Boss squeezes 121 synth sounds into a floor stomp
If your band doesn't have a keyboard player but your guitarist wants to rock the house with the spirit of Rick Wakeman or Jean-Michel Jarre, you can use something like Fishman's excellent TriplePlay to tap into some sweet synth sounds. Or you could go for a synth-in-a-stomp like the impressive Synth9 from EHX. As you might expect, Boss has gone for the latter form factor for the SY-1 Synthesizer pedal, which puts a massive 121 synth sounds at the feet of guitarists.
The SY-1 is the same pedalboard-friendly size as other Boss stomps, and boasts an impressive array of analog-style synth emulations including lead, pad, organ and bass sounds. And it delivers those sounds without the player needing to install a MIDI pickup on a guitar or having to dive into complicated programming.
All you need to do is plug in an instrument cable (and feed the output to an amp) and you're good to go. Boss says that its custom DSP will result in lag-free playing, and there's a switch at the back caters for guitar or bass instrument optimization.
The mammoth sound bank is divided into 11 types with 11 variants in each section, but synth voices can be further tweaked using Tone/Rate and Depth knobs, and the pitch can even be altered on some of the selections.
The SY-1 has a few clever tricks up its sleeve too, including the ability to sustain a sound by holding down the footswitch and there's an input for connecting an expression pedal for continuous Tone/Rate control, or an external footswitch for tap tempo and octave-shifts.
The stomp includes send and return jacks that allow players to blend the synth sounds with one or more of the other pedals in a chain, and when the send output flies solo, it can route synth and guitar sounds to different locations – such as different amps or inputs on a desk.
The synth-packed pedal can run on a 9 V battery or a DC adapter and is priced at US$199.99, the video below has more.
Product page: Boss SY-1 Synthesizer