Lotus Yellow Pedal Review

Within the Yellow’s unfinished enclosure, you’ll find such top-quality components as Neutrik jacks, Alpha pots, Teflon-coated wiring, and all-analog circuitry.

Sean Erspamer founded Lotus Pedal Designs in 2009, when—like so many pedal makers—he couldn’t find stompboxes that sounded just the way he wanted. Since then, he has designed a line of eight no-frills pedals including the recently released Yellow delay featured in this review.

Handbuilt in Bob Dylan’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, Lotus pedals seem to reflect that region’s hardy spirit—or perhaps the subdued hues of a Minnesota winter. You won’t see Lotus pedals covered in flashy paint or sporting cryptic names for knob functions, yet within the Yellow’s unfinished enclosure, you’ll find such top-quality components as Neutrik jacks, Alpha pots, Teflon-coated wiring, and all-analog circuitry.

Straight to Business
Depending on your mood, the Yellow can exude understated elegance or seem utilitarian to the point of frustration. None of the knobs are labeled, and apart from the company logo, there’s no sign of print or graphics. The only visually distinguishing feature on any of Erspamer’s creations is the color of the knobs and the LED, and each pedal is named accordingly. There are three—you guessed it—yellow pointer knobs on the Yellow that control (from left to right) Time, Blend, and Repeat. At times, it was slightly aggravating to try to remember which knob did what, so I ended up just making a cheat sheet and leaving it under the pedal. (I pulled out a few other delay pedals to see if there’s a universal arrangement of delay pedal knobs I had forgotten about. There isn’t.)

A single footswitch rounds out the pedal’s simple control layout with the input and output jacks located on the left and right sides of the pedal, respectively. The Yellow runs on one 9V battery. However, given that delay units tend to eat batteries and you have to remove the back panel to change out the cell, you’ll probably opt to power the Yellow with an adapter.

Elegant Echoes
Using a Parker Fly Deluxe, I ran the Yellow into the effects loop of a Mesa/Boogie Lone Star Special head driving a Marshall 1x12 cabinet, and also straight into an Ampeg SJ-12R Super Jet with an Ibanez Tube Screamer before the delay. In both setups the delay was nothing short of gorgeous. Repeats were ultra warm with a perceptible tape-like treble roll-off and natural decay. Although the repeats tend toward slightly dark and soft sounding, they never muddied my tone.

The Yellow sounded especially nice through the Lone Star’s loop when I had the amp set for a smooth lead sound, and the Yellow set with Time at 2 o’clock, Blend at 1 o’clock, and Repeat at 3 o’clock. Long sustained bends sounded thicker and fuller, and when I played faster flurries of notes, the Yellow’s mellow repeats did not invade my sonic space the way a more defined digital repeat might. Compared to my vintage Ibanez AD-9, one of the benchmarks of analog echo, the Yellow sounded more musical and natural.

The Verdict
There aren’t any fancy features on the Yellow, and you don’t get an insane amount of delay time (the Yellow’s range is from 10 ms to 580 ms). But the high-quality craftsmanship and parts on this barebones Lotus box combine to produce beautiful natural tones. If you’re out to avoid digital sterility and value a simpler approach to delay, this very unobtrusive pedal might be all you ever need.
Buy if...
you want a simple, but sweet-sounding delay made with top-shelf components.
Skip if...
you need features that are commonly found in digital delays, such as long delay times, looping, and tap-tempo capability.

Street $249 - Lotus Pedal Designs - lotuspedaldesigns.com

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