I told you they were coming. You can just feel the presence. Gear…that was not made in Iceland. Nor by a guitar-carving, rare Icelandic tree-chopping hermit. And no magic pixie dust. Doesn’t even look cool. Just having it in your close proximity makes you feel like you don’t know a thing about guitar; that you just walked into Guitar Center one day, and bought something to try to look cool. (Of course, the irony is that most of us don’t play Boss pedals because we think boutique pedals look cooler. Curse stupid logic!) But maybe in the end, that’s exactly why we like gear. Whether our thing is Boss or boutique, we just like what certain pedals seem to say about our talent and level of commitment to the guitar. To the Boss players, it says, ‘Look at me. I can sound good with anything.’ And to the boutique players, it says, ‘Look at me. I sound so good that I need gear that will match me in quality.’ Wow. I was trying to start off with something at least mildly humourous, and I waxed serious right off the bat. Eh, at least I spelled ‘humourous’ like I want to be British, which I of course do. That’s gotta be worth something.

Which is why I bought the PS3. I’ve played both the PS3, and the current version PS5. The PS3 went out of production in 1999. And somehow, I was able to convince myself that that meant vintage. Yep. And it most definitely doesn’t. The PS5 sounds better. Well, if you want just straight pitch-shifting. It sounds like all the digital effects from Boss’s ’3′ series used the same digital processing. Because both this pedal and the RV3 seem to fail a bit at what they’re supposed to do…but sound very cool to add weird digital artifacts buried in your sound somewhere. Interesting. Anyway, here’s the demo of it:

The Good

–The detune effects. Very clear, and sounded decidedly much more modulation-like than most of the detune effects I’ve played. It had that older digital sound that it able to be crisp but lo-fi at the same time. I really liked that. Actually the overall sound of this unit was very good.

–The delays were nice. I mean, highly untweakable, but they sounded better than I thought they would.

–The dual settings were a cool option.

–Surprisingly, the buffer was not bad. The difference was so subtle that I didn’t film it, but sounded good enough to mention.

–Thank goodness it had a mix knob. I see a lot of effects these days without those, and it just doesn’t make sense to me not to have one.

–It’s a Boss pedal. It’ll survive the apocalypse, zombie or no. Boss has always had a great track record of being these little mini tanks.

The Bad

–The actual pitch-shifting was not very good, in my humble opinion. Glitchy, and for the two octave up stuff, which is why I was after this pedal in the first place, you can hear the processing working. Stuttery-sounding. However, I think this pedal’s, like the RV3′s, shortcomings are part of the reason it’s sought after. I can see those sounds being very cool if used in certain parts of songs sparingly, and for a lo-fi, glitchy effect.

–Even though the overall sound of the unit was very good, it excelled most at some short ambient modulation sounds…for which analog pedals tend to sound better. If this pedal had been able to take those good sounds and transfer them into more useable options like the actual pitch-shifting, it would have been much better. I have high hopes for the PS-5…which thus far I’ve only played through whatever amp Guitar Center has bolted to the ground below the little Boss Kiosk thing, and running through then like, 40 buffers. Nothing like tone at Guitar Center.

The Me

–Obviously, I have no idea what to do with a whammy. ;) Ah, it keeps ya humble.

The Verdict

–Nope. Maybe as a glitchy novelty effect every once in a while, but there is cheaper gear that does what the PS3 does well, much better. In my humble opinion. And hopefully this is not just a knee-jerk reaction to having a Boss pedal in the house.

And apologies for the short review. (Ya, stop cheering, some of you.) Gonna try to make it to NAMM tomorrow, and I need some hours tonight to prepare mentally. (That means, think about U2, for those of you who were wondering. And I’m guessing most of you already knew that.)

Splendid.
Karl.