Boss DM-2W Waza Craft Delay Review
$179 on Amazon.com
Boss DM-2W Waza Craft Delay
• Stunning all-analog tones
• Standard and Custom modes extend tonal options
• Sturdy Boss build quality
• No-nonsense control scheme
• Optional expression pedal and dual outputs extend functionality
• It's a bit ugly
The Boss DM-2W Waza Craft analog delay is an exciting offering from the Japanese manufacturer. It’s based on the vintage Boss DM-2 delay, which was originally manufactured from 1977 to 1984. It was succeeded by the DM-3, although that was also discontinued in 1988. The company’s line of analog delays were pushed out of the limelight by newer designs like the Boss DD-2, DD-3 and DD-7. Hence, the DM-2W is the Boss’s first all-analog delay since 1988. The delay includes the original capabilities of the DM-2, and also offers some expanded sounds. The pedal is a far-cry from the clean, pristine digital delays Boss is commonly known for. In Standard mode it is warm, lo-fi and pleasantly dark-sounding, while Custom mode offers a brighter voicing.
The Waza Craft line is a series of all-analog pedals which currently features four models. They are all updates on classic designs. The pedals include the Boss SD-1W Super Overdrive, BD-2W Blues Driver and the most recent addition, the VB-2W Vibrato.
Boss DM-2W builds on DM-2 design
The original Boss DM-2 utilised a bucket-brigade device (BBD) and had a delay time of 300 milliseconds (ms), which is quite short by modern standards. The BBD chip had limited capabilities and in order to stretch the delay time to 300 milliseconds, Boss engineers limited its frequency response. This design choice contributed to the warm, enveloping tone the Boss DM-2.
With the DM-2W, Boss have convincingly recreated the distinctive tone the original pedal is known for. The can be achieved via the Standard mode, which has a delay time range of 20 ms to 300 ms. On the face of the pedal the mode can be switched to Custom, which is a more modern-sounding voicing. Custom has a larger delay time range of 40 ms to 800 ms. The extended delay time is useful but not particularly impressive compared to modern delays. However people will not be buying the pedal for its amazing specs. If you want extended delay times and advanced functionality, there’s digital delays like the Boss DD-20 and DD-500 which will provide that. The DD-500 even has a fair emulation of the DM-2.
Beautiful vintage tones
The DM-2W has a beautiful vintage sound when used on Standard setting. When pairing the pedal with a clean or overdriven tone, it provides a full and pleasantly dark sound. It’s quite a unique tone with a lot of character. It would be perfect for a range of styles, including blues, jazz and retro takes on pop, rock and hard rock. As someone who’s more familiar with Boss’s digital delays it’s a breath of fresh air. Custom mode provides a brighter, clearer sound, but still retains the unique analog character of the pedal. The two-mode build was a very smart design choice from Boss that allows players to get the best of both worlds. Without the second mode I imagine the pedal might be more of a vibe option for certain songs or styles, but with the updated design the pedal offers increased versatility.
Related: Finding the best Boss delay pedal
No-nonsense control scheme
The controls on the Boss DM-2W are minimal. On the front panel there’s the traditional Boss broad footswitch, mode switch and three knobs: Repeat Rate, Intensity and Echo. The first two knobs are large while Echo is smaller and set in the centre. Repeat Rate operates in reverse like the original pedal, so higher settings result in a shorter delay time. Intensity sets the number of repeats and Echo controls the wet/dry ratio of the signal. There’s also a LED indicator/battery check indicator. The chassis has the familiar Boss metal design. The controls are recessed and are quite sturdy. If you have any issues with the pedal, Boss offer a five-year warranty which should keep you covered.
Except for the mode switch and a Waza Craft logo on the footswitch, the Boss DM-2W looks very similar to the DM-2. It’s definitely not the prettiest looking pedal, but I suppose if they changed the design too much it would likely turn off fans of the original.
The pedal has two output jacks, which enable the output of both delay and dry sounds. This allows you to incorporate the pedal in a dual-amp set-up. There are two inputs; one is a standard input and the second is for the optional expression pedal. Boss recommends using the Roland EV-5 expression pedal, which can currently be picked up on Ebay for $60+. It can be used to control delay time, enabling quick and stage-friendly tweaks. It can also create strange, pitch shifting effects if you alter the delay time as you are playing. Overall the pedal is a little light on features so these inclusions are nice touches. If you require features like tap tempo or advanced customisation, you will definitely want to look elsewhere.
The Boss DM-2W can be powered via 9V battery or a PSA series AC adaptor. The unit ships with a 9V battery but as usual, Boss have neglected to include an AC adaptor. So expect to cough up another $24 if you want to run the pedal via adaptor.
Boss are onto a winner with the DM-2W. It includes a convincing replication of its predecessor and also offers expanded tones and functionality through the Custom mode. Naturally it doesn’t have the huge range of customisation enabled by digital delays like the Boss DD-500. However it has several useful features and the tones that are there are just beautiful. For the price, you couldn’t ask for much more.
Both the Standard and Custom modes are pleasingly musical and inspirational in their own right.
This delay sits nicely behind your guitar's tone. The dark/warm delay is really cool. My favourite use for this is to give it a stomp right before going into a solo.
I have a Boss DD-3 and I prefer the DM-2w for most of what I play (church worship band). Easy to set up to get good results.
This is a warm delay that's great for lead work and retains clarity with overdrive (clarity being used in context with this being an analog, bucket brigade delay).
- Nominal Input Level: -20 dBu
- Input Impedance: 1 M ohm
- Nominal Output Level: -20 dBu
- Output Impedance: 1 k ohm
- Recommended Load Impedance: 10 k ohms or greater
- Delay Time: Standard Mode: 20 ms to 300 ms, Custom Mode: 40 ms to 800 ms
- Controls: Pedal switch, REPEAT RATE knob, INTENSITY knob, ECHO knob, Mode switch
- Indicator: CHECK indicator (Serves also as battery check indicator)
- Connectors: INPUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type, OUTPUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type, DIRECT OUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type, RATE jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type, DC IN jack
- Power Supply: Alkaline battery (9 V, 6LR61) or Carbon-zinc battery (9 V, 6F22), AC adaptor (PSA series: sold separately)
- Current Draw: 35 mA
- Expected battery life under continuous use (These figures will vary depending on the actual conditions of use): Alkaline: Approx. 15 hours, Carbon: Approx. 5 hours
- Accessories: Owner's manual, Leaflet ("USING THE UNIT SAFELY," "IMPORTANT NOTES," and "Information"), Alkaline battery (9 V, 6LR61)
- Options (sold separately): AC adaptor: PSA series, Expression pedal: Roland EV-5