Boss Corporation


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Boss is a manufacturer of effects pedals for electric guitar and bass guitar. It is a division of the Roland Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer that specializes in musical equipment and accessories. For many years Boss has manufactured a wide range of products related to effects processing for guitars, including "compact" and "twin" effects pedals, multi-effect pedals, electronic tuners and pedal boards. In more recent times, Boss expanded their product range by including digital studios, rhythm machines,[2] samplers[3] and other electronic music equipment. They also are now manufacturing solid-state amplifiers and speaker heads such as the Waza and the Katana. Both feature multi-effects units meant to emulate Boss' classic effects pedals.

Boss Corporation
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1973; 49 years ago (1973)[1]
HeadquartersHamamatsu, Japan[1]
ProductsEffects units
ParentRoland Corporation


A typical BOSS compact effects pedal. This is the DS-2 Turbo Distortion pedal, a popular model of distortion pedal designed for electric guitar.

The earliest Boss product was called B-100 The Boss, released in 1974. This came with a clip-on pre-amp and a pickup to amplify acoustic guitars. At this point the Boss company had not been formed and it was still a Beckmen Musical Instruments product (as seen on the B-100 box[4]). The first proper Boss foot pedal effect, the CE-1 Chorus Ensemble, was released June 1976, which was a stand-alone unit of the chorus/vibrato circuit found in the Roland JC-120 amplifier.[5] It was a fairly large, AC-powered unit. Other foot pedals of that year are the GE-10 (a graphic equalizer), the BF-1 (a flanger unit) and the DB-5 (a distortion unit).

Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal distortion pedal

Boss's line of compact pedals began in 1977 with the release of six pedals, all of them discontinued: an overdrive pedal (OD-1), a phaser pedal (PH-1), a parametric equalizer called the Spectrum (SP-1), a 6-band graphic equalizer (GE-6), a compressor pedal (CS-1) and an automatic wah pedal (TW-1). The Boss DS-1 was released the next year, in 1978. Their first compact chorus pedal (CE-2) came in 1979, and their first flanger pedal (BF-2) in 1980. In 1983 Boss released the DD-2 Digital Delay, the first mass-produced digital delay in a compact pedal format. The Metal Zone (MT-2) was released in 1991. In 1992 Boss released nine new pedals, including the Turbo Distortion (DS-2). The Heavy Metal (HM-2) distortion pedal was an integral part of the guitar sound of many styles of heavy metal music ever since.[6] The pedals all share the same 'footprint', for compatibility with pedal boards.

Boss introduced COSM (Composite Object Sound Modeling), Roland's proprietary version of digital modeling technology, into their AC-3 Acoustic Simulator pedal in 2006. Boss has since released several pedals using COSM, including the FBM-1 '59 Fender Bassman pedal and FDR-1 '65 Fender Deluxe Reverb pedal, introduced at the Winter NAMM show in January 2007.

All Boss compact pedals use a "buffered bypass" type of silent foot switching utilizing Field Effect Transistors (FETs) to avoid clicks and pops. While not "true" bypass, the buffered bypass has the advantage of preventing signal loss due to long runs of cable, while keeping original guitar tone intact.[7]

Japan, Taiwan and MalaysiaEdit

BOSS effect pedals

Boss compact pedals were originally produced in Japan, until circa 1990 when production moved to Taiwan. Earlier units came with a metal screw securing the battery compartment; later models retained the metal screw, adding a plastic knob for tool-less battery removal. The labels on the bottom of the pedals come in several different colours including black, silver, green, pink and blue. Apart from this the basic external design has remained unchanged for almost half a century.

The DS-1 Distortion circuit design has changed significantly twice throughout its lifetime; the first time was around 1994 when the Toshiba TA7136AP op-amp was replaced with a Rohm BA728N. In 2000 the op-amp was again changed. This time it was replaced with the Mitsubishi M5223AL. The latest op-amp change occurred in 2007, when new DS-1 pedals began shipping with the NJM3404AL op-amp.

In recent years older Boss compact pedals have begun to command a high premium on the used market.[citation needed] Some pedals, such as the relatively rare VB-2 Vibrato, SG-1 Slow Gear, SP-1 Spectrum, DC-2 Dimension C, PS-3 Digital Pitch Shifter/Delay, and either of the two analog delay pedals, the DM-2 and DM-3, are highly sought after by collectors.[citation needed]

The Boss Doctor Rhythm DR-110 drum machine was the last drum machine out of Roland to use analog sound synthesis to generate the drum sounds. After the DR-110, all Roland drum machines used samples of drums to produce sounds. The DR-110 is not easily incorporated into a modernized studio setup running MIDI but there are modifications available to sync the DR-110 to other gear. There are also modifications available in DIY formats to add tonal controls to the analog drum sounds on board the DR-110 that will give the user a wider range of sonic ability.[citation needed]

In 2014 Boss released the Japanese made Waza Craft line of premium pedals built with high end components featuring reissues of highly sought after vintage Boss effects such as the DM-2W Analog Delay, CE-2W Analog Chorus and DC-2W Dimension C among others. "Waza" means "art" and "technique" in Japanese, and fittingly, these pedals have been created by the master engineers at BOSS in Japan to deliver premium tone and response using highly refined analog circuitry.[8]

In 2017 Boss released the 500 series pedals as their flagship design, complete with digital display and preset banks, similar to the design of Strymon pedals featuring presets, programmable algorithms and customizable midi options.

In 2019, Boss discontinued the twin format 20 series pedals and replaced the line with the 200 series.[9]

As of 2019 around the launch of the DD3T and DD8 Digital Delays, Boss moved production from Taiwan to Malaysia. The Malaysian black label on the bottom looks similar to the modern era Taiwan label, verifying the new location of manufacturing.

List of Boss compact pedalsEdit

Various BOSS compact pedals
Model Name Years Technology
AD-2 Acoustic Preamp 2016–present Digital
AC-2 Acoustic Simulator 1997-2005 Analogue
AC-3 Acoustic Simulator 2005–present Digital COSM modelling
DA-2 Adaptive Distortion 2013-2014 Digital MDP processing
JB-2 Angry Driver 2017–present Analogue
AW-2 Auto Wah 1991-1999 Analogue
CE-2B Bass Chorus 1987-1994 Analogue
CEB-3 Bass Chorus (analogue version) 1995-2001 Analogue
CEB-3 Bass Chorus (digital version) 2001–present Digital
BC-1X Bass Comp 2016–present Digital MDP processing
BB-1X Bass Driver 2015–present Digital MDP processing
GE-7B Bass Equalizer 1987-1994 Analogue
GEB-7 Bass Equalizer 1995–present Analogue
BF-2B Bass Flanger 1987-1993 Analogue
LM-2B Bass Limiter 1990-1994 Analogue
LMB-3 Bass Limiter Enhancer 1995–present Analogue
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive 1994–present Analogue
PQ-3B Bass Parametric Equalizer 1991-1994 Analogue
SYB-3 Bass Synthesizer 1996-2004 Digital
SYB-5 Bass Synthesizer 2004–present Digital
BD-2 Blues Driver 1995–present Analogue
BD-2w Blues Driver WAZA CRAFT 2014–present Analogue
CE-2 Chorus 1979-1991 Analogue
CE-3 Chorus 1982-1989 Analogue
CE-5 Chorus Ensemble (analogue version) 1991-2001 Analogue
CE-5 Chorus Ensemble (digital version) 2001–present Digital
CE-2w Chorus WAZA CRAFT 2016–present Analogue
TU-2 Chromatic Tuner 1998-2010 Digital
TU-3 Chromatic Tuner 2009–present Digital
TU-3w Chromatic Tuner WAZA CRAFT 2016–present Digital
BC-2 Combo Drive 2011-2019 Digital
CS-1 Compression Sustainer 1978-1982 Analogue
CS-2 Compression Sustainer 1981-1988 Analogue
CS-3 Compression Sustainer 1986–present Analogue
CP-1X Compressor 2016–present Digital MDP processing
DM-2 Delay 1981-1984 Analogue
DM-3 Delay 1984-1987 Analogue
DM-2w Delay WAZA CRAFT 2015–present Analogue
DD-2 Digital Delay 1984-1986 Digital
DD-3 Digital Delay 1986-2019 Digital
DD-3T Digital Delay 2019–present Digital
DD-5 Digital Delay 1995-2002 Digital
DD-6 Digital Delay 2002-2008 Digital
DD-7 Digital Delay 2008–present Digital
DD-8 Digital Delay 2019–present Digital
MZ-2 Digital Metalizer 1987-1992 Analogue / Digital hybrid
PS-2 Digital Pitch Shifter / Delay 1987-1993 Digital
PS-3 Digital Pitch Shifter / Delay 1994-1999 Digital
RV-2 Digital Reverb 1987-1989 Digital
RV-5 Digital Reverb 2002-2015 Digital
RV-3 Digital Reverb / Delay 1994-2002 Digital
DSD-2 Digital Sampler / Delay 1985-1986 Digital
DSD-3 Digital Sampler / Delay 1986-1989 Digital
DC-3 Digital Dimension 1988-1993 Digital
DC-3 Digital Space-D 1989-1992 Digital
DC-2 Dimension C 1985-1988 Analogue
DC-2w Dimension C WAZA CRAFT 2018–present Analogue
DS-1 Distortion 1978–present Analogue
DS-1X Distortion 2014–present Digital MDP processing
DS-1-4A Distortion (40th Anniversary Black Edition) 2017 Analogue
SD-2 Dual Overdrive 1993-1998 Analogue
DN-2 Dyna Drive 2007-2012 Digital
FT-2 Dynamic Filter 1986-1989 Analogue
AW-3 Dynamic Wah 2000–present Digital
EH-2 Enhancer 1990-1998 Analogue
GE-7 Equalizer 1981–present Analogue
FB-2 Feedbacker / Booster 2011-2015 Digital
FBM-1 Fender '59 Bassman 2007-2013 Digital COSM modelling
FRV-1 Fender '63 Reverb 2009-2019 Digital COSM modelling
FDR-1 Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Amp 2007-2013 Digital COSM modelling
BF-2 Flanger 1980-2001 Analogue
BF-3 Flanger 2002–present Digital
FZ-3 Fuzz 1997-1999 Analogue
FZ-5 Fuzz 2007–present Digital COSM modelling
FZ-1w Fuzz WAZA CRAFT 2021–present Analogue
GE-6 Graphic Equalizer 1978-1981 Analogue
HR-2 Harmonist 1994-1999 Digital
PS-6 Harmonist 2010–present Digital
HM-2 Heavy Metal 1983-1992 Analogue
HM-2w Heavy Metal WAZA CRAFT 2021–present Analogue
HF-2 Hi Band Flanger 1985-1993 Analogue
FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz 1993-1997 Analogue
HM-3 Hyper Metal 1993-1999 Analogue
LM-2 Limiter 1987-1991 Analogue
LS-2 Line Selector 1991–present Analogue
RC-1 Loop Station 2014–present Digital
RC-1-BK Loop Station (Commemorative Black Edition) 2018 Digital
RC-2 Loop Station 2006-2011 Digital
RC-3 Loop Station 2011–present Digital
RC-5 Loop Station 2020–present Digital
MD-2 Mega Distortion 2001–present Analogue
ML-2 Metal Core 2007–present Digital
MT-2 Metal Zone 1991–present Analogue
MT-2w Metal Zone WAZA CRAFT 2018–present Analogue
MT-2-3A Metal Zone (30th Anniversary Black Edition) 2021 Analogue
MO-2 Multi Overtone 2013–present Digital MDP processing
NF-1 Noise Gate 1979-1982 Analogue
NS-2 Noise Suppressor 1987–present Analogue
OC-2 Octaver 1982-1984 Analogue
OC-2 Octave 1984-2003 Analogue
OC-5 Octave 2020–present Analogue / Digital hybrid
OD-1 Overdrive 1977-1988 Analogue
OD-1X Overdrive 2014–present Digital MDP processing
OD-3 Overdrive 1997–present Analogue
OS-2 Overdrive / Distortion 1990–present Analogue
PQ-4 Parametric Equalizer 1991-1996 Analogue
PH-3 Phase Shifter 2000–present Digital
PH-1 Phaser 1977-1981 Analogue
PH-1R Phaser 1980-1985 Analogue
PW-2 Power Driver 1996-1997 Analogue
ST-2 Power Stack 2010–present Digital
PSM-5 Power Supply & Master Switch 1982-1999 Analogue
RV-6 Reverb 2015–present Digital
SG-1 Slow Gear 1979-1982 Analogue
RE-2 Space Echo 2022–present Digital COSM modelling
SP-1 Spectrum 1977-1981 Analogue
CH-1 Super Chorus (analogue version) 1989-2001 Analogue
CH-1 Super Chorus (digital version) 2001–present Digital
DF-2 Super Distortion & Feedbacker 1984-1985 Analogue
DF-2 Super Feedbacker & Distortion 1985-1993 Analogue
OC-3 Super Octave 2003–present Digital
SD-1 Super Overdrive 1981–present Analogue
SD-1w Super Overdrive WAZA CRAFT 2014–present Analogue
SD-1-4A Super Overdrive (40th Anniversary Black Edition) 2021 Analogue
PH-2 Super Phaser 1984-2000 Analogue
PS-5 Super Shifter 1999-2010 Digital
SY-1 Synthesizer 2019–present Digital
TW-1 Touch Wah 1978-1981 Analogue
TW-1 T Wah 1981-1988 Analogue
TE-2 Tera Echo 2013–present Digital MDP processing
TB-2w Tone Bender WAZA CRAFT 2021 Analogue
TR-2 Tremolo 1997–present Analogue
PN-2 Tremolo / Pan 1990-1993 Analogue
DS-2 Turbo Distortion 1987–present Analogue
OD-2 Turbo Overdrive 1985-1994 Analogue
OD-2R Turbo Overdrive 1994-1999 Analogue
VB-2 Vibrato 1982-1984 Analogue
VB-2w Vibrato WAZA CRAFT 2016–present Analogue
VO-1 Vocoder 2016–present Digital
XT-2 Xtortion 1996-1998 Analogue


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (Japanese page)
  2. ^ "Boss DR202". Sound On Sound. December 1998. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Boss Dr Sample SP202". Sound On Sound. January 1998. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014.
  4. ^[bare URL image file]
  5. ^ "Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble «  BossArea 2.0". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Boss HM-2 : more than a Myth, the story of the Swedish Sound - Guitariste-Metal" (in French). 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  7. ^ GEOFEX-Ins and Outs of Effect Bypassing
  8. ^ "BOSS Introduces Premium Waza Craft Pedals". Sweetwater Sound. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  9. ^ "BOSS 200 Series Pedals". Roland. Retrieved 5 October 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • "Boss effects pedals". Future Music. No. 68. ISSN 0967-0378. OCLC 1032779031.

External linksEdit

  • BOSS homepage "BOSS - Global".
  • Boss brand homepage archive
  • Boss Corporation on Instagram
  • Boss Europe on Instagram
  • Bosspedals Sweden on Instagram (fan account)