Boss IR-2 first impressions


Bluebeard Member
Nov 12, 2012
So - I've been wanting to try an IR-2 since Boss released it, had toy cash set aside, but alas, no one has them in stock. Saw a couple used ones go on Reverb for full retail, and GC had a used one that showed up for 5 minutes at $140 and then it was gone.

Browsing Craigslist last night, not even thinking one would be listed there yet, and lo and behold, a local listing appeared for an as new in box IR-2 at the lovely price of $125. I immediately emailed an "I'll take it", not bothering with questions or anything since I figured it'd vanish quickly. A couple hours went by and I got a text to set up a meeting time and place, which happened today - huzzah!!!

Just spent an hour playing around with it. At first, I didn't think it sounded great, couldn't dial in anything remotely good...and then I realized I was using the concentric knobs wrong
. You don't get more treble if you're actually turning up, figured that out about 5 minutes in, then decided to do a factory reset anyway, because who knows what the previous dude might have loaded in terms of IRs. Also cycled through all 3 ambience settings.

Initial impressions: I dig the Crunch setting, and the Brit. Don't care for the Rectifier, but the Diamond, Tweed, and Twin have potential. It plays well with the SD-1 and the Purple Nurple. Actually, it plays well with the Great Wide Open too, I'm just reaching the decision that the GWO isn't the distortion pedal for me. Also, not sure I need it with the higher gain amps available.

The Ambience doesn't do much that I can tell, but I haven't played through headphones or at significant volume as of yet.

So, a lot of potential, and I think I'm going to like it. Not sure if it'll become a primary part of my rig, but at the price it's an absolute no-brainer for a backup/practice solution.

The board as it stands today - once I have it more finalized I'll clean up the spaghetti. I keep thinking I should replace the Donner power supply, but man, I get no noise and it seems to work well, so not sure I'll bother.

If I didn't already have a C.A.B.M.+ I would buy the IR-2. I have seen some good demos of it. It does everything I bought the Two Notes unit for at $100 less money, retail. The price you got it for is awesome. Congrats on that purchase!

From what I have seen the ambience is on the light side. I think that is by design. I wonder if they have a software editor for it where you could get in an really adjust things in it. That was another attractive thing for me with the Two Notes unit. I think at the price point the IR-2 is in, it will do well.
I generally use a Helix at church...but I'd just assume leave it at home, because the current team isn't calling for lots of different sounds and FX. IOW, I could get by with just a clean and an overdrive sound. I understand you can create two "patches" with it that you can select back and forth between... so that's enough. Or...bring a small OD pedal and this. Then I'm just carrying my guitar and a cable bag, with this in it.

It's too new for me to spend two Benjamins on... so...this Spring..maybe the $140 used deal floats around with more opportunities to grab one. I've yet seen a decent Youtube on it yet also.
I'm also interested in this pedal, as I usually go straight into the PA when gigging, so I have a variety of amp-sims that I use. Glad to read your initial impressions.

I keep thinking I should replace the Donner power supply, but man, I get no noise and it seems to work well, so not sure I'll bother.
Power supplies are weird voodoo, IMHO. Many people I know swear you have to get one of those Voodoo Labs or similar power banks with super-isolated individual drops to eliminate noise, and using wallwarts is guaranteed to bring the eternal noise of Satan into your rig.

But all I use, always (when not using a Volto battery bank), is a single OneSpot wallwart to power up to a dozen (sometimes more!) pedals, and frankly I don't seem to have any noise issues.

Admittedly, none of them are Strymons or other huge power-draw digital modeling pedals. And this IR-2 has a current draw of 160mA, which is higher than pretty well every stomp-box style pedal I have. The Boss RT-20 might be my biggest current consumer at 85mA.

Anyway, if it ain't making noise, don't change a thing.
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My opinion is that if you don't have noise with your power supply, it is doing it's job. I wouldn't spend the money for a new one if this one is working.

I have a couple of high end modelers as well as my C.A.B.M.+ pedal. I was doing some recording and decided to try the Two Notes unit directly into my interface. Wow! I don't track with effects on. I use the effects in my DAW so I don't get painted into a corner or end up with delay repeats out of time or something like that. I can get the tones I want with just using the Two Notes pedal and a couple of OD pedals. I am betting you could do the same with this new Boss pedal.

Another thing I wanted to do with the Two Notes is put it at the end of my pedal board then run direct from it to FOH. I am betting you could do that same thing with the Boss pedal.
I'm enjoying mine so far. Bought it more for recording than live use although I wouldn't hesitate to use as backup live.
I have to say - after messing around with this for a week and a half, I *really* like it! Especially now that I have a Vela again. It's ridiculously easy to dial in a good tone, it takes pedals well, it reacts to volume/picking changes well...I've done Helix, Pod Go, and Boss GX100 as far as recent modelers go, and for my style I do believe I like this one best. I'm not one for a lot of scene changes, I want a solid base tone and flavor with pedals, and this does that extremely well.