Boss SYB-3 vs SYB-5 bass synth

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Matthew Morter, Feb 2, 2023.

  1. Matthew Morter

    Matthew Morter

    Apr 6, 2022
    Does anyone have experience with both the Boss SYB-3 and SYB-5 bass synth pedals? I used to have the SYB-3 and I liked the wide variety of sounds I got out of it, and I especially liked that it had auto-wah settings! So I didn’t have to get yet another pedal for auto-wah stuff. So when I went online to look one up and see if I wanted to buy one I found that they don’t make the 3 anymore and now only make the 5 new, but you can get the 3’s second hand. The 5 looks like they took away the two auto-wah settings! At least that’s what it looks like by looking at pictures of the controls. Does anyone know if this is true, that they removed those settings? Or is it just labeled differently and the 5 can do everything the 3 could, hopefully better since it’s newer?

    thanks in advance!
    BrentSimons likes this.
  2. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    This is Talkbass, so you will soon get responses about every other wah and synth pedal, except those old, old BOSS ones. :D
    BrentSimons likes this.
  3. Matthew Morter

    Matthew Morter

    Apr 6, 2022
    Lol, I guess I’ll just go to the store and see if they have one I can try out. I just hate the guitar center near me, the people working there always seem utterly disinterested in musical instruments, and I’m like ***? I like the two local shops but they either only have used gear or are more expensive
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  4. Derek Williams

    Derek Williams Gold Supporting Member

    May 14, 2020
    Edmonton, Canada
  5. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe .. El Jefe del funk Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    From what I remember, the 5 will do auto-wah, they call envelope filter on the newer model (not the same thing I know, but used interchangeably a lot). Check pout the manual online for the different settings.
  6. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Jokes aside, I think you can find a user manual or some review. It is a wide spread product. Good luck
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  7. Hi!
    I think you’re right and the SYB-5 doesn’t have the auto wah settings. The settings 10 and 11 of the SYB-5 are described as synth modulating the direct sound of the bass, and all the other settings are internal sounds.

    The SYB-3 has 2 auto-wah settings (which either wah’s up or down) and 2 more direct synth sounds, the rest being internal sounds triggered by your playing.

    I own an SYB-3. It’s a fun pedal I’ll keep. Writing this makes me want to plug it back in for fun… It doesn’t get a permanent spot on my pedalboard, but it’s one of the few pedals I kept, up to know, for the fun of it… the auto-wah up setting sounds nice, but I wouldn’t buy an SYB-3 just for that setting. To be honest, it’s not all that reactive (compared to, say, the classic MXR Bass envelope filter). The wah down setting was something I was excited about experimenting with, but I never found a sound I could really use with it. The 2 non-internal sounds are a bit of an envelope square wave mix which might have their use. Cool sounds if you need them. As far as internal sounds go, well, tracking is far from perfect, there’s latency and you’ve got to know what you’re asking the pedal to do. I’ve you use a setting where you dial in a long synth sweep, don’t expect to play a fast run! The pedal will track 1 out of 10 notes you play because you don’t let it enough time to do the job you asked it to do! A bit of an odd feeling, ain’t it? It does have a bit of a mind of its own with the internal sounds, son you either play along with its glitches or get a lot of frustration out of that pedal.

    One thing a lot of people don’t know is that, on both the SYB-3 and 5, you can sustain a note when you use internal synth sounds by keeping your foot on the pedal. Some people think that feature only exists on the SYB-5 because it’s written on the pedal, but it also works on the SYB-3. You can play clean parts over the sustained synth note, which is probably the most useful feature of that pedal.

    Personally, I wouldn’t buy an SYB-3 for its envelope filter feature. I wouldn’t pay the price, new, of either the 3 or the 5. Buying either, used, for fun, could be a thing. I don’t regret getting a used SYB-3 a few years ago when I came across a used one for cheap. It made me realize that I’m not going to seriously use synth sounds, so buying a C4 or anything fancy like that is useless for me (not saying it is in general, just not for me). But honestly, if it’s an envelope filter you’re after, get and envelope filter! I really love the MXR, even though it’s too common for many.
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  8. Matthew Morter

    Matthew Morter

    Apr 6, 2022
    I really appreciate your answer. I do love MXR pedals, so I may just do that! On my pedal board now I have the electroharmonics bass synth and I was thinking of removing it. It gets some good brassy steady synth sounds but the filter sweep part of it doesn’t work to well. So I was thinking I could save room on the board and take that off and replace it with the Boss, but I thought if I was getting one of them it might as well be the one with autowah. But I bet I could get a good small chorus, octave, and envelope filter instead and it would sound better. I do remember the synth sounds of the Boss being very temperamental, you did have to play them very carefully, that is one thing the electroharmonics one is good at.
    Inconnu likes this.