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Boss Completes Digital Delay Range Revamp with New and Improved DD-3T and DD-8 Compact Delay Stompboxes

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An exercise which began in 2015 with the launch of the DD-500 Digital Delay Workstation is finally complete, as hot on the heels of the recent medium-enclosure DD-200, we see a significantly updated DD-3T and brand new DD-8 - replacing their predecessors introduced in 1986 and 2008 respectively.

 

The DD-3T gains Tap Tempo capabilities with additional jack for external tap-tempo switch, and former ’Hold’ Mode is replaced with ’Short Loop’. The Direct Out socket also moves to the left-hand side of the pedal, while the interface is simplified somewhat with the removal of the L/M/S Time Range Legends : [L][200]>[800] | [M][50]>[200]| [S] [12.5]>[50]

 

For the DD-8 the pedal externals look largely unchanged, but we get a whole new set of Modes as follows:

  • Analog
  • Standard (Clear Digital Delay)
  • Tape
  • Warm (Softer, Warner Digital Delay)
  • Reverse
  • +RV (Delay + Reverb)
  • Shimmer
  • Mod (Modulation)
  • Warp (Expressive delay with hold feedback function)
  • GLT (Glitch - Machine-gun-like Delay)
  • Loop (40 Sec Mono, 20 Stereo)

Further details as below - ordered by pedal name and designation number :


DD-3T Digital Delay - £122

The DD-3 has always been the simplest of Boss's Delay Pedals - for those who want an elegant and clean flavour of delay - and want to keep things pretty streamlined. As mentioned in the intro - the key change here has been the addition of Tap Tempo to the footswitch, and some re-location and addition of input and output jacks. There's lots of fans of the DD-3 who've been asking for tap-tempo for a while - so expect a slew of upgrades in the near future.

 

Controls : Effect Level | Feedback | Time | Mode

 

4 Modes :

  • S. 50ms
  • M. 200ms
  • L. 800ms
  • Short Loop

Ins : Input, External Tempo
Outs : Output, Direct Out

Power : 9V centre negative, 45mA

 

Footswitch : Set Tempo - Hold


DD-8 Digital Delay - £140

Superficially the DD-8 looks quite similar to the DD-7 - same number of controls and jacks / inputs/outputs - while this is actually quite a different pedal owing to its totally new roster of Modes / Delay Algorithms. For sake of comparison the DD-7 has 8 types, but 4 of those are just different Time ranges for the Standard Digital Delay :
Reverse | Analog | Modulate | Hold | 50ms | 200ms | 800ms | 3200ms

 

By contrast, the DD-8 has 11 really quite distinct Modes as below, while the number and arrangement of Control Knobs is the same : Effect Level | Feedback | Time | Mode

 

11 Modes :

  • Analog : Classic analog BBD delay sound
  • Standard : Clear digital delay
  • Tape : Vintage tape-based delay sound
  • Warm : Digital delay with a softer sound
  • Reverse : Backwards delay for cool psychedelic effects and other unique tones
  • +RV : Digital delay with Reverb added
  • Shimmer : Pitch-shifted delay for lush, shimmering textures
  • Mod : Digital delay with modulation added on the repeats
  • Warp : Unique delay with expressive pedal control. Holding the pedal switch increases feedback and level, allowing you to create ambient swell effects
  • GLT : Newly developed delay mode that creates glitchy machine-gun effects when the pedal switch is pressed. Adjust the Feedback and Time knobs for a wide variety of sounds
  • Loop : Loop recorder with overdub capability and up to 40 seconds of recording time with mono input (20 seconds with stereo input)

Ins : Input A (Mono), Input B, External Expression/Tempo

Outs : Output A (Mono), Output B

Power : 9V centre negative, 65mA

 

Footswitch : Stop Loop - Press Twice | Set Tempo - Hold


DD-200 Digital Delay - £219

This one's on active duty in my pedal chain (Slot #35) and has been for a couple of weeks now - it's taken over the slot previously occupied by the Red Panda Particle V2 which supplemented my Strymon Volante Magnetic / Tape Delay. I had long since acquired the MD-500 and RV-500 which have been in and out of rotation on my chain, and I was still mulling over how suitable the DD-500 would be when the DD-200 came along and made up my mind for me. The 200 series seems to me to be the perfect combination of full-range feature set, ease of use and practicality - in terms of relatively compact dimensions. Its size also makes perfect sense for my 41-strong pedal-chain.

 

Like the MD-200 it carries over most of the key features of its larger sibling - minus the deep-dive menus and full-range assignability of parameters, particularly on footswitches. The whole product development of the 200 series has been ingenious as it really steals the show from anything close to this equivalent form factor.

 

There are 9 controls : Time | Feedback | Effect Level | Mode | Parameter | Tone | Modulation Depth | Tap Division | Memory/Presets

 

12 Modes :

  • Standard : Clear digital delay. PARAM adjusts the delay attack
  • Analog : Emulates classic analog 'BBD' delays like the BOSS DM series. PARAM controls character and distortion amount
  • Tape : Emulates the warm tape-based sound of the legendary Roland RE-201 Space Echo. PARAM selects different combinations of three playback heads, and also adjusts the amount of distortion in the delay sound
  • Drum : Models the drum-based Binson Echorec 2. PARAM selects different combinations of four playback heads, and also adjusts the amount of distortion in the delay sound
  • Shimmer : Pitch-shifted delay for lush, heavenly textures. PARAM adjusts the delay brightness
  • Tera Echo : Spacious, animated ambience effect derived from the BOSS TE-2 pedal. PARAM adjusts the sound character
  • Pad Echo : Newly developed delay sound for creating drifting ambient textures. PARAM adjusts the delay attack
  • Pattern : Rhythmic sounds with 16 delay lines layered together. PARAM selects different pattern variations
  • Lo-Fi : Delay sound with fat, distorted character. PARAM adjusts the distortion effect.
  • Dual : Two different delay lines connected in series. PARAM adjusts the time of the second delay
  • Reverse : Backwards delay for cool psychedelic effects and other unique tones. PARAM adjusts the delay attack
  • Ducking : Delay with a built-in ducking effect. PARAM adjusts the input sensitivity

And Looper - 60 Second Overdubbing Looper

 

Ins : Input A (Mono), Input B, CTL 1,2 / Expression

Outs : Output A (Mono), Output B

Midi : Mini Stereo Phone Jacks In/Out

Power : 9V centre negative, 225mA

 

Left Footswitch : On/Off | Rec/Dub/Play [Looper]

Right Footswitch : Memory/Tap (Select : Hold) | Stop (Clear : Hold) [Looper]


DD-500 Digital Delay - £291

As explained above and per other features on this site - I rotated in the Boss MD-500 in place of the Strymon Mobius, and RV-500 in place of the Strymon BigSky at the time of launch, while at the time of decision for the Delay unit I had already acquired the super Empress EchoSystem. I really wanted to complete my Boss 500 series trifecta, but I had limited real-estate in my pedal chain - and when the DD-200 came along that ended up being the perfect solution for my needs - in covering off most of the things I really liked about the DD-500 including the Tera Echo Mode which I've always long been after.

 

For sake of completion and reference, I may still acquire a DD-500 unit at some stage even though it is unlikely to get preference over its smaller DD-200 sibling for reasons I will explain in 'Thought and Recommendations' below. The advantage of the larger unit is all those clever footswitches - the deep dive and parameter setting on pretty much every essential output vector and in particular the assignable and really smart 3-footswitch topology largely borrowed from Strymon / Eventide, but with a few additional tricks up its sleeve.

 

When the DD-500 unit first arrived it did not have the simultaneous dual effect feature of its later MD-500 and RV-500 siblings - and this probably impacted on its earliest uptake. With all that in place now - it forms a formidable Trifecta with those 2 other siblings - although of course they each come with a degree of complexity, and none more so than the RV-500 which took me a while to get my head around - particularly in the area of assignable footswitch defaults and parameters while deploying multiple combined Reverbs with Delays! For my own needs the DD-200 does everything I need it to in the more compact form factor - but there's no doubt that this Delay flagship is even more impressive in its scope - but with that steeper learning curve and certain other disadvantages too q.v.

 

It has 10 Controls : Mode | Time/Value | Feedback | Effect Level | Parameter Scroll Down | Parameter Scroll Up | Exit | Edit [Write] | Tone | Modulation Depth


12 Modes :

  • Standard : Clear digital delay
  • Analog : Emulates classic analog 'BBD' delays like the BOSS DM series
  • Tape : Emulates the warm sound of tape-based delay units, including the Maestro Echoplex, Binson Echorec 2, and the legendary Roland RE-201 Space Echo
  • Vintage Digital : Emulations of early digital delays from the 1980s, including Roland’s famous SDE-2000 and SDE-3000 rack units and the BOSS DD-2, the original stompbox digital delay
  • Dual : Two different delay lines that can be connected in series, parallel, or three different A/B independent modes
  • Pattern : Sixteen different delay lines that can be set independently for all types of unique rhythmic effects, with Gate mode for slicer-like pattern effects
  • Reverse : Backwards delay for cool psychedelic effects and other unique tones
  • SFX : 'Special effects' delays with highly unique sound characters
  • Shimmer : Pitch-shifted delays with stereo pitch-shifter and overtone modes for lush, heavenly textures
  • Filter : Delay with selectable sweeping or touch-responsive dynamic filter types
  • Slow Attack : Ethereal delays that fade in with playing dynamics
  • Tera Echo : Spacious, animated ambience effect derived from the innovative BOSS TE-2 pedal

And Looper - 60 Second Overdubbing Looper

 

Ins : Input A (Mono), Input B, CTL 1,2 / Expression, USB Micro B

Outs : Output A (Mono), Output B

Midi : Full Size Midi Din In/Out

Power : 9V centre negative, 200mA

 

Left Footswitch : Preset A | Bank Up (with B) | Rec/Dub [Looper] | Loop (Hold)

Middle Footswitch : Preset B | Bank Up/Down with A/C | Play [Looper] | Loop (Hold)

Right Footswitch : Tap/CTL | Bank Down (with B) | Stop [Looper] | Preset C (config.)


Thoughts and Recommendations

The Boss Engineers have done an exceptional job in bringing Boss's Digital Delay offering several steps forward. I don't believe there is any more formidable alternative around currently than this cleverly conceived range of pedals.

 

In decision making terms at the compact stompbox level it's quite simple really - do you want the simplest possible Digital Delay or are you looking for a range of different algorithms/ flavours. Both the DD-3T and DD-8 have Tap-Tempo now - so it's really a case of how many flavours you want / need - and how comfortable you are with that extra degree of complexity. The incumbent DD-3 has legions of fans - and most of these will be pleased to upgrade to tap-tempo, but are unlikely to be looking to jump up a level to the 11 Modes of the DD-8.

 

If you are looking for multiple modes then DD-8 vs DD-200 comes into play also obviously the question of cost and real-estate. Both pedals overlap with Analog, Standard, Tape, Reverse, Shimmer, Modulated and Looper functions / modes, and you can argue that +RV is an alternative to the possibly slightly more desirable Tera Echo. The DD-8 also has the unique new GLT sort of machine-gun Glitch Delay mode - which might swing the decisions that way. Yet you have the advantage of DD-200's dual footswitches, tap-tempo divisions and onboard presets to seal the deal on that front. Each pedals has reasons to recommend it, for my needs all-round the DD-200 is the more useful for me. It would be great to see the ability to switch in different algorithms at some stage - so you could add the Glitch Delay to the DD-200 or DD-500 if you wanted that on those units.

 

In terms of the DD-200 vs the DD-500, for me the newer more compact version wins out for 4 key reasons:

  • Largely the same Modes or close enough really - including the highly desirable Tera Echo
  • Tap-Tempo Divisions Surfaced on the DD-200 - much easier to apply
  • No need for deep-diving of menus - all controls sit on the surface of the DD-200
  • Significantly more compact form factor - easier to accommodate in chain / on pedalboard

As to which one you go for here it largely depends on your own preferences and needs, the overall star of the show for me is still the DD-200 - it has just the right combination of features, usability and practicality - oh and of course it sounds amazing - these are all pretty remarkable delays each in their own way whichever way you choose to go.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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