For this article a short guide how to check for the differences in sound among the various Boss Delay pedals.
Boss produced the DD-2 as one of their first digital delay pedals, in the early 1980s. Since that time there have been several updates for the same pedal. Each new model does come with new features such Tap-Tempo, Reverse Delay, Warp Sound and more Stereo Delay options. However, the basic sound of the delay has not changed, but each different model does have its own variation of that basic sound.
The variations in sound are easy to notice once one knows what to listen out for.
The differences in sound are due to different chips being used for each new model, and some slight design variations.
The most noticeable differences are:
The Colour of the Delay Sound:
Is the sound light, airy and glassy or is it dark and full?
The Trial-Off of the Repeats:
Are they relatively short or longer?
Strength of Output Signal:
Is it light and lower in volume?, or is the output stronger and louder in volume?
Colour of the Sound:
To compare the colour of the sound use relative long delay time setting of 800mS. for all the different pedals you want to compare. Use the time control to vary the pitch while listening to the differences in sound. Some models will hold the note well and it will remain full in sound, while some other models will loose the note and the overall sound will become weaker when you do this test.
To compare the trail-off of the repeats set the pedals to 800mS. Put the feedback control to where the pedal nearly oscillates. Listen to your different pedals. Make sure you use same settings for each pedal to produce a similar sound in terms of repeats, delay time and output level.
To check for this characteristic use 800mS for all the pedals. Get all your different pedals to sound the same in terms of delay time, repeats and output level. This is not as easy as it sounds. Use your ears and own judgement to check. Any variations in delay time will make true comparisons impossible!
~~N.B for the DD-3 I used the current model, all my observations are based on this model. If you have any other DD-3 version your findings may vary!~~
DD-2: Glassy sound, weaker output, repeats trail-off are relatively short.
DD-3: Darker sound, more output, repeat trail-off much longer and very natural!
DD-5: Almost as DD-3, less output, pitch play for this model sound very digital due to design issue about direct/effect signal. For overall performance this will not hinder the pedal!
DD-6: Trail-off repeats not as natural as DD-3 and DD-5, Output level much higher as DD-5
DD-7: Better compared to DD-6, not as natural as DD-3
Which of all of those models is the best you may wonder? I cannot tell, I like all of them, they all have their different sound and they are all useful for various musical applications.
There will be two videos which will illustrate what I described above: One will be about a comparison between the DD-2 and DD-3, the other video will be about the DD-2, DD-5, DD-6 and DD-7 and how their different sound can be used musically.
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