Category Archives: effects

Review: Boss DD-500

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The brand-new Boss DD-500 will quite likely prove to be a definite milestone in the effect company’s history. Boss’ newest creation isn’t just another run-of-the-mill delay pedal; instead, the company’s R&D-department has set out to create a genuine “mother of all delay pedals”, aiming to take the user all the way, from the illustrious past of echoes and delays right into the here-and-now of top notch audio processing.

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The Boss DD-500 (current street price in Finland approx. 370 €) comes over as a very matter-of-fact, businesslike pedal with a very clean and uncluttered look.

Despite the fact that each effect patch contains quite a number of different adjustable parameters, Boss have provided the user with physical knobs and buttons to access the most important features directly. In addition to the all-important Delay Mode selector, you’ll find controls for Time, Feedback, Effect Level, Tone, and Modulation Depth. This makes tweaking any patch very fast and easy.

The Model-selector goes right to the heart of what the DD-500 does, offering you access to the different delay types on offer. The DD-500’s twelve Modes really run the whole gamut of all delay types known to mankind, starting with a state-of-the-art, contemporary delay (Standard) and leading you all the way to some of the best digital models of tape- and bucket brigade-delays you’re likely to hear. Let’s not forget about the more special delay types on offer here, such as Boss’ own Tera Echo Mode, Shimmer, Slow Attack, or Reverse. The outlandishly bit-crunching SFX setting, as well as the fat and chewy Filter Mode will take your playing closer to the realms of synthesizers and Electronica. Depending on the chosen mode, the maximum delay time on offer stretches to a whopping ten seconds!

Naturally, the DD-500 also comes with a phrase looper, which can loop up to two minutes of audio.

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The Boss DD-500 will work equally well in mono or stereo setups.

The Control/Expression-jack lets you hook up an additional (double) footswitch unit or an expression pedal (not included) to the delay unit, allowing for real-time control of almost any parameter(s) you choose.

You can use MIDI to synchronise your delays to an outside source (such as an audio sequencer), as well as for remote effect patch switching.

The DD-500’s USB-port can handle both MIDI data, as well as digital audio, making it easy to record your effected guitar signal straight into your sequencer.

The Boss DD-500 offers plenty of memory space for effect patches:

Set to factory specifications, the delay unit will give you access to 99 banks of two patches each (A & B), that you can turn on and off using the switches of the same name. In this configuration the third switch is set aside for tap tempo and parameter control duties. You can change the factory configuration, though, which makes it possible to use 99 banks of three patches each (A, B & C). And if you’re really adventurous, you can also choose a setting that lets you use two delay patches simultaneously.

The Boss DD-500 can be run as a true bypass-effect, meaning that the input signal goes straight to the unit’s output, whenever the delay is turned off. If you have a long effect chain, or if you’re forced to run long cables to your backline, you will appreciate the delay’s buffered output option, too, which will keep all your precious trebles and dynamic content intact.

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Boss’ internal digital signal processing, with a sample rate of 98 kHz and a 32-bit resolution, lays the perfect groundwork for the DD-500’s excellent audio quality and amazing versatility. This isn’t your daddy’s delay box, where you can only set the delay time, feedback, and effect level; the DD-500 allows you to delve very deep to hone your tone in exactly the way you want. For example, all Delay Modes come with their dedicated semiparametric EQ, a comprehensive modulation section, and a ducking compressor.

Adding the possibilities offered by the CTL-switch – or additional switches, or an expression pedal – into the mix, further multiplies the tonal options on tap in the DD-500. If you don’t need the tap tempo function, you can use the built-in CTL-switch for special effects, such as – among others – Hold (the repeats don’t fade away, while the footswitch is pressed), Warp (basically a modern version of tape-spin; your delay running wild) or different types of Roll (changing the note value of your delay).

Yes, there is a long list of different parameters that you can tweak, but the DD-500 is still surprisingly easy to use. Despite the fact that this unit is much more versatile than a simple analogue delay, making your own delay patches is still relatively simple.

In my opinion, the new Boss DD-500 is the best and most versatile delay pedal available today.

Even used “straight” – that is without further modulation or filtering – the basic Delay Modes sound great, offering you the widest possible scope to take you on a sonic journey par excellence. Here’s a short clip introducing all twelve Modes, using the same knob settings (with Modulation Depth set to zero). I start with Standard and work my way forward in a clockwise direction:

The factory patches in the DD-500 offer so many different types of delays that a review, such as this, can’t cover them all. The demo track features 12 different factory patches on the lead guitar, plus an additional patch, used to simulate a violin sound.

Here’s a mix of just the lead guitar parts:

And here’s the full track:

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I’m pretty sure that the Boss DD-500 will put an end to many a guitarist’s epic search for the “perfect delay pedal”.

This delay unit offers you such a wealth of different sounds, delay types, and tonal options, that I probably could have spent weeks on end with the DD-500, without bumping into the outer walls of this universe of inspiration. The Boss DD-500 is an equally excellent choice for the traditional guitarist, looking for authentic versions of legendary delay sounds, as it is for the fearless sound traveller, who will draw a sheer never-ending wealth of inspiration from this device.

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Boss DD-500

street price ca. 370 €

Contact: Roland

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Pros:

+ value-for-money

+ 12 delay types

+ broad scope for adjustment

+ large patch memory

+ sound

Review: Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

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Rotosound Fuzz – opener

The Rotosound 1960s Reissue Fuzz is a reissue of a legendary effect pedal which originally never made it to full-blown production. The great sound of the few existing pre-production prototypes, their scarcity, and the fact that this pedal has been spotted repeatedly on a certain Mr Jimmy Page’s equipment list have made this fuzz the stuff of legends.

At last year’s Musikmesse in Frankfurt Rotosound announced a limited run of 2,000 Fuzz reissues, assembled by hand at the company’s UK plant.

Rotosound Fuzz – front

Rotosound’s Fuzz (current price in Finland 349 €) is an old-school guitar effect – meaning it’s huge and built like a tank.

Rotosound Fuzz – side view

The large casing makes it possible to place the controls well out of your stomping foot’s way.

The major drawback of course is that this Fuzz takes up considerable space on your pedalboard.

Rotosound Fuzz – connectors

One in, one out – no need for anything more.

Rotosound Fuzz – bottom plate

When…

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Review: Zoom MS-50G

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

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The Zoom Corporation’s super-compact 9000-series digital multieffects caused quite a stir in the early 1990s. The company’s recent Zoom MultiStomp MS-50G (current rrp in Finland: 99 €) carries on this heritage by managing to squeeze most of the large Zoom G5’s processing power (reviewed in August 2012) into one regular-size single pedal.

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It may sound unbelievable, but it really is true – this small box holds in store a whopping 50 memory slots for your own effect patches. Each effect patch can consist of a signal chain of up to six different effects. The MS-50G offers you 55 different effect types to choose from – featuring everything from compressors and modulation effects all the way to distortions, amp modelling and whacky special effects. Naturally, the MultiStomp also comes equipped with a digital tuner.

The Zoom MS-50G’s metal casing and its single foot switch feel…

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Review: Zoom G5

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

The Zoom G5 (current price in Finland: 265 €) is the Japanese company’s brand-new flagship guitar effect pedalboard.

The easy-to-use G5 is built with the same user interface as the smaller G3 and B3 units, which were reviewd by Kitarablogi.com earlier. When in Home-view – that is when the single effects making up an effect patch are shown in the unit’s displays – the Zoom works just like like a pedalboard containing separate effects: Each effect has its own display showing an icon that gives you a good idea of the type of effect in use, and the most important parameters can be adjusted directly via three control knobs beneath each display.

The Zoom G5 broadens this idea by offering up to nine effects per patch, even though the unit only has four sets of displays, knobs and footswitches. This problem is solved by using the Scroll-buttons above the…

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Review: Zoom G3

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

The Zoom G3 (current price in Finland: 213 €) represents a change in the basic functionality of compact Zoom-pedals. Up until now the pedals were built with an architecture based on pre-configured effect-chains as the basis of all effect-patches.

There wasn’t anything wrong with doing it this way, it only made the user experience a little clumsy and non-intuitive.

The new G3 changes all that by giving the user a floor effect that feels like three independent pedals side-by-side. But while three conventional stand-alone pedals tend to offer only one single effect per pedal, each of the G3’s three sections is a full-blown multieffect filled to the brim with tasty amp simulations and guitar effects.

The back panel really takes full care of all your connection needs, even offering a balanced xlr-output, as well as a usb-port for effect-patch exchange using a computer (PC/Mac) or for using the G3…

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Review: Zoom B3

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

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The red Zoom B3 (current price in Finland: 219 €) is a multi-effect for bass, and the bass equivalent of Zoom’s grey G3 guitar pedal.

Both effect boards are based on the same user-friendly interface and they share their basic structure. Central to the B3 is the idea to combine a huge palette of different effects with the ease-of-use of three traditional single-effect pedals side-by-side.

The Zoom B3’s offers astounding flexibility: each of the pedal’s three sections offers a whopping 111 different effect types, which can be assigned freely according to taste and personal requirements. The selection of effect types, as well as adjusting their parameters, is fast and easy thanks to the pushbuttons above each display, as well as the control knobs below the displays.

A chain of three effects is called a patch in Zoom-speak, with the B3 offering 100 freely programmable memory slots for…

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Review: TC Helicon Mic Mechanic

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

A guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, a keyboarder – each is master of their respective on-stage sound. The singer, on the other hand, is pushed onto stage equipped with nothing else than a mere microphone, and he/she stands or falls at the mercy of the front-of-house engineer (in many small-scale gigs one of their bandmates). TC Helicon’s new Mic Mechanic pedal finally gives the singer his own set of tools for on-stage use.

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TC Helicon Mic Mechanic – in action

TC Helicon’s Mic Mechanic (current price in Finland: 169 €) is a guitar pedal -sized all-in-one toolbox for shaping your vocal sound. Mic Mechanic includes a high-quality mic preamp with switchable phantom-power, an adaptive (automatic) tone and compression module, adjustable chromatic pitch correction, as well as eight reverb- and delay-effects. A 12-Volt power supply is included in the box.

Mic Mechanic connections

All connectors have been placed at the unit’s front: An XLR-input, an XLR-output, the power supply…

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Review: TC Electronic Röttweiler + The Dreamscape

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

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TC Electronic’s Röttweiler-distortion (current street price in Finland 129 €) specializes in brutal distortion sounds, and doesn’t waste any time on sissy stuff.

The gain control takes you from quite a lot of distortion to complete über-Metal-mayhem – so don’t go looking for besuited and well-behaved Blues-tones here. The Voice-switch gives you two different shades of brutal: One selection is fatter in the mid-range for more classic Hard Rock and Metal stuff, while the other selection gives you the scooped out tones favoured in many contemporary styles. The pedal also offers bass and treble controls for fine-tuning your tone.

The TC Electronic Röttweiler is a brilliant tool for the Metal-aficionado, which turns any amp into a high-gain monster stack.

Here are three sound clips, which Miloš Berka recorded using a seven-string Schecter into a clean amp setting:

Röttweiler off

Röttweiler on, voice off

Röttweiler on, voice on

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Review: Boss RC-3 Loop Station

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

The speed of technological progress in the field of musical equipment is simply astounding. Boss have introduced their new, extremely compact looper pedal – the RC-3 Loop Station – which offers a whopping three hours of sampling time in 44.1 kHz/16-bit linear wave-format.

One of the RC-3’s coolest features is the way the pedal instantly synchs up loops that were recorded “freehand” (without a click, that is) with its internal drum machine. Everything happens on-the-fly without missing a beat.

The Boss RC-3 can also be used to “fly in” one-shot samples into your performance. This means you could fly in a dive-bomb sample while playing a guitar solo on a stop-tail guitar, for example.

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The RC-3 is a great looper with many different possible uses. Apart from looping and the flying in of sounds, one possible application could be as a sturdy playback machine for one-man acts or clinicians…

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Review: Boss FB-2 Feedbacker/Booster

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Kitarablogi.com – Finland's premier Guitar and Bass blog

The Boss FB-2 Feedbacker/Booster (current price in Finland: 105 €) is a specialised tool to help you achieve musical feedback at moderate volume levels. Additionally this pedal also functions as a powerful level booster. The FB-2 is a typical Boss-pedal, from the classic sturdy cast-metal casing to its four control knobs, which offer separate level controls for the booster and the feedback sections, as well as an overall tone control and the booster’s Character knob.

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The booster is turned on and off by stepping shortly onto the footswitch. For feedback you need to hold the switch down continuously.

I couldn’t find any precise specifications for the amount of gain on offer here, but my educated guess would be at at least 12 dB. Apart from the different options afforded by the FB-2’s tone and Character controls, the booster’s “sound” and the way it interacts with your rig is…

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