Boss DS1/Pro and SD1/808 combinations

David posted this to my forum, I thought I woud put it up here so more people could benefit from his testing. This is just to give you an idea on how pedals sound together, try it yourself and see what works best for YOU.

All this was done with a Traynor YCV40WR amp, both channels at 5 (gain at 7 1/2), and an Ibanez Artist guitar with a Dimarzio Super Distortion in the bridge.

DS-1 (low gain, high level) -> SD-1 (higher gain, unity level)
This is probably the setting I'll run with for a while. I play in my church's contemporary praise band and this fits the wide variety of tones best for me. Under this alignment the DS-1 was set with the level around 2:30 and gain around 8:00. The SD-1 was set at unity level and gain around 10:30. With this setup the SD-1 provides a really nice low gain sound. The amp gain channel gives me a solid mid gain rhythm and using the DS-1 to boost either of those two gives me enough added volume for solos. With the DS-1 pushing the gain channel you get close to a Sach type sound, but not quite. The DS-1 still has some gain and isn't really usable by itself on the clean channel. However, overall this provides the most usable tones. However, with the level up like this, the DS-1 is fairly loud in terms of adding extra noise to the signal.

DS-1 (higher gain, unity level) -> SD-1 (low gain, high level)
If I was in a flat out rock band, I'd probably go with this. In this scenario the DS-1 and the amp are the primary providers of gain. Were I to use this setup I'd also be using a cabinet rather than the 1x12 in the combo. The DS-1, although a solid pedal overall, seems to shine in a 4x12 rig. The SD-1 gives the gain channel more of a "brown" sound feel to it, but again, not quite there. Using the SD-1 as a boost for the DS-1 gives it a tight tone as well, nice for leads. Having the boost box second in the chain makes a more pronounced volume change when you turn it on.

SD-1 (low gain, high level) -> DS-1 (higher gain, unity level)
By switching the order of the the two pedals I found subtle differences in the pedal when it was on by itself. To me, with the DS-1 after the SD-1, it was a brighter sound. The SD-1 seems to round the DS-1 just a little, which I think makes it better sounding, but that's only my opinion. I did notice that when I boost the DS-1 with the SD-1 in front of it, the tone was tighter than the other way around. Again, using the DS-1 for gain and the SD-1 for boost is more geared toward a driving rock band that plays stuff with heavier tones. The SD-1 as the boost had a lesser impact on the overall volume with the DS-1 after it.

SD-1 (higher gain, unity level) -> DS-1 (low gain, high level)
Again, the order of the pedal had some subtle difference, one being that when I turned on the DS-1 for a boost the change in level was much more noticable. It really drove the amp gain channel with the boost being the last pedal before the amp. However, it was also a brighter sound, to the point of becoming brittle on the top end. The SD-1 was solid through the clean channel and got a bit fuzzy when I added the DS-1 boost after it. That having been said, all these tones were still very uasable and probably with some tweaking would be sweet. However, I kept the settings pretty consistent between all the configurations for consistency. Were I to go with this alignment I'd probably cut down the level on the DS-1 just a bit compared to where I'd set it before.

All in all - each of the four setups had solid tones. The bottom end stayed clear and tight (maybe partially due to the V30 speaker in the Traynor) and the highs stayed crisp without becoming brittle (except where noted - even then, it was barely so and could easily be tweaked out). My conclusion is that the boost pedal being last in the chain seemed to have more impact on volume - it increased more than when the boost pedal was before the gain pedal. However, it seemed that the tone was tighter with a richer gain sound with the boost before the gain.

One other note - when using the SD-1 as a gain pedal rather than a boost it sounded solid going into the gain channel of my amp. The SD-1 pulled a little of the bass out and gave some articulation to the highs without making the overall tone fuzzy or making a noticable change in volume. When using the DS-1 for gain it also pulled a little bass out of the amp's gain channel, but it tended to have a less desirable effect on the highs and made the entire tone a bit fuzzy. Again, this is something that could likely be tweeked a bit to allow each to have great tone alone and when combined, should that be desired, but just an observation.

One other note - the DS-1 as a boost is a fairly noisy pedal - at least it was in my chain. The SD-1 seemed to be a more quiet boost pedal overall. The DS-1 as a boost did give a bigger, more driven tone to my amp's gain channel, but to be fair I turned the gain on the SD-1 almost all the way down when using it as a boost, so it really wasn't adding much if any gain to the signal.

Closing thoughts - any of the four options I tried would be very usable. All of them provided a great starting point for serious tones! A little tweaking and any of those four would be a great setup. I think that your specific needs would be the biggest driver of which to use. If you have consistent need for lower gain tones you'd likely lean toward using the SD-1 as a gain pedal and the DS-1 as a boost. True, you could roll back your guitar volume to clean up some heavier gain sounds and get a lower gain tone. Again, to each their own. I may look to scrape $100 together to get another AM Boss SD-1\808 so I can use one for gain, one for boost. I think I'd lean down to switch the settings on the DS-1 and not get another one of those, but it would be nice to have two TS type boxes, one for gain and one for boost.

These are the findings I encountered in my living room at living room volume through a 1x12 tube combo. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sorry this got so long winded - and I hope it helps!

Here is another email I got that has similar info:

Just wanted to let you know that I moved the DS-1 before the TS808 in the signal chain and everything is sounding great. I have the DS-1 set with tone at about 8-9 o'clock, output at noon and gain at about 8 o'clock, and the TS808 set with tone at 9-10 o'clock, output at about 1 o'clock and gain at about 1:30-2 o'clock. With this set up the TS808 sounds great for bluesy leads and I just stomp on the DS-1 to give leads just the right amount of beef and sustain. The pedals really compliment each other this way. The TS808 provides the grit and midrange while the DS-1 takes care of the low end and crunch. I had the TS808 in front of the DS-1 before and had the gain too high on the DS-1, after the switch and adjustments I am very pleased with the results. Thanks for being accommodating, but it looks like the DS-1 has found a home in my rig after all!

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