Price paid: C$ 200
Purchased from: Kijiji.ca
Sound — 10
I play effects-laden ambient music, and I must say that I was impressed by how clear and defined this delay remained, even when preceded by an entire pedalboard of effects. It isn't a noisy pedal by any means; I've never taken notice of any hiss or buzz when placed alone between a guitar with humbuckers and an amplifier. I've had several questions about the bypassed tone of the DD-20. There is an audible compression taking place, but this would only bother an extremely picky guitarist. The buffered bypass of most Boss pedals is generally very subtle and poses little inconvenience. The Sound-On-Sound looping of this unit is enough to make it useful to any guitarist. With the ability to loop several clean tracks on top of each other, the DD-20 can practically replace a looper. Pressing down the right footswitch in Sound-On-Sound mode will enable the use of delay again, adding to the versatility of the unit. The Twist and Warp settings are both interesting effects which can be very useful in the context of noise/ambient music. The Analog and Tape simulations are nothing amazing, but are at least on par with other digital simulations. The Standard mode is the one that is most likely to be used often and is the mode by which I tend to judge "The" sound of the DD-20. Unlike the rest of the DD series of Boss stompboxes, the Giga Delay offers a lush sounding Digital Delay rather tha na thin, lifeless one. The Standard mode is one that can be useful in a variety of genres. The Dual mode, by contrast, is probably most useful to in an avant-garde/ambient sort of setting, allowing for two delays (one short, one long) to be run simultaneously. The Pan and Smooth settings are widely uninteresting and provide little change from the Standard setting. The modulate mode is extremely useful and provides a wide range of different sound to be added to that of the delay. The only mode that is really dissapointing is the Reverse, which is murky and isn't nearly as useful as the Reverse function of the Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazari. As far as digital delays go, this is about as good as it gets for the price.
Overall Impression — 10
I play ambient space-rock along the lines of Slowdive and A Place To Bury Strangers, and the DD-20 is the perfect delay for my rig. It is priced fairly and houses an innumerable number of options; I've owned this unit for well over a month now and toy with it on a daily basis, yet I'm sure I don't know a tenth of the sounds it can achieve on it's own (not to mention in combination with my other effects). During my search for a delay box, I found myself struggling to choose between three units: the Boss DD-20, the DigiTech Time Bender, and the Electro-Harmonic Memory Man with Hazari. I found that the SMMH sounded too low-fi for my tastes and that it's looping system was unreliable. I found the Time Bender to be able to produce a tremendous amount of sounds, but the DD-20 could achieve most of them, and for a much better price. The DD-20 is as good as a Digital Delay can be in this price range, offering quality and versatiliy and suiting a number of genres. I definitely feel that it is now an invaluable part of my pedalboard.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've always liked the compact, solid build of Boss stompboxes, but I can't say that I care much for the build of their double pedals. They feel frail in comparison to compact unit's and lack the balance that makes regular box stompboxes so sturdy. The constant toying with footswitches that is required to set the tempo, to Switch between modes, and to toggle between settings of different modes makes me uneasy and I'm constantly afraid that one of the switches will give up on me. I've always thought that, for tap-tempo and such, click-switches are the better alternative, and the DD-20 does nothing to change my mind.
Ease of Use — 10
The DD-20 Giga Delay is not just another simple stompbox delay along the lines of the DD-6 and the DD-7; it is a much more complex and versatile unit that is a part of Boss line of "next-generation" double pedals. Accordingly, it is not the simplest effects box to use. The DD-20 features five control knobs: E.Level (controls the amount of wet/dry signal), F.Back (controls the number of repeats), Tone (adjusts the balance between bass & treble), Mode (selection of 11 different settings), and Delay Time (adjusts the length of delay). It includes dual inputs, the choice for mono or stereo output, a headphone jack, and an expression pedal jack. The screen displays the amount of delay time being used. The left footswitch is an on/off Switch; the right footswitch is used both for changing presets and for setting the tempo. Four different presets can be stored on the DD-20. Needless to say, with all of these features, a manual is absolutely essential. I bought mine used without the manual and immediately proceeded to download it from Boss's website. This isn't the easiest stompbox to use, but this is as easy as it gets with this much versatility.