Boss DS-1

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Boss DS-1 distortion pedal

The Boss DS-1 is a distortion pedal for guitar, manufactured by the Roland Corporation under the brand name Boss since 1978. The first distortion unit made by Boss,[1] it has become a classic effect, used by many notable guitar players.[2] Boss produced a successor, the DS-2.[3]


Circuit design[edit]

The DS-1 has a very simple circuit, based on a single op-amp. The distortion is produced using a variable gain circuit with diodes shorting the output to ground to produce hard clipping of the input waveform similar to the Pro Co RAT distortion pedal. This distortion stage is followed by a passive tone filter and volume control. The tone control is scooped in the midrange. It consists of a simple fixed -6dB/oct low pass filter and a simple fixed -6dB/oct high pass filter using a potentiometer to mix the two signals. Given this, the pedal can sound quite "acid" and nasal. Its simple circuit is very easy to modify, several mods are available on line and they make it a better and more usable pedal. Notable modifiers of the pedal include Steve McKinley of McKinley Electronics and Cummy Larry of Blumpkin Sound Labs.

Notable users[edit]


Boss DS-2 distortion pedal

Although it bears the same "DS" name the Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion is circuit speaking very far from the DS-1, using several transistors and no op amps. It has with two modes producing a distinctly different sound, "I" and "II", the latter has more volume and it is best suited for solos. These modes can also be selected via an optional footswitch.

Notable users[edit]