The BOSS DS-1X is a special edition pedal using their new Multi-Dimensional Processing technology (MDP) to create a modern version of the classic DS-1 Distortion pedal. The Boss DS-1 was introduced in 1978, made in Japan and used a Toshiba TA7136AP opamp. Many argue on forums that this was the best DS-1 ever made. In 1994 the Rohm BA728N Opamp was introduced, then in 2000 the opamp was again changed to a Mitsubishi M5223AL. Finally in 2006 the New Japan Radio NJM2904L opamp was introduced. Production moved from Japan to Taiwan in 1988 and the circuit was modified to accept the PSA adapter in 1994.

In 1987 the DS-2 Turbo Distortion was announced and originally made in Japan although production moved to Taiwan for this pedal in 1989. The difference with this pedal was the added Turbo modes:

  • Mode I produces a powerful distortion sound with flat characteristics, without being muffled even with volume turned down. The special Turbo Circuit serve to remove unpleasant shrill caused by distorted frequencies.
  • Mode II produces a sticky distortion with very unique characteristics in the middle range frequencies. The Turbo Circuit again create a powerful grunge distorted overload.
  • You can plug in a Boss FS-5U footswitch to toggle between Modes I and II.

The DS-1X takes the original pedal design of DS-1X and instead of a single tone control utilises a High and Low control, a much more powerful EQ system to help sculpt your tone as demonstrated in my video above. Like the OD-1X OverDrive the pedal has a metallic flake paint finish and comes in a special edition box (see below).

Make no mistake this pedal is made for one purpose, high gain distortion, therefore I found the best tones whilst using in front of a clean amp were with the Distortion control set to around 3/4 which is actually a huge amount of gain but with very little noise. By tweaking the low and high controls you can add some depth to the tone or roll off the low for recording to allow more room for the bass guitar and let the mid frequencies come through. Whether I played single notes, chords or arpeggiated chords I found that the pedal retains the clarity of the individual notes rather than becoming a mush of frequencies fighting for attention. I believe this is due to the new BOSS Multi-Dimensional Processing DSP chips used in both the DS-1X and OD-1X.

When used with an already overdriven tube amp the DS-1X can be used to add singing sustain to lead parts or to add a high gain tone to a crunch tone.

I highly recommend checking these pedals out and being BOSS you will most probably find them in most guitar stores, if you want to know which stores near you stock them check the Roland Corporation Australia site.