BOSS pedals small.jpgWhen it comes to guitar effects pedals, or “stomp boxes” as they are often referred, the Boss brand pedals are certainly among the most ubiquitous on a guitarist’s pedal board. The BOSS OD-1X—BOSS’ newest Overdrive offering—The BOSS BD-2w Blues driver, and the BOSS TE-2 Tera Echo are among the newest effect pedal offering from the revered company. The 3 pedals on review here all have their own little nuances and tones to offer and it ultimately will depend on what you are looking for in your pedal that will determine which you will want to purchase and add to your pedal board.

The Boss OD-1X is the newest overdrive offering and unlike the original OD-1 is not simply a reissue of that classic yellow beast but is an entirely reimagined look at what an overdrive pedal can do. The Boss BD-2w is the newest Blues Driver pedal and offers you exactly that, the warm milky tones of the blues with a hint of distortion/overdrive and heapings of that emotional sustain that won’t let you forget all the pain and hardship in each note. The Boss TE-2, or Tera Echo 2, is the most unique of the offering reviewed here.


 boss OD-1X small.jpg

The OD-1X has moved the BOSS overdrive pedal past it’s classic analog roots and immersed itself squarely in the digital world with a new technology it calls Multi-Dimensional Processing, or MDP. I’ll be honest, I’ve read a great deal about it in the last few days and frankly, still don’t really understand it. The most general way that I can explain what I think I got out of this is to say that an analog pedal takes the signal and applies whatever effect that pedal has to the entire input signal while the MDP pedals (there are a few now) can break the original signal up into various parts and apply varying levels of the effect(s) to as many parts of the new multi-signal as you want. As BOSS themselves state on their website, “it is almost like having six pedals at once”. Suffice it to say that the tone produced is different than its overdrive forefathers and is on display at the end of the blog in a brief video that shows some examples of all the effects.

The first thing to notice is the new aesthetic. While the pedal itself is still in the overdrive family of yellow and the size and footprint are the same, there are 4 knobs on this bad boy instead of 3 and they reside over a new mirrored chrome faceplate that really does add significant pizazz to the unit. Even something seemingly small and insignificant like the screw that holds the footplate closed has been returned to its original metal state and away from the plastic of recent years. Small change? Yes, but a nice touch for sure that does lend to the overall feeling of quality in construction and attention to detail. As always, these new BOSS pedals are designed and built to look sharp and feel strong and their construction is impeccable. What really matters, however, is the how it works and sounds.

Using the pedal on various settings at differing levels, and comparing it to my older BOSS overdrive pedal, the first thing that immediately stood out for me was the warmth of this pedal’s tone. While I like my older BOSS overdrive/distortion pedal (the BOSS OS-2) and use it to get that classic rock tone, the OD-1X is certainly warmer sounding and has a certain level of clarity that was lost in the older iterations. The OD-1X, apparently as a result of the MDP technology, is able to apply the overdrive to several the highs, mids, and lows in a more evenly distributed way that the analog version could not. The result is that the tone created isn’t too high or too thin and produces a very pleasing grit to the original signal that isn’t too dirty and lets each individually picked note or each note of a chord ring through.

As I played through this pedal all I could think was that I wish I had a Fender Telecaster to play as I could only imagine how the tone would shine with that setup. The overall tenor of the pedal can best be described as natural and I couldn’t help but notice that the pedal was responding directly to how I picked the strings. Thick and full of sustain, the OD-1X shines in its responsiveness. At the end of the day, it always depends on what sound or feeling you are going for but for that hard rock tone I found the Boss OD-1X to be a substantial improvement on the great pedals that came before it. This will find its way onto my pedal board in short order thanks to its warm organic sound and range of aural possibilities.


BOSS Tera Echo small.jpgCertainly the most unique of the 3 pedals looked at here, it is also the one that will likely have the most limited mass appeal. Because of the sounds it ultimately produces, it will have a rather narrow field of users but those that are searching for an effects pedal that will deliver unique atmospheric and resonant echo/reverb/delay will gravitate quickly to the TE-2. Personally, this pedal holds little appeal to me and while I did have fun playing with it and seeing just what ethereal soundscapes I could produce, I have no practical application for them as I tend to function in the hard rock and metal world of guitar. As such, I can speak only to what the pedal does and from there you can determine its usefulness or applicability in your own context. Like the OD-1X, the Tera Echo is also manufactured based on the MDP technology framework which allows the echo effect to be added to multiple parts of the original input guitar signal which does nicely layer the echo providing some nice thick sweeping resonance adding levels to the swooping effects you ultimately produce.


While technically not a reverb or a delay pedal, BOSS does offer those, it certainly has some similar characteristics with what is presented. The echo effect does provide a thickness to the proceedings which at the very least, offer a nuanced texture to your guitar work. One significant aspect of the TE-2 is the “freeze” feature. If you were to hit a chord for instance and then depress and hold the pedal, it will continue to sound as long as you keep the pedal depressed. This allows you to then layer guitar over top of the loop. I found that the overall effect of the Tera Echo works best on chords or passages rather than on single note pickings. When picking a single note the sound was very digital to my ears and not terribly natural feeling whereas in a chord pattern or rapid progression of notes is lays back a bit more to provide a nice warm bed of ambience.


 Boss Blues Driver small.jpg

The BOSS BD-2w is the update to BOSS’ classic blues driver, but like the other pedals looked at here, with a unique new twist. Like its forbearer, the BD-2w has the classic volume, tone, and drive knobs but offers up a switch that allows the user to shift between Standard mode and Custom mode. The standard mode is exactly that, it gives you the classic tone of the Blues Driver that lets you work within relatively limited parameters as far as sculpting sound. It has often been referred to as flat EQ control and that is certainly fine for many users used to a certain standard of tone from their Blues Driver pedal. Custom mode, however, will allow you more leeway with your equalizing as it adds significantly more grit and depth to the outputted signal while ensuring that this tone doesn’t devolve into that thin or high range shrill that is often the case. It provides more than enough punch to build up a nice emotional bluesy texture with “sustain and body”, which is what BOSS claims and certainly deliver with this pedal.

As I noted with all of these pedals, the responsiveness to your picking attack is a major plus to this new breed of guitar effect pedal. Nuanced tone for nuanced picking and a relatively aggressive shift when you bear down on the pick and attack your strings. There is little if any compression that appears to be added so it also allows for a more resonant bottom end that comes incredibly close to reproducing a tone that you might get from a traditional tube amplifier. Some users have been moving into the boutique pedal market in recent years citing the rationale that it offers more diversity and tone and user flexibility and with the release of the BD-2w, BOSS is answering these critics. This new breed of effect pedals that BOSS is releasing are all increasingly versatile in how they respond to the uniqueness of each player and in the range of sounds and tones they will allow you to create.


If these are effects that you are looking for then I suggest you hit your local Best Buy and give them a test drive to see if they are able to provide that tone or effect you are looking for.

Darren Blakeborough
My day job is as an Assistant Professor in Media and Communication Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley. My primary teaching and research interests revolve around popular culture and technology. I am an adequate at best guitar player currently attempting to romanticize my inglorious youth in a Hair Metal cover band called "Glam Chowder”. When not working or watching TV, I am usually listening to music, recording music, playing music, or trying to figure out what gear I need to make all of that music sound even better.


  1. I’d love to test drive the TE-2, it sounds right up my alley. Some of my favourite effect pedals are the ones I can play with while I’m kneeling over them Smiley Very Happy

  2. Then you really should give this a shot because that was exactly how I used it for well over an hour. Unfortunately, while I was more than sufficiently impressed with the range of sounds I could employ, I don’t personally have a use for those. I can certainly seeing it fitting the bill for others that do though.

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