Issue #3 Vol. #1
the stompbox blog/video aggregator
The Delay Issue
+ NAMM 2020
REGISTER EARLY FOR
What’s Delicious Audio?
Delicious Audio is a blog entirely focused on stompboxes, whose content
is driven by the videos published on YouTube by the most reputable videographers
shooting demos of guitar effects.
The team that runs it also organizes the Stompbox Exhibits, free guitar
pedal parties, with editions in Brooklyn, Austin, Los Angeles, Toronto and
Montreal, and the shared Stompbox Booth at the NAMM shows.
In 2018 we have merged the Stompbox Exhibit with the Synth Expo (which
we started in 2014), since the formats are increasingly complementary.
Why an Aggregator?
The aggregator format allows us to amplify the content posted by expert
in the stompbox sector, while allowing us to be at once informative,
neutral and supportive of both the content makers and the community of
pedal builders. The “aggregation” of content is not automatic but curated,
which allows us to retain a voice through the website’s blog posts.
Does Delicious Audio Create Any Original Content?
Yes it does. We regularly work on in-depth articles focused on a specific
kind of effect. Some of our most popular pieces are about the “Klon
Klones”, ambient reverbs and Uni-Vibe pedals – you can easily find these
articles through generic Google searches.
What About the Magazine?
The issue you are reading is born on the ashes of The Deli, a magazine we
started in 2004 that was focused on emerging NYC bands. After we debuted
the Stompbox Exhibit in 2011 and then the Synth Expo in 2014, these
shows allowed The Deli’s print issue to survive until the winter of 2019,
when we decided to convert it into the publication you are reading now.
THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES
Katana MkII takes the acclaimed Katana guitar amp series to the next level,
turbocharging the core feature set with more sounds, more effects, and more versatility.
• Five amp characters, expanded with five newly voiced variations.
• Five simultaneous onboard effects, each with three variations.
• Customizable with over 60 effects types in BOSS Tone Studio.
• Power Amp In for preamps, modelers, and multi-FX.
• Stereo Expand out for dual amp setups (available on 100-watt models only).
• New effects types, updated editor software, and more.
Issue #3 Vol. #1
the stompbox blog/video aggregator
EDITOR IN CHIEF / PUBLISHER
PAOLO DE GREGORIO
EDITOR / PEDAL GURU
ASSISTANT EDITOR / COPY EDITOR
ERIN BETHUNE D’SOUZA
MAIA AND HANA DE GREGORIO
If you like delay, you were born in the right century. Humans have been
making music for a very long time — some say as many as 35,000
years. But none of the gazillions of songs and musical pieces written
between the dawn of humanity and the 1960s had a “delay effect”
in it! Of course, echo could be experienced in nature before then, but it was
impractical for musical purposes (unlike reverb, which is achievable by placing
the sound source in an empty room). Delay is, therefore, a modern commodity,
and If it’s true that it’s not the only sound effect born in the last century, we’d
be hard-pressed to deny that it’s one of — if not THE — most useful, fun and
inspiring of them all. How lucky are we?
Those who, more specifically, love delay pedals, are even luckier: the decade
that just ended saw an explosion of devices and new technology that made this
effect better sounding and more tweakable and portable than ever.
In this issue, we are telling the story of delay, with a focus on guitar pedals. It’s
a story where technology, engineering, vision, and design, are channeled into
tiny boxes aiming at inspiring musicians like you. We hope that these pages will
help you find the next source of inspiration — while informing you about this
wonderful effect’s history.
Paolo De Gregorio
P.10 NAMM 2020
BEST PEDALS OF 2019
THE HISTORY OF DELAY
THE MAGIC OF
BUCKET BRIGADE DEVICES
THE BEST DELAYS
FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS
Delicious Audio @ NAMM 2020!
Once again, we’ll be at Winter NAMM with two booths hosting several emerging boutique pedal builders. In this section,
we highlight their latest releases. If you are going to NAMM, don’t forget to stop by booth #5046 and #3423!
A recreation of the Normal
channel of the Vox UL730,
made famous by the Beatles.
Modeled after one of the few
originals, this pedal employs
a custom FET saturation engine
to mimic the attributes
of the amp’s tube power amp
section and the amp’s peculiar
Mids knob. The second
footswitch engages an extra
The Element is a pedal that
takes spring reverb back to its
very essence: vibrating metal
springs stimulated by a guitar
signal. Nothing artificial here.
The spring tank, available in
different sizes, is conveniently
detached from the “control”
stompbox, which includes Low
and High EQ, Dry/Wet knob
and a Spring Saturation switch.
Birmingham Sounds FX
Designed to be a high quality
“wide range” overdrive/distortion,
this is a “Swiss Army
Knife” kind of pedal, offering a
variety of tones, from a slight
hint of crunch all the way to
huge distortion. A two-band
Baxandall EQ allows for tone
shaping and fine-tuning to any
amp or environment.
An entirely analog circuit with a
highly versatile EQ set including
mid control, a boost, and
1176-style one-knob compressor
- all in one extremely
practical compact guitar pedal.
It is a versatile multi-functional
tone shaping tool that will improve
almost every tone to the
next, harmonically rich level.
It made the cover of Premier
Guitar’s “Gear of the Year”
issue. In his review, Charles
Saufley said: “If you love the
mainline rush of guitar into a
piping-hot English amp, you’ll
love Hypatia’s aggressive but
articulate personality. Spend
enough time with this pedal
and you’ll find it’s capable of
much more than that.”
10 delicious audio Winter 2020
It blends an ambient pad or
drone under the guitar signal.
Select the desired song
key and easily navigate the
internal library of pad types
via MIDI or the onboard soft
switches. Add a volume pedal
in the effects loop or utilize
the onboard side roller knob to
fade the pad in and out.
Frost Giant Electronics
A distortion designed with one
thing in mind: pure saturated
distortion, but with breath and
heft you can feel in your gut.
It adds a carefully fine-tuned
boost circuit around the company’s
With the boost pushing the
Mountain, you can blend both
gains and use the Pre to add
even more saturation.
KMA Audio Machines
This “Spatial-Temporal Modifier”
is KMA Audio Machines’
first step into the fully digital
realm. It’s a tap tempo-enabled
delay + reverb with modulation,
octave and filter options heavy
in features (and knobs, and
switches…). All in all, this versatile,
dynamically modulated delay+reverb
offers creative players
an exciting mini-playground
for sonic experimentation.
namm 2020 stompbox booth #5046
Mistery new product
by Meris! ?
Mojo Hand FX
Echo / Chorus / Vibrato based
on the classic late ’70s DMM
- but much smaller and with
many other improvements:
twice the delay time, blend
knob, clearer repeats, longer
feedback, and a more pronounced
vibrato effect. It has
a SPIN DSP based processor
which will never need the
originals’ costly and frequently
needed BB adjustments.
Onboard Expression Receiver
It delivers tactile Midi, Expression
and Switch control
onboard to the guitar without
changing its aesthetics or construction.
The guitar is connected
with a stereo (TRS) cable to
the Receiver, which reads the
Controller position and pushpush
switch status and then
controls pedals, amps, amp
modellers and more.
A Phaser/Tremolo that covers
the industry-standard sounds
for both effects, while also providing
original tones through
their interaction. The tremolo
depth and rate parameters
are set up with maximum control
over your signal, while the
phaser is jam-packed with
sonic easter eggs. Designed
for easy foot control over
parameters for maximum real-time
It combines a pair of legendary
fuzzes in one stompbox.
“Channel A” provides a warm
and dynamic 2-transistor Tone
Bender MK1.5-inspired circuit
with slightly hotter silicon
transistors; “Channel B” delivers
tones à la Tone Bender MKII.
Stacked them or run them
separately and use Bias knob
and dip switches to tune them
to your tastes.
Spiral Electric FX
A dirty boost with 18v internal
operation that exploits
various JFET circuits inspired
by Jimmy Page’s use of the
Barcus Berry Preamp. It uses
a dual JFET for amplification
and the Grit, which is a combination
of JFET and Silicon
clipping found in the company’s
Yellow Spiral Drive, but
with a user-definable location
in the circuit.
Vs Audio Effects
A stereo BBD analog chorus
based on the re-issued
version of the MN3207 delay
chip. Offers six different presets
and a delay control that
sets the center delay time for
the modulation. Each knob
is controlled by a small microprocessor
while the signal
stays 100% analog. This allows
to save and recall multiple
modulated tones instantly.
A true sonic reproduction of
the Bixonic Expandora, the
Exegete provides a vast array
of tones, from clean crunch all
the way to over-the-top fuzz.
A multi-modulation pedal
boasting 8 unique takes
on classic effects including
chorus, flanger, phaser and
tremolo. With five on-board
presets, tap tempo with subdivisions,
full expression control
& MIDI, the Junipero offers
incredible versatility that fits
right in with anyone’s rig.
delicious audio Winter 2020 11
namm 2020 stompbox booth #3423
DSM & Humboldt Electronics
It features a true analog preamp
that recreates in fine
detail the most popular clean
channel preamps, a power
amp sim and dual independent
Cab sims with spread
control. Stereo FX loop, headphone
amp with Aux input for
monitoring or silent practicing,
two XLR DI out, and two bypassable
¼-inch jacks round
up the features.
Electric Eye Audio
A pedal that delivers tons of
gain and definition by cutting
selected frequencies before
the signal hits the overdrive.
A parts company focused on
providing high-quality components
for pedals and audio. GØRVA
designs some of its own parts
based on research on metal’s
physical and electrical properties.
Their catalog includes
enclosures optimized for pedal
use, military-spec metal film
resistors with lower noise and
tighter tolerance, and now
also all sorts of potentiometers,
switches, jacks etc.
An original analog design with
a unique clip control for each
half of the signal that allows
the even and odd harmonics
to be adjusted independently
of the gain control. It can
be adjusted for asymmetrical
or symmetrical clipping,
producing tube amp tones.
The OD and the output boost
sections can be used independently
or in series.
Old Blood Noise
An ambient machine offering a
newly voiced reverb with harmonic
tremolo, a modulated
delay, and a reverse section
selectable between normal
speed or double speed activated
with a footswitch for momentary
or latching operation.
The placement of the two effects
can be changed through
the Order toggle switch.
12 delicious audio Winter 2020
West Co Pedals
Inspired by funk drummer
Curt Bisquera, the Grease
Juicer - West Co’s first signature
pedal - is a unique
Filter with Sidechain trigger.
The detector and audio circuits
are specifically tweaked
for bass (green knob and LED
version) or guitar (orange knob
and LED version). If you like
your funk a little nasty, this is
the pedal for you.
About the Delicious Audio’s
NAMM Stompbox Booths
Delicious Audio organizes
pedal (and synth) popup
events in several
North American cities
and, starting 2020, also
in the UK (see page 2 for
a full calendar).
At both NAMM shows we give the opportunity for smaller pedal
builders to attend these important musical instrument conventions
at a fraction of the cost, through the shared Stompbox Booths.
Some established builders started attending NAMM through our
shared booths, including Red Panda, Meris, Old Blood Noise
Endeavors, Fairfield Circuitry, and DryBell among others. Bigger
manufacturers like EarthQuaker Devices, Walrus Audio,
Source Audio and Chase Bliss Audio occasionally take part in
our booths as well.
Pedal companies interested in reserving a spot for the upcoming
Summer NAMM (Nashville, July 9-10) and Winter NAMM
2021 can reach out to email@example.com.
The Best Guitar Pedals
the Web Gurus
Although January, in the pedal world,
rhymes with “NAMM” (with its bountiful
promise of new “stompable” devices), the
first month of the year also represents an
opportunity to look back at what stood out during
the previous twelve-month period.
As usual, on our blog, we aggregated the “Best of
2019” lists compiled by the most popular sites and
videographers covering pedals — what better way
to state with absolute confidence which stompboxes
made a splash than listening to the opinions of all the
experts? Of course, some more lists might be published
after this magazine’s print deadline, but here
are the ones we found so far: Demos in the Dark ,
Dennis Kayzer , EytschPi42 , Guitar.com, Guitar
Partners, Jay Leonard J, Living Room Gear Demos
, Music Radar , The Pedal Zone , Reverb.com ,
Rhett Shull , Thomann. You can easily find these
videos and web pages by Googling “Best Guitar
One trend we noticed compared to past years is
an increased fragmentation in these experts’ pedal
choices. This makes sense if we consider that
many of the newer manufacturers born during the
post-2010 “pedal builder explosion” are now in
their prime, and coming out with designs that are
original, great sounding and solidly built. On the
other hand, some of the more established companies
seem to have become slower in their launch
of new products, see — for example — Strymon’s
release-less 2018 and Wampler’s and Empress FX’s
prolonged “dry spells,” due to the perfecting of ambitious
(and therefore complicated) digital pedals.
While this fragmentation allows us to highlight more
pedals, the space limitations of print won’t allow us to
do them all justice, so, for a more thorough article on
the best pedals of 2019 we refer you to our online blog,
where you’ll also find the rules adopted for the scores.
Please note: some pedals were omitted from this list because
of conflict of interests highlighted by the authors.
14 delicious audio Winter 2020
The Slö was the best selling
pedal on Reverb.com in
2019, it was the top choice
for shoegazer videographers
Pedal Partners and also made
the Best of 2019 lists for
EytschPi42 and Guitar.com.
The Volante was chosen as
the Best pedal of 2019 by
Thomann and Guitar.com and
was #3 in Music Radar’s list.
Updated list here:
The Plumes was the #2 pick in
the Thomann and Guitar Partners
list and was also included in the
Reverb.com and Guitar.com Lists.
Top choice for Music Radar and
placement in EytschPi42 list.
Chase Bliss Audio
2nd best selling pedal on Reverb.
com and one of the Living Room
Gear Demo’s favorites.
Top choice for Demos in the Dark!
Second place in both Thomann’s
and Jay Leonard J’s lists!
The Pedal Zone’s #2 +
in Dennis Kayzer’s list.
Crazy Tube Circuits
Jay Leonard J’s
favorite pedal of 2019.
Dr. Scientist KMA Audio Machines
Dennis Kayzer’s top pedal! The Pedal Zone’s top pick!
It made three lists:
EytschPi42, Jay Leonard
J and The Pedal Zone.
3rd best selling pedal of 2019
on Reverb.com, it also made
the Music Radar’s list.
2nd favorite pedal of 2019
2nd best for
#2 of 2019 for
Feathured in Dennis
Kayzer’s and The
Pedal Zone’s lists.
#18 REVV G4 Drive, Yellowstone FX Fauna, WMD Geiger Counter Pro, Toneking Ironman II Mini
#22 Alexander Pedal Marshmellow, Anasounds Element, Becos CompIQ, BOSS SY-1, Carl Martin Panama, Caroline
Sommersault, Champion Leccy The Woozy, Ear Fuzz FX Buzzaround, EHX Parallel Mixer, Electrofoods Ultd Eye of Ra,
Farm Pedals Fly Agaric, Fender Pinwheel, Fender Tre-Verb, Hamstead Subspace, HB Thunder 99, Hudson Broadcast
AP, JHS Pedals Cheese Ball and Colour Box 2, Keeley DDR, Keeley Synth-1, King Tone Duelist, KMA Logan Drive, Life
is Unfair Synaptic Cleft, Mad Professor Supreme, Mask Audio Electronics No Octave Fuzz, Mastro Valvola LEM, Matthews
Effects Astronomer, Mooer Ocean Machine, Ohmless Detonator, Old Blood Noise Rever and Minim, Origin FX
Revival Drive Compact, Pelican Noiseworks / Spruce FX Pelitaur GE V2, Pine Box Customs Sirens, Red Panda Particle
V2, Redbeard Effects Red Mist Mk IV, Seymour Duncan Dark Sun, SolidGoldFX Lysis, Source Audio Collider, Thorpy FX
Deep Oggin, Heavy Water and The Dane, Vertex Nyle, Walrus Audio EB-10, Wampler Terraform, Wren & Cuff De La Riva
2019 Hot Collaboration Action
With the pedal community tighter than it’s ever been, more and more companies are seeking to collaborate with
their contemporaries to fuse different engineering strengths into a cohesive (and exceptional) product. Often sold
as limited runs, these devices represent opportunities to elevate the scene of effects as a whole (and to help each
other out with cross-promotion). Let’s take a look at the most intriguing collaborations of 2019!
Chase Bliss Audio &
their many friends
Maxon + EarthQuaker, Keeley,
Minneapolis builder Chase Bliss Audio seems to have based
its business model on collaborations: the company released
THREE collaborative pedals in 2019 (while also working on the
ambitious Preamp MkII with Benson): the experimental looper
Blooper with YouTube demoer Knobs, Mark Seel of 3Degrees
Audio and Parker Coons (formerly of DigiTech); The spacey
granular delay/looper MOOD in collaboration with OBNE and
Drolo; and the limited edition CBA version of the Cooper FX
Electronic Audio Experiments
2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the granddaddy of all overdrive
pedals, the OD808. Maxon (via Godlyke) reached out to
four industry stalwarts to develop their unique take on the venerable
OD808 circuit. Jamie Stillman of EarthQuaker Devices,
Keeley of his eponymous company, Nicholas Kula of Catalinbread
and Dave Koltai of Pigtronix each reconfigured the
OD808 to reflect their approach to design. The original designer,
Susumu Tamura, also retrofitted the circuit with a unique
take of his own. After the modifications were made, Godlyke’s
team modded each one by hand using the specified parts lists,
and as a result, each version is available only in a limited run.
Thorpy FX + Dan Coggins
New Jersey’s family business Fuzzrocious Pedals has also
been active this year with two limited releases. The Maggotor
combines Fuzzrocious’ Baby Furnace gated fuzz with the
Blackfly by Electro-Faustus, a standalone instrument that generates
noise through the vibration of three amplified springs.
The Wicked Jawn, on the other end, marries the Electronic
Audio Experiment’s Model FET preamp with the Fuzzrocious
Octave Jawn, a digital octave up/down circuit.
While you might not know the name Dan Coggins or his company
Dinosaural, you may have heard of his former company,
Lovetone, which was a heavy hitter in the pedal scene. Some
of the company’s goods are among the best pedals ever made,
such as the Cheese Source and Meatball. The Deep Oggin and
the Camoflange are collaborative pedals Dan designed with
Thorpy FX, offering up a chorus/vibrato circuit that strives to
be the ultimate in three-dimensional tonal exploration and a
flanger that updates the classic sound of the vintage Mistress.
16 delicious audio Winter 2020
IT’S ABOUT TIME
THE HISTORY OF THE DELAY DEVICE
In 1952, Sam Phillips stumbled upon a sound
so inspiring and so powerful that it would
shape the face of popular music for decades
to come. Deep within the walls of his Sun
Records studio sat Phillips’s collection of tape
machines, conjoined in a way that defied convention
and recommended usage within instruction
manuals. The sound produced by these machines—one
fed into the next—ended up being
colloquially known as “delay.” Phillips was the
only person in the world who had it, and it went
on nearly every one of his recordings.
“Slapback delay” as it came to be called, is the sound of
one repeat arriving nearly instantly after the initial signal
is played. At the configuration of its quickest repeat, the
effect thickened the signal of a guitar. At its longest, it was
a tool used to fill out mixes and make one guitarist sound
like two or more. Because this slapback delay required the
use of two expensive and cumbersome tape units, Sun
Records was essentially the only place to get “the sound.”
Finding it elsewhere was impossible, and finding it on
stage was doubly so.
It wasn’t long before Sun Records became synonymous
with early rock ‘n’ roll, and then so did delay. The next step
was to make delay more accessible to the masses—two
massive tape units was quite a load to schelp about. In 1959,
Ray Butts took care of that with his EchoSonic—the world’s
first portable tape delay unit. Unfortunately for blue-collared
and feeble musicians, the EchoSonic came bundled with a
tube amp, with the two working in tandem as one laborious
piece of kit. Be that as it may, one of Butts’s first customers
was none other than Sam Phillips, who subsequently recorded
Scotty Moore (of Elvis Presley’s band) with it. Butts
created less than a hundred EchoSonic amp-and-delay hybrids,
though the demand far exceeded the supply.
It should come as no surprise that many customers longed
for a delay unit that didn’t include an amplifier, and that
18 delicious audio Winter 2020
“The sound produced by tape machines ended
up being colloquially known as “delay.”
Sam Phillips at Sun Records was the only
person in the world who had it, and it went
on nearly every one of his recordings.”
didn’t fill the back of a U-Haul. Nine full years later in
1961, that wish was granted in the form of the Echoplex.
Developed by Mike Battle for Maestro of Kalamazoo (in
a roundabout way), the Echoplex became the first piece
of attainable echo idolatry that players lust after even to
this day. Unlike the sound that came to be associated
with tape echo—murky, moody repeats—the Echoplex
featured a slightly percussive voicing that sat right in the
spectral sweet spot of many players of the day, and its lineage—including
and especially the first solid-state unit, the
EP-3—proliferated throughout countless genres of music,
from Chet Atkins and Gary Moore to East Bay Ray of Dead
Kennedys and Sonny Sharrock.
The Echoplex EP-3 also started the trend of guitarists using
the preamp section of their preferred echo units as part
of their signature sound, with guitarists such as Lindsay
Buckingham, Eddie Van Halen and Brian Setzer each utilizing
the preamps of the Sony TC-630, EP-3 and Roland
RE-201 Space Echo respectively.
Several pedals have been developed to capture the sound
of the Echoplex, be it the actual tape machine or just the preamp
unit, including the Dunlop Echoplex Delay and Catalinbread
Belle Epoch Deluxe on the delay side, and the Chase
Tone Secret Preamp and ClinchFX Pre on the preamp side.
While the Echoplex relied on magnetic tape and a dizzying
array of heads and rollers that needed regular maintenance,
Italy’s Binson had another idea—magnetic drums,
not too far removed from those found in computer hard
disks. Binson’s Bonfiglio Bini designed the Echorec with a
burly motor that allows players to change the speed of the
motor itself in order to manipulate the delay time, while the
Echoplex relies on moving the tape mechanism in order to
vary the delay time. Also unlike the Echoplex, the drum and
motor required far less month-to-month maintenance and
was resistant to magnetic tape’s wow and flutter, making
for a more reliable unit for live usage. There is perhaps no
greater ambassador of the Echorec than Pink Floyd’s David
Gilmour, with Hank Marvin of the Shadows not far behind.
delicious audio Winter 2020 19
150ms 300ms 800ms 2000ms
Photo: Evan P Cordes
“Bonfiglio Bini at Binson in Italy designed
the Echorec that used magnetic drums and
motor, which required far less maintenance,
and was more reliable for live useage.”
“In 1959, Ray Butts created EchoSonic,
the world’s first portable tape delay unit.”
“Mike Battle for Maestro of Kalamazoo
developed Echoplex, the delay
unit that didn’t include an amplifier.”
Thousands of miles away, Roland started work on its tape
delay unit, known as the Space Echo. The Space Echo was
released relatively late compared to its relatives, but chief
engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi first developed the far lesser-known
Ace Tone EC-1 Echo Chamber in the late ’60s,
right alongside the more well-known Western units. The
big breakthrough of the Space Echo ancestry is the RE-
201, featuring an endless tape loop delivered in an unconventional
way, using a bit of gadgetry known as a capstan
drive (take note, Strymon enthusiasts!).
Before tape’s appeal faded, studio engineers were truly
getting the most from this medium before it went the
way of the dodo. Abbey Road’s Ken Townshend invented
automatic double tracking after John Lennon complained
about the tedium of manually double-tracking vocals. Likewise,
Jimmy Page somewhat invented reverse delay in order
to subdue the effect of a heinous brass ensemble that
he hated when playing with the Yardbirds.
Like virtually all other technology, the tubes and complex
mechanical workings of tape machines eventually came
across the operating table of miniaturization. The ’70s saw
the advent of BBD (bucket-brigade device) chips and the
first truly low-cost ICs (integrated circuits). These BBD chips
came to prominence by way of American manufacturer Reticon
(SAD series) and then undercut in price and availability
by Matsushita (MN series). Any effect featuring a parameter
that is even remotely related to time, such as “rate,”
“speed,” or anything else contained a BBD chip. The echo
effects of this time came to be known as “analog delay.”
The sound of analog delay is dark and moody, but this
sound wasn’t necessarily a design choice like it was with its
tape predecessors. The technology of BBD design took a
heavy toll on the high frequencies, particularly at 3KHz, the
same band in which clock noise is generated. Heavy filtering
was implemented to keep the clock noise from bleeding
into the signal path, creating a characteristic high-frequency
rolloff. Subsequent repeats were run through the same
filtering, leading to repeats that eventually degraded into
20 delicious audio Winter 2020
ads_HalfPg_DeliMag 1219.qxp_One Control 2019-12-13 12:40 PM Page 1
“The Echoplex EP-3 also started the
trend of guitarists using the preamp
section of their preferred echo units
as part of their signature sound.”
“The ’70s saw the advent of BBD
(bucket-brigade device) chips and
the first truly low-cost ICs (integrated
circuits). Any effect featuring
a parameter such as “rate” and
“speed” contained a BBD chip.”
“Roland’s Space Echo RE-201
featured an endless tape loop
delivered in an unconventional
way, using a capstan drive.”
mush. Later technologies that attempted to emulate analog
gear simply implemented a 3dB cut at 3KHz, creating the
same degraded repeats that purists crave.
One of the biggest names in analog delay was the Deluxe
Memory Man by Electro-Harmonix. This upgrade to the earlier
Stereo Memory Man featured a lush modulation section.
An unintended byproduct of tape delays that occurred as
its mechanical parts wore down, this new modulated delay
added chorus or vibrato sounds to the repeats. This iteration
of analog delay exclusively used the MN3005 BBD, while
later permutations used the MN3008 and even the MN3205.
As is the case with technology as a whole, analog eventually
gave way to digital, ushering in several new delay types
which either simply aren’t possible with analog technology,
or are prohibitively complicated. Much like analog delay,
digital delay entered into the conversation once its principal
components became cheap enough for the finished
products to turn a profit. The core of digital music technology
was simply onboard memory—it was insanely expensive
prior to the early ’80s. This is why everything was
“digital” in the ’80s—clocks, synthesizers and tv tuners all
brandished this adjective in hopes of attracting consumers.
In the effects world, digital delay at its core meant an exact
reproduction of whatever was played into the unit. For
better or for worse, digital units repeated exactly what they
heard, and there was no high-frequency rolloff to hide mistakes
of any kind. With this tradeoff came some radically
advanced signal processing unlike anything delay devices
had seen before. And it began in rack units, with enough
space to hold processors, memory, screens and a myriad
of colorful lights and buttons.
New advancements in delay technology were possible after
the advent of digitalization. Units like the Roland SDE-1000
added features such as tap tempo, in which players set the
delay time by rhythmically tapping a footswitch for precise
intervals. Algorithms like “ping-pong” delay, where each
repeat shot across stereo channels, and “ducking delay,”
where the repeats are reactive to the volume of the input
22 delicious audio Winter 2020
DESIGNED WITH A PASSION FOR QUALITY.
150ms 300ms 800ms 2000ms
1980 1983 1999
“One of the biggest names in analog
delay was the Deluxe Memory Man by
Electro-Harmonix. An unintended byproduct
of tape delays that occurred
as its mechanical parts wore down, this
new modulated delay added chorus or
vibrato sounds to the repeats.”
“BOSS DD-2’s rudimentary analog-to-digital
a slight high-frequency rolloff
that bridges the gap between
analog and digital.”
“Jeorge Tripps designed the DL4 for
Line 6 that featured foot controllers
to control the parameters such as
speed of the loop in the real time,
following Gibson’s Echoplex and
Akai’s Headrush E1.”
signal were found on the myriad of rack units, along with
everything else previously mentioned and a few kitschy outliers.
Because digital memory was cheaper but still relatively
pricey and occupied a swath of circuit board real estate,
rack units were the de facto medium for these circuits.
TC Electronic’s 2290, Roland’s SDE-3000 and Korg’s SDD-
3000 led the pack in the realm of digital delay technology,
with the latter featuring several nifty features that characterize
the sound of U2’s [the] Edge. The Edge popularized
the “dotted-eighth” delay, a subdivision of standard delay
time controls that normally operated in quarter-notes.
These digital units were also capable of extending delay
times far beyond analog devices, up to three full seconds
in some models. BOSS released the first compact digital
delay pedal, based on the aforementioned SDE-3000, and
called it the DD-2 in 1983. Because of the unit’s rudimentary
analog-to-digital converter, it creates a slight high-frequency
rolloff that bridges the gap between analog and
digital. These units are still sought-after to this day.
Gibson eventually acquired the rights to the Echoplex name
and released the ultimate form of long delay times: the looper.
Gibson’s “Echoplex” was a rack-mount looping device
that featured a foot controller to control every parameter of
the looping, giving groundbreaking options to change the
speed of the loop in real time and lay down real-deal “soundon-sound”
tracks atop one another. Akai’s Headrush E1
served this up in 1994, and Jeorge Tripps followed suit in
1999, designing the DL4 for Line 6 and bringing many of the
same features to pedal users. The DL4 is still manufactured
20 years later as a staple of countless bands’ touring rigs.
After exploring the two realms of signal processing, only
innovative algorithms remain. Companies like Eventide,
Strymon, Meris and even BOSS are constantly pushing the
envelope to new frontiers in signal processing. While many
of these units try to emulate a certain era of delay tech,
many feature innovative bits of signal processing that are
working to advance the tech even further. d
24 delicious audio Winter 2020
ads_HalfPg_DeliMag 1219.qxp_AP 2019-12-13 12:33 PM Page 1
By Christopher Scapelliti
As explored in the previous article, musicians and producers have been treated to a wealth of innovations in
the world of delay effects. Somehow, though, it seems guitarists always return to analog delay. Though the
effect fell out of favor from the 1980s through the early 1990s, it began to make a comeback towards the
end of the last century. Today, love for its warm, slightly distorted sound is as strong as ever, as evidenced
by the numerous analog delay pedals on the market.
But what’s the source of that analog mojo? It’s the bucket brigade device, or BBD chip, the integrated circuit (IC) responsible
for creating the delay effect—as well as other time-based effects like chorus and flange—in these vintage units.
26 delicious audio Winter 2020
BUCKET BRIGADE DEVICE
The BBD is fairly old tech. It was created in 1969 at Philips
Research Labs and works in an ingeniously simple manner.
Inside the BBD is a long line of tiny capacitors and switching
transistors. Each capacitor acts as a container for an
analog sample of sound, which it receives from the pedal’s
input and stores as electric energy. When the signal enters
the chip, the first capacitor takes a sample of the sound
and then hands it off to the next capacitor, or stage, within
the circuit, which passes it off to the next, and so on. This
method of handing-off samples recalls a line of firefighters
passing buckets of water from one end to the other, which
is how the chip came to be called a bucket brigade device.
Capacitors don’t have to immediately unload their energy.
They can hold onto it for a short period of time before passing
it along and receiving a new sample in their now-empty
bucket. This is where the switching transistors come in—
they tell the capacitors when to release their charge and
send it down the line. The rate at which this happens is
determined by a companion chip that acts as a clock. By
adjusting the clock rate, we can set the speed at which the
capacitors pass along their contents. This is how the BBD
chip is able to produce everything from fast slapback delays
to echoes separated by several hundred milliseconds.
WHY ANALOG DELAY
But capacitors aren’t perfect. They tend to leak, and just
like a bucket with a hole in it, they need to pass their contents
along before it runs out. Even the largest-capacity
BBD chips, which contain 4,096 stages, can produce
delays of only about 400 milliseconds, or less than half a
second. As the energy in a capacitor runs out, very little
information is left to pass along. This is why long echoes
in BBD delays have low fidelity. It also explains why each
subsequent echo sounds fuzzier than the one just before
it—there’s less data available to pass along. Note that this
isn’t a problem with chorus or flange, because those effects
rely on short delays, so the buckets pass their contents
along quickly and with minimal loss.
Many musicians like analog delay for its “warmth.” While
this is partly due to the leaky nature of capacitors, it’s also
by design. BBD chips tend to be noisy. All that repeating
data produces undesirable artifacts, known as aliasing,
which is heard as high-frequency distortion. In addition,
the clock generators that tell the chip how quickly to pass
along data put out their own high-frequency whine.
To mask the noise, circuit designers have often used lowpass
filtering to roll off the high frequencies where the aliasing
and clock whine reside. This makes the echoes sound
duller than the original signal. A number of other methods
have been used to mask clock noise, but low-pass filtering
is most common.
EVOLUTION OF THE BBD
Though BBDs were invented in 1969, it took several years
before they were good enough to use in musical applications.
The first devices had just a few stages—i.e. buckets—and
worked only on low-frequency content. They also
suffered from parasitic capacitance, an undesirable condition
that exists between parts of a circuit that are close
together. Eventually, these problems were worked out, and
by 1976 BBDs were being made with as many as 2,048
stages, allowing for smooth and rich-sounding echoes. In
addition, designers found that by teaming together several
BBD chips in series, they could overcome the circuits’ inherent
time limitations, to some extent.
BOSS DM-2 (left), the first
Bucket Brigade delay pedal.
Eventide Rose (right), a digital
delay that emulates the sonic
characteristics of a BBD.
Thanks to these innovations,
a host of classic effects
from the late 1970s through
the mid 1980s were based
around BBD chips. By the
late 1990s, manufacturers
had begun to rediscover the
magic of BBDs by building
new devices around NOS
(New Old Stock) chips. Today,
many IC manufacturers are producing accurate reproductions
of classic BBD chips, allowing for a new breed of
devices powered by this vintage technology. Many new pedals
use several BBDs in series to produce delay times northward
of 1000ms. Today these chips are so “trendy” that digital
powerhouses like Strymon and Eventide invested a lot of
resources in recreating digital circuits that perfectly recreate
the Bucket Brigade – with all its character and flaws! d
Want to put some analog delay in your signal chain? The pedals on page 26 and 27 use BBDs.
delicious audio Winter 2020 27
Delay Delay Pedals Pedals
delay pedal simply replicates
your guitar’s input signal. So
why is choosing one so difficult?
The short answer is “variety.” Electronic delay, or echo, has
been around since the late 1940s, when it was produced
mechanically, using audio tape. In the roughly 70 years
since then, it’s become available in a range of analog and
digital circuits and with an increasingly varied set of features,
including tap tempo, modulation and multi-tap delays
that let you create complex rhythmic echo effects. Despite
this, all delays are similar at heart, taking your input signal
and passing it through a circuit that features controls for
adjusting delay time, the number of repeats and the amount
of “wet” effect to be blended with your original “dry” signal.
We’re not going to get into the specifics of how delay pedals
work, but suffice to say, delay has become one of the
most common effects available today, even if it is available
in an uncommonly diverse number of flavors. Not only are
there dozens of pedals to choose from, but the range of
features on offer can be overwhelming: everything from
simple analog echo boxes to advanced boxes that offer
multiple types of vintage and modern delay.
for all your needs
Delay is also the centerpiece for a range of stompboxes
designed for ambient guitarists (and other musicians too).
These pedals excel at turning your input signal into an echoey,
droning wash of sound and usually include a number of
other audio-bending features, such as filters and modulation.
We’ve compiled the following best-of lists to help you sort
through the variety of delay pedals out there. Whether
you’re looking for a simple set-and-forget echo stompbox,
a delay pedal with tap tempo, a tape-echo reproducer (real
or emulated), an ambient box, or a fully-loaded delay with
all the bells and whistles, you’ll find what you need among
the seven lists in the next pages. We’ve divided our choices
into pedals Basic Analog Delays; Avdanced Analog
Delays, which offer features such as tap tempo and rhythmic
subdivisions; Creative Digital Delays and Multi-Mode
Delays that give you a full range of delay varieties as well
as advanced features; Unapologetic Digital Delays (mostly
’80s inspired) and Vintage Analog-style Delays. Attention:
we didn’t include Delay + Reverb pedals in this overview!
Many of these pedals are new additions to the world, while
others have been around for a while. All are available right
now to help you get the tone you crave.
delicious audio Winter 2020 29
basic analog delays
Many guitarists are looking for a delay to help them beef up their tone. They don’t need tap tempo or
other frills—just a basic three-knob pedal that can deliver a range of delays for styles ranging from
rockabilly to reggae to hard rock. If this sounds like you, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty
of pedals out there that can fulfill your requirements. Entries in this BBD-driven category include:
Based on the vintage Boss
DM-2, it introduces switchable
modes and greater versatility,
with Custom mode offering a
cleaner analog tone with over
twice the available delay time
(800 ms). Standard mode replicates
the original with delay
times between 20 and 300ms.
DELAY LAY LAY
This affordable delay by an irreverent,
builder is smaller
than your average stompbox
and offers between 140ms
and 360ms of delay, with controls
for Mix, Time and Rate.
A self defined “broke-tique”
builder, Deadbeat Sound
makes boutique pedals for the
An affordable, streamlined version
of the legendary Memory
Man, this is a delay with lush
sound and basic controls that
also includes a modulation
mode which adds a touch of
chorus. Up to 550ms of delay,
among the shortest in this list.
Analog Delay Mini
It features two smaller knobs
for Repeat and Blend, and
a significantly larger Delay
Time knob in the middle. The
range of delay time is 20ms to
600ms. True bypass switching
provides the shortest, most direct
signal path, as well as the
A truly boutique, hand made
pedal, this effect features a
straightforward design and
delivers up to 600ms of delay.
It’s particularly loved by musicians
for its slapback effect.
A great sounding delay, but
not the most affordable option
out there, maybe because it
features eight custom Bucket
Brigade IC’s for 900 milliseconds
of warm, organic analog
tone. Its repeats feature
a slightly overdriven tonality
that sits perfectly behind dirty
tones and adds depth and dimension
to clean sounds.
A very popular, rich sounding,
three knob analog delay
based on the classic bucket
brigade technology. It features
up to 600ms of delay time with
optional modulation controlled
by two internal trim pots for
width and rate.
One of the most affordable
bucket brigade delay on the
market, this stompbox gets
the job done with three knobs
(Time, Repeats and Mix) and
up to 300ms of delay, but gets
mixed online reviews.
Check out also: Animals Pedal Relaxing Walrus, One Control Turquoise, Tsakalis TiLay.
These are not as basic, but also BBD based: Supro Delay, Teisco Delay, Xvive Echoman.
advanced analog delays
If a basic echo pedal is too spartan, check out these analog stompboxes, which boast additional
features for creative sonic manipulation, such as multi-tap delay, tap tempo and low-frequency
oscillators that can emulate the pitch fluctuations of vintage tape-based delays.
Hand-made by one of the few,
true boutique pedal pioneers,
it’s a dual BBD-based delay
with controls for time, feedback,
and delay level. It features
an effects loop and expression
pedal jack to control
delay time. Optional AMAZE0
gives it external tap tempo,
modulation, and presets.
Chase Bliss Audio
100% analog signal path
controlled by a digital brain,
it packs the unimaginable in
a compact case: tap tempo,
MIDI connectivity, presets (2
via footswitches and 100+
through MIDI), modulation controls
(shape, rate, depth, and
shape), wet/dry knob, a hold
function to add self-oscillation
and 16 DIP switches on the
back panel for extra tweaks.
Death By Audio
A compact version of the popular
Echo Dream II (which also
includes a fuzz circuit) the Micro
Dream has the unique feature
of getting more and more
lo-fi sounding the longer the
repeats, which sound warm
and pleasant up to 400 ms.
Over a second of analog repeats
with tap-tempo, subdivisions,
and tails. Double
concentric knobs give you independent
control of the Mod,
Rate, Depth, Gain, and Tone of
the delay. Double footswitches
allow for extended features
like user customizable momentary
control of oscillation
and momentary control of the
dizzying pitch sweep.
A lush sounding tap-tempo
delay with modulation. The
unique Second knob acts as a
mix control between the main
repeats and the “beat-split
delay repeats,” i.e. the repeats
that fall in between the main
delay’s ones and whose timing
is controlled by the Subdivision
A simple, warm-sounding yet
creative analog delay featuring
a subtle random modulation
that adds a vintagey tape
feel to its repeats. Full CV and
Expression connectivity allow
control of Time and Feedback
values from external sources.
Stone Deaf FX
Digitally controlled analog delay
with Modulation featuring
1000m/s of delay time, Tap
Tempo, 4 Preset Slots, four
Subdivision, a useful Tone
knob, and alternate knob controls
to tweak the modulation’s
rate, depth and shape.
Fully featured modulated analog
delay with Tap Tempo, subdivisions,
and several fine-tuning
options, including Tone
and Mix knobs and EXP In. The
“out there” Chase mode gets
your repeats to cycle through
each of the subdivision values.
Holding the Tap Tempo button
enables trail mode.
Check out also: Anasound Utopia, Cusack Tap-a-Delay, Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy,
JAM Delay Llama Supreme, Mojo Hand FX Mirror Ball, Native Audio Wilderness, Subdecay Echobox. delicious audio Winter 2020 31
Creative Digital delays
If you’re looking for a delay pedal that can take your sound into another dimension, chances are
you’ll find what you want among these ambient machines. Most of the boxes here can do straight
delay, but nearly all of them excel at creating unexpected sounds and textures and washes of
echo. Please note, no delay + reverbs in this list. Look here for those: bit.ly/shoegazer-pedals!
Chase Bliss Audio
It digitally manipulates the
pitch of an analog signal path
created by 4 re-issued versions
of the BBD chip. This allows
to create delays with repeats
playing at different intervals,
opening up innumerable harmonizing
options. Intervals can
be sequenced automatically, or
triggered manually. It can also
be used as a more standard
analog modulated delay.
Free The Tone
Hailed as the world’s first
random fluctuating phase
modulation pedal, this unit
might be considered the ultimate
purely digital delay.
Its two delays can be used in
series or parallel modes with
controls over virtually every
A digital stereo delay/looper
with modulation inspired by
tape echo but evolving past
it. A modulation section added
to the delay’s trails offers
a choice between a vibe and
two flange modes, while an alternate
control function allows
access to Tone, Regen, Subdivisions.
The Looper mode can
do reverse and half speed.
A deep stereo modulated delay
that can take you from familiar
earthly environments to parallel
sonic universes. It boasts 6
delays in series, dual dynamic
flangers, dual phasers and a
filter section, offering thorough
control over the modulation
and a unique feedback circuit.
The Alt button opens up extra
controls for subdivisions and
dynamics and filter response.
Count to Five
A unique delay/sampler with
three modes that can create
forward and backward tape
effects, audio slicing, looping
and overdubbing. Quantized
pitch shifting lets you create
tones that are harmonized
chromatically or in perfect fifths
and octaves, or you can set the
pitch wherever you want.
Echolution 2 Ultra Pro
A studio grade stereo multitap
delay packed with features:
looper, LFO, envelope,
multimode analog filter and
also shimmer and a bit crusher.
Great for on-the-fly programming.
Ducking, Trails, Subdivisions,
Listen and Ping Pong modes,
60 presets and full Midi and
An atmospheric digital pedal
that blends your tone and two
low, fully tunable self-generated
drones through the same
delay circuit. The drone voices
can be spliced into the signal
at intervals you select with
plenty of routing and tuning
options available. It can switch
between two notes on the fly
or play both notes together.
Check out also: Digitech Obscura Altered Delay Pedal, Dwarfcraft Devices Super Wizard Pedal,
Eventide Rose, Meris Hedra, Walrus Audio Bellwether
A digital delay with a pitch (and
frequency) shifter integrated
into the feedback loop producing
harmonized and reverse
delays, chorus, arpeggios, infinite
and evolving soundscapes.
Repeats can be pitch-shifted
up or down by an octave in
semitone steps. Push it to extremes
for ring modulation and
inharmonic shifted delays.
UNAPOLOGETIC DIGITAL DELAYs
Before recent improvements, digital applied to audio had a bad rep — or did it? If you ask any
shoegazer or post-punk band they’ll beg to differ. The early digital delays from the ’80s had
their own character (as gritty as it may have been) and became an integral part of the sound
of the aforementioned genres — embedded in the records of bands like Joy Division and My
Bloody Valentine. Here are four pedals that embrace digitality.
The 2019 evolution of the
classic DD-3, (a 3 decade old
hit) which adds useful functions
like Tap Tempo, dedicated
Direct Output, and Tempo
Input for connecting external
CREATIVE MULTI-MODE DELAYS
Although it can function as a
standard, ’80s inspired digital delay,
the CSIDMAN has Cuts and
Latch controls that let it create
the sound of a skipping portable
CD player. Though its behavior is
pseudo-random, the CSIDMAN
gives you some degree of control
over it, though, but not enough to
make it entirely predictable.
Replicates the sound of the
digital rack delays of the ’80s
dear to many shoegazer bands,
with their pleasing sounding
artifacts and all, packaging it
inside a tiny enclosure.
Another take on the rack
mounted digital delays of the
’80s with a dual-engine and
deep functionality. It offers five
rhythmic subdivisions, three
dual delay routing options, two
modulation modes and three
delay types: early ’80s and mid-
’80s emulations, and a modern
digital mode at 24bits/96kHz.
In this list, a few more Creative digital delays, but with a multi-mode feature for
expanded sound-sculpting options.
The NEO version of this ‘80s
flavored delay packs extra features
like Preset, Morph function,
Trails and Ramp, with six
delay modes from pitch-shifted
to dynamic and arpeggiating
delays. and the more
ordinary dual and Modulated.
The Tweak knob controls
An 8-mode tap-tempo and
preset-enabled ambiance machine.
Prioritizes creative, ambient
delay effects, from Reverse
to Lo Fi, Octave Up/Down, and
Modulated. Four knobs allow
control of six different parameters.
A toggle switch facilitates
control of 6 different parameters
via expression pedal or CV.
Old Blood Noise
A purposefully deviant digital
delay with modulation that intends
to foster happy accidents
through three modes: STUT-
TER, a delay with a percussive
tremolo on the trails; WHIRL,
a modulated delay adding
chorus on the wet signal, and
SHEER, A delay with increasing
octaves on the repeats.
This feature-packed, stereo
granular delay/pitch shifter
chops your signal into small
grains and rearranges, shifts,
and mangles it. Five delay
modes (random, density, LFO,
random pitch, and reverse) and
three pitch modes (detune,
density, LFO) with shifting capabilities
of +/-1 octave. V2
adds Tap Tempo and Presets.
We did our best to include all the most popular/relevant pedals in this list but if we forgot something please
email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll consider including what you highlight in our online lists.
SUPERCHARGED MULTI-MODE DELAYS
Maybe you want a delay that features loads of bells and whistles. Many advanced
delay units place a wealth of analog and digital tones at your service, along with
features such as looping, multitap delay, “freeze,” tap tempo, vintage emulations
and additional reverb and modulation effects. The stompbox that started this
trend is the olden but golden Line 6 DL4. These models follow in its footsteps.
32-bit and 96 kHz sampling
rate allow for a more dynamic
and detailed sound. 12 delay
modes, six knobs for onthe-fly
footswitches, tap tempo, and
four presets slots. There’s also
a 60-second phrase looper.
Supports external footswitches,
expression pedal, and MIDI.
Marries 12 delay modes (up
to 3 seconds) to a Looper
function with 16 minutes of
recording time. Other features
include tap tempo, nine tap
divide settings, 13 presets,
programmable EXP pedal settings,
trails option to let the
delay tail fade out naturally
when the pedal is off.
A pioneer in this list, it features
nine dual delay modes with
dedicated mix, time and feedback
controls for each channel.
All delays have LFO, Filter, a
variable Xnob control, as well as
an Infinite Repeat footswitch.
Features also Tap tempo, a
Looper with variable speed,
Midi, and 100 preset slots.
Dual engine delay with 36+ studio
quality algorithms including
emulations of classics like digital,
tape and analog delays, and
also ambient, multi-tap and reverb
modes. Its dual-engine allows
two of any of these effects
to be used together, routed in
either parallel, series, or left/
right configurations. Tap tempo,
plenty of subdivision options,
Midi connectivity and Cab simulator
are welcome extras.
A more affordable, smaller
than the average, but great
sounding take on the do-it-all
digital delay. Features 12 delay
modes, Freeze control, 4
presets, Tap Tempo, expression
control and full Midi compatibility.
6 knobs allow you
on the fly access of the most
common delay settings.
Offers eight delay types and
a unique dynamic delay function
that lets the effect interact
with the dynamics of your
performance. Presets, Midi integration
and Library software
round up the features.
Loved by many, it’s lush
sounding with deep functions,
without being overly complicated,
a studio-grade unit that
includes 12 “delay machines”
delivering anything from classic
tones to cutting edge ones.
Includes also 200 presets, a
routable 30-second looper,
and full Midi implementation.
Many of these brands have a streamlined compact version of these large footprint pedals.
Flashback 2 X4
A dual digital delay offering 16
delay types (6 of which are customizable
via TonePrint), four
knobs, dedicated tap tempo
footswitch and 3 pressure-sensitive
footswitches with the
MASH technology (which let
you toggle between delay
sounds instantly). 6 presets, 11
subdivision settings. Midi compatibility
and 40-second looper
round out the features.
ads_HalfPg_DeliMag 1219.qxp_OUTLAW 2019-12-13 12:34 PM Page 1
Rose is a modulated delay
unlike any other. Learn more
VINTAGE ANALOG-STYLE EMULATIONS
Maybe you’re just hooked on the raw sound of echo produced by mechanical
tape and oil can delays. Unfortunately, vintage tape delays like the Echoplex,
Binson Echorec and Roland RE-201 Space Echo can be costly and difficult to
maintain. On the bright side, there are a number of entirely electronic pedals that
can mimic the glitchy sounds of tape delay and warbling echoes of oil-can units.
RE-20 Space Echo
A faithful recreation of the beloved
tape echo RE-201 by
the original builder, it boasts
11 classic reverb and delay
modes emulated from Roland’s
legendary original, adding
longer delay time, tap tempo
capabilities and expression
pedal control. It replicates the
original’s tape flutter and magnetic
head sound saturation.
A digital recreation of the vintage
and rare oil can delays that
emulates their dark and warbly
tone while “optimizing” the original
units’ temperamental character
by identifying their most
musical and interesting behaviors.
The Viscosity knob controls
the intensity of the character.
The Balance knob creates
interesting syncopations emulating
emphasys given to one of
the two magnetic heads.
Dawner Prince Electronics
It faithfully recreates the Binson
Echorec 2, increasing delay
time to 1s and using high
voltage driven FETs as tube
emulators and a DSP unit for
the drum-based memory. It
replaces the 12 positions of
the “Switch” knob with an increased
16 combinations. The
small Drum Age knob on the
back blends in the character
displayed by worn out units.
A simple three-knob 40-750ms
delay pedal that emulates the
Maestro Echoplex EP-3 from
the ’60s, one of the first tape
echos. An Age control adds
the character of older, wornout
machines to the repeats,
darkening the tone and adding
saturation and modulation.
A quality, affordable, compact
delay pedal that’s a reduced
and stylized version of the
bulky Guru Amps Echosex,
inspired by the vintage Binson
Echorec, beloved by David
Gilmour. Like most pedals
in this list, it features an Age
knob to add lo-fi character to
Moby Dick V2
A hand-built, tape-emulating
delay with lo-fi and modulation
circuits. The “Lo-Fi” knob
allows to dial in additional
tape saturation to the delay
line, while the Mod control applies
modulation from subtle
to heavily detuning.
A delay/looper that aims at giving
the modern guitarist three
of the most sought-after vintage
delay sounds: tape echo,
drum, and reel-to-reel. Controls
allow you to fine tune the character,
fidelity, brightness and
age of the delay, for more or
less vintage-sounding results.
Faux Tape Echo V2
A versatile delay recreating
the warmth and character of
vintage tape units through a
mostly analog circuit (clean
signal path and filters are analog,
while the delay line is
digital), with the added convenience
of Tap Tempo. Delivers
anything from slapback to
washed out sounds. V2 offers
Check out also: Catalinbread Echorec and Belle Epoch, Empress Tape Delay, Gurus Amps Echosex 2,
Keeley Mag Echo, Strymon El Capistan, TC Electronic Alter Ego X4.