Pros:This is the bomb if a true, vintage sound is what you are after.
Cons:Don't use this pedal for an all around distortion box as it's more for color.
The Bottom Line: A pedal that a very specific amplifier aficionado would be proud to use but not recommended as a distortion box for most players though I would use it.
Among the great distortion pedals or gain pedals of lore are the MXR Distortion and the Ibanez Tube Screamer.
Recommend this product?
While there are many others out there which are pretty good and deserve kudos here, I would like to add one to the "greats" list and that is the BOSS Fender Deluxe Reverb Amplifier pedal.
With a volume/gain, treble, and bass knobs and a way to turn the pedal on and off by stomping on it, and a small light indicator to show its status as on or off, the design is like almost every pedal on the market. With Fender's permission and licensing, Roland has this BOSS pedal set in black with a period correct, white Fender logo from the 1960s. It almost looks as if Fender made this pedal, but that's the general idea here.
While I have seen some call this stomp box one which gives a true tube sound, I think the pedal gives a fairly strong recreation of the classic Fender tube sound without having an actual tube in the pedal like some other more expensive pedal products. The best pedal to get a tube sound out of would actually have to sport a 12AX7 or similar tube in a preamp mode to get the real tube sound but few will be able to notice the difference. If you want that setup, then skip this pedal and be prepared to spend two hundred bucks or more for a pedal with a tube in it.
I will say for the clean setting, I didn't notice a lot of change in what it does to a tube or transistor amp, but in a slightly distorted setting with the pedal, the over-driven Fender tube sound is replicated.
While not the most popular distortion for all guitar players, this pedal hearkens to a more vintage, pre-heavy metal form of an over-driven amplifier. If you want a slightly distorted sound with a lot of warmth but very little bite, then this pedal has that mid-1960s (or earlier) over-driven Fender tube sound which it set out to sound like.
Direct to PA ease:
Some distortion boxes are so powerful and saturate every square inch of spatial real estate that they would be far too harsh if directly plugged into a PA system.
What makes this BOSS pedal great is that for its lack of balls to the walls distortion, it has just enough to make a guitar sound like it's being played through an amp with a mic when it goes right through the PA directly.
One does not have to bring an amp to a gig with this pedal if a few, key sounds from the guitar is what one needs for the show. You could go with a Fender clean tone, or one with slight distortion, or either with or without reverb. I would not recommend using this pedal direct into a PA for a more modern and heavy distortion.
Fender spring reverb tone:
While it is not rocket science to get a spring reverb tone from a pedal unit, it's a nice extra touch to this BOSS product. While reverb has greatly fallen by the wayside in many forms of guitar playing, and the added vibrato effect which can be altered directly by the foot, I don't mind spending an extra 20% percent for those options. For a price of around $110-120 dollars street, it's not the cheapest pedal but it's worth every penny for the right guitarist.
I don't see myself using reverb or vibrato too much these days but if I ever find myself recording, this pedal and those vintage effects may come in handy to add a little color to the guitar track.