In the guitar world, BOSS pedals are like childhood friends. Chances are the first pedal you bought as a budding guitarist was something along the lines of a DS-1 – fun, simple and like you, actually pretty atrocious. As you progressed into your guitar adolescence, you stared exploring the weirder, more experimental corners of their catalogue – those digital reverbs and pitch shifters. And now as a full-blown adult, you’ve whittled it down to a select few BOSS pedals that have weathered the years, through fights and frustration, jealousy and glory – the good times and the bad. Chances are one of those pedals is the BOSS DD-7.
Up there with the delay greats, the DD series from BOSS have for years reigned as kings of the digital realm with the BOSS DD-7 sitting proudly on the throne.
The DD-7 is the industry standard in digital delays and in many ways it’s hard to beat. BOSS traveled a long and winding road to get to the DD-7, from their analog days in the late 70’s, right through the digital 80’s and confused 90’s up to 2008 when they announced their masterpiece. With a largely unaltered facade (it would be hard to beat the flagship blue and white paint job that they introduced in 1983 with the DD-2) the DD-7 is an amalgamation of 30 years of delay history, crammed into that unmistakable BOSS enclosure.
Let’s break it down. The DD-7 is much more than a basic digital delay. Taking cue from its bigger brother – the DD-2o – in many ways it’s a jack-of-all-trades delay pedal. Yes it features BOSS’ classic crystal-clear digital repeats (with up to 6.4 seconds delay time) but it also features a pretty accurate model of the classic BOSS DM-2 analog delay. The ‘analog’ mode of the pedal is much warmer than the standard digital setting, with the high frequencies of each repeat rolled off making the sound much darker and more dynamic. While there’s no way it could possibly mimic the unmistakable idiosyncrasies of a real analog delay, it does a pretty good job of pulling the wool over your eyes.
On top of the analog section there is also a modulated setting which adds a dimensional metallic sheen to each digital repeat with some subtle chorus. There is also a haunting reverse mode which will get you into My Bloody Valentine territory pretty quickly and with relative ease (some reverse delays are finicky as hell and can be extremely frustrating to use). On top of that there is a sound-on-sound function, which essentially acts as a 40 second looper, stereo outputs for more spacious delay possibilities and a footswitch/expression pedal input which can control a number of parameters on the pedal opens up some pretty insane creative possibilities. To buy one new you won’t be paying any more than $200; second hand you can find them sitting just above the $100 mark. That’s damn good value if you ask me.
The DD-7 the kind of pedal that every guitarist should own and every recording studio should have lying around. While sonically it’s extremely reliable – there is no doubt it will get you where you need to go – it’s one of those pedals that urges creativity. Its inherent simplicity is neither intimidating nor uninspiring – you’ll be able to find a good sound within seconds – but that just lends itself as a bed for further experimentation.
Delay pedals are endlessly fun and the DD-7 is one of the funnest. It lends itself to everything from rockabilly to shoegaze and is an excellent studio tool for dialing in pristine, precise delays. Analog Man once said that to him the DD-7 is pretty much untouchable. Coming from a man that finds shortcomings with pretty much every classic pedal out there, that’s a massive compliment. And for once, we’re not surprised.