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Boss SD-1W Waza Craft Super Overdrive Review

Boss SD-1W Waza Craft Super Overdrive Review

by 2016/03/29


Product Name

Boss SD-1W Waza Craft Super Overdrive


• Versatile range of sounds
• Dual-mode design
• Lower noise than original
• Solid build quality


• Unimpressive in the looks department

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The SD-1W is a great update on a classic from Boss. It's versatile and can handle a range of tasks when set on your pedalboard, especially because of the new dual-mode set-up.

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The Boss SD-1W Super Overdrive is an update on the classic SD-1. The SD-1W is part of the company’s Waza Craft line of updated analog designs, which also includes the Boss DM-2W Delay, BD-2W Blues Driver and the latest release, the VB-2W Vibrato. The Super Overdrive has a very similar look and sound to the SD-1, although it adds a mode selector. This can be shifted from Standard to Custom. The former is a replication of the original pedal, while Custom provides a thicker, bass-heavy response and increased gain. The dual-mode design expands the range of tones the pedal is capable of, although it’s a fairly subtle shift.

Original pedal still a popular choice

The original Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive was released in 1981 and is still being manufactured. The pedal is frequently compared to the Ibanez Tube Screamer. They can both be used to thicken up the existing amp tone, or as a boost to add gain and sustain for a solo. Unlike the Tube Screamer, the Boss design uses asymmetrical clipping to produce gain, which is one factor that results in richer harmonic overtones.

The SD-1 is a frequently modded pedal, so presumably with the update Boss were trying to play catch-up. Among the updates, the SD-1W has lower noise, which is one of the popular mods techs have made for the original in the past. In Japanese “Waza” means art and technique. Boss state that the Waza Craft symbol represents the pinnacle of Boss design and craftsmanship. Getting past the PR-speak, we can take this to mean Boss is trying to enter territory previously held by boutique brands, and as mentioned, pedal modders. With a design like the SD-1W, they might be on the right track.

Boss SD-1W offers variety of tones

The buffered bypass SD-1W can produce a wide array of tones in Standard mode. On lower gain settings it produces a smooth, saturated overdrive. It can also provide a warm overdriven sound and when combined with the right amp, can produce articulate high gain tones appropriate for metal playing. The original pedal was already used for the latter purpose. With thicker tone available from the Custom mode, the newer design would be even more appealing for players who want to get into high gain territory.

Boss Waza SD-1W Control Knobs

Boss Waza SD-1W controls.

The controls have a very similar layout to the Boss DM-2W Delay and the BD-2W Blues Driver. The SD-1W has the typical broad Boss footswitch, mode switch and three control knobs on the face of the pedal: Level, Drive and Tone. The first two knobs are larger while Tone is smaller and set in the centre. It’s a simple control set-up and it works well. As mentioned there’s a range of tones available from the pedal and they can be controlled easily through the interactions between the mode switch and the three controls.

Related: Boss DM-2W Delay Pedal Review

Tough Boss build quality

The SD-1W has a tough metal chassis and the controls are recessed and well placed to avoid any damage. The Super Overdrive has the famous Boss build quality overall and should have no troubles being taken out on the road. Boss offer a five-year warranty on the pedal. It looks very similar to the original design, with the exception of the mode switch and a Waza Craft logo on the footswitch. Whether that’s a good thing or not is a matter of personal taste. Boss pedals from the ’80s are a pretty unremarkable looking bunch and the SD-1 was no exception.

Boss Waza SD-1W input and pedal

Boss Waza SD-1W Input and pedal close up.

The Boss SD-1W can be powered by 9V battery or via AC adaptor. The company ship a 9V battery with the pedal but no adaptor. The recommended adaptor is a Boss PSA Series AC adaptor. If you require this it’ll set you back another $24 or so.

So is it worth buying over the original? You can pick up a new SD-1 for around $50 online, while the SD-1W costs three times the price. For the extra outlay, you get lower noise, revised all-analog discrete amplifier circuit and of course, the expanded range offered by the dual-mode design. That could definitely be enough to warrant the purchase, depending on what you want out of your overdrive.

Boss Waza SD-1W Overdrivepedal

Boss Waza SD-1W Super Overdrive.

The SD-1W is a great update on a classic from Boss. The new features improve on the design while retaining the characteristics the original was known for. The SD-1W is versatile and can handle a range of tasks when set on your pedalboard, especially because of the new dual-mode set-up.

United States: Amazon, Musicansfriend
United Kingdom: Gearsformusic
International: Ebay, Thomann

Its sounds are pure, excels at pushing a plexi type amp, priced fairly, and like all Boss pedals, built like a tank.

The Custom mode is everything you think and more, it is on par with the best modded pedals out there.

If you need a good overdrive to push your clean amp or plexi into high gain territory, or if you need to just fatten the sound of your high gain amp this pedal is absolutely perfect. I highly recommend it.

One amazing overdrive. Compared to the Ibanez 808 this is sounds better it gets cleaner and way more drive in the custom mode. It's even less money.

  • Nominal Input Level: -20 dBu
  • Input Impedance: 1 M ohm
  • Nominal Output Level: -20 dBu
  • Output Impedance: 1 k ohm
  • Recommended Load Impedance: 10 k ohms or greater
  • Controls: Pedal switch, Mode switch, LEVEL knob, TONE knob, DRIVE knob,
  • Indicator: CHECK indicator (Serves also as battery check indicator)
  • Connectors: INPUT jack, OUTPUT jack, DC IN jack
  • Power Supply: Alkaline battery (9 V, 6LR61) or Carbon-zinc battery (9 V, 6F22), AC adaptor (sold separately)
  • Current Draw: 15 mA
  • Expected battery life under continuous use (These figures will vary depending on the actual conditions of use.): Carbon: Approx. 25 hours, Alkaline: Approx. 42 hours
  • Accessories: Owner's Manual, Leaflet ("USING THE UNIT SAFELY," "IMPORTANT NOTE," and "Information"), Carbon-zinc battery (9 V, 6F22)
  • Option (sold separately): AC adaptor (PSA series)

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician and journalist based in Melbourne, Australia.

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