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

NPD X2: Ibanez TS7 & Boss SD-2

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by ukepicker, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Swapped a TC Flashback I had laying around for these two on a craigslist deal. The other guy told me he had a TS9 and a SD2, so I was up for the deal. By the time I got there, that TS9 had turned into a TS7. But I went ahead and did the deal anyway because I was sick of lookin at that flashback (and I didn't have that much in it anyway).

    Had about 5 minutes with them on my lunchbreak. I was VERY surprised with the quality of dirt outta that TS7. And equally as surprised that I kinda liked both circuits in the SD-2.

    I don't know if y'all feel this way, but somedays it seems that all dirt sounds delicious. And other days, none of it sounds right.

    Maybe tonight I can find some time to play them some more and form a more studied opinion. I can't stand noise and I'm usually not a fan of buffered drive pedals, so I doubt they will stick around long. But I keep an open mind :)

    FWIW, I've been using a Walrus Audio Harvester for the last few months and have been very happy with it. All my delay and reverb and modulation pedals have been taken off my board (even the El Capistan I bought a week ago) and it's nothing but dirt now (and a PGC).

    \m/
     
    Staypuft1652 likes this.

  2. blille

    blille Tele-Holic

    The TS7 is great. Pretty much an 808 with an extra modern mode.
     
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  3. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    IMO, another one that Boss did a good job with, but is unknown or passed over by many of us. Even if someone prefers one channel over the other, I think the crunch and lead in the SD-2 compliment each other well.

    I had some TS7s for years and years, and really enjoyed them both. I modded both, and the switch on them allows for something different from other TSs (the tone circuit can be altered), so there's a lot of potential there (not to say that stock comes up short - folks familiar with other TSs will probably really like the 7s).
     
    ukepicker likes this.

  4. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Well I gave them a good workout last night.

    First off, noise.
    To test this, I put the pedal in a true bypass looper, turn everything off, then crank my amp twice as loud. And toggle that looper.
    -The TS7's buffer adds a little hiss, but not bad. Unobtrusive, is a good word for it. And it's a nice sounding buffer when playing through it at normal volume, compared to some other pedals I've tried.
    -The SD-2 added quite a bit more hiss, and seemed to have a wider bandwidth, or possibly just a more pronounced upper mid to it. Or maybe it was just louder.

    What they add/take away:
    The TS7 is really nice sounding. I only had a Walrus Harvester to compare it to, and I got them to sound almost identical. The Harvester is a little more open sounding. And, maybe as a result, has some higher, icepicky freqs that are hard to dial out. The sweet spot is there, but hard to find and keep. The TS7 was a breeze to dial in. And I found myself really liking the clipping and dynamics. Plenty of low end. Nice, warm mids and highs that I dialed almost completely back to get it to play nice with my princeton. More compressed, but I wasn't able to decide if I liked that or not. I kinda did. Overall, I think it's great and it may be taking the harvester's place of honor.

    The SD-2's crunch channel was very nice. Once dialed in, I could turn it on and off and barely tell the difference between wet and dry sounds. It adds a slight bass rolloff and a small amount of compression, with lots of highs. I actually compared it to my Pale Green Compressor (as I have it set) and almost liked the SD-2 more. Really a nice sound. The lead channel has almost all the highs rolled off. I found I liked the drive all the way down, and the tone all the way up. Plenty of throaty, gritty breakup with a tele (keystone pups). Sounds great loud. But the difference between the uber clean sparkle of the crunch channel and the cranky, belligerent lead channel was maybe a little bigger than I wanted. If they were cars, the crunch channel would a nice, sleek sports car posing at a car show. And the lead channel would be a 70's 3/4-ton pickup hitting 60mph on a dirt road.

    With both pedals working, man, there's a ton of cool, useful tones.

    Conclusion:
    This morning, I woke up thinking I'll sell the Harvester and the SD-2 and stick with the TS7. I'll give it a week to be sure.


    Quick note about voltage:
    I really enjoy using the 'sag' voltage on my pedal power 2. I've been running the Harvester at 4v lately. Well, the TS7 sounds really nice like this, a little woollier and softer on the edges, but I can't get the switch to function reliably down that low (and the LED doesn't even light up). But I can set it around 6v and it'll work fine. That's where I left it last night. The SD-2 became somewhat flatulent at 4V. And breakup was MUCH earlier, and raggedier - in both circuits. It was an interesting experiment.
     

  5. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Also, forgot to mention, I liked the TS7 in "hot" mode with the gain all the way down. Seemed to have a fuller frequency response and just the right amount of breakup for me. Not that the TS9 mode didn't sound great, too. That's just where I ended up.
     

  6. blille

    blille Tele-Holic

    Before you flip the SD-2, check out "yellow mode" http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=109685.0

    http://www.stompboxzone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3163&start=20
     
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  7. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    That sounds very cool! Seemed like everyone had a different way of getting it done. It's gonna take a little more time for study than I have right now to come up with a quick and easy way to try it. Sounded like a piano expression pedal was the easiest way, but I don't have one of those. I doubt my volume pedal will work; I'm not sure what it has in it. . .
     
    blille likes this.

  8. Grux

    Grux Tele-Holic

    Age:
    38
    636
    Jan 10, 2017
    Clarksville, TN
    I've had a TS7 on my board for years and it ain't going anywhere. I love it to give just a bit of color and volume to a clean tone, but also when ran into another dirt box it gives some nice compression and sustain.
     
    ukepicker likes this.

  9. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Found a YT video of someone doing it with a volume pedal - I'll give it a go.

    The more I think about it, the more I think it has great potential. The clarity of the crunch, and the meat of the lead, and being able to balance them with their respective volume knobs. . . . I know what I'm doing after work today!
     
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  10. blille

    blille Tele-Holic

    Hopefully you like it! It felt like a magic trick to me lol
     
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  11. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Boss SD-2 "Yellow" mode:
    Plug a patch cable into the remote jack, the other end into the out jack of an ernie ball vp jr. Toe down=green mode, toe up=red mode, somewhere in the middle the LED turns yellow and all controls are active, effecting their respective circuits and processing your signal through both, in parallel.

    Very cool sounds. Still wish the lead channel wasn't so muddy.

    But that crunch channel, dialed in as an almost clean boost.....man, it may be the best light compressor I've ever heard. Very amp/tube/speaker like. There's a clarity, probably in the 800-1.2k range, that I'm finding to be extremely musical.

    Then just rock that volume pedal for varying degrees of dirt!! Sweet!

    Thanks for the tip, Blille!
     

  12. blille

    blille Tele-Holic

    My pleasure! If you're not happy with the lead channel you can experiment and swap the LED on D15 with a Germanium 1n34a. Won't fix the EQ but maybe your like the distortion better.
     
    ukepicker likes this.

  13. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    What you're actually probably hearing is an active mid boost, and the 'Q' or strength of the boost is a bit too strong for the given frequency, so you're probably compensating by cutting the tone control way back.

    ...This has always been a tough call for Boss, and their gainier pedals especially have these active boost circuits that are either not adjustable, or you can only dial in or out so much. The other big two that I think of are the MT-2 and the HM-2, with the latter having some very unorthodox active boost corner frequencies.

    The crunch channel's circuit is fairly simple, but IMO it's really very well balanced, but it will never be compared to some of the big dollar lower gain pedals that are especially popular right now. But that's actually a good thing, because that means you can get spectacular tones for just a fraction of what other pedals will cost you. The only hard part becomes not second guessing yourself, and flipping the pedal for "the greener grass that must be on the other side."

    ...I may only use my SD-2 part of the time, but I'll never unload it, because IMO it's established itself as one to hang onto. I especially love it with some very judicious and mild tweaks, to try and just put a bit more polish onto what Boss did all the heavy lifting designing.

    Despite its weaknesses, I think the SD-2 is a much more clever and well thought out design that quite a few 2-in-1 drive boxes available, at many different price points. IMO, the 2-in-1 thing constitutes an impossible task to design and build, because it's tricky enough to satisfy a user with just a single drive box, let alone figuring out how two should be on their own, and hopefully also compliment each other, in a way that will be somewhat subjectively evaluated.
     
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  14. pictacado

    pictacado TDPRI Member

    62
    Oct 17, 2013
    Los Angeles
    My thoughts as well! I've been using the crunch channel of the SD-2 as my mostly always on close to clean boost because of that clarity that it brings to the sound. I'd never get rid of it either.

    Apparently there are 2 versions of the SD-2, an early model and a late model. Not sure if the sound changed between the two or not.
     
    ukepicker likes this.

  15. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    According to the "old authority," there's no mention of differences in the roughly half a decade that it was sold:

    http://www.bossarea.com/boss-sd-2-dual-overdrive/
     

  16. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Actually, I have the tone dimed. Turning it down gets even muddier. When I get a little time, I'm gonna take a look at that part of the circuit and see if a simple part swap could open it up a bit.

    I'm always lookin over the fence for greener grass. I second guess myself all the time. I second guess my second guesses. It's probably a personality disorder.

    But my ears don't lie to me. When I can't turn it off because it sounds too good, I should hang on to it. Until I can't turn it on because it sounds so bad.
     

  17. pictacado

    pictacado TDPRI Member

    62
    Oct 17, 2013
    Los Angeles
    I found a thread a while back about it. To quote the difference between the two:

    "The way to tell the two apart is an extra 1uf capacitor called c100 on the newer versions that's located at the left, bottom side of the board. There could be other differences but I haven't noticed them."

    and

    "The earlier, "pre-revision" one has the darker sound which only affects the lead channel, the difference is minor but you'll notice it."

    I've attached some pictures I found showing the difference between the two, the c100 1uf location.

    Mine happens to be the supposed earlier version without c100.
     

    Attached Files:

    ukepicker likes this.

  18. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Sweet!! Thanks, Pictacado!I'll check mine out.

    I've had these several days and still haven't opened them up. Strange for me. . .
     

  19. pictacado

    pictacado TDPRI Member

    62
    Oct 17, 2013
    Los Angeles
    My pleasure. I'd be curious to know how the added capacitor affects the circuit and if one is in fact "darker" sounding than another.
     

  20. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Holic

    589
    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    I have the older version, too.

    The traces are different on the back; I don't think it would be possible to pull the D1 jumper and stick in a capacitor. I'd like to try it though.
     

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