Review: Boss OD-1X + DS-1X

od-1x + DS-1x

Boss unveiled two Special Edition pedals at NAMM 2014. These new stompboxes are updates on two classic Boss-models, and are called the OD-1X Overdrive and the DS-1X Distortion. These deluxe versions promise more gain, a tighter attack, and an even more versatile EQ-section.



What is the difference between a fuzz, an overdrive and a distortion?

The fuzz pedal is the granddaddy of everything ”brang”, and it works in a rather neanderthal way, by means of brutal transistor overload. The resulting tone of transistors clipping sounds quite edgy and fuzzy (hence the name), and tends to work much better on solos and riffs, than it does on chords. A good early example would be the memorable riff on the Rolling Stones’ hit ”Satisfaction”.

The terms ”overdrive” and ”distortion” describe effects that try to mimick the way tube amp distortion sounds. In the beginning both terms were used as general descriptions of valve distortion-type stompboxes, but thanks to Boss’ way of labelling their pedals, the use of the terms has now become standardised: An overdrive effect usually offers moderate gain and less compression, resulting in a more dynamic tone, while a distortion pedal will give you more gain, more bite and more squashy compression.


Early on, Boss also came up with the idea of giving specific colours to specific effect types – an overdrive pedal, for example, is always yellow.

The brand-new Boss OD-1X Overdrive (155 €) represents the next generation of overdrive stompboxes, with its much more versatile range of sounds. In addition to the Drive- and Level-controls, you will find a very powerful two-band EQ-section.



Both new Special Edition-pedals are based on Boss’ patented digital MDP-technology (Multi-Dimension Processing). MDP allows for the lightning-fast, multi-band processing of the guitar signal that is needed to keep the attack tight and chords free from sonic mud. There’s added clarity and note separation, even at the higher gain levels these new pedals provide.


The tangerine-coloured Boss DS-1X Distortion (155 €) offers you four control knobs – Distortion, High, Low and Level. Its sound has been optimised to also work fabulously with seven- or eight-string guitars.

Both pedals can be run either using a 9 V block (an alkaline battery will give you about nine hours of continuous playing time) or a power supply (not included).



You can get all the legendary Boss-overdrive sounds (think SD-1 and OD-3) from the OD-1X, too. The difference here is the much more versatile EQ-section, which gives you way more scope for fine-tuning your tone, and a bit more overdrive at the extreme end of the Drive-control. This leads to a very tasty and dynamic overdrive sound that is more open than what your traditional, mid-range focussed overdrive pedal has to offer.

Here’s anice example of the OD-1X’s lush bass register (Vox Mark III, Drive 9 o’clock, High 10 o’clock, Low 2 o’clock):

A bridge humbucker will surely benefit from a sprinkle of added top end (Hamer USA Studio Custom, Drive 9 o’clock, High 11 o’clock, Low 12 o’clock):

Turn up Drive to full, and even a small Marshall-combo’s clean channel will sound like a stack. I used the Vox-guitar for this:

And here’s the Hamer with a similar setting:



Boss’ new DS-1X broadens the sound palette of a traditional DS-1 in a very appealing way. There’s oozes of the type of tasty, chewey compression heard on so many great tracks. The DS-1X adds a much deeper low end, better note separation, a tighter attack and a more versatile two-band EQ to proceedings.

It’s clear right from the start that the DS-1X offers much more gain than its overdrive-sibling (Vox Mark III, Dist 9 o’clock):

Using humbuckers you will clearly notice the nice and creamy compression setting in (Hamer, Dist 9 o’clock):

Even though the pedal’s Distortion-control is on full in this clip, almost all of the hiss you can hear comes from the amp’s clean channel, not the DS-1X (Vox Mark III):

The DS-1X’s deep, but tight bass register is just the ticket for playing low Metal-riffs (Hamer, Dist full):



It’s a known fact that a guitarist can never own too many overdrive and distortion pedals! But thanks to these new Boss Special Edition-pedals you might be able to cut down the number of pedals on your pedalboard, after all, because the OD-1X and DS-1X cover such a large amount of musical ground. Regardless of whether you’re after a mild Blues-overdrive or insanely distorted, ultra-low Thrash-riffs, these two pedals will do it all in style.


Boss OD-1X + DS-1X – Special Edition -säröpedaalit

OD-1X: 155 €

DS-1X: 155 €

Finnish distributor: Roland


Pros (both pedals):

+ sound

+ larger gain reserves

+ two-band EQ

+ very precise attack

+ low levels of hiss

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