DigiTech Programmable Distortion PDS 1550

DigiTech Programmable Distortion PDS 1550

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Part of Digitech's double play pedals, this distortion allows you to program two channels of distortion and switch between the two or bypass them all together. There are seven knobs on this guy with a level and gain for each channel, a frequency selector (100hz-3.7khz) and cut/boost, and an octave control. One of the great pedals from the mid to late 80's--A Digitech PDS 1550 Programmable distortion (and delay). These pedals are set up not only to switch on and off, BUT also has 2 separately controllable distortions! Controls include Frequency, Octaves, Cut/Boost, Level A, Gain A, Level B and Gain B. Also, you can completely customize your sound by removing the bottom panel. Inside is a series of 7 DIP switches that controls 10, 20, or 40 ms of delay going to A channel, B Channel or both, Parametric to A channel or Both, Hi Filter controls, Low boost controls, and Delay on/off. Also has a trimpot inside to control Hi Filter cut/boost. There is a card inside the unit that explains these controls. Unit also has A & B Channel LED's.

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User Reviews of the DigiTech Programmable Distortion PDS 1550

  • Submitted by Pammy from Ypsilanti, MI (14 points) on Nov 9, 2013
  • I think the "A" channel on mine must have a bad op-amp, cause it's pretty weak. Whatever, I got it for $40 off Ebay, and although everyone complains about the "B' channel I find that with the parametric EQ DIP switch for it enabled it becomes quite usable, if you're not playing shred-metal. Also, tweaking those EQ knobs helps a lot!
  • Good Points: The EQ lets you get some very nasally, obnoxious tones. Sturdy construction. USA made, from back when the USA made things...
  • Bad Points: Weight, and the DIP switches placed inside the unit should be on the outside!
  • Price Paid: US$40.00
  • Purchased At: ebay
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  • Submitted by ragz from Fort Collins, CO (48 points) on Dec 23, 2011
  • Programmable distortion sounds cooler than it actually is. While it can be fun to mess with the settings, I didn't find a huge difference between settings so I left everything on for good measure. The A pad has the most diversity as others have said. You can get some nice change in sounds out of twisting the knobs for hrz, octave, and boost. Though I've found it's most effective to leave the boost at full. I will usually use pad B to create a beat by hitting the pedal to bounce between it and pad A. Keeping pad B's level and gain maxed and pad A's level and gain restrained leaves less of a drastic change between the two, but seems pointless, at least for my uses with it.
  • Good Points: Pad A had some fun points.
  • Bad Points:
  • Price Paid: US$40.00
  • Purchased At: Got it in a lot on Ebay
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  • Submitted by grizzlor from Springfield, PA (664 points) on Aug 13, 2006
  • as everybody seems to mention, channel a is super high gain, channel b not so much...in a f.b.l i use a decent delay after it so if you switch it, it gives a you better transition, instead of dead stop, unless dead stop is your thing? eq. section is amazing...
  • Good Points: great all-purpose unit
  • Bad Points: puting dip switches where the noise communnity can't easily reach them...shame on you dod/didtech...
  • Price Paid: US$35.00
  • Purchased At: ebay
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  • Submitted by spit + smudge from Savannah, GA (210 points) on Jun 4, 2004
  • Mine was all chipped, mucho dirty (see below), and missing the battery door. Now that I own a Godlyke Powerall, I just don't care about batteries, thing works just fine. This distortion has 2 switches, bypass and channel a/b. Channel B on this item is very muddy and weak, hardly any gain at all, in fact when you switch between A (which is the best) to B you will notice a HUGE difference in volume drop. I think A means awesome and B is bullsh!t. Has an octave knob that you can deepend the signal up some and a great eq section, when turning the knobs fast enough you can get a nice envelope sweeping. I took it apart, looked at all the ICs underneath and noticed all the ICs are in sockets! How cool is that, you can replace the opamps with any opamp that you choose from to give it some characteristic. I did do a small opamp stacking trick (stack another opamp on top of another) and it gave a really nice HIGH gain distortion. There is also a dip switch that you can play with, basically it just adjusts the bass response to the unit, if my memory recalls (just looked at it last night) the unit had 8 switches inside. Now that the battery door is missing I may place a small panel in it's place or possibly the space next to it for 8 small switches to toggle those dip connections.
  • Good Points: Channel A is nice, nice EQ section, and sturdy.
  • Bad Points: Channel B. The size. Why the dip switches were not available to the public is beyond my grasp.
  • Price Paid: US$15.00
  • Purchased At: ebay
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  • Submitted by travis from Vancouver, WA (36 points) on Apr 7, 2004
  • this thing is killer. granted, mine is a little busted, but the frequency knob on channel a is great. it allows me to get really bassy feedback. the b channel on mine doesnt really work though
  • Good Points: easy control, dual channels in one pedal
  • Bad Points: mine broke easily, but sounds even better
  • Price Paid: US$0.00
  • Purchased At: stolen from friend
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  • Submitted by Beavis from Afghanistan (254 points) on Aug 5, 2003
  • WOW!!!! This thing is mental, 2 channels of distortion in 1 box. Channel A is massive super hi gain and channel B is a bit weaker. The Eq section is great and can make almost envelope filter type sounds, the octave seems to do nothing. A bloody Marvellous piece of kit!!!
  • Good Points: The sound, construction and tweakability
  • Bad Points: The foot switches feels a bit flimsy but as long as you don't stomp it all wil be fine
  • Price Paid: US$50.00
  • Purchased At: Ebay
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  • Submitted by Adrian from Raleigh, NC (266 points) on Dec 31, 2001
  • the "a" channel is the good stuff on the pds-1550. Intended as a "metal" distortion, it's pretty high gain. The parametric eq is a nice touch, if you get into a filter sweeping mood. They seem to last forever, I've seen several with most of the paint chipped off that are still in use. These dont have a very sterotypical sound, so they tend to be pretty cheap and easy to find on ebay and the like. They seem to be especially good at handling low frequency input. Something that most of the pedals I've had fail at. It's kind of offtopic, but it sounds tremendous with my Chapman Stick.
  • Good Points: Two distortion sounds. Fairly strong param eq. With the eq and the internall controls for low/high boost, you can get pretty extreme sounds out of it.
  • Bad Points: The "b" distortion is pretty weak. The delay doesnt seem to add much to the sound. Some of the useful tweaks (the low/hi boost, etc) are stashed away inside the case. Modding one to add external switches for these would probabaly be a good idea.
  • Price Paid: US$15.00
  • Purchased At: a friend
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