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Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Switchy, Jan 29, 2020.
The classic DS-1 definitely likes some amps much more than others!
I'm not much of a gear head, and I play clean 99% of the time, so a grain of salt is in order, but a friend of mine gifted me a DS1 and through my hybrid amps (SCX2 and Vox AV60) it's kind of thin and prickly. Through my cheapo Monoprice 15 it's sooper creamy and thick and beautiful.
OP did not mention if the DS1 in question is made in Japan, Taiwan or a newer surface mount version. If Japan, please don’t modify it. What don’t you like? What do you want? More bass? Less fizz? More mids?
A MIT DS1 is often run with the tone control set at 9 o’clock to 10:30.
The easiest pedal mod is to change the battery from an alkaline to a carbon zinc type. See if you like the tone difference. That’s easy, quick and cheap and does make a sonic difference.
I've been on this forum for a long time. Seen a lot of "appreciation" threads, but this is the first "haters" one. Hate is a pretty powerful word, even extreme for the wonderful world of pedals. But, to each his own.
Every dirt pedal has it's own personality. If you don't like that personality, you can mod it if possible or just move on to a thousand other choices. The stock DS-1 is bright, but that's what the tone knob is for. Turn it down.
Interesting that the Maxon SD9 almost requires that it's tone knob be all the way down to be playable, but I've never seen a "hate" thread about it. Steve Morse seems to like it just fine.
So chill - it's only a $50 dirt box. Meanwhile, Roland/Boss has been thanking us all the way to the bank since 1978.
vol all the way up--tone to suit & gain off or barely on...in front of Marshall jtm45-plexi-800 is the stuff
Can't say I'm a hater, but I haven't been in love with my DS-1; for the price it's great- I think I picked it up for under $40 on sale at GC back in the day. I've had it for at least 15 years and it's spent time on the pedalboard of just about every guitarist I know. After this thread popped up yesterday I found an old PG article written by the great Brian Wampler with some DS-1 mods, one of which is supposed to produce JCM-like tones. I am gonna try it.
On a side note, anyone remember the Boss ST-2, the 'Power Stack'? I always wondered if this pedal was just a modded and rebranded DS-1...
Had a DS1 laying around and I just couldn’t get into it. Did a killer mod though now it’s an awesome distortion.
totally gutted it, built a Rat into the case. Totally kills now
I'm not the OP, but mine was made in Taiwan.
It's very harsh or brittle. Lots of attack.
No battery, plugged in using a Boss power supply.
Where do you set the controls?
Can you try it with just a carbon zinc battery? You cold install one and swap between the power supply and battery by unplugging the power cable from the pedal. Do you hear a difference?
The old MIJ DS-1s and the MIT DS-1s are not really the same animal, IMO.
If someone does have an old MIJ and doesn't like how it sounds, they should probably sell it (and get good money for it), and try another distortion pedal instead.
Why the MIJ and MIT DS-1s sound different:
When the DS-1 was first offered, it was a different era of mass-produced audio electronics. Back in the late 70's, "general purpose" op amps didn't have the bandwidth and performance that they now have. In hindsight, these op amps are actually optimal for electric guitar purposes, especially for effects purposefully intended to distort or otherwise alter the guitar signal. The specific op amps in these MIJ late 70's DS-1s with their inferior (by today's standards) specs actually amplify with more pleasing sound. Eventually, when DS-1 production switched to the MIT models, things had changed regarding op amps and performance, and the availability and cost of op amps. So the MIT DS-1 actually ended up with a much more hi-fi op amp. There's a gain stage prior to the op amp that's driven into clipping, and when you pass on the entire (full bandwidth) clipped signal, you're also amplifying a lot more ugly harmonics and such.
Also when the DS-1 was first offered, the clipping diodes were significantly different - they had a higher forward voltage than the ones that they switched to in the MIT DS-1. A lower forward voltage has a more substantial effect on how the signal gets clipped, and tends to produce more exaggerated harmonics. So, conversely, the older MIJ DS-1s with their 'magic' or 'premium MIJ' clipping diodes tend to produce more pleasing or amp-like sounding harmonics and clipping characteristics.
...So, what Boss ended up not doing (probably because they couldn't really have known, at least not at first) was not compensating for the change in components (op amp and two diodes), to give 'tonally equivalent performance'. There were two things they should have done:
Decrease the gain of the stage prior to the op amp. This is basically just changing the value of a single resistor, so that the transistor in question is sending a slightly less clipped signal to the op amp. By doing this, it doesn't matter 'how hi-fi' the op amp is, because you've effectively nipped the bud at the source.
Use a combination of (cheap and readily available) diodes that match the forward voltage of the singular ones used in the old MIJ DS-1s.
Now, #1 is an easy swap at the production stage, but #2 would have necessitated a redesign of the PCB. Boss either couldn't do this w/o substantially increasing the per unit cost, or they simply chose not to. Or, they may have looked into sourcing a direct swap, but either couldn't find one, or the cost, even in bulk, was substantially higher than what they were using by that point.
Conclusion - this is the basis of why and how the MIT DS-1 should be modded, if you want to get the same performance as the MIJ DS-1. IMO, you don't really need to try to fix what isn't broken, beyond that.
I have both MIJ and MIT. The Japanese one is real sweet! But I do use a MIT on occasion. I found this schematic online a while back, that shows some differences. I haven't tried ths mods myself. Perhaps they will help someone.
It's a Made In Taiwan silver label. I tried to use it more as a boost pedal, but I already have an OD-3 which does a much better job. I was thinking of keeping it in case I wanted a harder metal tone, but I just don't like it (fizzy). The EHX Glove driven by the OD-3 gets a much nicer rock tone.
The diode clipping might save it, if that works on this model.
It's about how you use it. A DS-1 into a clean amp always sounds horrible. A DS-1 (tone at 9 o'clock, gain at 3 o'clock) into a Barber Gain Changer set for low gain - that sounds great to me.
Intriguing. Maybe this is why every time I grabbed a modded Boss pedal (like a decade ago) that trumpted a "hifi chip" or "premium chip" (Burr Brown seemed to be popular) I always thought they sounded like ass. Much worse than the stock pedal.
Heck yes. I have the same. It turns this already excellent pedal into a hammer of the gods. Rages and sings. The old Keeley-modded ones are great, too. Those who can't make this pedal sound good either have an amp mismatch, which is bad luck, or need to attend to the whole signal chain to see what's off, because this is a straightforward pedal that works. There are decades full of recorded and live performances where unmodded DS1s sound phenomenal.
It's easier to blame the pedal.
Yes! The well-intentioned modders actually got it backwards - you don't want an op amp that recreates everything. This is why op amps like the LM741 and LM308N sound so musical - they are incapable of replicating the entire signal - their low performance is what is needed. The old op amps in the MIJ DS-1s were similarly 'low-fi'.
...With something like the TS or SD-1, having a more hi-fi op amp isn't an issue, because it isn't preceded by a gain stage going into clipping, like the DS-1 has.
Long story short - a 'high performance op amp' for the DS-1 is a mod in the absolute wrong direction. Since fitting something like a LM741 (or LM1458) or LM308N isn't really a clean and easy mod, the best thing to do is reduce the gain of the transistor prior to the op amp. That way, you can basically sub any op amp in that floats your boat.
I tried a variety of settings.
Don't have any batteries.
The OD-3 and DS-1 can make for a fun combination. Dial back the gain on the DS-1 and push it with the OD-3. I sometimes use a Boss SD-1 to push a dialed back DS-1 and it works well.
I totally agree with your settings. That is exactly how I used mine. I had one on my board for a couple years but have since moved on. Classic pedal regardless if you love or hate it.