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Boss SY-200

Guitar Synthesizer Pedal By Paul White
Published March 2022

Boss SY-200

The latest pedal in Boss’ SY series offers expressive synth sounds without the hassle.

If the Boss SY‑1 synthesizer pedal doesn’t quite do everything that you want from a guitar synth pedal, yet you feel that the SY‑300 is overkill, then the pedalboard‑friendly SY‑200 might just fall into your Goldilocks zone. It employs the same polyphonic synth engine as its aforementioned siblings, which means that it works with a standard guitar or bass — no special pickup required. It’s designed to produce a range of analogue‑style synth sounds, so you’ll find no sampled grand pianos or bagpipes on offer here!

Connectivity & Control

In addition to its input and output jacks, the pedal has parallel send and return jacks that allow the synth sound to be processed by other pedals of your choice. Delays are obviously good to explore with synth sounds, but you can hook up whatever you want to experiment with, and while it’s designed for use with pedals, I can’t see a problem with using line‑level devices so long as they have input and output level controls.

The pedal has MIDI I/O on mini‑jack connectors, as well as a micro USB port — the former for control, and the latter for firmware updates.The SY-200 pedal has MIDI I/O on mini‑jack connectors, as well as a micro USB port — the former for control, and the latter for firmware updates.There’s MIDI connectivity via 3.5mm TRS mini‑jacks (you will need adaptor cables for these), which would be especially useful in conjunction with Boss’s ES‑8 and ES‑5 loop switchers. This is joined by an expression jack for up to two external footswitches or an expression pedal, and a micro USB port for firmware updates. There’s no software editor, which the larger SY‑300 can boast, but since operation is very straightforward there’s really little need for one. Power comes from three AA batteries or an optional Boss PSA 9V adaptor.

A rotary control selects between 12 sound types, such as Lead, Pad, String, Bell, Organ and Bass, and each comes with a number of variations to give you a total of 171 sounds. You can then make very basic tweaks to the selected sound, typically filter resonance, cutoff and depth, but...

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