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What it is
Co-designed by Analog Man’s Ohbayashi San and Analog Mike (who—full disclosure— contributes to our monthly Stomp School column along with his partner, Tom Hughes), the ARDX20 is a two-channel, handwired delay pedal that offers between 36 ms and 600 ms of delay time. Housed in a rugged, red metal case, the ARDX20 is powered by either a 9-volt battery or a Boss-style power supply. The pedal sports dual footswitches—a true-bypass on/off switch and a channel switch—six knobs, standard input and output jacks, an effects loop jack, and a delay time expression jack. The easy-to-access battery compartment is on the underside of the pedal.
The knobs are laid out in a very user-friendly fashion in two rows. The upper three knobs— delay time, feedback, and delay level— control the Yellow channel. The lower three knobs provide the same controls for the Red channel. Below the knobs are two small LEDs that alternately blink, speeding up or slowing down as you adjust the delay time.
The ARDX20 is designed to let you dial in two delay settings and then toggle between them with a footswitch. Nifty LEDs on either side of the pedal tell you which channel is in play at any given time. Conveniently, both the on/ off and channel switches sit higher than the knobs, so you won’t accidentally mess up your settings during a quick effects change.
Getting Down to Business
I plugged my ’78 Yamaha SG2000 into the ARDX20 and a ’66 Fender Pro Reverb and started exploring the unit’s sounds. My first thought was that it’s not a transparent delay. This may bother guitarists who want uncolored echo, but I stuck it out, determined to give the pedal a chance. The more I played with it, the more I began to appreciate how it smoothed out the high end and added a lush, organic warmth to my tones. I could see how this sonic coloration could become addictive, leading you to leave the pedal on most of the time.
Within the limitations of a 600 ms delay time, I found that the ARDX20 was flexible enough to deliver whatever I went after, from a short slapback to a trippy wash of recurring echoes. In all instances, the repeats sounded mellow and never spiky, and they didn’t obscure my attack when I’d pick a series of notes.
Having two channels is great for gigs, because you can set up two totally separate delay settings and access either one at the press of a button. I did notice a quick warbling sound when I switched between channels while a note was ringing, but I believe I could live with that, given the flexibility of this two-pedals-in-one design.
The ARDX20’s extra jacks provide even more flexibility. The effects loop—which carries the delay tone only, not the dry signal—lets you bring another pedal (perhaps a chorus or fl anger) into the mix. (You’ll need an optional TRS Y-cable, though. Analog Man suggests the Hosa STP-201.) Even cooler: Inserting an expression pedal into the effects loop lets you vary delay level and feedback on the fl y. Further, plugging an expression pedal into the delay time expression jack lets you control the delay time in the Red channel. In this configuration, I discovered the ARDX20 let me get pitch bends and Whammy pedal-type sounds, but with a more pleasing tone. If you like to experiment, you’ll really enjoy this feature.
The Final Mojo
Analog Man has whipped up a very cool delay pedal that doesn’t try to be all things to all guitarists. It’s simple to use and has a lush sound. Its shining features are the quality of tones, low power consumption, and channel switching. If you’re into going nuts with effects onstage, I recommend getting a Y-cable and an expression pedal. But even as a stand-alone delay, the ARDX20 is impressive.
a warm delay with options is what you crave.
you have no use for slapback.
Street $265 - Analog Man - analogman.com