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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Boss OD-1 - Evolution

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by JoeNeri, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Clarkdale, AZ
    The OD-1 was one of the first overdrive pedals, introduced in 1978. Boss material states that the SD-1, introduced in 1981, was basically a sliughtly tweaked OD-1 circuit with an added tone knob. Since a lot of the discussion here revolves around the fact that the SD-1 circuit is virtually identical to the Tube Screamer circuit, does that mean that the OD-1 circuit is also similar to the TS? I thought the OD-1 was a completely different design, and certainly sounds different to my ears.

    Also, I've also read that the OD-3 is based on the OD-1 circuit. Yeah, I know not to believe everything i read, especially on the internet, but are their any connections among and between the OD-1, SD-1, OD-3 and TS circuits/sounds/etc.?
     

  2. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I think that 11 Gauge says the OD-3 (came out in 1997) is closer in design to the Blues Driver than the OD-1, and that perhaps the only reason that the OD-3 is not blue and named the "BD-3" is because the BD-2 is such a huge seller as is, and Boss wants to leave that alone- I'd bet that's true!
     

  3. chrisgblues

    chrisgblues Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2010
    Halifax
    I've read about the connection between the OD-1 and the SD-1 somewhere else on this forum, but I would hesitate to lump in the OD-3. The tone from an OD-3 is far more complex than an SD-1 for example, and it's got loads of BASS on tap which is unlike the SD-1 or TS type pedals.

    I suppose they all share varying degrees of "mid-hump" but then again most OD pedals do. Very few don't. And this is by design, not poor craftsmanship as some people in the 'transparent' camp would lead you to believe.

    JMHO.
     

  4. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    The OD-1 to SD-1 evolution wasn't really linear.

    The OD-1 made its debut in November of '77. It went through a lot of revisions with different op amps and such. But by February of '81 the SD-1 was released as an improvement to the "final evolution" of the OD-1. Boss felt that a tone circuit was needed, so one was added.

    ...By extension of that, the SD-1 is primarily a final rev. OD-1 with the tone circuit. Boss had gone to the same 4558 chip as the TS with the final OD-1D's and all of the OD-1E's. Well, TS freaks will argue that it's different because Boss used the TL4558P, uP4558C, and C4558C along with the "real" JRC4558D. :rolleyes:

    IMO, most differences that people hear between the OD-1 and SD-1 are with the OD-1A to OD-1B series, which had the most circuit differences, and used the RC3404ADB and uPC4741C op amps. Boss had NO issues sourcing their parts from the lowest bid source, which meant NEC, TI, or whomever was cheaper than JRC! This is witnessed with the DS-1 to this day, as well as the numerous Boss pedals that use the "dreaded" L series op amps (8 pins in line).

    The SD-1 has remained just about the same as it was in '81. The op amp now has two D's, but that just means dual layer, or quieter operation, slightly more gain as a result (negligible IMO, really). Even when Boss opened their factory in Taiwan, the SD-1 stayed the same.

    The OD-3 has nothing in common with the OD-1. It is the offspring of the OD-2. The OD-2 was a radical departure in stompbox design, at least for Boss. It has NO op amps at all. It uses a configuration of transistors to simulate a crude op amp - the result is more favorable for use in stompboxes since it can't stay linear like a true op amp can - you get more inherent asymmetrical clipping! The downside is that it requires funky biasing and the circuit is complex in comparison to an 8 pin chip. In the case of the OD-2, the "turbo" mode cut the voltage down to UNDER 6VDC, which is why it distorts so readily. The array of transistors requires a pair of jFET's with a PNP bipolar transistor on the output.

    ...The normal mode with the OD-2 is basically a single gain stage with those three transistors, and the same clipping diode arrangement as the SD-1 in the negative feedback loop of the array. It runs at around 8VDC IIRC. The turbo mode uses a PAIR of those gain stages at lower supply voltage with NO clipping diodes. Both "meet" at the same tone circuit, which is identical to the BD-2.

    The BD-2 is the ancestor to the OD-2. It basically takes the turbo mode and does the following things:

    - voltage goes up to 8VDC
    - first gain stage is set up like a SD-1, cutting all the bass out
    - "fixed tone stack" that simulates BF/SF amp comes after first gain stage
    - 4 clipping diodes to ground follow the fixed tone circuit
    - second gain stage is like first, but doesn't cut bass like the SD-1
    - a dual ganged 250K pot controls BOTH gain stages (one was fixed in the OD-2's turbo mode)
    - there is a mild filter to remove some bass AND treble after the 2nd gain stage
    - same tone stack as OD-2 is next in circuit
    - an op amp boost stage comes AFTER the level control, and has a fixed ACTIVE bass boost

    The OD-3 is the final offspring (thus far) and differs from the BD-2 in the following ways:

    - true 9VDC operation
    - first gain stage is unity gain with a fixed "notch" filter (cut before boost)
    - second gain stage is like the ones in OD-2/BD-2, but it has clipping diodes before and after it
    - third gain stage is a "discrete class A" stage with clipping diodes
    - fourth and fifth stages are op amp ACTIVE EQ shaping - they are like a hardwired Baxandall tone circuit (bass and treble)
    - tone circuit like in OD-2/BD-2 comes next, but has modified component values (for better bass/treble balance)
    - level control is last, with no post boost op amp like BD-2

    ...The OD-3 gives asymmetric clipping with the most headroom, and the best staging of EQ filtering. There is no funky tone circuitry, all gain stages that clip have diodes to clamp them nicely, and the op amp portion is "encapsulated" within the circuit.

    Back to the SD-1: the debate will probably always exist of it versus the TS. I think that both Maxon and Boss understood that the dual op amp was a great way to make a mild distortion pedal, but had different ideas on how to tonally voice it. I'm certain that Boss "borrowed" the TS tone circuit for the SD-1, but it made sense for a pedal design like that at the time. What is MORE interesting is all of the CHANGES that the TS has gone through over the years, with the different op amps, and the change to the two different output resistor values in the 9 series, to make them work better with solid state amps in the 80's, which were very popular at the time.

    ...The SD-1 has "stayed the course" for all of these years, even though the TS has not!

    I TRULY believe that if the pawn shop that SRV went to had a SD-1 instead of a TS, that would be the "grail overdrive" today. That said, if he had to pick a NEWER design that came along had he lived, I firmly believe that he would have gone to the Marshall Bluesbreaker, without a doubt.
     

  5. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Clarkdale, AZ
    Thanks, Keith. Thanks to you and this forum, I'm finding that the Boss book I have has a lot BS in it! :lol:
     

  6. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    The problem with books about pedals is that it tends to be more about the book or the story, and less about the pedals!

    People would never buy a book about pedals unless it was spiced up quite a bit - no one would read it (except for me :eek:). It's like the artistic license with anything that is "based on a true story."

    It's one of the BIG things that holds me back from writing a pedal book, even though lots of people have begged me to do just that. I don't think it would go well with a glass of warm milk at bedtime. :)

    If you want the lowdown on an ACCURATE history of SOME elements of the Boss line of pedals, you want THIS:

    http://bossarea.com/

    They've got it all right there in a directory on the left hand side of the page. While it won't connect all of the dots like OD-2 >>BD-2>>OD-3, you will get a LOT of nitty gritty as far as years of production, changes to the pedals, why they were designed as they were, when they were discontinued (if applicable), and so on. If nothing else, you can compare different dirt boxes and note the differences based on when made and popularity alone.
     

  7. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Clarkdale, AZ
    I was referring to Boss Book: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Popular Compact Effects for Guitar, published by Hal Leonard in 2002. Actually has a lot of useful info about the complete Boss line, not just overdrives, and some interesting comparison sine-wave charts, etc., but the interviews with Boss honchos seems to be somewhat like Donald Rumsfield's recent memoir - a bit of re-writing of history.

    A pretty good book on pedals is by Dave Hunter - Guitar Effects Pedals: The Practical Handbook, although it is not fully up-to-date in this rapidly changing landscape of boutique and DIY pedals.
     

  8. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I love the Dave Hunter Book as he does explain how effects work, the difference between boost, OD, distortion and Fuzz (not quite as well as 11 Gauge ;)) and the history or evolution of dirt. But it really needs to be updated- I really wish that Dave Barber's pedals would have been in there along with say the OCD etc.
     

  9. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

    Mar 4, 2009
    Singapore
    Guage, thank you so much for that post. The long one. And I totally agree on your last paragraph. Boss would now be making trains and offshore rigs and nuclear reactors if only SRV had gotten a OD1/SD1.
     

  10. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I didn't mean to knock it as being totally spiced up or B.S. - lots of those books are informative, and being a bit of an old fart, I also like having those things around because I don't want my nose stuck in front of a screen all the time.

    I've got old GP mags stashed from the 90's and prior that have informative stuff that I rarely see printed today. There was a pedal thing in '98 or '99 IIRC where they were interviewing Vex, the guy who was a big deal at DOD at the time, they covered some of the stuff with "the guy from Ibanez" about the TS (like why players seemed to prefer certain ones), and even Dunlop may have had a word or two.

    The problem with books on pedals IMO is that lots of guitarists still consider them to be accessories, and some consider them to be optional. This typically means that they will center on those that are tied to either eras or better yet specific guitarists. Much like a pedal company will use a reference to Jimi or a plexi or AC30 amp, so will a book make a similar remark about a pedal. The problem with that is it has the potential to divorce any other facets or facts about the grail pedals, and the unknowns remain unknown, or potentially incorrectly categorized. There are so many killer pedals that have been used for so many recordings, gigs, and purposes that many deserve a slot in a pedal book. It would require the writer IMO to be a pedal geek extraordinaire.


    Ahh...revisionism! ;) Well, you can't blame them for trying. If Boss had the same thing as a WMD bumble, a history rewrite would be in order! I imagine the Boss juggernauts were all too happy to oblige with information, but also as an opportunity for self promotion as well (whether or not it's deserved can be debated, IMO). But it is a bit of a drag when too much of that ends up in a book, I agree.

    That's cool too. I like emphasis on PRACTICAL. Today there can be too much emphasis on either overly precise uses, or reverse engineering them for getting strange noises, or to make them cooperate by desperate measures. There was a recent thread where a guy said that he puts his DS-1 into his Big Muff (or the other way around) and then pushes that through a graphic EQ. While that sort of experimentation shouldn't be discouraged, I'd hate for it to be some sort of cookbook (poor analogy) method for setting up a dirtbox chain. You can never have enough practical stuff out there. Maybe Pedals for Dummies would be a good next book?

    Not up to date? That is the BIGGEST problem with anything in print. I did page layout for over a decade. When I started, it was a minimum of two years between editions. It's now a year or less, and much of the information is already outdated or incomplete when it goes to press. Those "hot new pedals" that were the rage in 2008 read like last week's news when someone gets the book a few years later. Just look at this thread - I brought up the ill fated OD-2. While Boss offered it for about 6 years or so, many guitarists never owned one or even tried one. Imagine reading about it if written right after the OD-2 was released, and it may be touted as The Pedal of 1987 or something to that effect.

    Up to date is the other reason why I don't want a printed book of mods with my name on it. Companies change components, layouts, etc. It would be horrible for someone to get a mod book for their pedal that they couldn't use the mod on! Pedals are discontinued and get really valuable, and owners don't know it, and trash them as their "first project." Something like the SD-1 bypass bleed fix evolves, and if you have it in print with the old version, you look like you don't know what you're talking about. Newer pedals use lead free solder which is a PITA to initially "liquify" if you aren't familiar with it. Older stuff is easy. You have to keep modding pedals all the time and get a printed book updated or it can be a headache for the owner.

    ...I'm just trying to view this all from the reader's perception, since I have been the reader myself, and I've talked to lots of other readers over the years!
     

  11. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I'm being 100% serious here (and maybe naive too!) but is that ("trains, nuclear reactors...") what Ibanez is into?

    Just asking as I am drawing a line (perhaps incorrectly) between the success of SRV/I banez Tube Screamers and those other industries mentioned... Or is it just a commentary as to how Boss might have become even larger had they had the SRV connection....thanks!
     

  12. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Clarkdale, AZ
    The Dave Hunter book was published in 2004, but it still has a whole lot of good info in it. Worth the price just for his interviews with Roger Mayer, Mike Matthews, Mike Fuller, Pete Cornish, Josh Fiden and other pedal makers.
     

  13. czech-one-2

    czech-one-2 Friend of Leo's

    Oct 3, 2008
    Prague
    My 1st overdrive pedal was a made in japan OD-2 that I bought new,many years back.I remember always liking it and using it until 96' or so when I got my SD-2 dual overdrive,that I still have.:D
    I never would have drawn a comparison between the OD-2 and the BD-2,which I have tried really hard to like,to no avail.
    The OD-2 was much warmer than the BD-2 if my memory serves me.I might need to try one again after all these years.
    Thanks 4 all that info .011,I learn something daily from your posts! :cool:
     

  14. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l

    They really are quite different. The OD-2 doesn't have the op amp boost that the BD-2 does, so it breaks up really early in comparison. The normal channel is rather mild and the turbo channel is very distorted compared to the BD-2, because of the low voltage operation and two maxxed out gain stages.

    It seems that Boss figured they could "salvage" it, but completely reworked it to have a whole mess of bass AND treble. But they kind of goofed it IMO, which is why many players use it with the gain run down low. So what you have is a really "sophisticated" preamp that is doing almost nothing, with an op amp boost basically doing simple clean boosting chores.

    I always tell people to grab a OD-2 from a pawnshop or CL and put a Micro Amp or the boost of their choice after it, and see how it compares to a stock BD-2. That was kind of Boss's "starting point," if I had to guess.

    It's amazing how much Boss reworked the circuit for the OD-3 versus the BD-2. Many other effects companies would simply "recycle" large parts of previous circuits. Boss has always been good about mixing it up, though. The SD-2 and other pedals are all quite different. Even the HM-2 and MT-2 are night and day different.

    In Boss's defense, they really have come up with a mountain of effects designs of all types. When it comes to mass production stuff, no one else touches them, IMO. Some are complete duds (Acoustic Simulator :eek:) and others have some big flaws, but they seem to have one of each type of effect that is pretty popular with many users.
     

  15. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

    Mar 4, 2009
    Singapore
    I was making a analogical comparison that if Boss was chosen by SRV, and with the real world quality of Boss being a mainstay in pedalboards around the world, from a 14year old with his MT2 to Vince Gill and Joe Walsh etc, Boss, or rather Roland, could be a conglomerate like Mitsubishi or something.

    Of course it's all just slightly hyperbole :lol:

    Ibanez is purely a instrument and amplifier maker. Their under the same company that makes Tama drums. Not very conglomorative, let alone be a nuclear reactor expert.
     

  16. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Roland is pretty daggone big - their stuff extends way beyond the drop in a bucket amount of Boss stuff. Maybe no nuclear reactors, but if you are big enough, you can extend in all sorts of directions, like Coke or McDonalds.

    Boss/Roland/Mitsubishi have all sourced the same stuff over the years. The 80's to 90's Boss pedals had Mitsubishi op amps in them, and Boss just went back to NJM (JRC) recently. TI, Toshiba, NEC, etc. etc. - all used in Boss stuff. Same thing with any Mitsubishi TV set or radio.

    Ibanez/Hoshino is kind of like Fender in some ways - they could have done a lot more with pedals at a time when it primarily was Boss and DOD. They were a good runner up, but Maxon always seemed to just be on retainer for them. I've heard that Ibanez finally gets the new TS9's and such made w/o any stamps/casting/screening anywhere on them that indicates they are actually made by Maxon.

    The Maxon stuff is neat in its own right, and it's really cool to see the divergence first hand from how Boss builds pedals. Its like the differences with ProCo, EHX, DOD, and other mass producers who go back to when Boss really took off.

    Perhaps most interesting? Boss is the biggest mass producer (not counting low cost pedals like Behringer or Dano) but doesn't have a pedal with big name recognition like Ibanez does with that one single pedal. Even EHX has the Smashing Pumpkins for the Big Muff, which is huge.

    The Blues Driver is the second top selling pedal of all time IIRC, and it's only been out since the 90's. That's impressive from our small corner of the universe, IMO.
     

  17. cctsim

    cctsim TDPRI Member

    21
    Jan 30, 2010
    UK
    This is what I thought initially but the discrete op-amps in OD-3 are still run off ~ 8V similar to BD-2.

    There is a crude voltage regulator around Q12 in the lower right corner of the pcb that is not documented in the schematic floating around.
     

  18. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    From 11 Gauge:
    Perhaps most interesting? Boss is the biggest mass producer (not counting low cost pedals like Behringer or Dano) but doesn't have a pedal with big name recognition like Ibanez does with that one single pedal. Even EHX has the Smashing Pumpkins for the Big Muff, which is huge.

    I seem to see Boss pedals referenced or used by big names (or great players that are more niche players) but never really "I use Boss"! endorsers.
    I have read for example that Mike Stern always uses DS-1's but he just mentions it in passing, no big deal...; Kenny Vaughan (who is just a great all purpose country/roots player, now with Marty Stuart) was doing an interview with VG mag, giving them his gear rundown, but ended his comments by saying "I could probably do any gig with a BD-2 and a DD-3..." I read that as "its not the best, but good enough, and I'm good enough". You will also see the Boss pedals show up at those big All-Star showcase/ jam events like that "Strat" show or similar, so they get used by big names as they may just be provided with the backline-as good, utilitarian/everyman effects.
     

  19. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Thanks! It's so hard to know everything with the multitude of Boss pedals.

    The 8VDC operation must indicate that the jFET's are best biased at that voltage (jFET's are generally tricky to set up to do this in a mass produced way).
     

  20. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Yep. And I kind of think I prefer it that way. They are tools of the trade; they are standards! It doesn't make them inferior IMO - they are just good enough to not draw criticism from many pros, and they aren't bad enough to have something else chosen as the standard for a pro rig.

    For most guitarists who need flexibility, it's not uncommon to see a SD-1, CS-3, and DD-3 on many, many, MANY pro pedalboards. And I'm sure that I'm leaving out other standards, like the trem, the chorus, the flanger, etc. - depending on the genre of music and amount of flexibility that the guitarist needs. Session or touring aces tend to have a LOT of Boss stuff on their pedalboards, since they don't have the time or luxury to fool around with trying to find the absolute grail pedal for every situation and every gig.
     

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