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.
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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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