The latest addition to Boss’s range of iconic compact pedals, the SY-1 takes the tech from their groundbreaking SY-300 guitar synth and squeezes it into a more pedalboard friendly design with simplified, intuitive controls.
There’s 11 sound categories to choose from, transforming your guitar into a classic sounding analog synth, with sounds ranging from layered pads and leads to phat basses, organs and other sound effects, and each category has 11 variations, so that’s a total of 121 onboard sounds to choose from. There’s two simple knobs to tweak either the synthesiser tone or the rate and the depth of any modulation, and all of the sounds are super responsive to your playing, reacting to dynamics, bends and vibrato really naturally and expressively.
Unlike the guitar synths of a few years ago, just like it’s bigger brother the SY300, there’s no need for any specialist pickups to be fitted to your guitar, you just plug straight in with a standard 1/4” jack cable and select whether you’re using either a guitar or bass via the switch on the back of the pedal. It’s really impressive how well the pedal actually tracks what you play, with virtually zero latency and glitching, it works equally well with guitar or bass, and there’s separate volume controls allowing you to blend your original guitar tone with the synth sounds.
To add to it’s versatility, the pedal features a send and return, so for example you can loop in a drive pedal to your dry signal before blending it with the synth engine, or the send can be used as a separate output, so the guitar and synth tones can be routed to separate destinations.
One of our favourite features of the SY1 is it’s sound hold function. By pressing and holding the pedal, you can freeze and sustain the synth sound, so you can then jam over the top with your regular guitar tone, and you can also increase the expressive possibilities by connecting an external pedal, either a standard foot switch to access tap tempo and octave shift effects, or an expression pedal for hands free, real time control over the Tone slash Rate knob.
Just like every other Boss compact, it features their legendary bulletproof construction and comes supplied with a 5 year warranty, and rather surprisingly for a pedal like this, it’s power consumption is only 85mA, so unlike other synth pedals from the likes of Electro-Harmonix, this means it can run on a 9 volt battery, a standard power supply, or a lower milliamp output on a power brick, making it even more pedalboard friendly.
Take a look and listen with PMTVUK and try one out at your local Professional Music Technology store...