Louis Electric

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Stomping Grounds: 25 Pedals Reviewed


DELAY

Maxon AD999 Pro Analog Delay

Maxon has a long history of producing some of the most celebrated effect pedals ever. In the 1970s, they were commissioned by Ibanez to design and build an effects line that eventually resulted in the Fuzz/Wah, the famed TS-808 Tube Screamer, TS-9 Tube Screamer and the AD-9 Analog Delay, amongst others. Several years ago, Maxon shifted gears and decided to market their own line of Maxon-branded effects, utilizing rare NOS (new old stock) components and newer technologies, such as true bypass circuitry. The AD999 Pro Analog Delay, one of the newest entries in their Vintage Series, picks up concepts from their renowned AD-9 and AD999 analog delays and pushes them even further, utilizing a new noise reduction circuit and a “Multi- Head” mode, which simulates older tape delays that used multiple tape heads to create huge, atmospheric sounds.

With a Grosh ElectraJet Standard into a Mesa/Boogie Electra-Dyne half stack, I was easily able to coax out some excellent slapback tones that were some of the warmest and most dynamic I’ve heard in years. The sound definitely took me back to when I had an original Ibanez AD80 (another Maxon design), using it with very small repeat and delay settings to help thicken my rhythm sound. Gradually, I added in each of the three Multi-Head mode switches to create a swashing backdrop of cavernous delay, perfect for wide, ethereal soundscapes. Maxon explains that each switch adds midstream delay signals (which are taken from the middle of the delay circuit), which give the AD999 Pro the ability to emulate fabled tape delays of yore, such as the Roland RE-201 Space Echo. Lovers of digital delay will probably want to look elsewhere, as the AD999 Pro’s high end frequencies are rolled off and the overall delay tone has a very fuzzy, unclear flavor to it. For devotees of vintage analog sounds however, the AD999 Pro is a perfect choice. – JW
Buy if...
you’re fed up with searching high and low for rare, multi-head tape delay units.
Skip if...
pristine delay tones are a must.
Rating...
5.0 

Street $399 - Maxon - maxonfx.com


Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy

The release of the famed Electro-Harmonix Memory Man in the 1970s was a watershed moment in guitar gear history. Previously, players’ options for emulating echo were very limited. Devices such as the Maestro Echoplex utilized magnetic tape to produce the effect, but were prone to problems with jamming, tape breaking and degradation. The Memory Man’s solid-state, analog circuitry provided warm delay in a smaller, lighter package, while at the same time eliminating the need for moving parts that would eventually need replacing. Electro-Harmonix has continued to release various delay, echo and looper pedals throughout the years, and while most have been very good, none has reached the legendary status of the original Memory Man model.

The release of the new Memory Boy, EH’s new analog delay with modulation, aims to set the bar higher than that of its original Memory Man, with the same organic delay tones and a modulation switch (the effects can be processed in either in triangle or square wave forms) in an even smaller enclosure. With a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom plugged into a Mesa/Boogie Electra-Dyne half stack, I was able to dial in classic, dynamic Memory Man tones with ease. While this was very pleasing, I found with a little more tweaking that what the Memory Boy really succeeds at is creating strange, echo-laden textures. Both the chorus and vibrato sections are capable of producing some extremely wild sounds. Coupled with a large backdrop of delay, the chorus section set to square wave yielded one of the creepiest sounding tones that I’ve ever coaxed out of a guitar—perfect for space-age tonal backdrops and atmospheric compositions. With all of its features, along with true-bypass circuitry and a much sturdier enclosure than the original, the Memory Boy is a no-brainer purchase for the player looking for analog tone with personality on a budget. – JW
Buy if...
you want classic analog tones with a versatile effects section on a budget.
Skip if...
you need delay times longer than 550ms.
Rating...
4.5

Street $98 - Electro-Harmonix - ehx.com


Empress Superdelay

Download Example 1
Normal
Download Example 2
Tape
Download Example 3
Reverse

The Empress Super Delay is a 24-bit digital delay/looper designed to deliver excellent clarity without sacrificing tone. Housed in a die-cast aluminum chassis, the boutique style pedal is compact for such a feature-laden devise. The Super Delay provides the user with Mix, D-Time/Ratio, Feedback, 8-Mode Rotary Switcher, and four 3-way toggle switches that include Mix/Feedback, High Pass and Low Pass filters Slow, Fast Modulation, and Mode Specific. There are eight modes including Normal, Tap, Auto, Rev, Rhythm, Tape, Misc and a Looper. Each one of these modes can also be changed with the Modes Specific 3-way toggle switch to open up even more possibilities. Three footswitches are provided— Tap, Preset and Bypass—and there is also a push button for saving to all eight presets provided. Each preset can also be searched without changing the current setting. It is worth mentioning, however, that a preset is not automatically loaded when powering up the pedal, rather it operates with the current settings on the controls.

The Loop feature of the pedal provides 6.8 seconds of recording in 24-bit mode, while the 16-bit mode provides 13.6 seconds of recording time. There is a slightly noticeable drop in quality, but not much. And loops cannot be saved to the presets … when you turn it off, the loop is gone. But overdubbing and reverse looping is available with the looper.

Nonetheless, the Super Delay is a highly versatile unit with loads of features that will have you reading the manual to learn all of its possibilities. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound good right out of the box, especially if the user has previous experience with other delay modelers. That said, the Super Delay gives the Eventide Timefactor and Line 6 DL-4 a run for their money. And analog purists need not be afraid, because this pedal is transparent and will not color your tone. – BB

Buy if...
you want an all-in-one, extremely versatile delay.
Skip if...
something simpler is in order.
Rating...
5.0 

Street $449 - Empress Effects - empresseffects.com


ModTone MT-AD Vintage Analog Delay

Download Example 1
Long Delay
Download Example 2
Slapback

Good tone should be available to anyone, including those with a small budget. ModTone does its share by making boutique-style, true bypass pedals that are affordable for just about all players. The pedals come in an MXR-style, corrosion-free metal chassis, with unique paint jobs to boot. The MT-AD Vintage Analog Delay provides features that are simple to use and can be tweaked on the fly. In a nutshell, the Time knob adjusts length of the wave, Mix adjusts the saturation of effect to the signal, and the Length adjusts the amount the signal repeats. Unlike the feedback feature that comes with other delay units, the Repeat knob will repeat forever when turned all the way clockwise, which in most cases causes the volume to rise and create an uncontrollable feedback loop. The Vintage Analog Delay reminds me most of a tape delay, especially with its dark vintage delays and echoes. This, however, left it a little lackluster when using it in a clean setup. But to be fair, my Sound City is from the 1970s and is not as bright as modern amps.

Starting with the Time knob turned all the way to the left, the Repeat at 10 o’clock, and the Mix at 2 o’clock, the pedal offered up a solid slapback delay. My favorite setting was Time at 11 o’clock, Mix at 1 o’clock, and the Repeat at 2 o’clock, which created the perfect short tape delay. Coupled with a Keeley-modded DS-1, I achieved some soaring echo leads and melodies, and it handled distortion in front of it superbly.

The ModTone Vintage Analog Delay is a well-built little box that offers a few key delay and echo effects that replicate vintage sounds quite well. If you’re looking for the tones of old but don’t want to break the bank, look no further. – BB

Buy if...
you want a simple-to-use analog delay.
Skip if...
you want more versatility from your delay pedal.
Rating...
4.0

Street $99 - ModTone Effects - modtone-effects.com