Boss DS-1 Haterz join me over here

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Switchy, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Switchy

    Switchy Tele-Meister

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    I have a DS-1. Stuck it on my board, tried to find a reason to keep it, and I hate it.
    Admittedly my amp is a small Fender Frontman 25r so it doesn't play nice to begin with.

    Extra nail in the coffin is that I broke a screw in one of the bottom plate holes, and it is STUCK. :(

    I found this simple mod, might be worth trying just to keep this pedal for a backup beater pedalboard.
    Does this actually work?


     
  2. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    the Boss DS-1 pedal I have has the Monte Allums Tri-Gain Rectifier mod, and it's the best sounding distortion pedal I have now.
     
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  3. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    Interesting - I could never really bond with a DS-1 although its place in history is undeniable. That mod does sound interesting though....
     
  4. Switchy

    Switchy Tele-Meister

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    Found it. It looks easy enough. I'll consider it as an option. Thanks!
     
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  5. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    A DS-1, stock, works better with a cranked Marshall. Low gain setting on the DS-1 and set the level to slam the pre-amp. It was never meant to make a small SS amp to sound like a cranked Marshall - you need something like a MI Audio Crunchbox or Brown-Sound-In-a-Box for that.

    Guys in the 80s also used SD-1s and Tubescreamers to slam the front end of an amp. A lot of them used a Furman parametric EQ for the same purpose in the LA metal scene.

    I personally like a plain old Boss GE-7 to boost a tube amp into rich saturation’s that sustains for days.
     
  6. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'll be the first to admit that a stock MIT DS-1 can very easily end up being hated.

    Having said that, it really doesn't take a lot of finessing, to get it to where the average user (who hates how it sounds stock) might conclude that it's actually on par with many (or even all) of the best sounding distortion pedals they've ever experienced.

    IMO, much of the reason that the MIT DS-1 sounds so unpleasing has to do with component substitutions that Boss made, which weren't done in conjunction with any other circuit alterations. It's literally like only a half a dozen parts that need 'adjustment' IMO, to put it on par with 'the really good stuff'. And no, IMO you don't have to swap out the op amp, or resort to 'premium' unobtanium caps or magic diodes, or anything like that.

    ...But one thing you'll want to do before you consider modding your DS-1 is to find out if it's an older 'through hole' circuitboard (which can be tweaked) or a newer SMD-based one (which is tweak-prohibitive).

    And as to the naysayers around modding anything, my take is this - let's say you just got a new Camaro, but Chevy put some crappy tires on it. Let's take it a little bit further, and say you discovered that it was actually a tire and rim issue, and to put that Camaro on par with a Corvette, you'd want to switch to a different size (width, aspect ratio, and diameter) rim and tire combo. The car actually has all that performance potential there for the taking, but you have to deviate a bit from stock just to realize it. A pedal like the DS-1, for many users, can be pretty much the same thing, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  7. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Holic

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    Count me in the cheap practice amps haters club.

    The DS-1 is a decent pedal it can act as a cleanish boost, a mild distortion to push your tube amp into distortion, or a hairy distortion. But the distortion by itself is a bit harsh, so I understand the hate. Especially through a poor amp. You should upgrade the amp, your technique, ears, and try different settings. ;)

    I do prefer my od808, for overdrive, more mellow and the ds-1 is not often on my board, but I keep it as a grab and go standalone pedal and each time I use it I am positively surprised.
     
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  8. Switchy

    Switchy Tele-Meister

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    Understood. I have a GE-7 and works great like you mentioned. I just wanted to see if the DS-1 was totally hopeless or had a chance. I don't really need it, I'm good with overdrives since I have the OD-3, EHX Glove, and getting an SD-1 too.
     
  9. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Holic

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  10. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Afflicted

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    I don’t get on with the DS-1, SD-1 or any of the Tube Screamers, because of the honk knob, which lets you choose varying levels of prominent honk.

    Not the pedal’s fault; I already have plenty of honk. If I wanted to blast off with a scooped-sounding amp, some Boss honk would be just the ticket. I like how some other people use them. Just not right for me and my setup. I don’t get on with scooped-sounding amps either.
     
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  11. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Friend of Leo's

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    Yes it does. I've done this mod on 2 DS-1s that I've owned. Still have one of them. It takes away the harshness factor and turns it into a much more usable pedal. As others have pointed out, there are many other mods out there for the DS-1 which improve it even more tho this one is super easy to do. Funny, I was at a used gear garage sale/swap and shop last year and a guy there was selling among other things 3 DS-1's. I had brought along my mod'd one along with a guitar and a few other things for trade fodder. I told him about the mod and he was quite indifferent about it so I plugged my guitar into one of his played a few chords and licks, then unplugged and plugged into mine (both with a pwr adaptor). His response was Wow. We compared it with the other 2 he had and they also sounded crap in comparison to the mod'd one.
     
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  12. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    i find the DS-1 has less of that honk, but I hear you - the tubescreamer is the worst of the three. They were meant to push the mids and push the guitar to the front of the mix for solo work - and they did that very well. None of these are “bedroom” pedals.
     
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  13. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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  14. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Each to their own.

    It's a classic pedal for a reason.

    Superb MIAB.

    It has a tone knob. Feel free to set it lower than noon and see what happens.

    The clipping is superb IME and excels into a small home level amp to supply overdrive or distortion. In fact, the lack of Level can be a boon at home.

    It has a lot of Distortion on tap. Feel free to set it lower than noon and see what happens.
     
  15. OttoCorrect

    OttoCorrect Tele-Meister

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    I never got along with the DS-1 til I did the Machine Head Pedals Outlaw Mod (MHP is run by our own 11 Gauge, if you didn’t know), and now I seriously love mine post mod.

    Check it out:

    http://www.machineheadpedals.com/pedal mods.html

    You pay a small fee for a PDF of mod instructions, then you’re left on your own to buy the parts and do the mod. I think the parts only cost me like $12 and me and a friend had the mod completed in under a half an hour, and that was with a lot of farting around. The DS-1 I had only cost me $30 used so after that, the pdf and the parts I had one of the best distortion pedals I’ve ever heard (and I have bought literally dozens and dozens or dirt boxes over the years) for under $50 when it was all said and done.

    It’s a seriously good mod, and it’s only maybe 7 or 8 component swaps to do it, pretty easy.
     
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  16. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    This is intriguing - ill grab one cheap the next time it comes up at my local pawn shop. They specialize in musical instruments and always have a lot of cool pedals on tap for great prices.
     
  17. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Afflicted

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    I remember one time I had a lot of fun with a DS-1 on a cassette 4-track project; I ran the Airline version of a hollow 2-pickup Harmony Stratotone through a borrowed DS-1 (gain and honk below noon) through an old Boss digital reverb, direct into the recorder. I fingerpicked softly, kind of starving the pedal for input signal level. Filthy spooky fun, and pretty weird combined with the clean lap steel on the other track. It was a fun color to mix in, basically.
     
  18. Censport

    Censport Tele-Holic

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    So... funny thing. I bought a DS-1 today. Been playing off and on since the 80s, have had some pretty stuffed pedalboards, but never had a DS-1.

    Why did I get it? Because I played a few songs with my band at one of those open stage nights at a Mars store. Twentyish years ago. Used all store stuff that they had on stage, which for me meant a Les Paul Standard, a DS-1, and a DRRI. Man, those tones!

    Finally picked a new one up this afternoon, brought it home, plugged it into my first-gen, unmodded Blues Jr., and... you can probably imagine the result. Tried it back-to-back with my trusty old Danelectro Daddy-O, and it was like newfound appreciation for an old girlfriend.

    So now I'm debating whether to return it or mod it.
     
  19. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Just FYI, the new DS-1s aren't really mod-friendly (that's actually an understatement). So if you really want to try modding one, I'd suggest returning the new one, and getting an old used one instead.
     
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  20. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

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    Great in front of a middy amp. Keep the tone and distortion low and level high -- classic pedal.
     
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