Keeley Electronics, based in Edmond, Oklahoma, has a hard-won reputation not only for high-quality guitar effects but also for the sort of practical thinking and design that can really make a difference to the gigging guitarist.
In the case of the new DDR, Robert Keeley has united both the wet and dry ends of the signal chain in just one box, with a cunning mix of overdrive and reverb, or delay.
Let’s attend to that either/or approach on the wet end before we go any further. Keeley makes a good point in that a lot of amps contain reverb and let’s face it, above bedroom levels, delay and reverb together often just turn to mush. As such, the thinking behind the delay or reverb choice is, we believe, solid.
Each half of the DDR offers an easily tweakable twin-character approach with a crunch mode (think modified Bluesbreaker) and a lead voice (Tube Screamy) on the drive side, whereas the wet half will add a spring-reverb emulation or analogue delay in vintage (Vint) mode and a plate reverb or digital delay when on the modern (Mod) setting.
With a Telecaster and Vox amp at the ready, we engage the drive side of the DDR with the style mini-switch set to the left and all knobs at noon. Immediately, the Tele springs to life with added spank and snarl, but stays refined and expressive across all pickup settings as we dial in more volume and drive. A quick flick of the style switch unleashes a seriously good Tube Screamer-style lead tone, which breaks up beautifully and widens out the low mids.
As we swap out guitars, we find that the DDR works well across the gamut of ’Trons, P-90s and humbuckers, bringing out a guitar’s inherent personality and adding detail and power. It’s impressive stuff.
Turning our attention to the wet side of the pedal, the DDR serves up a vintage spring-reverb sound which is extremely pleasing. While it won’t ‘drip’, it is warm and inviting without getting blurry. The analogue delay is just as good as the reverb; the repeats degrade beautifully and it is more than wet enough on its own.
As we move to the digital side of things, the DDR’s plate setting adds an expensive-sounding modern sheen, the blend knob ensuring that even the most extreme settings remain usable in a variety of contexts outside of dub. The digital delay works very well, too, especially when you engage the trails mini switch on the side.
On the off-chance that the DDR leaves you hanging for options, you can also loop other pedals in after the dry side and before the wet with TRS cables (the other mini switch on the side), giving you a cheeky effects loop inside the DDR itself. Nice.
As more guitarists succumb to the joys of the portable mini-board, pedals that offer this amount of functionality without going full multi-FX are gaining attention. We’ve tried several recently and the Keeley DDR is one of the best.
- PRICE £179
- DESCRIPTION Drive, reverb and delay stompbox. Made in USA
- CONTROLS Blend, decay and time on the wet side; level, tone and drive on the drive side. Mini switches for delay/reverb, vintage/modern and style settings, on/off toggle footswitches
- FEATURES 2x drive voices, analogue and digital reverb and delay with TRS lead functionality
- DIMENSIONS 95 x 50 x 120mm
- CONTACT Keeley Electronics robertkeeley.com
Like this? Try these…
- Mad Professor 1 Overdrive/Reverb (£149)
- Southampton Pedals Indie Dream (£349)
- Analogue Alien Rumble Seat (£389)