3 times BOSS went weird!

US Miles from boutique; still wild & wonderful      15/03/24

3 times BOSS went weird!

I'm sure that most guitarists, plus more than a few synth players, have a Boss pedal or two in their collection. The industry giants have long felt like a "bread and butter" brand for certain sounds; distortions (whether for guitars or 303s!), delays and of course, lush chorus.

But there are some incredibly exciting and wild tones to be found in their back catalogue, let's go!


2000's VF1 is essentially a red half-rack box'o'sounds. Various effects types are included and these can be chained together in various ways. Effects range from standard tones (high quality reverbs, delay, chorus) to all out weirdness. In addition to a sweet bitcrusher, the ring modulator is AMAZING. It tries to track the input pitch, and does a decent job on monophonic lines - but it totally freaks out if you play chords into it. For an oppressive, cyber-noir demo, check out 5:00 in this roundup of cool reverb sounds:


Yep, there was a time in the 80's where Boss decided to inject some drum synthesis into it's pedal lineup. Alongside the HC-2 Handclapper, the PC-2 came in a slightly larger enclosure than you usual Boss fare. Each sported a rubber trigger pad and a range of sound shaping options. The PC-2 featured a triangle oscillator, pitch envelope and LFO, perfect for those cool "Disco Toms" I've been hearing so much about...


BOSS Micro Rack Series

In the mid 80's, BOSS launched a whole range of half-rack effects. Known as the Micro Rack Series, they were a mostly monophonic affair (the RRV-10 reverb is stereo) that covered all the standards - chorus, delay, overdrive, phaser, etc. Novel features included power daisy-chaining (so you could run a whole rack of them off one or two beefy supplies) and a kind of "CV control" on some of the models.

The RPS-10 is one such model. Billed as a Pitch-shifter/Delay - you get delays up to 800ms, a reverse mode, and pitch-shifting +- one octave. The pitch-shifting effect is pretty pleasing, especially as delays can trail up or down in pitch; it's up to the job of being the "shimmer" in that classic reverb technique's signal path.

Most multi-effects pedals feature similar effects these days, so why is this unit sought after? There's a "keyboard control" jack on the back, which, when sent a simple monophonic waveform, will transpose the pitch shifting. The fun comes when you feed this jack other signals - tones outside of it's comfort zone! This fantastic video by EXPLORING AUDIO demonstrates such experimental usage.

I hope you've enjoyed this look at some of Boss's weird & wonderful designs. Don't worry, there's plenty more where these came from, including another legendary member of the Micro Rack range...

Posted by MagicalSynthAdventure an expert in synthesis technology from last Century and Amiga enthusiast.

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