Noise Boyz Review
Pretty much every type of wah you can imagine it one place, but it’s not very intuitive and might take you a bit to find the exact sound you are looking for.
Wah pedals were one of those things that when I was first starting out on guitar I just had to try. I realized pretty quickly that most of the music I played didn’t really call for a wah, but the sound was just so cool that I played through it anyways. In general I’ve found the ‘wah’ sound is either one of those things that you either love or hate as a guitar player as it really transforms the sound in such a distinctive way that its pretty obvious whenever you’re playing through one. If you hate that sound, you can stop reading, but if you can’t get enough of it, continue on. The Boss Dynamic Wah AW-3 is probably the most complex wah pedal I’ve ever played through. With the ability to control the individual vowel sounds, and the general direction of the pitch change, there are literally hundreds of combinations you can create with this pedal. That’s pretty different than something like a Crybaby where you’re pretty much just controlling one sound with your foot. Let’s take a listen to some of the main sounds you can get out of this little stomp box. Because I want to isolate the main tones to demonstrate the core sounds, I didn’t use a volume pedal for this review, but if you have one you can control the tone even further to get as many Frampton-esque tones as your heart desires. This first sample was played in ‘up’ mode, with both middle knobs on the ‘I’ sound:
For this second sample, I left both middle knobs on the ‘I’ vowel again but switched to the down mode. Not to get technical or anything, but compared with the up sound to me it gives less of an ‘oh’ wah sound and more of a ‘doi’ sound. But either one of these first modes is distinctively ‘wah’ and unless you’re comparing both side by side you probably won’t notice all that much of a difference.
The sharp mode gives you more of a ‘popping’ type of sound compared to the up and down mode, as you can hear in the sample below. In the first sample below I left both the manual and sens vowels at I and in the second sample, I switched manual to ‘a’ and sens to ‘u’ so that you can hear how switching the core vowel sound changes the sound within the same mode.
The humanizer mode is actually probably my favorite setting on the pedal as it gives the most unique sound that doesn’t just feel like the same-old same old ‘wah’ sound. In sample 1, I have vowel 2 on ‘a’ and vowel 1 on ‘u’ which sort of reminds me of a talk-box type daft punk sound.
The second humanizer sample switches vowel 1 and 2 such that vowel 1 is on ‘a’ and vowel 2 is on ‘u’ and the sound is noticeably different (it’s a bit more subtle in its ‘wahness’ which is definitely a real word).
In sample 3 I switched vowel 1 to the ‘o’ setting and vowel 2 to the e sound. Academically speaking this really gives the pedal more of a ‘dooieeee’ sound which I guess is to be expected from the combination of those vowels.
Sample 4 reverses the sample 3 settings such that vowel 1 is now on ‘e’ and vowel 2 is on ‘o’ which gives the same general sound but with a bit more subtlety.
To sum things up, the Boss Dynamic Wah AW-3 is a super versatile pedal that can give you just about any ‘wah’ tone you’re looking for, but it might take you a good while to dial in the exact sound you want. I’m not a huge wah player so maybe its just me, but I generally prefer something a bit simpler that feels more ‘plug and play.’ But I’m sure there are about a million cool sounds you can get out of this box if you’re willing to put in the time (and I do recommend renting an expression pedal along with it to really explore all of its possibilities). Speaking of putting in the time, you could have a whole month to fiddle around with this stomp box if you…
1 x 1/4" (guitar), 1 x 1/4" (bass)
1 x 1/4" (output), 1 x 1/4" (expression/control)
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.