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Rating and Reviews: Boss SY-1 Synthesizer Pedal

Make any guitar or bass sound like a full-fledged synth! With a staggering 121 sounds at your disposal, the compact SY-1 is sure to spark your creativity.

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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Absolutely FANTASTIC Pedal!!" submitted November 12, 2019

By Steve W. in Stuart, FL
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Musical Background: Playing 35 years. Mostly play at home or jam.
Music Style: Thrash and newer metal, classic rock and a little blues and jazz
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Overall: It took 3 months to get it, but it was worth the wait. I absolutely love this pedal. It finally arrived today and I've been playing it for 5 hours straight. It has a variety of good usable keyboard sounds that are easier to play than any other device I've tried to use. (tracking, polyphony and latency aren't an issue) That being said, the real shocker to me was what happened when I started mixing the guitar tone back in through an amp on the crunch channel. This turned into the most amazing fuzz / delay / univibe setup ever!! Many of the settings and sounds on the pedal have effects on them to create a more authentic keyboard sound but when you blend in guitar and run it through a mild / moderate crunch tone it is magical!! Seriously, even if you don't care about playing synth sounds this thing is a must own! I normally try to balance the good and bad in a review but I just have nothing bad to say at all.
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"Great "Traditional" Sounding Synth Pedal!" submitted September 23, 2020

By ALLAN B. in Tempe, AZ
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Musical Background: Playing over 40 years and still plunking around in bands
Music Style: Rock, Prog, Jazz
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Sound: I’m really happy with the sound pallet available on the SY-1. You can get Metheny style saw wave/string style leads, several organ sounds, Bladerunner basses etc. It’s got a lot of 80’s synth vibe to it. The sound editing is somewhat limited yes, but that’s exactly why I went back to the SY1 from the other synth pedals I tried. Sound for sound, I found the SY1 had the most usable sounds for my style. Pair it up with some chorus, delay, and long decay reverb and it is capable of sounding incredible. Feature: By far the best feature to me is that everything you need to make/change sounds is on the top. No PC editor required. While it does limit the capabilities it’s also much easier for an old guy like me to get musical sounds out of it without breaking out a manual or re-learning everything I have forgotten about synths LFO’s and filters from the '80s. Ease of Use: Very easy to use. Plug it in, turn some knobs until you smile. Pair it with an expression pedal for even more fun things to do. Quality: It’s Boss. It’s built like a tank. If zombies rush the stage it could be used as a weapon. Clean it up, plug it back in, and keep playing. Value: When compared to similar offerings from Source Audio, Meris, EHX, I think the SY1 is a fair value. A bit less functionality but what you get instead is easy access to usable sounds for a few bucks less. Manufacturer Support: In the 40 years I’ve been using Boss I’ve only contacted them once. No issues. The Wow Factor: Synth pedals aren’t for everyone, sure. But for that occasional something different on a lead or just for tooling around over ambient soundscapes they can be a lot of fun. Overall: I would consider myself your garden variety guitar player. I play rhythm and lead in a rock cover band and do some ambient and prog stuff on my own and this fits right in with the rest of the gear on my pedalboard. I’ve tried a few other guitar synth pedals from Boss, Meris, and Source Audio and ended up going back to this one because it fits my style and needs the best. The tracking is very, very good. In my humble opinion it tracks better than the C4. I’m not Alex Hutchings but I can play moderately fast and it keeps up with no issues. Compared to other synth pedals this is much more straightforward but also much more limited in sounds. It’s very 80’s vs some of the more experimental sounds you can get out of the others, but that’s what I was looking for. If you are looking for bleeps and boops sounds or want deep editing, this pedal probably isn’t for you. If you are looking for a more traditional GR style sounding synth then this is definitely worth checking out.
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"So far so good, and getting better" submitted September 7, 2020

By Raymond M. in THERMOPOLIS, WY
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Musical Background: Musically active for 51 years; picking guitar for 42 of those.
Music Style: Music Style? Umm...yes, I enjoy Music Style. Too bad there's so little of it these days...(Blues, rock, jass, old c&w, church wo
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Overall: First - I had a GK-10 rig into an SC-88 in the 90s. As complex and finicky as that rig was I was able to put it to good use. That's my reference point.The SY-1 tracks better and responds to playing/picking nuances WAY better than the old 90s synth, without the extra cables and special pickup. I bought the SY-1 mostly for the organ sounds, also for whatever pads it had. I am completely happy with the realism of the Hammond-esque sounds I am hearing out of this peddle. The string and pad sounds are useful as well.I have been mixing organ/guitar at the 50/50 setting, strumming at the beginning of a chord change, holding the organ with the foot pedal, and then continuing to strum and solo over the now-background organ. Effective. I haven't yet tried 100% organ comping or soloing. Eventually I'll advance to that.The strings and pad voicings I've been mixing around 33%/66% synth/guitar to add depth and texture to my rhythm playing. So far audience response has been positive, with more than one person saying they were wondering where the synth sounds were coming from
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"Not so much...." submitted October 10, 2019

By Paul A. in McKinney, TX
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Musical Background: Many decades Les Paul player only top shelf gear.
Music Style: jazz fusion covering full range of mixed styles (not country or any sort of poppy, rappish stuff)
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Overall: I had expectations for this pedal hoping just half of what I imagined it could do for me as an ambient side chain. I just really hated it, it was a next day send back, And I waited over 2mos to get one! Maybe some will like it or manage to get something out of it. I used to have a GR-55 rig and I loved that thing. Now, to be honest I am not a Boss fan and have not really touched a Boss pedal in ages, I did opt for the Waza Dimension C which is in my view much better and optioned than the original could ever hope to be. So SY1, seemed wicked cool, sucked in by the apparent doctored vids one sees. To me it was comparable to a Ring Mod of noises and tones w a sequencer, a collage of what for me was a lot of non-musical unusable stuff. But to each his own I guess. Boss seems to have some nice stuff w their new smaller DD pedals but I have no need for much stuff these days. I am loaded up Fractal FX8 effects and array of preamp/amp in a box pedals. Thought the SY1 would be a nice goof, it was a send back for me. I wish all of you better luck.
7 of 27 people (25.93%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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