Review: Tech 21’s Boost D.L.A.

Tech 21 was born from Andrew Barta’s personal desire to recreate the natural sound of tube amps in a pedal. As a performing musician, Andrew used his electronics background in bringing the legendary SansAmp to market. Today, Tech 21 offers a wide range of quality audio gear for guitar and bass, all hand built right here in the good ol’ US of A. The Boost D.L.A., offered as version 2 in a copper finish, is Tech 21’s analog delay emulator with clean boost.


The pedal arrived in a cool tin box that actually could be used for cookies (Note to self: hide cookies in Tech 21 tin. Girlfriend will never look there). The all metal housing, significantly more rugged than the “cookie tin” (but too packed with electronics to hold anything more than a handful of crumbs), is standard in length but roughly 1-1/2 times wider than a typical pedal. Six easily gripped knobs control mix, feedback, tone, time, flutter, and level which extends into signal boost. A large red LED indicates power, two small push switches activate trails and triplets, and two larger heavy duty footswitches toggle ON/OFF and tap tempo. The battery is easily accessed by a removable door on the back.


The time between delays (30 to 1,000 milliseconds) is controlled by both the Time dial and Tap Tempo footswitch. The controls override each other and affect any sounds being delayed at the time. If you set tempo with the footswitch and then turn the time dial, delayed sounds will kick in to the new tempo and transpose in pitch. You can also create a similar effect using just the time dial. Warning: this is too much fun and you may get lost for hours experimenting with all sorts of warbly, cartoony, chopping, sci-fi, sped-up and slowed-down wackiness. Tap Tempo can also be used to alter the interval of an existing delayed signal. In this scenario the pitch remains the same but the rhythm of the delay and attack may be affected. More experimental fun. Dig this…you can set the tap tempo while the pedal is in bypass mode. Count off with your drummer at the start of a song and kick right in with your delay in perfect sync. Too cool.

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