BOSS LS-2 – review of the great Line Selector

The LS-2 Line Selector made by BOSS is a fine blend pedal. It is one of the hidden treasures among stomp box effects. You might need one, even if you still don’t know what it does.

The Swiss army knife of pedals

BOSS LS-2 - a great Line SelectorYou can look at the BOSS LS-2 as a two channel mixer/pre-amp. But with the multiple switching and signal routing options, you can accomplish just about any two- or three-to-one, one-to-two or -three routing scheme, meaning that for example you can use the pedal for feeding up to three instruments into an amp, or create a stereo setup playing your guitar into two amps, etc. Just looking at the sample settings (included in the box) can make your head hurt. There aren’t a lot of things you can’t do with this simple looking white pedal if you think creatively and understand the basic construction of it, in which the pedal’s block diagram (see the manual) comes handy.

Lots of options

So let’s take a look at the basic functions. First of all there are six jacks on the LS-2, named RETURN A, RETURN B, INPUT, SEND A, SEND B, OUTPUT. There are three knobs on the pedal, two of them are the level controls for the two (pre-amp) channels, from zero volume up to 20dB; in the non-notched middle position they have unity gain, so the input and the output levels are the same. The third knob is a rotary switch, you can select the six different modes with it. These modes are the following:

a-b: Pressing the pedal alternately selects Line A or Line B.

a-bypass: Pressing the pedal alternately selects Line A or Bypass.

b-bypass: Pressing the pedal alternately selects Line B or Bypass.

a-b-bypass: Pressing the pedal repeatedly selects (in sequence) Line A, Line B or Bypass.

a-b-mix-bypass: Pressing the pedal alternately selects Line A + Line B (mixed) or Bypass.

output-select: Pressing the pedal repeatedly selects (in sequence) Send A, Send B or Output.

As you can see, even in its basic – line selecting – role, the pedal has many uses. It’s worth mentioning that you can put as many pedals in each line as you want, as long as you have room for them and enough patch cables – at the right length – of course.

Boost it!

The LS-2 is not noisy at all, and turning up either or both gain knobs you can use each channel as a clean boost. I often use it for quick switching between two effect channels without having to step on multiple footswitches (A<->B mode); for mixing two effects or effect lines in parallel (A+B MIX mode); or for parallel compression, with plugging a compressor in one line and leaving the other line unplugged (A+B MIX mode). This way you’re not forced to use compressors with built-in blend function anymore (for example the Barber Tone Press), because you can achieve that with the compressor of your choice and the LS-2.

The pedal and its footswitch are the usual, sturdy BOSS quality, with a clean sounding, buffered bypass. It works with regular center negative 9V DC adapters, or you can also use a 9V battery. An additional feature is that you can power other effect pedals with the LS-2 by connecting a DC cord to the AC Adaptor Out jack.

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