I recently had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with the new Boss DD-500 digital delay, a very full-featured delay unit that appears to most certainly be designed to fire shots at the likes of TC Electronic’s Flashback X4, Eventide’s Time Factor, and perhaps even Strymon’s TimeLine.
It features a number of the “meat and potatoes” delay effects, namely “standard” digital delay, analog, tape, reverse, and ping pong delay, but also adds shimmer, SFX, Filter, Pattern, and Dual delay. It also adds the most important (to me, anyway) sound, Vintage Digital.
This last one emulates either an SDE-2000, SDE-3000, or DD-2 vintage digital delays; storied delay effects from Boss and Roland’s past. The SDE-3000 setting in particular is just flat out delicious, with a warm, fat tone that also maintains a very clean tone. It’s really the best of analog and digital tones, in one sound.
All of the variations are cool, but as with many, if not most effects, you’ll find some that are more gimmicky than others, and depending on who you are and what you play, those settings will be different for you than it will be for me. I found the shimmer and SFX effects to be cool, but not something I’d use on a regular basis. They’re just too “out there” for me.
The unit wouldn’t be very useful if it didn’t have an easy way to extract different sounds quickly and easily. The 500 is a deep unit; more so than the comparably priced Flashback X4. Because of that, it can be a little daunting at first.
However, without even looking at the manual, I was scrolling through patches, and even editing and creating patches, within a few minutes. Of course, reading the manual and learning it’s features is always recommended.
A very cool feature for recording guitarists that as far as I know is pretty unique is the ability to sync the 500 to your DAW (digital audio workstation) recording app, so everything’s in sync when you’re recording. Very cool.
One thing I hope is in the cards, and it wasn’t readily apparent if it’s currently possible, is an on-screen computer editor for the 500. I love editing parameters on my laptop (or iPad as well, like is possible with TC Electronic stuff), and this would be a welcomed feature to the 500.
Overall, this is a tremendous pedal, in both features, as well as tone quality. It’s usability is also quite notable. It’s definitely my next pedal, and makes me glad I waited to get a delay, when I had previously decided on the Flashback X4.