A pedal like the Boss SL-2 Slicer is an acquired taste. The pedal itself is, as the name suggests, a digital slicer that cuts a signal into pieces and spits it back out as a staccato techno sound or a high and twangy tremolo. Based on the Boss SL-20 Slicer, this smaller and lighter pedal does everything the previous version did and more and at $169 I can safely say it should be in the arsenal of any musician with a New Wave/Trip Hop/Emo bent.
Boss says the pedal will work for nearly any instrument although I only tried it with a guitar. The pedal has two inputs and outputs for full stereo support and it allows for cool stereo affects including “Fixed, EFX/Direct, Random, Ping-Pong, Auto, 3D Cross, and 3D Rotation.” This means you can ping pong sound from speaker to speaker or even simulate a spinning sound.
The pedal also has a variation dial that selects from one of 8 USB-programmable selections. These selections range from straightforward reverb sounds to a digital decay that breaks down each note as you play, a la Bon Iver or Francis and the Lights. This kind of sound has become more popular lately in Indie circles and it’s definitely well-represented here.
The most interesting part of the pedal is the BOSS Tone Studio app that lets you program your own sounds on your PC or Mac.
The device even has expansion packs that let you update the pedal and add new patterns.
I messed with the pedal a bit in order to create something like a gentle bit of surf rock – please excuse my lack of talent – and was able to squeeze out something very David Lynch out of a very basic set of chords.
I can’t think of any reason to dislike this pedal unless you just don’t like the concept. It’s a very digital-first pedal and offers very little in the way of “authentic” or “tube” sounds. It’s not a one trick pony and programming it might also be daunting for some players.
That said, this pedal works well out of the box and I can’t report any concerns. Getting a good sound out of it is easy and the controls are simple enough to master after a few tries. Heck, you don’t even need to master them: the whole system is so intuitive that you could spend your life just twiddling the knobs to create whatever sound you were looking for or, more importantly, happy with.
Check out my video above for more on the pedal but for my part I’m smitten with this clever, compact pedal that offers loads of sound options and plenty of versatility. You can check out the pedal at Amazon here.