Boss OD-20

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Boss OD-20
Boss OD-20


General Information

Original Author: Staffay

Weapon: Boss OD-20

Make: Boss

Model: OD-20

Price: 160$ - 220$


Boss OD-20 is a multi-distortion unit that emulates 12 different well-known distortion/OD pedals with the help of COSM-technology (Composite Object Sound Modeling, a Roland technology for emulating sounds via digital signal processing). It also has four memory slots and headphone out as well as a "shape"-control that let the user shape the response according to the pick technique.

Technical Description

Boss-OD 20 is "dual" Boss unit in a metal casing with two pedals, one for activating/deactivating the unit and one for navigating between the four memory slots. It is driven by 6 AA batteries or external power supply (recommended) and it feels stable and sturdy in its construction. All the controls are placed on the upper part on the pedal, and the in/out jacks on the backside. Jacks include in/out, headphone/line out, amp control jack (for switching channels on the amp via OD-20) and a standard power adaptor jack. On the bottom there is a quick manual of how to store the presets/restore the factory settings.

The controls on the upper part is: Drive, Bottom, Tone, Level, Attack shape, Heavy Octave that is common for each sound. The "TYPE" -knob let's the user choose which pedal to emulate. There is also a "Variation"-knob that works in conjunction with the "TYPE"-knob as well as buttons for the memory slots.

The pedals/amps that are modelled are:

FULL-D (Fulltone OD)
CENTA OD (Klon Centaur)
FACE (Fuzz face)
OCT FUZZ (Octave fuzz)
The last six, from Boss own product range.


In Use

This is a very easy-to-use unit, except for that the vast amount of possibilities given - You probably will be sitting for hours adjusting controls and comparing sounds. The "shape"-control is really extremely powerful, so is the "bottom"-control. The "Heavy-Octave"-control works like an octavider and adds one note exactly one octave lower. The trick here is that it does it ONLY on notes below the D-string. This is very useful for metal players who wanna add that extra depht in the sound. It's easy to adjust the settings on-the-fly and the memory bank system is a piece of cake to understand. It doesn't state anywhere that this pedal is true-bypass, but my opinion is that it's true, since I can't hear a difference in the core sound whether it's connected or not. The amp-switching feature is just great, at the same time You are adding some distorsion, You can switch the channel on your amp letting You combine the amps "dirty" sound with the distorsion from the unit.


It's nearly impossible to describe what this unit sounds like due to all possibilities given, but compared to the original stomp-boxes it tries to emulate, I must say that it's very close - in some cases even better. The amplifier section is intended to use straight into the mixing console, and this works - but there is better amp emulators around. Boss own pedals emulated are very good - I can't tell no difference, this fact alone make's it a reason for buying this instead of a DS-1 and a OD-2 for instance. The emulation of Ibanez tubescreamer is also great. Pro-Co's Rat is close but I think the original sounds a little bit warmer.


This is a very competent product, and Boss sound-designers had really done a great job. It feels reliable, sturdy and it's good-sounding.

Overall Impression

This is the most competent multi-distorsion unit I've tested so far, and I must say that it is in a class of its own. For this price, You get so much distorsion that You can simulate nearly every tone possible. There are'nt any particular drawbacks with this unit, except for those listed below. If You are on a budget and is supposed to buy 1 distorsion box, add the extra money and You will have 22 instead!

-It's extreme many possibilities.
-The shape control
-The construction
-The Prize!!!
-Lack of bass/treble control. (minor problem since there is a knob for "bottom" and one for "tone")
-A blend control for the "Heavy Octave" would have been nice.
-Lack of power-supply, this unit EATS batteries, even though they say that it shall run up to 20 hours on 6 AA's.

Alternative Weapon

Go get the original boxes.