Home » Music » Boss DS-1 vs. DS-2 Turbo Distortion [Controls, Features, Sound & MORE]

Boss DS-1 vs. DS-2 Turbo Distortion [Controls, Features, Sound & MORE]

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Guitars are undoubtedly among the best instruments ever invented. You can use them for just about any occasion.

Play it when you are happy, and you will feel ecstatic, play it when you are sad, and you will be cheered up for a while; or play it at a gathering, and you will have everyone appreciating your talent.

There is no doubt that playing the guitar is not easy. If you are not too good at playing it initially, that is okay! Practice makes a man perfect, after all.

However, if you have been practicing it for a long while or if you know your guitar needs better equipment, but you are avoiding it, that may be a little problematic.

Almost all the guitars can play all kinds of tunes and genres. However, adding some mechanical devices, such as amplifiers and guitar pedals, further adds to the great experience of playing it.

For this, you do not always need the most expensive option available on the market. A good-quality product with a reasonable price will also do, especially if you are a beginner. 

A great company that can provide you with excellent quality guitar pedals without you having to pay a hefty amount is Boss.

It has come up with two great guitar pedals, the DS-1 and DS-2, that will help you distort your music in the best way possible.

But what you should consider here is that you have two options: is Boss DS-2 better than DS-1, or is Boss DS-1 any good? Some users may also wonder if Boss DS-1 is analog.

And what are all the specifications and features of the Boss DS-2, or is there a Boss DS-2 clone available on the market?

Do not let any of these questions demotivate you or make you fret, as we have you covered. In this guide, you will find all the answers to your questions.

Find the detailed reviews of Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 and pick the model that you think is the best for you.

Boss DS-1 Vs. Boss DS-2

Both the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 are turbo distortion models that are widely used in the professional musical world. They are two iconic pedals that are gaining popularity quickly, but you have to decide which one is better.

We will compare all their features, tonal characteristics, and specifications and see what Boss product outperforms the other.

As a quick answer, the Boss DS-2 turbo has more versatility than the Boss DS-1 since it features a turbo switch that boosts the mid-range tones, allowing it to switch between lead and rhythm quickly.

The Boss DS-1 is known to sound crunchier and fuzzier than the Boss DS-2. The latter can produce heavier sounds and form a wide range of distorted tones.

Boss DS-1 Vs. Boss DS-2- Tonal Characteristics

The Boss DS-1 guitar pedal features one mode, while the Boss DS-2 features two modes. The two modes on the latter refer to its turbo switch, which allows the user to turn it on or off.

The turbo switch showcased by Boss DS-2 is also responsible for adding the mid-range boost, which undoubtedly makes it a lot more versatile than the Boss DS-1, which comes with two voices and one mode.

Apart from the turbo switch creating the different tones on the Boss DS-2, some other noticeable differences are also present. These include the following:

  • The Boss DS-1 sounds slightly grittier than the Boss DS-2 and is also overdriven. The latter has a heavier and smoother distortion, resulting in a more pleasant sound.
  • The Boss DS-1 sounds much better with low gain and gives out a classic distortion tone, which is mainly associated with the music from the 70s, and 80s. The Boss DS-1 is also at borderline overdrive instead of pure distortion and so may sound like a driven Marshall tube amp occasionally.
  • The Boss DS-2 sounds very pleasant with a high gain, unlike the Boss DS-1. The former produces a punchier tone and has greater mid-range tonal control and treble.
  • The Boss DS-2 is also much louder than the Boss DS-1, but only when you play it at the maximum level.
  • The Boss DS-1 can result in a fuzzy sound sometimes if the tonal controls are pushed past the level of the Boss DS-2.
  • The Boss DS-2 has a more significant distortion variation as compared to the Boss DS-1, the latter having a narrower range.

If you are still confused about which Boss model sounds better, we will tell you that, in plain terms, it is a personal choice.

It has been a debate in the guitar community for a long now as experts and professionals discuss whether the Boss DS-1 sounds better than Boss DS-2.

However, one thing all agree upon is that for low gain, the Boss DS-1 is better, and Boss DS-2 works better for high gains.

The Boss DS-1 also produces a crunchy sound at a saturated gain level, whereas the Boss DS-2 has a heavy sound that is ideal for lead singers and high-gain music. But we suggest trying both the pedals and then deciding for yourself.

Boss DS-1 VS. Boss DS-2- The Controls Variety

Let’s not forget an essential deciding factor-the control. You cannot select a winner without considering the controls.

If one model has limited controls or has too many of them that are hard to understand and manage, it is pretty much doomed.

On the other hand, if a guitar pedal has a decent amount of controls that are easy to understand and work with, it is a plain winner. Let’s take a look at all the controls the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 have to offer to their users.

Both the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 distortion pedals have tone, level, and distortion controls. But the difference arises when we take a look at the additional control, the extra mode control.

This is a feature of the Boss DS-2, which has an extra mode allowing mid-range boosting. You can activate this mode manually or with the device’s remote.

The turbo mode in the Boss DS-2 pedal can be activated by adjusting the controls featured on the respective pedal itself. Alternatively, you can use the footswitch in the guitar pedal.

The Boss DS-2 guitar pedal has an input control for the remote, which allows users to maintain a connection between the two modes via a footswitch.

The Boss DS-2 pedal’s turbo switch is most useful when it is being used for lead sections as it gives a considerable mid-range boost. Here is what the other controls on the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 do:

  • Level Control: It allows the user to adjust the volume according to their preference. 
  • Distortion Control: It gives the user the liberty to set the gain as they desire. 
  • Tone Control: This control allows the user to adjust the treble as well as bass frequencies. If you turn the dial to 0, the treble is reduced to 0, and the bass boosts up. On the other hand, if you turn it all the way to the maximum level, the bass drops, and the treble increases.

To clarify things, we suggest you try playing the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 side by side and compare the EQ changes accompanying each setting. This will make it even easier for you to pick your favorite guitar pedal among the two.

Boss DS-1 Vs. Boss DS-2 – Features and Specifications

Now let’s take a bit about the features and specifications of the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2. Although they are pretty similar, some trivial differences set them apart. Let’s take a look at them:

Boss DS-1

The Boss DS-1 has a power supply of 9V DC and does not support the turbo mode. It does not come with remote input and showcases a dark orange color.

The Boss DS-1 weighs about 400 g (0.88 pounds) and measures 7.3 x 1.29 x 5.9 cm.

  • 9 V DC
  • No turbo mode
  • No remote input
  • Dark orange color
  • Weighs 400 g (0.88 pounds)
  • 7.3 x 1.29 x 5.9 cm

Boss DS-2

The Boss DS-2 has a power supply of 9 V DC and supports the turbo mode as well as the remote input mode. It is light orange and weighs 400 g (0.88 pounds). This guitar pedal measures about 7.3 x 1.29 x 5.9 cm.

  • 9 V DC
  • Supports turbo mode
  • Supports remote input
  • Light orange color
  • Weighs 400 g (0.88 pounds)
  • 7.3 x 1.29 x 5.9 cm


Both the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 are excellent pedals with a great number of features. They give you access to a good number of music genres and are reasonably easy to use and understand.

Although they are very similar when it comes to specifications and features, few details like the turbo mode and remote-control support sets the two apart.

Another difference you may want to consider is the tone, as the Boss DS-1 supports low gain better, while the Boss DS-2 works better with high gain. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying one of these guitar pedals:

  • The Boss DS-2 is more versatile than the Boss DS-1 since it has a turbo switch and a more comprehensive distortion range.
  • If you need a pedal distortion guitar that can efficiently switch between gain and rhythm, the Boss DS-2 is a better option since its turbo switch can be powered on for a mid-range boost while performing solo.
  • For a grittier sound and an overdrive tone, opt for the Boss DS-1 since it supports classic rock and blues music better.
  • The Boss DS-2 has a heavier tone as compared to the Boss DS-1. So, the former is a better option for contemporary grunge and metal music.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Boss DS-2 better than DS-1?

Although both the Boss DS-1 and DS-2 have similar features and specifications sheets, the tonal difference between the two is quite evident.

The Boss DS-2 has an edgier and more aggressive tone, particularly once the turbo mode is activated. The other features are pretty much similar.

Is Boss DS-1 any good?

The Boss DS-1 distortion pedal is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a reliable and versatile guitar pedal.

It has a wide variety of functions and controls and allows the user to play many genres. It is compatible with bass and keyboards as well.

Is Boss DS-1 analog?

Both the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 are analog pedals. If you are on the lookout for a digital distortion pedal, consider getting the Boss DS-1X.

However, the Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 also boast a great number of features.

When did the Boss DS-2 come out?

The Boss DS-2 came out on October 11, 2005, and has been popular since. It is an analog pedal compatible with several music genres and instruments.

Boss DS-2 vs. rat, what is better?

The Boss DS-2 and ProCo Rat are two different pedals. The latter is a distortion pedal without any fuzz, as its design does not allow any harmonic overtones to overpower or dominate the guitar tones. The Boss DS-2 works well with high gains and gives out fuzzy tones.