Boss DN-2 Dyna Drive

The DN-2 ($187 retail/$119 street) isn’t merely a “step on pedal, get distortion” device. Emulating the dynamic capabilities of a good amplifier, this overdrive box tracks picking attack, signal input, and guitar volume manipulations to deliver more or less roar.

This is an obvious benefit if you’re unhappy with the dynamic thrust of a solid-state amp or modeling processor, but the DN-2 can also wring even more subtle gradations out of your favorite tube front end. The DN-2 produces clean tones with a hint of grit when you pick lightly with the Drive knob at 9 o’clock. Dig in (or increase your guitar’s volume), and you’ll hit a snarl reminiscent of early AC30 drive (think Rory Gallagher’s “Used to Be”). Crank the Drive to 12 o’clock, and the overdrive goes from Earl Slick’s funk-rock tone on David Bowie’s Station to Station to a more saturated AC/DC-like tone. Max the Drive, however, and lighter picking gets a bit spitty, and the full-on drive is just okay. The sweet spots are between 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock on this baby, and any player who thrives on “touch” should find the DN-2 to be a sensitive tonal partner.

Close approximation of tube-amp dynamics.

Dynamics and tone splatter a bit at maximum Drive settings.

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