Log in
Log in

or
Enlarge
Add this product to
  • My former gear
  • My current gear
  • My wishlist
Boss DS-1X Distortion
Images
1/120

Review Boss DS-1X Distortion

Distortion from Boss

Write a user review or Ask for a user review
Written test
1 comment
Boss reinvents the DS distortion pedal Review of the Boss DS-1X
7/10
Share this article

This year, Boss has been releasing new stompboxes at a prodigious pace: two at Winter NAMM and three at Summer NAMM. All are reinventions of older Boss pedals. The DS-1X, released along with the OD-1X in January, is a revamped digital version of the DS-1. How does it compare to its predecessor? We tested them head to head as part of this review.

A classic pedal reborn

The DS-1X is a completely revamped pedal from its predecessor, the venerable DS-1, which has been part of the Boss pedal lineup since 1978. Although it maintains the classic Boss body shape, battery compartment and power-adapter input, the DS-1X has a slightly different control set. Both pedals have a Level and a Distortion control, but while the DS-1 has a single tone control, the DS-1X features Low and High controls, giving it more sonic flexibility. 

From a looks standpoint, the DS-1X, like the OD-1X, sports a mirrored top, which gives it a spiffier look than the DS-1.  The DS-1X can be powered either by a 9V battery (included) or an optional Boss PSA adapter or equivalent 9V power supply. The DS-1X is just about three times as expensive as the DS-1.

Besides the price, the biggest difference between the pedals is on the inside. The DS-1X uses the company’s “Multidimensional Processing, ” which is digital (same technology used on the OD-1X), whereas the DS-1 is analog. Although in most cases I’d choose an analog pedal over a digital one, that’s not the case here.

The DS-1X has a more complex sound. It’s smoother, has more sustain, more overtones and harmonics. By comparison, the DS-1 sounds like the $49 pedal that it is. The only area where the DS-1 is superior is presence — it’s much more "in your face” that the DS-1X, which is a bit compressed sounding.

Boss says the new pedal is “ultra responsive to volume changes and picking dynamics, ” and I would agree that it’s definitely improved in that area. 

DS pedals go head to head

To give you an idea of the sonic differences between the pedals, here is a series of comparisons, where I’m playing similar parts through both pedals, using the same amp, a Fender Blackface Twin Reverb reissue, miked by a Shure SM57. The guitar used was an ESP 400 series Strat with Fender Lace Sensor pickups.

Here’s a high-gain rhythm part.

First, the DS-1:

00:0000:00
Now the DS-1X:
00:0000:00
Now some lead with the same high-gain setting as the previous example.

Here’s the DS-1:

00:0000:00
Here’s the DS-1X:
00:0000:00
In both of those comparisons, the DS-1X sounds smoother and deeper, but the DS-1 is more present.

 

Now a comparison with lower gain settings on a rhythm guitar part.

The DS-1:

00:0000:00
The DS-1X:
00:0000:00
The DS-1X again sounds smoother and richer. The DS-1 is more present, but its tone on this example could be diplomatically described as  “inexpensive-sounding”.
 

This time we’ve dialed up an even lower gain setting, for a blues-rock rhythm guitar part.

First the DS-1:

00:0000:00
Now the DS-1X:
00:0000:00
Advantage DS-1X. It’s richer and warmer than the DS-1.
 

And lastly some lead playing at the same settings as the previous example.

The DS-1:

00:0000:00
The DS-1X:
00:0000:00
The DS-1X is warmer and has better sustain.

X marks the spot

The DS-1X ($149) offers a lot more sonic flexibility than its predecessor. It definitely provides a rich distortion with lots of sustain. I wish it was a tad less compressed sounding, with a bit more bite, but overall it’s a good sounding pedal that offers warm and modern-sounding distortion. While it beat the DS-1 rather handily in our comparisons, how it fares on the market, with a lot of other distortion pedals to choose from, remains to be seen.

 
7/10
Shop strengths
  • Lots of gain
  • Fat sound with lots of bottom
  • Individual Low and High EQ controls
  • More polished sound than original DS-1
  • Spiffy look
Cons
  • Lacks presence
  • Sounds a bit too compressed
  • SenatorSteak 1 post
    SenatorSteak
    New AFfiliate
    Posted on 08/20/2019 at 09:46:43
    Absolute loved the before and after comparison! I've had the DS-1 forever and was debating if I should upgrade. Short Answer: Yes. The DS-1 is about a basic at it gets for distortion and it has served me well, but the electronics are 20 years old. I figured it might be time for an update.

Would you like to comment this article?

Log in
Become a member
cookies
We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages and show you personalised ads (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent
These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Example: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).
Audience analysis (Google Analytics)
We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.
Advertising (Google Ads)
This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.
Marketing (Meta Pixel)

On our websites, we use the Meta Pixel. The Meta Pixel is a remarketing pixel implemented on our websites that allows us to target you directly via the Meta Network by serving ads to visitors of our websites when they visit the social networks Facebook and Instagram. The meta pixel are code snippets which are able to identify your browser type via the browser ID - the individual fingerprint of your browser - and to recognise that you have visited our websites and what exactly you have looked at on our websites. When you visit our websites, the pixel establishes a direct connection to Meta's servers. Meta is able to identify you by your browser ID, as this is linked to other data about you stored by Meta on your Facebook or Instagram user account. Meta then delivers individualised ads from us on Facebook or on Instagram that are tailored to your needs.

We ourselves are not in a position to identify you personally via the meta pixel, as apart from your browser ID no other data is stored with us via the pixel.

For more information about the Meta Pixel, the details of data processing via this service and Meta's privacy policy, please visit Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Facebook and Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Instagram.

Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. is a subsidiary of Meta Platforms, Inc. based in the USA. It cannot be ruled out that your data collected by Facebook will also be transmitted to the USA.


We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Examples: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).

Audience analysis (Google Analytics)

We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it. When this parameter is activated, no personal information is sent to Google and the IP addresses are anonymized.

Advertising (Google Ads)

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.

Marketing (Meta Pixel)

On our websites, we use the Meta Pixel. The Meta Pixel is a remarketing pixel implemented on our websites that allows us to target you directly via the Meta Network by serving ads to visitors of our websites when they visit the social networks Facebook and Instagram. The meta pixel are code snippets which are able to identify your browser type via the browser ID - the individual fingerprint of your browser - and to recognise that you have visited our websites and what exactly you have looked at on our websites. When you visit our websites, the pixel establishes a direct connection to Meta's servers. Meta is able to identify you by your browser ID, as this is linked to other data about you stored by Meta on your Facebook or Instagram user account. Meta then delivers individualised ads from us on Facebook or on Instagram that are tailored to your needs.

We ourselves are not in a position to identify you personally via the meta pixel, as apart from your browser ID no other data is stored with us via the pixel.

For more information about the Meta Pixel, the details of data processing via this service and Meta's privacy policy, please visit Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Facebook and Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Instagram.

Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. is a subsidiary of Meta Platforms, Inc. based in the USA. It cannot be ruled out that your data collected by Facebook will also be transmitted to the USA.


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.
You can also find information about how Google uses personal data by following this link.