The concept of dynamic wah stomp boxes might be unappealing to some players, but we actually find it quite intricate and different, and hence thoroughly recommend it.
The way these pedals operate is that they don’t have the standard control pedal, but instead offer just On and Off modes of operation, with a variety of sonic tweaks present to alter the sound output. Anyhow, we’re about to review Boss AW-3 dynamic wah pedal, here goes!
The pedal comes with a classic Boss metal casing and utilizes one of the widest arrays of controls we’ve seen in a Boss pedal. It offers two inputs – one for guitar and one for bass – along with an output jack and an expression pedal input if you want to add the classic pedal control to the wah.
On the outside, the pedal is strong, sturdy and perfectly capable of taking a few punches; on the inside, the circuitry is top-level stuff that secures a solid sound on all fronts. The item weighs in at 10.6 ounces and features a total size of 2.3 x 5.8 x 3.6 inches. Made in the USA, the AW-3 can be powered through a single 9V battery or via standard power adapter, none of which are included in the price.
The controls seem very, very daunting. There are four knobs, sure, but the possibilities really seem endless here. Well, they are, but the pedal controls aren’t that difficult to figure out. Let’s see now:
Decay – This one controls the speed of the wah pedal, how strong the effect grips onto your audio signal and how fast it disappears.
Manual + Sense – These two operate as the Humanizer aspect, with the main goal of – you’ve guessed it – making the auto pedal sound more like it’s operated by a human being.
Mode – This knob selects one of the available operation modes and essentially allows you to simulate a variety of ways a wah pedal can be rocked.
The big button – For most pedals, this one is just a simple on/off switch, but not here. The AW-3 utilizes the so-called tap tempo feature, meaning that you can set up the speed of wah pedal by tapping the big button twice – once for the beginning of the pedal stomp and once for the end.
It’s different, and it’s definitely cool! We like how the manufacturer managed to take in that vast array of ways a wah pedal can be used and actually transpose all of that subtlety to knobs and tweaks.
Additionally, connecting this one with an expression pedal gives you even more sonic freedom, securing this fella a spot among most versatile wah pedals on the market.
The sound quality is top-notch, but the main word of advice we have for potential AW-3 users is – don’t be scared and keep an open mind. You can still get a killer wah sound without a pedal and all those controls aren’t really THAT tricky. Give it time, it’s worth it!
Overall, this is a great pedal that allows you to greatly experiment and freshen up the somewhat stale concept of wah pedal. It’s not for everyone, we grant you that, but it’s absolutely not a bad device. From design to sound quality, everything about this pedal is top-level stuff, leaving us with no choice but to give it a thumbs up!