A pedal with no sound!? Yes, but it can create awesome sounds when used with other pedals and make them sound better. How, you ask? Let’s find out…
In short, the Boss LS-2 Line Selector is a utility pedal that functions as a small line mixer with 3 channels if you count in the bypassed input/output channel. And this simple concept can actually be useful in a number of ways.
You have no less than 6 jack sockets: INPUT/OUTPUT, SEND/RETURN A and SEND/RETURN B. As the labeling suggests, you can use the A and B channels to set up effect loops by inserting one or more pedals, but you could also route signals between several basses and/or amps.
The LS-2 has three knobs, two of which are rotating and both named LEVEL. However, they have different colors – the left one is green and controls channel A while the right one is red and controls channel B. Each channel also has a green and red LED respectively, indicating when the channel is switched on or off.
The third knob, MODE, is white and is really a 6-way selector that allows you to choose between 6 different modes. Pretty logical, but let’s take a closer look at each mode and see what they can do.
MODE 1: A <-> B
This mode simply switches between channel A and B. One way to use this, could be to switch between two different chains of pedals, which would be like having two presets in a multi effects board and be able to switch between, say, a sound with overdrive and compression and another with chorus and delay. Normally, that would require a bit of tap dancing, and more time than just one stomp.
MODE 2: A <-> BYPASS
It’s pretty self-explanatory that this simply switches between channel A and bypass. You could use it for inserting an old, noise pedal or one that steals a lot of signal, but it sounds so great (or you’re emotionally attached to it) that you can live with that as long as you don’t have to pass your signal through it all the time. If it drops the level of your signal, the LEVEL knob can add up to 20 dB of clean boost.
MODE 3: B <-> BYPASS
Same concept as MODE 2, and I guess you could use it if you should have two of those old, noisy pedals. You would have to switch mode manually on the selector knob, so you better not plan to use both of the ‘oldies’ on the same song.
MODE 4: A -> B -> BYPASS
Switch between line A, B and bypass – in that order. You better plan in which order the pedals in channel A and B should be used or you risk being forced to double stomp at times.
MODE 5: A+B MIX -> BYPASS
This one is the ‘golden tool in the box’ for my needs. While the other modes can be very useful indeed, this one is where you can turn the Line Selector into an FX blender. Simply connect a pedal to one of the channels and use the two LEVEL knobs to create a blend between the sound of that pedal and your clean tone. If you have read a few of the reviews on this site, you probably know that I am a huge fan of pedals with blend options. I’ll get back to this mode in a bit…
MODE 6: OUTPUT SELECT
This mode lets you switch between the 3 output channels. For instance, you could have two different amps you want to switch between even though I find this scenario highly unlikely for bass players. But well, this pedal was created for guitarists and in that context it makes a whole lot more sense.
As mentioned, this pedal has no sound of its own, but used as a blend pedal it can really work wonders…
NOTE! Please use headphones or ‘real’ speakers. You simply can’t judge low-end material on laptop, tablet or phone speakers…!
NOTE! If you are on a mobile device, please turn it to landscape mode to see the knob settings of the pedal for each audio clip.
Yes it’s pretty versatile with the many different modes and you may well be able to find new and useful ways to utilize the various inputs and outputs, but as already mentioned, to me the blend function alone is making it an invaluable tool.
Classic Boss quality with the same trusted sturdiness as the rest of the pedals with this physical design – and the same flaws with a screw that may break if you change the battery often. I have never had that problem as I always run my pedals from a power supply, but it should be mentioned, nonetheless.
Today (2015), the street price for a new LS-2 is around $80. The MSRP is double that, so the price has dropped over the years. Sure, $160 would be a little steep for this pedal, but at $80 for a new unit is definitely good value for money.
If you can find but one application for this pedal, chances are that you will find it invaluable and would replace it in a heartbeat should it break or get lost. I know I would. When assessing the ‘sound’ parameter score, obviously there is no sound, so I will consider it in the context of the end result you can get when using it as a blend pedal with other pedals.
A problem solver
Good build quality
Good value for money
Well, it’s not the most sexy pedal…