Boss Dimension C & Hi Band Flanger
Dave Burrluck steps into another dimension and gets high
One would really think by now that all the effects possible would have been invented and yet, while this is possibly true, BOSS refuse to stop bringing out new or at least updated versions of older models. Both these units are exactly that, old ideas presented in a new and hopefully improved package. But that shouldn't mean that anyone will feel short-changed – both the DC-2 and HF-2 deliver the goods in a typically high class manner.
Mind you, one wonders sometimes about these Japs; I mean the DC-2 is finished in a subtle mauve with black lettering, while the HF-2 has a light purple finish with clean white graphics. Is this Rock'n'Roll? But they're smartly turned out as usual for a Boss product – exactly the same dimensions as usual with the easily accessible battery compartment under the foot flap.
To be more specific, the Dimension C is a scaled down version of Roland's rack mount Dimension D – a semi-legendary unit favoured by Gary Moore amongst others. As Gary said in a recent IM interview "it's like a very subtle kind of stereo chorus which just kind of spreads the sound across the stage". Nice one – I couldn't have put it better myself.
So the Dimension D is being phased out and all that remains is the foot pedal version – the C. This poses a problem or two – firstly, like me, you may never have come across the original version, but isn't it funny how many other people (suddenly) have? S'funny innit.
So what exactly is a Dimension C? Well Mr Moore described it very accurately as a 'slight chorus', here of course we have the advantage of a mono or stereo output, and as it's mono that I imagine most poverty stricken musos will be using, let's start there. Switching it in the first thing we notice is the lack of noise and luckily we have the usual red LED status and battery indicator. Below that are four mode selectors – not a rotary knob in sight – so like it or not you have just four pre-set sounds increasing in degree of effect from one to four. In the first mode the effect is very subtle chorus without the pumping modulation. Passing through the modes to four the effect sounds brilliant. The character of the effect is easier to hear in mode four where we have quite a heavy degree of chorus but without that de-tuning effect. We still have a degree of modulation although it is subtle and seems to vary in actual time. I tried to get the same effect on another stereo chorus and also the HF-2 but failed. You can get close to the Dimension sound but not close enough!
A friend of mine remarked that it sounded like a manually double-tracked effect, which is a fair point, and while chorus itself depends on the effect signal being slightly detuned the Dimension C achieves the same expensive expansion sound without nearly so much detuning.
Plugging the pedal through a desk in stereo, two things become apparent: the extremely quiet operation and high end brilliance make it an engineer's dream and, secondly, the stereo sound is stunning. Expansion is a good term for describing the effect and even if you haven't got a stereo facility to use the pedal through do try it out in the shop.
At £130 we're not talking cheap but one thing I can assure you is that the effect emanating from the Dimension C is the classiest chorus you'll hear at present. In fact, I'll also guarantee that once you've tried this one your stereo chorus, however good, will never seem the same again.
I'll be honest here – I'm not a lover of the extremely common flanged guitar sound. At the tail-end of the '70s through to today it's as common as Arthur Daley impressions, and there's also a lot of sub-standard flangers on the market. However, the HF-2 is the first one that I'd ever consider giving house room. Once again the HF-2 is extremely quiet in operation but still prone to the regeneration sweep 'police-sirening' in the background. Why do I like this one then? Well the secret lies in the Hi Band term; simply its flanging effect has been designed to operate at one octave higher than normal units giving that elusive high end brittle and crystal clear sound.
With four rotary controls – Manual, Depth, Rate and Resonance – and no stereo output no one should have difficulty in using this effect. The resonance (often called regeneration) is the one which creates the 'sweep' of the typical Flange effect. With it turned full-off a reasonable chorus effect can be achieved, helped again by the Hi Band business, but without the amount of depth available on a typical chorus.
As with the DC-2, the HF-2 is of a very high quality and would grace any studio for the same reasons, low noise and high bandwidth. Of a flanger there is little more to say, but before committing yourself do it justice and try it out. I think this should make a fair few flangers at last out of date!
Regardless of the sounds, a couple of points must be mentioned, notably power consumption. The DC-2 is a little naughty here with a bleed of 30mA at 9V DC. Without getting too technical that means it'll eat batteries! Obviously a PSA mains adaptor would be recommended. The HF-2 is much more reasonable with only 18mA power consumption. The degree of control can be measured here by the very wide delay time of 0.5ms to 13ms – check your own flanger, I bet it's a lot lower. This means, of course, that effects can be achieved which are out of the usual parameters available with foot pedals.
Finally, then, I can't find anything wrong with these units, both have an excellent tone and while the DC-2 is a little on the high side price-wise the HF-2 at £89 is a fair cop. I can't wait for the next new models if these are anything to go by!
RRP: £130 and £89
Gear in this article:
Review by Dave Burrluck
mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.
If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!