Quick Hit: Keeley DDR Review
A few of Keeley’s greatest hits reimagined and packed into a supremely useful box.
Recorded using a Schroeder Chopper TL plugged into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV miked with a Royer R-121 feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Modern reverb and Blues Breaker-style overdrive
Clip 2: Vintage delay
Clip 3: Vintage delay and Tube Screamer-style overdrive
Tons of useful tones. Great spring reverb emulation. Smartly designed effects loop.
No reverb and delay option. Difficult to move modes on the fly.
Ease of Use:
Legendary pedal guru Robert Keeley dropped a few new stomps on us at this past Winter’s NAMM show, and one of the more utilitarian offerings was the DDR—a single, easy-to-use device that offers drive, delay, and reverb. This two-headed pedal combines a wet side with delay or reverb and a distortion side that serves up some of Keeley’s greatest hits. The control setup feels instantly familiar with a standard three-knob array for the dirt, and blend, decay, and time controls for the delay and reverb. (In reverb mode, the time control serves as a tone knob.)
The delay and reverb tones are classic Keeley: warm, spacious, and authentic without drifting into an uncontrollable ambient wash. In reverb mode, a vint/mod switch shifts between a spongy spring or a reflective plate, while in delay mode it selects either tape delay emulation or a pristine digital sound. Those hits pop up again on the dirt side with a more nuanced and useful take on the classic Screamer tone, and a robust version of Blues Breaker-style crunch. The latter has a bit more top-end clarity and some pronounced midrange punch—perfect for medium-gain AC/DC riffs. The Screamer side delivers rich harmonics with a thick low end. Even at a time two-in-one pedals are becoming de rigueur, the DDR stands out in terms of quality, utility, and features.
Test gear: Schroeder Chopper TL, Gibson SG Classic, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV