Noise Boyz Review
An incredible array of delays, but a bit tricky to use if you’re not familiar with delay pedals.
The Boss DD-6 was the first delay pedal I ever purchased when I was playing with my fairly terrible college band ‘The Classics.’ I remember when I first purchased it trying to figure out how the thing actually works and how to get the sounds I wanted out of it and having to fiddle for hours. At the time I thought that was just my lack of knowledge about how sound and delays generally work, but even still I find it takes a little bit of TLC to dial in the exact delay I’m looking for with this pedal (and truthfully, most delay pedals). But for those willing to put in a little bit of time, there is an incredibly diverse palette of delays on offer with some special modes that really stand out. For the first sample below, I wanted to show what the different millisecond settings sound like with everything else turned to 5/noon position on the pedal. I just played a chord and let it ring out 4 different types, each representing moving from the 80ms to the 2600ms setting.
To me, these modes just aren’t all that special and do pretty much what every other delay on the market does. But using these initial settings as your base you can then of course adjust the feedback and delay to add different flavors of delay. The sample below, for instance, was recorded with the mode set to 300ms (to me the sweet spot between the 4 modes) but with the feedback and delay turned up to 7 and the effects level at 5. This gives a nice shoegazy type sound that isn’t too overwhelming in its amount of echo but adds some warmth to the tone and is noticeable without sounding like the effect is the only thing you can hear. Speaking of warmth, I’ve read a lot about guitarists complaining that digital delays just sound ‘cold’ but 1) cold is sometimes what I want in my tone and 2) I think the sample below demonstrates that you can still get a ‘warm’ sounding tone with a digital pedal and that it is really more the musicality behind the playing that dictates the ‘warmth’ (I’d actually be willing to bet a pedal or two that when blindfolded most guitarists wouldn’t be able to hear whether the pedal they were playing was analog or digital).
So if the samples above are more out of the box subtle delays, I wanted to turn the settings up a bit to start getting a bit weirder with the sounds. The sample below was recorded with the pedal set to the reverse setting with effects level at 75, feedback at 75, and delay at 25. The reverse sound in general is in my mind reminiscent of 60s psychedelic music with my all time favorite reverse effect coming from The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ (if you’ve never listened to you really need to check it out). What is nice is that with this setting the reverse isn’t too overpowering so you can get some of the trippiness without totally tripping balls (from a sound standpoint).
And now to semi trip balls – the below was recorded using reverse with the parameters flipped, so feedback is at 2.5 and delay is at 7.5 in this sample. As you can hear, things start to get weird in a good way here
And now for the full balls trip – the below was recorded with everything at 10 (my favorite way to set a pedal). Using this practically in a song might be difficult unless you’re playing with an art rock band or are going for a truly weird sound, but it is great for doing the ‘walk off the stage while your pedals oscillate and wait for the encore’ thing that lots of bands do. Warning – at these settings, the feedback loop gets louder and louder so you should be careful using this setting as it can get out of hand quickly.
Bringing things back in to the realm of usability, the final setting I wanted to demonstrate (I’m skipping the ‘hold’ function because I just don’t have too much to say about it – it holds out phrases for a really long time and that’s about all that it does) is the warp sound which you can hear in the sample below (with delay and feedback set to around 6.5 and effects level at 5). Note that I put a little amp reverb on this one just because I liked the sound of it so much (I usually try to do everything dry so you hear just the pedal sound which doesn’t sound as good but gives you an actual picture of what things sound like). To me this setting again gives you a lot of warmth considering it is coming from a digital pedal and the warp feature adds a bit more subtlety and reflections to the delay that make it stand out v. using the stock ms modes demonstrated earlier.
And finally, a question you might have is ‘yeah post-rock pretty reflection type stuff is cool but how does it sound distorted?’ Fear not, the samples below show what the pedal sounds like on both chords and with our standard Noise Boyz standard tasteless shredding (the distortion used for this was the simple yet versatile and incredibly popular
Maybe the best feature of the pedal is its tap tempo capability which basically lets you set the delay cadence to whatever tempo you are playing at by tapping the pedal to the tempo with your feet. It takes a minute to get used to switching between regular and tap tempo mode but once you do it is an incredibly valuable tool for live performances. In summary, the Boss DD-6 has a ton of settings which aren’t necessarily intuitive but when dialed in correctly can give you an array of sounds from a warmer light reflection to a full psychedelic trip (you might consider adding the Swollen Pickle fuzz pedal to the sound for the full psychedelic effect). My personal favorite setting is the ‘warp setting’ which adds really cool nuances to the delay that remind me a bit of the modulation setting on the Boss RV-6. If you’ve got an hour or two to play around with it, the DD-6 is a very versatile delay with reverse and warp modes which make the pedal standout against a saturated market for expensive delay pedals (and since it’s the older model you can usually find it for under $100 used.
1 x 1/4" (mono), 1 x 1/4" (stereo)
1 x 1/4" (mono), 1 x 1/4" (stereo)
How It Works
Choose a Plan
Pick how many pedals you want to try a month, from one to three.
Play Them All
Try every signal-chain you can imagine until you find the tone that’s right for you.
Keep, Swap, or Buy
Keep the pedals you rent for as long as you want. Love them? Buy them. Hate them? Swap them.