Does anyone know of any distortion pedals that have tone similar to the Boss DS-1? I love the smoothness, boost, and grind that this pedal offers, but I'm curious if there's a similar pedal that might give me a little more control than "tone" and gain. I know that Boss has a few other distortion pedals, but I haven't messed with them enough to compare. Does anyone own a DS-2 or something similar that might be able to give me a recommendation?
Blackstar have a range of valve pedals which offer awesome gain: Blackstar HT Pedals
They are totally worth the extra cost and include feature such as an emulated speaker output, and infinite shape feature, which I can vouch for as being brilliant since I have a HT venue combo; which I use for all my Home recording.
Picking a distortion is much like picking a girlfriend. There are so many factors that can influence what you want or don't want that it becomes nearly impossible to give anyone a decent recommendation as a one liner. So, I'm going to try and enumerate some general attributes of distortions as I know them. Note that people have spent years experimenting with overdrives (points finger at self), and a new one comes out every year. I've yet to find an overdrive that's "perfect" by my standards, but I have a couple that come pretty darn close. To decrease the complexity of the issue I won't include boosts in my recommendation--those an entirely different animal.
Zendrive 2: A tube bassed high gain version of the zendrive. I liked it, but ended up selling it. It didn't play nice with my amplifier.
Jetter Stage Gold: A great overdrive with some sick vintage high gain tones. Simple, and reviewed on PGS.
Lovepedal provalve: Two gains in one, reviewed on PGS. This would be my favorite high gain distortion.
Zendrive: A very nice, tweakable and infamous overdrive. It's decently transparent and will give you a nice versatile set of tones. Sounds very much like a tubescreamer.
Jetter Stage Purple: A nice plexi emulator for blackfaces. Easy to use.
Lovepedal Kanji: Sean has some good stuff, and the Kanji is a more tweakable version of the Eternity overdrive. Reviewed at PGS.
Tim/Timmy: You will be hard pressed to find a better overdrive than the Tim/Timmy by Paul Chochrane. It's the most transparent overdrive on the market, and the controls are very intuitive. Note that the breed of "transparent" overdrives are designed to accent a tube amplifier's dirt, so they may not work well with solid state rigs.
Rock Box Boiling Point: Will do anything from a plexi to functioning as a transparent boost. This guy is a monster, but it'll cost you. Reviewed at PGS. Hands down the most versitile overdrive I own.
I would say the Digitech - Hot Head, it is a replica of DS1 with extra "low" knob.
There are many comparison videos on youtube you could check out