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

Boss Pedals: BD-2 Vs. DS-1 Vs. OD-3 Vs. SD-1

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by TelZilla, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    Generally, asymmetrical clipping is considered "smoother", a little more compressed/squishy. Symmeterical has a little more edge to it. It has to do with the diodes used in the clipping stage. You can hear or feel the difference if you put an SD-1 and a TS-9 side-by-side. (or maybe you can't, maybe just us tone snobs can... :) )

  2. franchelB

    franchelB Friend of Leo's

    Sep 25, 2005
    Irving, United States of Texas!
    My opinion:

    While quite a few members here have given favorable reviews of the OD3, and "FWIW", "Rock gods" like Zakk Wylde and Jake E. Lee swore by their SD1, I personally, like my DS1!
    Having said that, I'd also vouch for Digitech's Bad Monkey. Yes, it's THAT good!!

  3. MGD342

    MGD342 Tele-Meister

    I've got them all and the OD-3 and/or SD-1 are the best! I love the OD-3!

  4. Doc

    Doc Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 20, 2003
    South Dakota
    I have these pedals. It depends on the guitar and amp in addition to the sound you want. The OD3 is the most natural to me. SD1 is more TS voiced. I have not generally liked the BD so much.

  5. fender_bender

    fender_bender Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2005
    In terms of gain from lowest to highest its:

    SD-1: Tubescreamer clone

    OD-3: nice full lowend, smooth treble (for a boss) excellent thru the whole gain range. can do the gritty low gain thing all the way up to classic rock. Boss's finest OD pedal by far. Consider this the pedal the BD-2 wishes it was.

    BD-2: Lots of gain on tap but only sounds good at lower gain. Higher gain settings sound fuzzy and harsh. This pedal has an unnatural decay that fizzles and sputters back to clean.

    DS-1. Thin sounding distortion pedal inexplicably favored by Satch and Vai. Weak bass - screeching treble - lots of gain.

  6. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 11, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    I have the OD3 and a modified SD1 on my pedal board. I use the OD3 set to give me a slight volume boost (9:30 o'clock) and a low to medium amount of gain (10 or 11 o'clock). I don't think that I can get a completely clean sound out of that pedal if I have my guitar all the way up, but at my settings I can get a clean, biting tone when my volume control is at about 5. I basically use this pedal to simulate a tube amp in moderate overdrive.

    The SD1 is really unusable (for me) without the mods. I changed some capacitors to avoid the loss of low-end in the stock bypass mode. I also added a diode to make the clipping symmetrical, but cleaner than stock. I set the gain to 12 o'clock, level to 10 o'clock. When I kick this pedal on into the OD3, I get a fat, singing sustain that is virtually fuzz-free. At moderate amp volumes, I can get fantastic, controllable, musical feedback.

  7. RustleFuzz

    RustleFuzz Tele-Meister

    Dec 12, 2007
    Nashville TN
    I have the Keeley SD-1, DS-1 Ultra Mod and TS-9 Baked Mod. Had the TS-9 mod for about a year before the other two. To my suprise, the SD-1 mod replaced TS-9 in my chain.

    Un-modded, I always preferred the Tube Screamer as it sounded less boxy and more natural than the Super OD. Modded the opposite.

    Never cared for the DS-1, unmod, mod, whatever. Not slamming it and it has obviously proved itself by many over time...just not for me.

  8. RustleFuzz

    RustleFuzz Tele-Meister

    Dec 12, 2007
    Nashville TN
    Forgot to mention, for clean boost if you are sticking with the Boss camp and inexpensive, a bunch of folks I know use the GE-7 EQ pedal for that...doesn't put the extra hair on the others do.

  9. tpeck111

    tpeck111 Banned

    Nov 4, 2008
    Lost in Hollywood
    The Blues Driver

    The BD-2 is by far the best of these four. The SD-1 is a cheap Tube Screamer clone with low gain and all the bass dropped out, the DS-1 is hard-clipping and raspy and nothing like a good overdrive should be, and the OD-3 is okay I guess, but sounds muffled compared to the BD-2.

    BD-2 = Best overdrive Boss makes. Good low and top end and plenty of dirt.
    OD-3 = Second best. Like the BD-2 but muffled top end.
    DS-1 = Raspy distortion. All top end with no mids. Not an overdrive pedal.
    SD-1 = Weak gain, no lows, no balls.

  10. cletus

    cletus Tele-Holic

    Oct 14, 2003
    Charleston SC
    +1 on the BD2. Doesn't mess with your tone like the others do. YMMV.


  11. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    The OD-3 is clearly the offspring or evolution of the BD-2. If Boss would have called it the BD-3 and/or made it in a blue enclosure, they would sell a zillion more of them.

    Actually, the BD-2 and OD-3 are direct descendants of the ill fated OD-2, which I think is better than both (with some minimal mods).

    Of all of the pedals listed, I'd have to dismiss them all as great boosts. They might do a good boost, but there's just too much doo doo in the circuit to muddle things up to classify any as such. The two biggest drawbacks to all of them are clipping diodes and op amp integrated circuits.

    For those who run a BD-2 as a clean boost, you're basically just using an MXR Micro Amp, just FYI. Actually, not entirely true - you're running a MA with a BSIAB II, or "Plexi" type pedal in front.

    Here's how I'd personally classify those particular Boss pedals:

    SD-1: TS clone
    DS-1: First gain stage is basically a Big Muff bipolar, 2nd is a Rat op amp, hard clipping to ground
    BD-2: Dual stage FET arrays with slew rate limiting PNP bipolars, into a POST processing op amp stage (nearly analogous to MXR Micro Amp), massive tone filtering at multiple stages. Circuit runs at 8.1 volts to get the FET's to bias correctly. Op amp stage requires clamping diodes as a firewall from being slammed with all of the FET gain.
    OD-3: Refined BD-2, with single FET array, improved simplified tone filtering, and more streamlined use of op amp in the circuit itself, but still relies on clipping diodes. At least Boss finally figured out how to get FET's to run a 9VDC on this one.

    If bux are really tight, you could take a DS-1 and jumper the bipolar transistor gain stage and pull the clipping diodes.

    If you have a few bux more, you could get a SD-1, jumper C3, and remove D4 and D5. It would then have flat response, but you'd have to be careful not to drive the op amp into clipping. It's also the only Boss dirt pedal with a decent stock op amp, although the new NJM chip in the latest DS-1's are pretty good, IMO.

    If you wanted a true cheap boost, you could get an EH LPB-1 for around 40 bux. Since it's "old school" technology, it's not going to be as bright as the current crop of clean boosts (it has a lower input impedance).

    There's always the aforementioned MXR Micro Amp, but the bypass on the MXR/Dunlop pedals sucks (literally) IMO. General Guitar Gadgets (no affil.) has a kit for around 60 bux, I think.

    If you want a nice clean boost from a great guy who hangs out here on occasion, get in touch with Robbie Wallace about his Bad Bob boost. It does everything that all of the other spendy FET boutique boosts do for a fraction of the cost. No affil - just a nice guy.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009

  12. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    I love the SD-1. It's like a TS9 with a little more gain and a gentle mid boost.

    The dirty guitar in this song is a Tele with an SD-1.

    Twang Monkey - SD-1 Song

    DS-1's remind me of the $85 solid state fuzzy amps that kids play at Guitar's like a bad shredder tone.

    The BBE Green Screamer is my favorite pedal for the tone that you seek and the SD-1 is my second favorite.


  13. Shadowrunner

    Shadowrunner Tele-Meister

    Apr 25, 2008
    Independence, MO
    i have a BD-2 and think it does a good job with high level and low gain. but i also have a MXR Microamp, very tranparent clean boost

  14. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

    Jan 21, 2007
    Cleveburg, USA
    You Watch Yerself, Pal

    Hey, what are you doing posting facts and specifics of circuit design?

    Online pedal discussions are supposed to be unsupported subjective opinions only. And the guy who says "pedals? We don't need no steenking pedals!" ;)

  15. SackvilleDan

    SackvilleDan Tele-Holic

    Feb 8, 2009
    OD-3 is my favorite dirt box so far, although I have a TIM on the way so that might change :)

    Either way, buy an OD-3! It'll get you anywhere from a subtle boost to balls-out AC/DC.

  16. dmaneleven

    dmaneleven Tele-Meister

    Sep 11, 2007
    Check somewhere on this thread page for my Modded DS-1 demo video. Works great for classic to hard rock but not metal. Likes to be driven hard.

  17. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Apologies - I know most of the Boss dirt boxes as if they were my own kids, at this point.

    I tried to pepper my response with "IMO" as much as possible - does this get me any kind of reprieve?:p

    All joking aside, the Boss schematics don't lie, and they're fairly accessible these days. It's very easy to see the evolution from the OD-2 to the BD-2 to the OD-3.

    And kudos are in order for Boss for figuring out a way to put FET arrays in their pedals and get them to bias without trimpots. How many other mass produced or even boutique pedals can you say the same thing about?

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