Boss Corporation

Last updated
Boss Corporation
Private
Industry Musical instruments
Founded1973;46 years ago (1973) [1]
Headquarters Hamamatsu, Japan [1]
Products Effects units
Parent Roland Corporation
Website Boss.info/

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 line by including Digital Studios, rhythm machines, [2] samplers [3] and other electronic music equipment.

Effects unit electronic or digital device that alters how a musical instrument or other audio source sounds

An effects unit or effectspedal is an electronic or digital device that alters the sound of a musical instrument or other audio source. Common effects include distortion/overdrive, often used with electric guitar in electric blues and rock music; dynamic effects such as volume pedals and compressors, which affect loudness; filters such as wah-wah pedals and graphic equalizers, which modify frequency ranges; modulation effects, such as chorus, flangers and phasers; pitch effects such as pitch shifters; and time effects, such as reverb and delay, which create echoing sounds.

Electric guitar electrified guitar; fretted stringed instrument with a neck and body that uses a pickup to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals

An electric guitar is a guitar that uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals. The vibration occurs when a guitar player strums, plucks, fingerpicks, slaps or taps the strings. The pickup generally uses electromagnetic induction to create this signal, which being relatively weak is fed into a guitar amplifier before being sent to the speaker(s), which converts it into audible sound.

The bass guitar is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, except with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses.

Contents

History

A typical BOSS compact effects pedal. This is the DS-2 Turbo Distortion pedal, a popular model of distortion pedal designed for electric guitar. Boss DS-2 Distortion Pedal.jpg
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 technically 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 BossHM2HeavyMetal.jpg
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.

A phaser is an electronic sound processor used to filter a signal by creating a series of peaks and troughs in the frequency spectrum. The position of the peaks and troughs of the waveform being affected is typically modulated so that they vary over time, creating a sweeping effect. For this purpose, phasers usually include a low-frequency oscillator.

Boss DS-1

The Boss DS-1 is a distortion pedal for guitar, manufactured by the Roland Corporation under the brand name Boss since 1978. The first distortion effects unit made by Boss, it has become a classic effect, used by many notable guitar players.

In music, a chorus effect occurs when individual sounds with approximately the same time, and very similar pitches converge and are perceived as one. While similar sounds coming from multiple sources can occur naturally, as in the case of a choir or string orchestra, it can also be simulated using an electronic effects unit or signal processing device.

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.

Amplifier modeling is the process of emulating a physical amplifier such as a guitar amplifier. Amplifier modeling often seeks to recreate the sound of one or more specific models of vacuum tube amplifiers and sometimes also solid state amplifiers.

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

BOSS effect pedals BossFX.JPG
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 design has remained unchanged for over 25 years.

The DS-1 Distortion, however, is an exception; the design has changed significantly twice throughout its lifetime. The first time was around 1994 when the Toshiba TA7136AP op-amp was replaced with the 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 ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Guitar amplifier

A guitar amplifier is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar, bass guitar, or acoustic guitar so that it can produce sound through one or more loudspeakers, which are typically housed in a wooden cabinet. A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or metal cabinet that contains only the power amplifier circuits, requiring the use of a separate speaker cabinet–or it may be a "combo" amplifier, which contains both the amplifier and one or more speakers in a wooden cabinet. There is a wide range of sizes and power ratings for guitar amplifiers, from small, lightweight "practice amplifiers" with a single 6" speaker and a 10 watt amp to heavy combo amps with four 10” or four 12" speakers and a powerful 100 watt amplifier, which are loud enough to use in a nightclub or bar performance.

Rockman (amplifier)

The Rockman is a headphone guitar amplifier. The original Rockman was developed and built by Scholz Research & Development, Inc., a company founded by Tom Scholz, who is also the founder and a key member of the rock band Boston. Scholz Research & Development was sold to Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc. in 1995. Dunlop continues to manufacture the Rockman Ace, and Tom Scholz's signature still appears on the unit.

Scholz Research & Development, Inc. or SR&D is the name of the company founded by Tom Scholz to design and manufacture music technology products. The manufacturing facility was located in Woburn, Massachusetts, in the 1980s. Scholz is also a key member of the rock band Boston.

Morley Pedals is the name of a guitar effects pedal company, famous for manufacturing wah-wah pedals and other treadle type effects for guitar. Morley pedals use electro-optical circuitry rather than a potentiometer to control the effect. The foot treadle controls a shutter inside the pedal that in turn controls the amount of light reaching a Light Dependent Resistor (LDR). The advantage to this system is that there are no potentiometers in the signal path to wear out or become "scratchy sounding" over time. Electro-optical circuitry is used throughout the classic Morley pedal line, which includes or has included volume pedals, delay pedals, chorus and phaser pedals, and many others.

Electro-Harmonix

Electro-Harmonix is a New York-based company that makes high-end electronic audio processors and sells rebranded vacuum tubes. The company was founded by Mike Matthews in 1968. It is best known for a series of popular guitar effects pedals introduced in the 1970s and 1990s. Unknown to most people, EH also made a line of guitars in the 70's.

Ibanez Tube Screamer guitar overdrive pedal

The Ibanez Tube Screamer (TS9/TS808) is a guitar overdrive pedal, made by Ibanez. The pedal has a characteristic mid-boosted tone popular with blues and rock players. The "legendary" Tube Screamer has been used by countless guitarists to create their signature sound, and is one of the most successful, widely copied, and "modded" overdrive pedals in the history of the electric guitar.

DOD Electronics, or simply DOD, is a Harman International company that makes guitar effects pedals, many of which are now discontinued. Additionally, the company has made active crossover gear.

Delay (audio effect) audio effect reminiscent of an echo

Delay is an audio effect and an effects unit which records an input signal to an audio storage medium, and then plays it back after a period of time. The delayed signal may either be played back multiple times, or played back into the recording again, to create the sound of a repeating, decaying echo.

MXR company

MXR was a Rochester, New York-based manufacturer of effects pedals, co-founded in 1972 by Keith Barr and Terry Sherwood and incorporated as MXR Innovations, Inc. in 1974. The MXR trademark is now owned by Jim Dunlop, which continues to produce the original effects units along with new additions to the line.

The Stiletto Formal was a self-proclaimed "eccentric rock and roll" band from Phoenix, Arizona, and were one of the few rock bands featuring a cello and other exotic instruments and effects as an integral part of their sound. In addition to these qualities and unusual time signatures, Kyle Howard's falsetto provided distinction in their music. Their lyrics are often constructed into a short story format. They had gained a local fanbase in Arizona and were attracting national attention after playing nationwide tours and appearing on the Vans Warped Tour; however, band frontman Kyle Howard relocated to Los Angeles in 2009, and the group's Facebook and Myspace profiles have since been devoid of group activity.

Distortion (music) form of audio signal processing giving "fuzzy" sound

Distortion and overdrive are forms of audio signal processing used to alter the sound of amplified electric musical instruments, usually by increasing their gain, producing a "fuzzy", "growling", or "gritty" tone. Distortion is most commonly used with the electric guitar, but may also be used with other electric instruments such as bass guitar, electric piano, and Hammond organ. Guitarists playing electric blues originally obtained an overdriven sound by turning up their vacuum tube-powered guitar amplifiers to high volumes, which caused the signal to distort. While overdriven tube amps are still used to obtain overdrive in the 2010s, especially in genres like blues and rockabilly, a number of other ways to produce distortion have been developed since the 1960s, such as distortion effect pedals. The growling tone of distorted electric guitar is a key part of many genres, including blues and many rock music genres, notably hard rock, punk rock, hardcore punk, acid rock, and heavy metal music.

Re-amping is a process often used in multitrack recording in which a recorded signal is routed back out of the editing environment and run through external processing using effects units and then into a guitar amplifier and a guitar speaker cabinet or a reverb chamber. Originally, the technique was used mostly for electric guitars: it facilitates a separation of guitar playing from guitar amplifier processing—a previously recorded audio program is played back and re-recorded at a later time for the purpose of adding effects, ambiance such as reverb or echo, and the tone shaping imbued by certain amps and cabinets. The technique has since evolved over the 2000s to include many other applications. Re-amping can also be applied to other instruments and program, such as recorded drums, synthesizers, and virtual instruments.

Bass effects

Bass effects are electronic effects units that are designed for use with an electric bass and a bass amplifier, or for an upright bass and a bass amp or PA system. Bass effects are commonly available in stompbox-style pedals, which are metal or plastic boxes with a foot-operated pedal switch or button which turns the effect on and off. Most pedals also have knobs to control the tone, volume and effect level. Some bass effects are available in 19" rackmount units, which can be mounted in a road case. As well, some bass amplifiers have built-in effects, such as overdrive or chorus.

Maxon Effects

Maxon is the brand name used by the Nisshin Onpa company of Japan for its line of effects pedals designed for guitar and bass.

TC Electronic is a Danish audio equipment company that designs and imports guitar effects, bass amplification, computer audio interfaces, audio plug-in software, live sound equalisers, studio and post production equipment, studio effect processors, and broadcast loudness processors and meters.

Roland Jazz Chorus

Roland Jazz Chorus is the name given to a series of solid-state instrument amplifiers produced by the Roland Corporation in Japan since 1975. Its name comes from its built-in analog chorus effect. The Jazz Chorus series became increasingly popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s new wave and post-punk scenes because of its clean yet powerful sound, durability and relatively low cost when compared to the more commonly used tube amplifiers of the time such as Marshall or Fender. It also found favour amongst funk players in America. It also became popular to use for clean tones in heavy metal, with the most famous users being James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett from Metallica, and Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit.

Fuzz bass style of playing the electric bass or modifying its signal that produces a buzzy, distorted, overdriven sound

Fuzz bass, also called "bass overdrive" or "bass distortion", is a style of playing the electric bass or modifying its signal that produces a buzzy, distorted, overdriven sound, which the name implies in an onomatopoetic fashion. Overdriving a bass signal significantly changes the timbre, adds higher overtones (harmonics), increases the sustain, and, if the gain is turned up high enough, creates a "breaking up" sound characterized by a growling, buzzy tone.

Keyboard amplifier

A keyboard amplifier is a powered electronic amplifier and loudspeaker in a wooden speaker cabinet used for amplification of electronic keyboard instruments. Keyboard amplifiers are distinct from other types of amplification systems such as guitar amplifiers due to the particular challenges associated with making keyboards sound louder on stage; namely, to provide solid low-frequency sound reproduction for the deep basslines which keyboards can play and crisp high-frequency sound for the high-register notes. Another difference between keyboard amplifiers and guitar/bass amplifiers is that keyboard amps are usually designed with a relatively flat frequency response and low distortion. In contrast, many guitar and bass amp designers purposely make their amplifiers modify the frequency response, typically to "roll off" very high frequencies, and most rock and blues guitar amps, and since the 1980s and 1990s, even many bass amps are designed to add distortion or overdrive to the instrument tone.

References

  1. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-07-29.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. http://www.bossarea.com/images/b100.jpg%5B%5D
  5. "Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble « BossArea 2.0". www.bossarea.com. 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. http://www.geofex.com/Article_Folders/bypass/bypass.htm GEOFEX-Ins and Outs of Effect Bypassing

Further reading