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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,samplers 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.
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). 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. 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'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.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.
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 ]
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.
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.
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.
An effects unit or effectspedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument or other audio source.
Roland Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. It was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972. In 2005, Roland's headquarters relocated to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. It has factories in Taiwan, Japan, and the USA. As of March 31, 2010, it employed 2,699 employees. In 2014, Roland was subject to a management buyout by Roland's CEO Junichi Miki, supported by Taiyo Pacific Partners.
Vox is a musical equipment manufacturer founded in 1957 by Thomas Walter Jennings in Dartford, Kent, England. The company is most famous for making the Vox AC30 guitar amplifier, used by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Queen, Dire Straits, U2 and Radiohead, the Vox Continental electric organ, the Vox wah-wah pedal used by Jimi Hendrix, and a series of innovative electric guitars and bass guitars. Since 1992, Vox has been owned by the Japanese electronics firm Korg.
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.
Reason is a digital audio workstation for creating and editing music and audio developed by Swedish software company Reason Studios. Reason emulates a rack of hardware synthesizers, samplers, signal processors, sequencers, and mixers, all of which can be freely interconnected in an arbitrary manner. Reason can be used either as a complete virtual music studio or as a set of virtual instruments to be used with other sequencing software in a fashion that mimics live performance.
Scholz Research & Development, Inc. or SR&D is the name of the company founded by musician and engineer Tom Scholz to design and manufacture music technology products. Scholz was an MIT-trained engineer who developed many of his skills working on audio-production equipment as a product design engineer at Polaroid in the early 1970s. A musician in his off-time, he developed a recording studio in the basement of the apartment building where he lived, utilizing many home-built devices. Recordings made in his home studio later became the debut album of the band Boston, while the Scholz's proceeds from the success of his band were used to found the company to further develop and sell market versions of his inventions. Many of the devices were marketed under the Rockman brand.
Elektron is a Swedish developer and manufacturer of musical instruments founded in 1998, as well as having its headquarters, R&D and production in Gothenburg, Sweden. They produce mainly electronic musical instruments, but have also made effects units and software. Since 2012, there have been branch offices in Los Angeles and in Tokyo.
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 photoresistor. The advantage to this system is that there are no potentiometers in the signal path to wear out and 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 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.
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.
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 is an audio signal processing technique 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 is 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 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, 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 a 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, while the use of distorted bass has been essential in a genre of hip hop music and alternative hip hop known as "SoundCloud rap".
Maxon is the brand name used by the Nisshin Onpa company of Japan for its line of effects pedals designed for guitar and bass.
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.
Strymon is a brand of music electronics by Damage Control Engineering. They are best known for their line of high end guitar effects pedals which use a mixture of analog circuitry and digital signal processing. The company is based in Westlake Village, California, and manufactures their products in the United States.
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