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Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor

NS-2 Noise Suppressor (Boss)

This is the successor to the NF-1 Noise Gate and has been sold since 1987.

There are 2 controls “Threshold” and “Decay” and a Reduction/Mute switch: the controls have the same functions as “Sens” and “Decay” on the NF-1. The first one sets the level for the circuit to start working, the second sets the time needed to start after last note. The switch is used to select between two modes: in “Reduction” mode the expander circuit works when the music signal goes under the threshold. In “Mute” mode the noise reduction is always on and when the signal goes under the threshold there is a complete cut-off.

Two important additions are a LED showing if noise reduction or mute is on, depending on mode, and a couple of send / return jacks. Last but not least, there is a DC out: with a power supply and a cable you can use it to power other effects.

NS-2 Noise Suppressor (Boss) Box (italian version)

Specifications:

Input Impedance: 1 MOhm

Output Impedance: 10 kOhms or higher

Equivalent Input Noise Level: -110 dBu or less (IHF-A)

Current Draw: 20 mA

NS-2 on Boss USA site Not much detail here…

NS-2 on Boss Japan site (in english) with manual and some info

MXR ZW44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive

ZW44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive (MXR - Dunlop)

This is the signature overdrive pedal for Zakk Wylde, and sports a peculiar black and white bullseye drawing favoured from the guy himself.

I personally think this is a good overdrive, however you shouldn’t think that putting this between your guitar and a bad amp will give you the same sound :( A *good* tube head is mandatory.

The build quality is usual MXR: compact size, solid metal and built to last. Notice the rubber covers on the pot knobs: I’ve been told that should allow turning the pots using your feet, but I’m still thinking it was a joke :) .

One thing I don’t like is that you have to remove the 4 screws on the bottom plate to replace the battery.

ZW44 Zakk Wylde Overdrive (MXR - Dunlop) side view

Official page on Dunlop’s site, with info and audio samples

Some videos of people using this pedal on YouTube:

A review from ProGuitarShop

A review

A video in french language

Another video

Another video (last one :) )

Schematic on Analogguru’s page

Boss PQ-4 Parametric Equalizer

PQ-4 Parametric Equalizer (Boss)

This unit has been produced from 1991 to 1997, and it’s not really easy to find an used one. In my opinion the PQ4 is much better than its graphic counterparts (like the GE6 and GE7 from Boss, and other graphic equalizers) because of its flexibility. However, the PQ4 is something that requires a fine tuning to get your sound, and it isn’t a pedal suited to quick-and-dirty settings change: more like a sniper rifle than a shotgun. Concentric knobs don’t help, either.

Specifications:

Residual Noise Level: < -98dBm (IHF-A)

Input Impedance: 1 Mohm

Output Impedance: 1 kohm

Current Draw: 23mA

Recommended Load Impedance: > 10kOhm

Resources

Parametric EQ on wikipedia

Boss PH-1R Phaser

PH-1R Phaser (Boss)

This one, and its predecessor PH-1, may be considered classic phasers (the same can be said for old MXR units, too). It has been sold from 1980 to 1985: by the end of 1984 Boss started selling the PH2.

The PH-1R has a 3rd control labeled “RES” for “resonance” in addition to “Rate” and “Depth”, featured on the PH1 too.

As you may nave noticed, the unit in this photo is a little bit battered but still works like new :)

Resources

A sample video from youtube

A nice description and samples with synth on Slowburn site

PH1r’s page on DiscoFreq FX site

AXL DP-1 Distortion Pedal

DP-1 Distortion Pedal (AXL) - Top

This is a nice little pedal with an aggressive look, three control knobs, one switch and a led. The controls are named Tone, Distortion, and Level, and there is a switch to select between “Warm” and “Heat” positions. The shipping box is really funny with its “Slash!”, “Rock!”, “Twisted!” headlines as you can see in the next photo:’

DP-1 Distortion Pedal (AXL) - Box Top

The effect box is all-metal (erm…) apart from the plastic battery container on the right side, which you can see on the next photo. However I’m not sure this pedal would survive the treatment some of my other pedals had. The anti-skid rubber under the box is a nice touch.

DP-1 Distortion Pedal (AXL) - Battery compartment

I don’t think this unit is still in production, since on the official site www.axlguitars.com there’s only an analog multieffect board available, no stompboxes.

Specifications:

- Input impedance: 470 kOhm

- Output impedance: 1 kOhm

- Current draw: 6 mA

Vesta Fire CG-1 Comp / Gate

CG-1 Comp / Gate (Vesta Fire)

This is definitely an odd one… it has a noise gate and a compressor in a relatively compact single package, which is not a bad thing, but can’t work with a battery, which means that an AC adapter is mandatory. I don’t have a shipping box or manual, so I can’t tell if an adapter was sold with the unit: however any standard 9V adapter should work. The box uses electronic, not mechanical switching, and the physical feedback is simply awful: you can’t tell if you have actually pressed the buttons unless you look at the two LEDs. On a more positive note, there is a couple of send/return jacks on the top. While my unit has a light blue color, I’m sure I’ve seen the very same model in black. There were different units who shared the same box and physical structure, i.e. the R-1X Digital Reverb and the D-1X Digital Delay. The company is now called Vestax, and has an impressive catalog of DJ-oriented products, but no stompboxes as far as I know.