The DM-2 Fukkatsu (Resurrection of a Classic)
Finally. Boss answers the call and a classic is reborn and improved by the same Japanese engineers who created the all-time benchmark analog delay pedal. No more paying $400 for a beat up old 300-millisecond bucket brigade delay. I have used the original extensively and can say without hesitation that the tone is intact with this DM-2W. Forget about hype, MN3005 chips and mojo for a minute and lets remember what we loved so much about this specific circuit.
The repeats of the DM-2 never seemed to get in the way and sat perfectly in that sonic safety net that catches notes and chords so beautifully. I used to always leave it on for a little flattering smear of ambience. When I wanted longer delays, I used to have to roll back the repeat rate knob with the side of my foot, which made a lovely characterful pitch bend into 300ms of thick padding for hazy, psychedelic leads.
That scenario leads me to the first obvious upgrade the new Waza Craft DM-2W brings to the table—the rate can be controlled with an expression pedal. Now I can take the tone from the whacky faux reverberated bathtub to full on dub-style King Tubby treatments with a simple sweep. Another thing I loved about the original DM-2 is that it sounded great in front of the amp; it just blended into clean and overdriven preamps so well, unlike some delays that get all messy without being exiled to the effects loop. The new DM-2W sounds just as warm and clear out front as its predecessor, but took a little hint from the old DM-3 and added an additional direct out for even more up-front options.
Two Paths to Analog Righteousness
Before I even hit a note, I noticed something different. I do remember the old DM-2 sucking a bit of tone out of my old setup, so I did a little buffer test. Low and behold, the DM-2W not only kept my tone in tact, but also added a little smidge of fidelity to the long cable run I used for the review. A quick confirmation with my friend at Roland revealed that the buffer has indeed been overhauled and improved. Now lets get stuck in stock mode…
Thick, rubbery warm repeats that saturate pleasantly in that soft limiter style way when I dig into the strings? Check. The clear, yet never congested slapback setting by which all other slapbacks are judged? Check. The 300ms ambient halo of sound, that magically never needs to be beat-synced with a drummer or rhythm track? Check. It is all there, sounding and feeling as alive as ever. Moving over to custom mode seems to add more of everything. More clarity on shorter settings, twice as much delay time and a touchier intensity for those sci-fi self-oscillation moments that my dog loves so much.
What we like: The extra features, extra delay time, dual outputs and better buffer take an often cloned, but never dethroned pedal out of the ‘80s and into the 21st Century. There are a lot of boutique variants of the DM-2, but most of them have a loud popping true bypass that repeats hideously upon engagement. Not so with the real deal. Plus, this is a great end of the pedal chain driver and sounds as chewy as the original.
Concerns: I want more classic coveted Boss pedal Waza revamps. I love modulation with my delay, so here is an idea I think about a million of us can get behind… Combine the CE-2 and VB-2 into one pedal and call it the Waza Craft CV-2. Keep the VB-2 control set and simply add a CE-2 setting to the mode selector. We are all waiting to be unlatched…