The Summer NAMM show is nearly upon us and that means it's time for a swathe of product announcements. Roland and its stompbox brand Boss will be showing off new gear at the show in the shape of three new Boss effects pedals under the new Waza Craft banner, and two new Roland Blues Cube amplifiers.
The engineers at Boss have a pragmatic approach to pedal design: use the most suitable technology to get the best tone, be it analogue circuitry or DSP. This philosophy is embodied in their latest special edition range, dubbed 'Waza Craft'. The range comprises three new versions of much-loved all-discrete analogue Boss pedal designs, the BD-2W Blues Driver (£139), SD-1W Super Overdrive (£139) and the very desirable and discontinued DM-2W Delay (£159).
Production of the original DM-2 was ceased in 1984 and has been lauded by tone-junkies for its warm "bucket-brigade" delay sound. With the DM-2W, the pedal has been reborn with greater flexibility then before. The new pedal employs all-analogue circuitry and an authentic Bucket Brigade Delay (BBD) line and operates in two mode: Custom and Standard. In Standard mode, it captures the 20-300ms delay range and warmth of the original. Meanwhile, in Custom mode, the sound becomes cleaner with over twice the delay time. The DM-2W also includes a jack input to connecting an expression pedal for controlling delay time on the fly.
Roland Blues Cube
Roland have also reinvented their Blues Cube range of combo amps with the Blues Cube Stage (£505) and Artist (£689) models. The company claim to have reproduced the inner workings of the much-admired tweed-covered tube amps of yesteryear — from guitar input to speaker output. The result, claim Roland, is “great feel, distortion control with touch and volume, bloom, sparkle, power supply ‘sag’, and more”.
Both amps are intended for stage use, each boasting 60W of power through a 12-inch speaker, but they also have some studio-friendly features. The first is a USB output for recording straight into your DAW. The second, for which there are plenty of stage applications too, is the Power Control. Often, in order to get the best tone from a tube amp, you have to crank it up to drive the output valves. This can be rather impractical when practicing or recording, so Power Control serves to imitate the complex distortion characteristics of output tubes and their interaction with the output transformer at lower levels.
Both Clean and Crunch channels are available and with Dual Tone mode, you are also able to mix both channels together simultaneously.