power adapter as well.

SOUND QUALITY

This is a tough one for me because before I recently became a tone snob, I used the DS-1 through a Fender Twin Reverb for many years and loved it. It served its purpose which was to make a clean toned amp sound dirty and hairy. I have to say back then I loved it and it was all I needed to gig with. To my more picky ears these days, it can be a little harsh and fizzy but that is what it's supposed to do so I don't mean that in a negative way. We all have preferences for what we'd like to hear and to my ears these days, I prefer a warmer distortion less abrasive and more compressed. This is not it if that is the goal. It creates an open, fizzy gain that works for most hard rock songs and in a mix who can really tell anyway.

OVERALL OPINION

I like the simplicity of this unit and when I gigged with it years ago I really like it a lot. While I have one now as a back up, I don't actively use it anymore but I think it is perfect for what it is and it is truly an old standby. Hard to find anyone in my group that hasn't used this at one point or another. Yes there are better units out there but for simplicity and price this one is tried and true and works well.
MountAnDewMe07/21/2012

MountAnDewMe's review

Boss DS-1 Distortion
The Boss DS-1 is a distortion based effect. It is used to add an analog type distortion to a guitar signal before use in an amplifier. This distortion has been around for many years and has remained unchanged though it's production life. The unit has three user definable controls to allow for configuration of the sound. There are two ¼ inch jacks, one for the guitar input and one to send to an amplifier. There is also a 9 volt adapter jack available so the unit can be powered from an external AC source (sold separately).

This distortion effect pedal can be tailored through three user controls. These consist of level, tone, and distortion. The level control is responsible for the overall output of the unit that will feed the amplifier. As this knob is turned clockwise the overall volume will increase. The distortion dial allows the user to control the amount of clipping, or distortion the unit will produce. As this control is turned clockwise the amount of gain will increase producing a more distorted signal. The tone control will affect the how much high or low signal is processed through the unit. As the dial travels clockwise the tone will alter from a thick, bass heavy sound to a cutting, high treble sound.


UTILIZATION

The Boss DS-1 is one of the easier effects to tailor in your pedal board. This effect should be one of the first in your signal chain, before all time based effects but after and compressor or envelope type effect, like a wha. As with any distortion based effect you will want to add or decrease levels so they are most complimentary to your amplifier. The effect is engaged when the red LED is lit, always be sure the light is bright as a dimly lit LED will indicate a weak battery that will affect the quality of your sound. The manual is very basic but it does get its point across.

SOUND QUALITY

The Boss DS-1 is one of the easier effects to tailor in your pedal board. This effect should be one of the first in your signal chain, before all time based effects but after and compressor or envelope type effect, like a wha. As with any distortion based effect you will want to add or decrease levels so they are most complimentary to your amplifier. The effect is engaged when the red LED is lit, always be sure the light is bright as a dimly lit LED will indicate a weak battery that will affect the quality of your sound. The manual is very basic but it does get its point across.

OVERALL OPINION

The Boss DS-1 is one of the easier effects to tailor in your pedal board. This effect should be one of the first in your signal chain, before all time based effects but after and compressor or envelope type effect, like a wha. As with any distortion based effect you will want to add or decrease levels so they are most complimentary to your amplifier. The effect is engaged when the red LED is lit, always be sure the light is bright as a dimly lit LED will indicate a weak battery that will affect the quality of your sound. The manual is very basic but it does get its point across.
johnrae06/20/2012

johnrae's review" An Instant Classic"

Boss DS-1 Distortion
The Boss DS-1 is a simple, dirty, and crunchy distortion pedal. It's a compact little killer. The thing has murderous sounds. It reproduces dynamics very accurately and has an awesome tone. It's a very simple unit to use and runs on a 9V battery or a power supply. It's a really classic unit used on many great recordings. It can go from a slight bluesy edge to pounding rock distortion. It's also a real steal, I got mine for just 50 bucks. It doesn't have any bells or whistles (it doesn't need them), and it sounds great. I use it all the time on gigs, for practice, whatever.

UTILIZATION

Easy setup. Plug it in, mess with the knobs, play.

SOUND QUALITY

I have used this with guitar, vocals and keyboard, all with great results. There are three knobs, tone, level, and distortion. Tone sweeps from an edgy biting treble to a muddy pounding rhythmic sound. Level affects the output volume and Distortion adds/subtracts how much edge and bite is applied to the sound. It's really easy to get a whole bunch of awesome sounds with a minimal amount of effort. It's such a versatile unit and VERY well built. These things are TOUGH. All metal chassis and good parts. I've had mine for months, it's been dropped, banged, rained on, smashed, and rolled down stairs. It works like new. There is also no tone loss. Instead of some distortion pedals, where you just hear a toneless, thin crackle, this has a very full and thick sound.

OVERALL OPINION

My favorite things about the DS-1 is the simplicity and AWESOME sound. It's so versatile, and I love the grit and crunch. I have no complaints about it. It's a well built piece of equipment with a great sound. I got mine for 50 bucks. I would pay 300. If you are considering this, buy it. It's a professional piece of equipment for an amateur price.
Fireguy840211/19/2011

Fireguy8402's review

Boss DS-1 Distortion
The Boss DS-1 is probably one of the most popular distortion pedals on the market and is a very basic pedal with very few bells and whistles. It has a simple layout of controls. A Tone knob that adjusts the EQ settings of the guitar, a Distortion knob that adjusts the amount of gain or saturation of the distortion, and a Level knob that adjusts the overall volume of the pedal. A single input jack, an output jack, and the option of running off a 9 volt power supply or a battery source rounds out the features of this pedal.

UTILIZATION

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.

SOUND QUALITY

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 OPINION

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.
yoTrakkz10/20/2011

yoTrakkz's review" great pedal for live and studio"

Boss DS-1 Distortion
The Boss DS-1 the most versatile distortion pedal I've ever used, on-stage or in the studio. I have had several interactions with it over the past 10-20 years.

UTILIZATION

When used with an amp's clean channel, it has the most useful range of gain of any pedal I've ever used... from tasty subtle crunch, to sweet singing gain. With the 'Dist' control on max, and the 'Tone' at 9 o'clock, I can only describe the sound as a candy-sweet tone that's not over-saturated. For my tastes, it's a great tone for rhythm or leads.

SOUND QUALITY

When used in front of an amp's dirty channel, I use it mainly as a subtle gain boost. With all controls set below 12 o'clock, it compresses the signal just a bit, and adds a nice touch of sustain for solos. The current draw of this particular pedal is very nominal so no worries if you are using battery it would last quite long. As far as durability is concerned believe me I have no words to describe it as it never caused me any trouble for the last two decades.

OVERALL OPINION

Overall, I've used the cheapest and the most expensive distortion pedals/pre-amps over the years (tube and solid state), and this one has remained my go-to for a long time. In my opinion, it's very versatile, and works best in front of an awesome tube amp. I've never tried to achieve the modern metal sound with this pedal, so I can't comment on whether or not it's useful in that application. However, if you're looking for a way to expand your amp's tonal range, give this pedal a serious look. Because of it’s low price, the DS-1 is the ideal distortion pedal to use for experimentation in do it yourself modifications (DYI). There are plenty of DS-1 DYI circuits readily available on the net and, even if you totally screw it up, you’re only out $40!
King Loudness05/01/2011

King Loudness's review" Not a fan unless it's modified"

Boss DS-1 Distortion
The Boss DS1 for years has been a cheap way to get just a standard rock distortion tone. It's a very basic in its feature-set. There is only three controls, a tone (for adjusting your equalization frequencies, a level (for adjusting your overall output), and a drive (for adjusting the amount of gain or saturation being produced by the pedal. It, like the vast majority of Boss pedals is housed in the classic compact metal casing, painted a classy shade of orange. It has a single input and output jack set, and is powered by either a 9 volt battery or the Boss PSA adapter.

Just a very simple distortion unit overall. Nothing too fancy, which shouldn't be expected at the low price point that these sell for.

UTILIZATION

Setting up this pedal is very simple. There's no odd functions to learn, no tricks to it really. The controls do what they say and it it produces a distortion sound. Pretty basic to dial in and get tones out of, which is great for first time users/people who haven't had much experience with effects pedals before.

This pedal produces a very angry sounding distortion tone that is very grainy and somewhat harsh. It is great for styles like grunge (Kurt Cobain was a noted user of this pedal for a long time) where the tone is meant to be aggressive and raunchy. It's far from a very smooth sounding pedal for sure. Compared to the Super Overdrive SD1, it's much raunchier and angrier sounding with lots of clipping and harmonics. It's not a very versatile pedal, and it's not one I'm a fan of because of it's very brash nature overall.

SOUND QUALITY

I've used this pedal with various humbucker loaded superstrats, both as a standalone distortion unit and a booster for an already overdriven amplifier. As I stated above, I'm not a huge fan of the type of grainy distortion that this pedal produces so I can't really say I enjoyed using it very much. As a standalone unit it was just too grainy and buzzy for my tastes (I prefer a much smoother, rounder overdrive tone), and as a booster it took a nice smooth overdrive tone and made it too brash sounding. I'm sure that approach works very well for grunge, punk, or garage rock, but for the much more streamlined sounding rock I play, it just didn't work for me.

OVERALL OPINION

You can pick these up cheaply used and they make great platforms for modifications to change the tonal structure. I do not like this pedal in its stock form, but when modified they can turn into a much better sounding pedal, with a smoother attack that takes away some of the inherent graininess that I dislike so much. They're cheap enough to pick up used and modify, but if you're buying a pedal to use in its stock form, I would look elsewhere (perhaps grab an SD1 or an Ibanez TS7) unless you want a really grainy, harsh sounding pedal.
badgerific04/07/2011

badgerific's review" Okay first distortion."

Boss DS-1 Distortion
Standard stompbox format of 1/4" in and outs, 9V adaptor or battery to power and a bypass footswitch. Not rackable or editable with a computer. Analog circuitry.

Volume, Tone and Gain controls.

UTILIZATION

Easy to set up, just plug your guitar in, your amp to the output and a battery inside and you're ready to go. The controls are intuitive and easy to work out.

SOUND QUALITY

I've used this pedal with a lot of different guitars and amplifiers and all I've got is a quite mediocre sound with every combination that I've tried. I find this pedal to be very nasally and harsh in tone. While reducing the level of the tone can remove this harshness it can become quite muddy.

Another thing about the sound of this pedal I dislike is the buffered bypass, it colors the tone of my rig quite noticeably when it's not engaged which I'm not a huge fan of, although it can be useful for long signal chains.

I find versions of this pedal to be much better sounding. Even simple modifications such as removing one of the clipping diodes can make this pedal much more useable. There's a wealth of the information available on the internet for modifications of this pedal which can change many different characteristics of it.

OVERALL OPINION

The thing I like most about this pedal is the price, it can be picked up used for pretty cheap and It's a passible distortion unit. I also really like how useable this pedal can be after modification.

I dislike the buffered bypass and the harshness of the distortion produced most about this pedal.

Overall I think this is an okay first distortion pedal as it's cheap and easy to get hold of and can sound okay in certain settings.
Hatsubai04/07/2011

Hatsubai's review" The #1 go-to distortion pedal"

Boss DS-1 Distortion
The Boss DS-1 is one of the most iconic distortion pedals out there. It has been used by nearly ever major artist at one point in time including Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. It features three knobs -- a distortion knob, a level knob and a tone knob.

UTILIZATION

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.

SOUND QUALITY

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.

OVERALL OPINION

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.
Stormleader03/22/2011

Stormleader's review" Stock it's nasally and harsh, but once modded it's great!"

Boss DS-1 Distortion
The classic orange pedal, the BOSS DS-1. It's used by tons of players, from bedroom noodlers to arena playing rock stars. It has Tone, Distortion, and Level knobs. It's built very well, like pretty much all BOSS pedals. It's an all analog distortion, and stock it offers distortion ranging from almost light-overdrive to higher-gain rock.

UTILIZATION

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.



SOUND QUALITY

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 OPINION

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.
iamqman03/16/2011

iamqman's review" Beginner OD box"

Boss DS-1 Distortion
Probably the most beginner or entry level distortion box you can buy. You can find this pedal in just about every music store in the world. There is a couple reasons for that, one being that everyone likes this pedal and its marketed very well. The other being it is as cheap as they come and can get you somewhat of a desired result.....not really

This is a pedal for a learning guitar player who got $50 from his parents for Christmas. If your on a budget then I can see this pedal working out for you.

Simple design and layout as follows..

Level, Tone, and Dist

Level will turn your overall volume up or down. The tone will brighten or darken your tone depending on which side you turn it to. The Dist with give you the grind or saturation that your looking for.

UTILIZATION

The sound is very metallic in nature as most OD pedals can be. It isn't going to be suitable for recording or any real band applications. I guess some people can be creative with it but those people are just going to get something that works for them and not spend much time tweaking a pedal that sounds like forks hitting aluminum siding.

Very easy to use as only three knobs are present. The manual....well I didn't even open because any monkey who can figure out how to turn on an amp can turn this thing into the most usable situation.

I gave it a middle of the road rating since it was easier than pie to figure out though it sounded like trash cans banging around.

SOUND QUALITY

Horrible is an understatement! I would say it would be better suitable for hitting someone in the head with if they touched your amp then actually using in your chain or effects. I used my Les Paul which I though would give it the best chance of sounding decent but no goods. I also tried a Strat and it sounded so bad with single coils that I just unplugged it and never plugged it in again.

I couldn't see myself even touching this pedal again. I heard that they make a mod for it that you can pick up on ebay. Maybe this address the volume loss when engaging this pedal or makes it sound like garbage from utter and complete ruin. I guess you can only go up from utter and complete ruin.

OVERALL OPINION

I like the color of the pedal. That is about all I can say that was good about it. It made me want an ice cream pop but not want to pick up my guitar and jam.

One more good thing I can say which is not exclusive to this pedal is that Boss makes very rugged and road worthy products. If you decided to use this pedal I believe it would last you forever. Boss/ Roland does makes some stomp heavy ready boxes.

I wouldn't recommend this pedal to anyone. Save up and buy a used Boss OD-2!