DS-1 Pro

Midrange Mod

Analog Mike (aka Mike Piera) of Analog Man Guitar Effects does cool things. Years ago I sent him a BOSS Blues Driver to perform open-heart surgery on. He took a relatively inexpensive, middle-of-the-road pedal and transformed it into a high-end tone machine at a reasonable price. Most stompbox freaks are aware that Analog Man Guitar Effects is not just a dealer, but a company that modifies, manufactures, buys, sells and repairs vintage and new guitar effects. He caters to seekers of luscious guitar tones. Any stock pedal you send him for modification will never be the same.

Already being a fan of his BOSS DS-1 Pro Mod, I was excited to discover there was a BOSS DS-1 Pro Midrange Mod available, where the stock components are replaced with high-grade audio parts and the pedal is re-equalized for a punchier sound. This particular modification aims to rid the DS-1 of those nasty high frequencies often found in the stock version. He also removes the inline chip and replaces it with a JRC op-amp chip this makeover gives it a warmth and definition that will make any cork sniffer think again. It's crunchier, has great low-end and will Marshallize the cleanest amp. With the addition of the Midrange knob, players also have the option of dialing in classic tube amp sounds or more modern, "scooped" tones.

I ran the DS-1 Pro Midrange Mod through a handful of amps, including a Fender Deluxe Reverb, a '65 Fender Pro Reverb, an early-eighties JCM800 50-watt single channel combo and a Peavey JSX; I plugged into a few Fender Strats, a modified Peavey HP Special CT and a stock '78 Yamaha SG2000. The first thing that came to mind upon hearing the modified pedal was the word creamy. Even with the Midrange knob rolled all the way back, the pedal sounded warmer than the DS-1 Pro Mod and was in a totally different solar system than the stock version. I found that by adjusting the Tone along with the Midrange knob, I could go from smooth distortion to balls-out gain without any harsh high-end. The crunch factor was fabulous; the pedal easily allowed me to coax some serious Santana tones out of my Strays neck pickup.

The ultimate test was using it at my weekly gig where I put it to work covering Ernie Isley, Eddie Hazel, Carlos Santana and Prince. Not surprisingly, I couldn't find a bad setting anywhere. I started off with the Tone control at about ten o'clock, but because of the added midrange, I found myself moving it past noon to cut through the band a little better. I preferred the distortion knob maxed out this is a thick pedal, and once you find your sweet spot it adds goo-gobs of rich sustain.

The Final Mojo

Analog Mike has taken a stock BOSS DS-1 and replaced the ice pick sensation with thickness, warmth and soul. It has the versatility to move between modern metal sounds and vintage-sounding gain with little effort. And although it would be a perfect fit for true fans of distortion, it can also be used to areat effect for subtler rhythm tones and blues-rock work. If you have an old DS-1 lying around, there's really no excuse not to send it to Mike you won't be sorry. (PG)

Buy if... you want a versatile distortion pedal with plenty of warmth

Skip if.. you're a stickler for stock