1986 BOSS DD-2 Digital Delay

Model Description:

The Japanese BOSS DD‑2 Digital Delay was the world’s first commercial compact digital delay pedal, introduced in December 1983 by Roland. In case you are wondering, there wasn’t a DD‑1. The custom integrated circuit (IC) at its heart derived from the flagship Roland SDE‑3000 studio rack delay unit. For tech‑heads, the IC uses 12‑bit digital converters, resulting in a flat frequency response from 40Hz to 7kHz. It was a tight fit but BOSS designers found that they could just about accommodate the IC and associated electronic components into the standard BOSS enclosure. The delay range was far greater than the analogue circuits could achieve and the fidelity of the repeats was significantly clearer as well. The trick that BOSS pulled off was to retain a guitar‑friendly tone that wasn’t overly tainted by digital artefacts. The warm tone is widely attributed to what is called the circuit’s 64‑pin ‘long chip’ (as opposed to later ‘square chip’ – nothing to do with delay time), which processes the delayed signal to mimic the natural decay of the echoes. As a result of its approach, the DD‑2 rapidly set the industry standard for delay effects that, to a great extent, signalled the demise of analogue delays for some time, including BOSS’ own classic DM‑2 and DM‑3. The DD‑2 was usurped by an updated but very similar model, the DD‑3 in August 1986. Many commentators say that they sound different, rather than one being better than the other. Visually, mainly to do with the four mini‑knobs, the DD‑2 shares more with modern BOSS pedals than its early forebears. The rest, as they say is history and BOSS has continued to develop their Digital Delay technology over numerous generations of the DD line up to the present day. Supplies of the original DD‑2 are still fairly plentiful and relatively affordable. I predict that, although some may see the DD‑2 as tainted by its digital processing, it will become recognised as a milestone effect and increasingly collectable as time passes.

Pedal Description:

Here we have an all‑original 1986 BOSS DD‑2 Digital Delay, pretty much from near the end of the model’s manufacturing span. The circuit didn’t change much over its lifetime, so the production year is less of an issue. This DD‑2 has the much‑talked‑about ‘long chip’, which is apparently favoured by collectors. I started playing guitar during the time when analogue solid state delay pedals were at their peak, so that was my benchmark and the mainstay of the CRAVE Effects’ pedal family. This is only the second digital pedal in the clan, after the BOSS RV‑2 Digital Reverb (only because vintage analogue solid state reverb pedals are non‑existent). The DD‑2 is undoubtedly a very impressive effect pedal, although I still tend to revert back to the warm, sludgy tone of analogue pedals. However, the DD‑2’s talents really lie in its unique (at the time) extended delay range from 300ms upward to a maximum of 800ms. Just on this basis alone, it earns its place in the CRAVE Effects ‘collection’. The most important thing with effects like this is that they should be great fun to play around with, especially at the longer delay times, which is where it really excels with pristinely clean and clear echoes. There are hours of boundless pleasure to be had from playing with oneself (oo‑er missus!). Seriously though, the DD‑2 is a very effective and productive sound shaping tool for the creative guitarist. This particular pedal is not in pristine condition and it shows quite a few surface marks to the enclosure, although nothing serious. Due to its high current demand, the DD‑2 works best by using the correct BOSS 9V PSA power supply. It comes with its original box and instruction manual, which is always a nice addition to have. All in all, there is much to admire about the world’s first compact digital stomp box. Repeat after me…


  • Made in Japan by Roland Corporation in June 1986
  • The ‘E.Level’ knob controls the output level of the delayed sound
  • The ‘F.Back’ knob controls the number of echoes, from a single echo to multiple repeats
  • The ‘D.Time’ knob controls the interval between the original note and the delayed note, dependent on the position of the ‘Mode’ switch
  • The 4‑way ‘Mode’ switch selects the delay time – short, medium, long and hold
  • The ‘Check’ LED light indicates when the effect is in use
  • The BOSS treadle footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • Standard ¼” single input and a pair of mixed or wet/dry output mono jack sockets
  • Delay time: 12.5ms~800ms
  • 9V DC BOSS PSA power supply or 9V battery
  • Blue ‘Made in Japan’ label on the base of the pedal
  • Dimensions: 70mm (w) x 125mm (d) x 55mm (H)
  • Weight: 450g
  • Original box and instruction manual

Detail Gallery:

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