Boss DD500 Review: First impressions after one month with Boss’ new digital delay

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If there’s one thing guitarists go all gooey for, it’s a great sounding digital delay.  From the rackmount units of the 1980’s (think TC 2290, Roland SDE-3000 and Korg SDD-3000) to the pedal formats of today (Line 6 DL4, Eventide Timefactor and Strymon Timeline), great digital delays change the way guitarists create their music and think about their sound.  And now there’s something new to get very excited about: the Boss DD500.

Boss, of course, has a long history of creating rugged, dependable, “everything-you-need-and-nothing-you-don’t” digital delay pedals.  How many DD-3, DD-5, DD-7 and DD-20s have you seen on all those pedalboard Instagram feeds?  Yep, a lot.  And for good reason.

But digital delay pedals have taken leaps forward in recent years.  We’ve now come to expect studio quality sound, multiple delay engines, heaps of tweakable parameters, full MIDI integration, hundreds of user presets, built-in looping and on the list goes.  Enter the DD500: the new Boss delay that boasts all these features and more.

Watch our video:

At the time of writing, we have spent a month or so with DD500.  Here are our first impressions:

  1. Analogue through path does leave your tone intact. Honestly, we could not hear a difference with DD500 in or out of our signal chain.  It’s very transparent, leaving all your dynamics intact.  Whether you choose True Bypass or Buffered operation will depend a lot on your rig (especially the length of your cable runs). All we know is, both options sounded great.
  1. 32-bit/96kHz digital sampling and fantastic algorithms create great sounding delays. Currently, no other pedal operates at this level of fidelity.  Digital delays are crystal clear, tape delays are dark and splashy, modulated vintage digital delays take you back to those 80’s rackmount units…we found just about everything to be musical and useable.
  1. Assignable control (CTL) switch (per patch) allows a level of real-time control currently unavailable on any other digital delay pedal. This goes way beyond regular tap tempo and “hold-for-infinite-repeats” type control.  Want the delay repeats only to sound momentarily while you hold down the CTL switch?  You can do that.  Want the delay time to cut to half or quarter speed?  Yep.  Want to fade in or fade out the delay repeats?  Check.  Want your delay to go into crazy, chaotic oscillation?  Yes, you can with Warp and Twist modes.  This makes DD500 fantastic for live performance since all these options are available at your right foot in real-time.
  1. Innovative sounds onboard. We love the range of unique sounds available on DD500…they really do change the things you play.  Ambient guys are going to love the Tera Echo, Shimmer, Slow Attack and SFX modes for ethereal sounds.  Guitarists running in stereo are going to love the Dual and Pattern modes for those wide, rhythmic, ping-pong sounds.  And any guitarist with a MIDI-enabled rig will love the way DD500 integrates with their current setup.
  1. It’s going to be reliable and it really is affordable. Everyone knows that when you buy Boss, you buy reliability.  That’s just how it is.  Now, you also get unbeatable bang-for-your-buck, since DD500 comes in at under two-thirds the price of its nearest competitors.

 

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We had more than half our first DD500 shipment sell out on the first day…and we can see why.  There is a great deal to like about this delay, and virtually nothing not to!  We expect to see this delay pedal make its way onto many, many of those pedalboard Instagram feeds and given time, it may well end up amongst the greats.

 

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Find out more:

Better Music website: http://www.bettermusic.com.au/boss-dd-500-digital-delay-dd500

Boss site: http://www.bossus.com/products/dd-500/

Our Youtube review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBZ2by3kWus&feature=youtu.be

2 thoughts on “Boss DD500 Review: First impressions after one month with Boss’ new digital delay”

  1. I love this pedal but it is uncharacteristically unreliable for Boss. My first had the display fail after 3 weeks. The replacement, 2 months later, has started clicking loudly, like you can hear it clocking. It does this when I turn in on loudly and rapidly for a while and eventually slows down or occasionally stops till I restart it, then begins again. This happened in a pedal chain or in the effects loop. The frequency of the clicking is not related to the selected delay time. If anyone has thoughts on this I’d love to hear them but I think it’s a Strymon for me now., Bummer.

    1. Hi Andrew.
      Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your DD500.
      You’re right, that is very uncharacteristic for Boss.
      If you bought the pedal from us, can you please contact us to arrange a warranty assessment.
      Thanks, Jol.

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