DS-1 Distortion|DS-1 Distortion

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This is truly a classic distortion pedal. It produces a distortion sound with a hard edge and is known to have a very low noise level compared to other distortion pedals. Many people swear that the older “Made in Japan” models sounds better than the newer “Made in Taiwan” models. The DS-1 has over the years been used by a lot of great guitar players. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani are two players who has voiced their praise over this pedal. The DS-1 is also a favorite among modifiers. Keeley, Analogman and Stinkfoot all provide their own versions of this icon among distortion makers.

Version differences

The design of the DS-1 has changed significantly twice throughout its lifetime. First time was around 1994 when the Toshiba TA7136AP opamp was replaced with the Rohm BA728N. In 2000 the opamp was again changed. This time it was replaced with the Mitsubishi M5223AL. Regardless of the circuit changes, the DS-1 sounds just like it did when first released back in 1978.

DS-1 Distortion

The DS-1 has also gone through a number of cosmetical changes. The earliest version had a clear switch, silver thumb screw and the D in DS-1 placed directly underneat the t in Distortion. The clear switch disappeared around serial number 8700, the silver thumb screw at serial number 0500 while the D in DS-1 ended up under the i in Distortion around serial number 13xx00.


  • Controls: Tone, Level, Dist
  • Connectors: Input, Output, AC Adaptor
  • Current Draw: 4 mA (DC 9V)
  • Weight: 400 g (15 oz.)
  • Nominal Input Level: -20dBu
  • Input Impedance: 470kOhm
  • Nominal Output Level: -20dBu
  • Output Impedance: 1kohm
  • Recommended AC Adaptor: ACA or PSA Series (depending on production year)


  • Black – Made In Japan
  • Silver – Made In Taiwan

The DS-1 was sold from June 1978 to present.