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Boss DS1 vs DS2: Which Pedal Wins? Review

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boss ds1 vs boss ds2
Photo Credit: Pexels

A lot of guitarists can’t decide whether they should choose Boss DS1 or Boss DS2 guitar pedal – if you’re one of them, today’s review will resolve all of your issues! Both of these pedals are really popular, but which one is actually better?

Let’s be clear – both of these pedals are perfect for lovers of rock and metal, but Boss DS2 seems to be a better option. The reason is very simple – it has a Turbo Mode which boosts the mid-range and makes your tone a bit more heavier and fuller. In that way, the DS2 is a more versatile pedal than the DS1.

Since I used both of these pedals in the past, I think that I’m in a good spot to share my thoughts with you. Let’s dive deeper with research and find out which pedal will be better for you!

Boss DS2 – Specs & Pricing

boss ds2 turbo distortion

Boss DS2 Turbo Distortion is a truly amazing guitar pedal. In fact, it’s one of the most popular distortion pedals of all time! In comparison with the DS1, it’s a bit more expensive option, but there is a reason for that. The main difference is that DS2 features two Turbo modes:

  • Turbo Mode I – offers a nice and warm distorted sound which is perfect for heavier riffs and rhythm playing
  • Turbo Mode II – offers a punchy, distorted sound with a boosted mid-range. This tone is perfect for lead guitarists and it will be great for playing solos.

What’s important, the Boss DS2 features a built-in remote jack that allows you to use an external footswitch to easily switch between these two Turbo modes. This is a really important feature, especially if you’re playing on the stage and you want to quickly change your tone.

Who is it for? Well, I think that Boss DS2 will be perfect for all rock and metal guitarists. Out of my experience, this pedal has a really full and thick distortion sound, so it will be perfect for such genres as hard rock, grunge and metal. I highly recommend checking out the sound demo below.

As you can hear, the DS-2 Turbo Distortion sounds absolutely great. The range of tones that you can achieve on that tiny orange thing is absolutely amazing. Nevertheless, this pedal is actually pretty expensive. That’s why a lot of guitarists choose a much affordable option – Boss DS-1.

Boss DS1 – Specs & Pricing

boss ds1

As you can see on the picture above, in comparison with the more expensive DS2, the DS1 features only three knobs (tone, level & distortion) and there is no turbo mode. Although this pedal is a bit more basic, it still offers a really nice distorted tone.

The price of the DS1 plays a crucial role when it comes the popularity of this thing. Considering how iconic this pedal is, the pricing seems to be actually pretty cheap. Of course, there is no Turbo, but it doesn’t mean that this pedal sucks! Undoubtedly, at this price level, it’s one of the best high-quality distortion pedals out there.

Who is it for? Well, I think that Boss DS1 will be perfect for people who are new into guitar pedals. If you’re looking for your first distortion effect, this model should be more than enough for you. More advanced players should also be really happy with its quality, but in general, the vast majority of intermediate players prefers the more versatile Boss DS2.

Although the DS-1 is not as full and it offers less versatility than the DS-2, it will still make your guitar sound really good. This tone can be used in a wide range of genres from blues and rock to grunge and metal.

Feel free to check out the demo below.

Boss DS1 vs DS 2 – Tone Comparison

If you still can’t decide which model is best for you, you should definitely check out the tone comparison below.

The video highlights both of these pedals with some of the most famous riffs by John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers). It’s really cool to hear these small differences and I think that it will help you with making the right choice.

To be honest, I was always a big fan of the DS-1. It sounds great – that’s a fact! But it all changed once I had two of these pedals in my hands and I was able to directly compare their tone on my own. I started appreciating the Turbo Mode from Boss DS-2, so eventually I no longer needed the DS-1.


Is Boss DS-1 good for metal?

Yes! Although the DS-1 doesn’t have the Turbo Mode available in the DS-2, it’s still not a bad choice for metal guitarists. It may not sound as great as the DS-2, but it offers a decent metal tone. As an example, feel free to check out this demo.

Who used Boss DS-1?

There are a lot of guitarists who used or use the Boss DS-1 during live gigs and studio recordings. That includes such musicians as John Frusciante, Gary Moore, Steve Vai, Kurt Cobain or Mike Stern.

If you’d like to see the full list of guitar player who used Boss DS-1, check it out here.

Who used Boss DS-2?

Similarly as Boss-DS1, the Boss DS-2 is an extremely popular guitar pedal among the most successful and popular guitarists in the world. The list of notable users includes: Matthew Bellamy, Steve Vai, Prince, Josh Klinghoffer, Pat Smear and many, many more.

Here’s the full list of over fifty musicians who use and love the Boss DS-2 – feel free to check it out if you’re interested.

Are Boss DS1 and DS2 pedals analog or digital?

Both of these pedals are analog. If you’re looking for a digital pedal, you should check out Boss DS1X.

What is the point of distortion pedals?

Distortion pedals are extremely important, especially in rock and metal genres. Most importantly, it adds a lot of saturation to the guitar tone. It makes your guitar sound hotter and much more aggressive.

Although getting a distortion pedal is not necessary for all electric guitarists, it definitely deserves a lot of attention. In the end, it all depends on what kind of music you want to play. If you like heavy riffs, you’ll definitely see the point of using a good distortion pedal.

Where are Boss Pedals made?

Currently, Boss pedals are manufactured in Taiwan and Malaysia. Back in the days, the company had manufacturing facilities in Japan, so if you find a used pedal made in that region, it’s probably pretty old.

About Boss Pedals

Boss is a legendary manufacturer of guitar effects pedals. The company has a really long history of operating – they were founded almost fifty years ago in 1973. What’s more, it’s one of the most popular guitar pedal brands in the world. It is also worth mentioning that they’re a part of Roland Corporation – a large Japanese music brand.

Their gear was used by some of the most iconic musicians of all time. Undoubtedly, the music industry would look and sound completely different without them.


As you can see, both Boss DS1 and DS2 are really cool pedals and they deserve a lot of attention. Which one is better for you? Well, if you’re on a tight budget, the DS1 will be an excellent choice and you won’t be disappointed. Still, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, you should choose the DS2 – it’s a better and a more versatile option.

What do you think about these Boss distortion pedals? Do you think they’re worth it or maybe you have a different favorite pedal made by a different brand? Let me know in the comments below, I’m really curious!

Thanks for checking out today’s review, I hope that it was helpful. If you’re looking for more gear recommendations, you should also check out:

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