Boss Distortion DS-1

Boss Distortion DS-1

The DS-1 provides a hard distortion effect. Instead of toneless, fuzzy distortion, the DS-1 faithfully reproduces all the subtle nuances of signal dynamics, from whisper-quiet to screaming loud. The onboard TONE control allows you to tailor the overall sound to your liking.


Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $97.50

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User Reviews of the Boss Distortion DS-1

  • Submitted by Matt from Newton, NH (6 points) on Jan 4, 2011
  • I bought this Boss DS-1 pedal at my local Daddy's and

    I got it used for a pretty good price at .99. I

    play bass and it is really good for my experience.
  • Good Points: Very good for bass nice thick sound very compact
  • Bad Points: Nothing
  • Price Paid: US$40.00
  • Purchased At: Daddy's Junky Music
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  • Submitted by Bassie from Brugge (188 points) on May 28, 2009
  • I normally use a DS-2 but I've once borrowed this one. Well there's not much to be said about this one that it's just a basic distortion. It has a low gain. not much distortion. and it just sucks ass? I don't know how Kurt Cobain managed to make this pedal sound good.
  • Good Points: Heavy metal Case ... uhm ... ... that's it?
  • Bad Points: Only three knobs Bad distortion Bad EQ
  • Price Paid: US$0.00
  • Purchased At: Borrowed
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  • Submitted by gordon from Asheville, NC (34 points) on Feb 11, 2009
  • there is nothing more that can be said about this pedal, except that i have had three of them over the years. none of them broke or malfunctioned.
  • Good Points: boss three knobs orange distorty loud
  • Bad Points: no bass they keep going missing only three knobs
  • Price Paid: US$32.00
  • Purchased At: friend
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  • Submitted by Howard from Brighton, MA (132 points) on Jul 8, 2008
  • As many people have mentioned, this pedal really lacks in low end. Also, I've found it extremely difficult to get a good, distorted signal out of a large bass amp. However, I've found two good uses for this pedal in my noise set-up. First, it can serve as a good limiter for a contact mic or within a feedback loop. I use the Crank contact mic, and for quieter applications, it can get really loud and chaotic even through a small practice amp. Second, the pedal sounds wonderful through a small, already tinny amplifier. I guess giving up the idea of low end entirely makes this pedal much more enjoyable.
  • Good Points: good contact mic or feedback loop limiter tinny, raspy distortion
  • Bad Points: lack of low end (if that's what you're looking for)
  • Price Paid: US$45.00
  • Purchased At: Mr. Music (Allston, MA)
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  • Submitted by AULOS from Hereford Uk (480 points) on Jun 4, 2008
  • I think that this pedal is better for bass. You get a nice DFA scratchy distortion with alot of gain. As for guitar, it's out dated and lacks any particular features that make it appealing to me.
  • Good Points: Well Built.
  • Bad Points: No control, Out dated, Sometimes muddy.
  • Price Paid: US$20.00
  • Purchased At: School
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  • Submitted by drikudaz from montreal (88 points) on Oct 9, 2007
  • low fi distortion really basic and simple.
  • Good Points: built like a tank cheap price
  • Bad Points: suck volume not enough control not enough power
  • Price Paid: US$40.00
  • Purchased At: steves music
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  • Submitted by Dylan from Parlin, NJ (28 points) on Aug 1, 2007
  • This pedals good for both bass and guitar. It keeps the sound clean without adding low end. this is a great booster for your amp.
  • Good Points: Crunchy Trebley with no low end
  • Bad Points: it lacks power
  • Price Paid: US$42.00
  • Purchased At: sam Ash
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  • Submitted by Ferox from Los Altos, CA (432 points) on May 21, 2007
  • One of the first pedals I got and used inside of a loop. The tone knob gives nice tone control inside of a loop, I get a lot of stuttering skips when turned all the way down. Outside of a loop it is...eh. Weak distortion with a volume loss.
  • Good Points: Good for the price.
  • Bad Points: One trick pony.
  • Price Paid: US$40.00
  • Purchased At: guitar center
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  • Submitted by david from sanfernando (2 points) on May 1, 2007
  • I Have Absouletly no problem with this pedal.For a cheap one it works pretty allright.but it dont work so well when it comes to the lighter driven distortion.ive been using it for a couple of years now and its still working.
  • Good Points: great neat smoothe full distortion.not too noisy but still noisy.
  • Bad Points: lighter distortion not so good
  • Price Paid: US$30.00
  • Purchased At: R.S Investments
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  • Submitted by provera from Waterloo, IA (156 points) on Nov 23, 2006
  • If you're looking for a thin trebbly distortion, here's the pedal for you, but don't use if you want to keep low end, or tone, or basically anything but thin trebbly distortion. If you can get it really, really, really cheap then it might be worth picking up, as it does have a couple uses, but definitely not a distortion that'll see much use on its own. I use mine in a reel-to-reel loop, which is already hissy and thin, and it's okay for that, but that's about it. I definitely wouldn't replace it unless I got another one for free.
  • Good Points: Nice boss construction. Put it in your sock and hit someone with it and I bet you could crack a skull.
  • Bad Points: No range, no power, ultralimited distortion.
  • Price Paid: US$0.00
  • Purchased At: free with a couple other pedals
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  • Submitted by Michael from christchurch (60 points) on Jun 4, 2006
  • Like many other reviewers I was disappointed by this pedal...I paid the same price for a Metal Zone and find that to be much better to use in a noise context...my advice, even though it may be cheap, save yr pennies a bit longer and get something a bit more expensive.
  • Good Points: VERY simple layout.
  • Bad Points: Not noisy enough!!!
  • Price Paid: US$10.00
  • Purchased At: Junk/Secondhand Dealer
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  • Submitted by Marco from Brescia (134 points) on Apr 21, 2006
  • I think that a great number of Boss distortions have the same sound... Lack of low frequencies, one sound, and low volume output. this is one of them. It's cheap, but you pay what you get...
  • Good Points: -cheap...
  • Bad Points: -low output -it cuts low frequencies
  • Price Paid: US$30.00
  • Purchased At: mercatinomusicale.com
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  • Submitted by series_ from Portland, OR (172 points) on Oct 17, 2005
  • This pedal has a very specific sound. It is not meant to be played. Meaning it's meant to be stomped on and them played thru, with distortion added to your signal. The pedal does not respond to live playing. It can be found very cheap and is another tool to use when needed. With an EQ it can actually be made to sound very good. And again it can be found cheap.
  • Good Points: It's cheap. It won't break EVER.
  • Bad Points:
  • Price Paid: US$0.00
  • Purchased At: givin to me
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  • Submitted by sclr from Portland, OR (216 points) on Mar 6, 2005
  • the most basic of distortion pedals. not that great but use as a back up for other distortions or pedals and its alright. the tone knob is ok for some slight changes to the feel of a sound. not a must have but for the price it could do the job in a chain.
  • Good Points: built well. great for another distortion in your arsenal.
  • Bad Points: very basic sound. one trick pony.
  • Price Paid: US$10.00
  • Purchased At: pawn shop
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  • Submitted by fran from Nottingham (64 points) on Feb 25, 2005
  • The DS-1 distortion... god i hate this pedal! Over-rated,the only reason it sells is because it says Boss on it i'm sure. It has ONE sound and thats bad, its primitive and un-versatile. Forget the tone, its only contribution is that the knob makes the pedal look aesthetically right! This pedal is very limited.
  • Good Points: Solid enough to throw at a drummer.
  • Bad Points: Everything.
  • Price Paid: US$0.00
  • Purchased At: second-hand
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  • Submitted by Jimmy from Miami, FL (6 points) on Aug 18, 2004
  • You can get some really boss fuzz on this little bad-boy and control the "tone" as well as the "distortion." Includes a convenient on/off switch.
  • Good Points: Not too many good points for noisicians of our ilk, but you can get some pretty crunchy -- and dare I say it, Hendrix-esque -- tones out of this baby. Also, as mentioned earlier, the on/off switch is pretty nifty and gives you total control over the activation of this pedal's effect.
  • Bad Points: Like I said, not a noisician's pedal. I mean, a true noicisian could get probably get some nifty noises out of this, but I think the level of noisicianship required to do such a thing is pretty high.
  • Price Paid: US$2.00
  • Purchased At: Thrift Shop
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  • Submitted by Scott from Seattle, WA (8 points) on Mar 14, 2004
  • Really not so bad for the price (10-20 USD). Kills a lot of good low end and can be really tinny. Also annoyingly colors tone even when distortion is all the way down.
  • Good Points: Great in feedback loops, makes interesting high pitched tones when feeding back with a delay.
  • Bad Points: Kills low end, distinctive standard distortion tone.
  • Price Paid: US$20.00
  • Purchased At: Ebay
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  • Submitted by Tom from Brooklyn, NY (4 points) on Jan 26, 2004
  • BORING! This pedal is not what it is all cracked up to be. The tones are horrible. On my DS-1 it makes everything sound compressed and flat.
  • Good Points: Adds a nice color scheme to other pedals.
  • Bad Points: It doesn't scream like it should.
  • Price Paid: US$10.00
  • Purchased At: Ebay
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  • Submitted by Jason from Chapel Hill, NC (44 points) on Jan 22, 2004
  • This is a truly shitty distortion pedal. It has it's uses, and is inexpensive, but if you're looking for a 'main' distortion don't stop here. It sucks volume, and the tone is bad. If you already have a lot of pedals however, this is a cheap one to pick up and use with other, better effects around it. It has an odd way of bringing out sounds that other distortions would bury. It's nice in between a death metal and metal zone, oddly, for clarity. Use it in a feedback loop for some variation. Other than that it's honestly pretty useless. It shines particularly with vocals, with the tone all the way up it makes things sound pretty wild.
  • Good Points: cheap, good on batteries. Easy to find.
  • Bad Points: bad tone, sucks volume, not many eq options, really it just kind of sucks.
  • Price Paid: US$0.00
  • Purchased At: gift
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  • Submitted by D/A A/D from Halifax (398 points) on Sep 4, 2003
  • I hate this thing... It sucks everything - tone, volume, brains... I have no idea why people like this thing so much, I wish it would fall off the planet...
  • Good Points: Its a boss pedal...
  • Bad Points: Boss should have never made it....
  • Price Paid: US$0.00
  • Purchased At:
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  • Submitted by Yves from Ottawa (156 points) on Jul 10, 2003
  • Immediate gratification. By simply turning the pedal off and on, one has a quick & easy way to contrast tame white noise and a noise that's dark and spikey. Use for "interrupting" found sounds from television or radio. The DS-1 and its cohorts are all smartly documented in a recent book: _The BOSS Book_ (Hal Leonard; comes with a CD)--a book that helps noise enthusiasts explore the many, many, many flavours of distortion that BOSS offers + comparisons with two other leading manufacturers. The killer app: run the DS-1 in parallel with OD and Bass OD and fuzz, through a little mixer that acts as a 'command centre'. I filter the whole smorgasborg through a Waldorf Micro-Q synth--it has external inputs to it's filter section plus an onboard ring mod and its own effects. Parametric EQ like the cheap Behringer unit tunes noise into five bands. Then through a Lexicon for reverb that's only there when the sound goes from 'wall of' to 'pizzicato' stuff. The DS-1 adds immediate impact to the whole effect, a high-frequency boost, depending on the Tone setting. Just makes even blazé chicks turrrrn and notice.
  • Good Points: Not subtle. Can be run in many positions in a chain of pedals: try after/before a phaser, or fuzz or OD.
  • Bad Points: Needs the older style BOSS adapter for power. No mix control to gradually go from clean to set sound, almost forcing you to run it in parallel through a mixer. Not subtle. Batteries have a medium life span; wish the power consumption was designed more like Z-Vex pedals. Not as massive with pink noise or full bandwith white noise. Parametric EQ needed to establish bandwidth feeding into or exiting pedal--this is the case with all distortion pedals, not just this one.
  • Price Paid: US$30.00
  • Purchased At: SongBird Music (Ottawa, Canada))
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  • Submitted by Dave from Grand Rapids, MI (8 points) on Jun 30, 2002
  • Cheap. Simple. Definitely noisy. Sounds particularily nasty with all knobs completely clockwise. gets the most annoyingly high-pitched squeels that way, but sounds really cool through a modulation effect. i basically found it to be useless as a real guitar distortion pedal, so i decided to just use it for it's cheap noisiness, and it excels. if you're looking for "TONE," keep on walkin. if you want harsh, tinny, thin, nasally distortion, spend less, but this. sounds awesome with old battery. Sounds cool with tone all the way down too.
  • Good Points: Cheap. Easy. Noisy. Great for sick feedback, semi-fuzzy, gets a nice "she's gonna blow" sound when abused.
  • Bad Points: Indeed a failure of a distortion pedal. Utterly toneless.
  • Price Paid: US$35.00
  • Purchased At: R.I.T. Music
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  • Submitted by spit + smudge from Savannah, GA (210 points) on May 21, 2002
  • Decent simple distortion pedal. Not many knobs you can piddle about but i rarely ever manipulate those. Generally its at the end of an effects chain to add just a slight punch to the signal.
  • Good Points: Gives a punch to the overall signal.
  • Bad Points: Although it does give punch, adjusting the knobs really dont do much overall, plus the distortion is nothing to write home to mom about either.
  • Price Paid: US$30.00
  • Purchased At: ebay
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  • Submitted by matt from Billings, MT (118 points) on Mar 15, 2002
  • i picked this up so i could have something else besides the dod death metal pedal. i really like this pedal. it has a nice distortion. the one thing that i really liked is that when you turn either the tone knob or dist knob it creates a great screaming sound. it is a basic distortion pedal but that is the beauty of it. simple is good. if you're looking for a distortion pedal and thats it look no futher.
  • Good Points: good sounds. nice range of distortion. creates a cool screaming effect when you turn the tone or dist knob turn certain areas
  • Bad Points: haven't found any
  • Price Paid: US$40.00
  • Purchased At: eckroth music
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  • Submitted by Harm from Mechanicsville, VA (86 points) on Jan 20, 2002
  • The Boss DS-1 is an essential and cheap distortion pedal for your chain of noise. I think its got a nice hollow distortion sound compared to all the other pedals i have. It's a perfect pedal for distortion right before you bring in the big brothers of the DS-1. It'll add a nice scream when applied along side a MT-2 or an HM-2.
  • Good Points: It's cheap and its got lots of trbel.
  • Bad Points: Nothing bad about it. It does what it's suppose to do.
  • Price Paid: US$30.00
  • Purchased At: Local Music Store
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