I’m not in the slightest bit surprised to see the new DC-2w Dimensions C chorus-like pedal (Spectral Enhancer) - as it was something I indicated in my last ’35 Boss Pedals’ Round-up that Boss should be looking into - considering the high demand for those on the second-hand market and the correspondingly high prices therefore for those 1980’s discontinued version (1985-1989). Those of us who have the MD-500 Modulation Workstation Pedal are also very aware of how great these 3-dimensional spacial effects sound - so it really was a no-brainer for Boss to re-release this as a Waza Craft Edition. The new pedal gives you both an updated version of the former pedal in (S)tandard mode, while you get the SDD-320 rack-mounted chorus modes when you flip the mode dial to (C)ustom. You can also select the individual voicings in pairs as per the previous model.
The Metal Zone Waza Craft was a touch more of a surprise for me, as it is still very much in production (since 1991) and still sells by the bucket-load. I would have thought it would have made more sense to re-issue the discontinued Swedish Death Metal Classic - HM-2 Heavy Metal (1983-1992) in Waza format since that also has very high demand on the second-hand market - but perhaps that’s one for the next batch.
Possibly reacting to some degree of criticism for the still best-selling Metal Zone, Boss have significantly finessed that pedal - taming the original (S)tandard mode somewhat and giving it a slightly more even temperament - while the (C)ustom mode gives you a much more dynamic and contemporary voicing from the same pedal. I was already a fan of the original, and have owned versions of the stock pedal, as well as modified editions - like the Keeley Twilight Zone Mod - which I still have. I think some players weren’t sure of how this pedal really behaved, or how to dial it in - which I’ve covered in a pretty recent article.
I think the new Waza Metal Zone is worth it alone really for the new custom Mode - which tightens everything up - and gives it a firmer and more percussive bottom end in particular - making it sound much more high-fidelity and really very contemporary. Both pedals really appeal to me, and I will be acquiring both - probably next year, as I already have numerous priorities in place for this one. And while the Metal Zone is still something of an acquired taste, I think pretty much all players should like to get their hands on the Dimension C.
The original pedal was first introduced in 1985 as a 3-Dimensional Spectral Enhancer - applying a dual subtle swirly effect to give the impression of added dimension to the sound - somewhere between a chorus and reverb. As with a few select Boss pedals, it wasn't originally a huge success and was retired just 4 years later. In the last few years though there has been a growing demand for these - with pristine examples fetching in excess of $300 and $400 on the second-hand market. When I was considering retiring my MD-500 for the sake of the forthcoming Empress Zoia, this was one of the effects I was looking to replace, and I was looking for very good to excellent examples of the original DC-2. I then decided that the Zoia would be added in addition to the chain, not as a replacement, and that I would be keeping my much loved MD-500 - so there was no need really for a separate Dimension C. Now that it is properly available again though I will re-introduce it into my chain rotation - probably as an understudy initially for the Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl, but also further down the chain in Stereo. You don't just get the original voicings replicated, you also get a second (C)ustom mode which gives you the stronger flavours of the SDD-320 rack-mounted chorus - so this would make for a really awesome all-round Chorus pedal - with the original voicings more subtle and understated, and the secondary voicings being significantly stronger. As before, you can also apply the button settings in pairs - combining buttons 1-4 in interesting combinations. This is a very simple to use chorus-like pedal which I feel a a lot of players will enjoy deploying. I still have my MD-500 to get most of the same, but I will be adding this pedal to the collection probably some time next year.
I was genuinely surprised to see this pedal, as I thought there were other discontinued and older pedals that would probably serve Boss and the fans better. But there is also some sense in doing this, as this is perennially one of Boss's best-selling pedals - pretty much neck-and-neck with the DS-1. The new Waza Craft version obviously significantly improves on the original - with cleaner noise floor and a more refined mix of frequencies on the (S)tandard mode - you still get that classic sort of slightly fizzy 90's Metal Sound - but it has been significantly tamed and is overall a much more refined experience. The (C)ustom mode meanwhile beefs up the bottom end and gives you a much tighter and more modern / contemporary version of that sound - which should please most of the harsher critics of the original. I feel they have tweaked the pedal to just the right degree - to ensure great continuity for the pedal's legacy - while remaining as true as possible to the original yet still improving the overall dynamics and core sound and without sacrificing any key signature characteristics. I have always been a fan of the original, particularly in its Keeley Twilight Zone Modded version - and I will be acquiring the Waza one some time over the following year.
These are undoubtedly both great pedals - one will obviously have a slightly broader appeal, but I think Metal Zone fans will also be pleased to get an upgraded and improved version of one of their perennial favourites. Boss really is on a roll with these Waza Craft Editions - all of them have been successfully launched, and even though for some there are viable and appealing alternatives - the Dimension C and Metal Zone sort of stand slightly to the side of the mainstream. Obviously TC Electronic recently launched its own Dimension C clone - the '3rd Dimension Chorus' which retails for nearly 1/10th of the new Boss one - so it will be up to you to decide if you are willing to pay for the higher fidelity of a Made-in-Japan original. All Waza Craft pedals are made in Japan from the highest quality analog components with some more modern supplements where appropriate - which is particularly the case with the Dimension C - which mixes analog and digital components, while the remainder of the range is solidly analog.
USA pricing seems a touch odd compared to EU and UK pricing - with the latter pretty much per expectations. The Metal Zone is obviously more reasonably priced, but considering the prices on some of the second-hand Dimension C's - I feel they are about set at the correct level. I like both and will be acquiring both, although not immediately. Boss is really going from strength to strength these days - they don't seem to have put a foot wrong for quite a few years now.
I can't say that either of these pedals is really an essential purchase as such - as both are a touch leftfield to the mainstream and depend on whether you like the chorus style of effect and / or the 90's type of metal distortion. I think if you do your due diligence and know what you're getting into you won't be disappointed. The Dimension C is largely still pretty unique, and the Metal Zone voicing is still pretty distinct - there may be other Heavy Metal voicings you prefer - but this is still an enduringly significant flavour - which many still love.
As luck would have it I just got a recent alert from Reverb.com for a newly listed original DC-2 pedal in supposedly Excellent condition - priced at £314. I would say that it's condition is rather 'Very Good' as there are too many visible scuffs and dings for my liking to qualify for 'Excellent'. You need to be careful on Reverb.com as a very large number of second-hand pedals are mis-represented - I see far too many pedals listed as 'Mint' for instance - but then 'lightly used' also, which is oxymoronic - Mint means not used, but not quite Brand New - i.e. box opened / ex-display and never used! So £314 for a Very Good version versus £202 for a brand new one with double the voicings (+SDD-320) - I know which one I would go for...