One of my favorite pedals of all time is the Boss TR-2 tremolo because it can achieve slow-to-fast, almost LFO like tremolos that, when paired with a delay, are a pretty deadly combo. And for any player who values unusual tones and textures, the fact that the SubDecay Anamnesis Echo so effectively approximates that magical synthesis of modulation and delay in a single pedal is a reason for celebration. The SubDecay takes an interesting approach to modulated delay that goes deeper, however. By pairing a digital delay to an LFO with exceptionally wide ranges of speed and intensity, the device achieves a unique modulated-delay sound.
Crossing Curved Space
The SubDecay packs five controls and an LED indicator, bypass switch, power, and in/out jacks into a single MXR-style enclosure. Beyond the typical level (blend), regen, and time knobs found on countless other delays, there are very potent controls for LFO depth and speed. There’s also an internal switch (accessed by removing the back plate) that allows the delay decay to continue repeating once the bypass has been engaged.
Clad in arctic white and sporting black lettering, black knobs, and red outlines, the pedal looks a little tame considering how wild it can sound. That said, it’s cool that the company spent more time on construction quality rather than looks. At the end of the day, an audience won’t care what a pedal looks like, but they’ll be psyched to hear sounds like those that emanate from the Anamnesis.
Like many other delays on the market, the SubDecay relies on the Princeton Technologies PT2399 delay IC, which runs at 5V internally. However, the surrounding circuitry runs at 18V instead of 9V, which makes for cleaner decays and more headroom before clipping. Arguably, the SubDecay sounds clearer than other delays using this chip, but it does so at the cost of being able to run off a 9V battery.
To test the SubDecay, I used my Fender US Lone Star Stratocaster and a vintage 1965 Fender Twin Reverb amplifier in my band’s recording studio. I found that the SubDecay could create a plethora of effects, including a modulated wall of sound using longer delay times, quick arpeggiated single-note phrases during shorter delays, and video game-like clangs with the LFO and depth knob cranked. In general, it’s a pretty versatile pedal, but I did find the delay could get a bit murky, and at times, sound a little sterile without the LFO engaged.
Interestingly, the LFO will change the pitch of the repeats depending on how the depth is set. With the depth and LFO cranked all the way up, you can get some wild percussive-like sounds—especially when you throw pinch harmonics in the mix. But I really liked setting the LFO slow and the depth at more subtle levels. This would give repeats a slow swoosh that’s excellent for hazy, woozy shoegaze tones—particularly when the delay time and regeneration settings are long enough.
The SubDecay can easily cover the territory spanned by more pedestrian digital delays with a voice that can be much more expansive, thanks to the LFO controls. There are a lot of sweet spots in this pedal, but getting the pedal into the right space can mean some very precise control manipulation that can be difficult in the heat of a performance.
Given the pedal’s street price, you’d be crazy not to try it because of what it can do compared to similarly priced delays. If you want a greater range of LFO sounds (and more precise control over how the LFO and delay interact), have room for a million pedals on your board, or are simply willing to pay any price for the perfect tone, you might want to choose more specialized machinery. But if you’re a guitarist who likes to radically bend space and time, and you place a premium on pedalboard real estate, it will be hard not to love the combination of cool delay and warble the Anamnesis delivers.