Supro Delay Review
Far-out expression-pedal sounds and handy filtering distinguish this versatile and ultra-agreeable analog delay.
Effective filter helps pedal play nice with extreme effects. Super quiet. Warm, enveloping echo voice.
Expensive if you don’t plan to fully utilize the expression pedal functionality.
Ease of Use:
Of the stompboxes I have had the longest, probably none have seen more hours of use than my Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man. During certain, particularly spacey, phases of my guitar playing life it was probably always on—coloring whatever I had going with a percolating triplet, a Peter Green slapback, or a glacial wash of repeats. I’ve tried other delays. I’ve even fallen in love with some. But if I can’t have a creaky old Echoplex, I’m going to pick my Memory Man.
Howard Davis, who engineered the original Deluxe Memory Man, is also the design architect behind the new MN3005-driven Supro Delay reviewed here. But while the two delays utilize the same bucket brigade device and the Supro echoes the voice of the original DMM at many settings, Davis’ newest creation functions, feels, and often sounds quite different from his Electro-Harmonix creation. The Supro Delay carves out a cool, practical niche for itself in doing so.
Compact Crimson Copyist
While the Supro is just a touch smaller than a Boss pedal, it stuffs a lot of style and functionality within those dimensions. The brushed aluminum enclosure is light, looks sharp, and feels super-sturdy. The pedal’s interior, meanwhile, reflects a focus on efficiency and durability. The machine-populated board is affixed to the enclosure by the four potentiometers and sits independent and clear of the of I/O jacks, the enclosure, and the jarring shocks that can result when a circuit board is attached to either. The circuit itself utilizes most of the board’s surface without crowding the components.
In some respects, the Supro Delay’s control set is unusual. It’s more complex than a basic 3-knob analog delay and lacks the DMM’s gain control and modulation functions. But it features a useful filter that moves from darkish low-pass settings to brighter more tape-like band-pass mode, as well as expression pedal control of the level, time, and repeats. For a lot of players–especially those that generate overdrive and modulation sounds from other sources–these will be smart tradeoffs that enable both very specific delay colors and wilder delay effects.
At the Edge
The Supro Delay’s basic voice manages the cool trick of maintaining distinct analog characteristics (warm, contoured, and darkish repeats) while mixing in some of the play-nice neutrality and low noise floor associated with digital units. Compared to my vintage Deluxe Memory Man, it’s brighter (at least at maximum bandpass filter settings), more compressed, and a lot less noisy, edgy, and temperamental. And while its voice is probably most similar to my MXR Carbon Copy (an inexpensive workhorse that might be my second favorite analog delay), the effective filter function enables tone variations that neither the Carbon Copy nor my DM-2w can manage. This flexibility was welcome when I added a spiky fuzz or peaky modulation upstream. And if you tinker with these effects regularly, the filter function will be invaluable for situating your echoes in just the right place amid an effects blend.
For more daring delay colorists, the expression pedal functionality (the expression pedal is not included) will be the real cherry on top. And its ability to generate runaway oscillation effects and mind-bending delay-time shifts via pedal control results in dynamic and controlled variations on old knob-twisting tricks that a) require hands better devoted to playing guitar, and b) spiral out of control pretty fast.
The Supro Delay occupies a smart middle ground between streamlined, bare-bones, compact analog delays like the MXR Carbon Copy and Boss DM-2w and larger, more feature rich and expensive analog rigs with digital control. At almost 220 bucks, it’s priced a bit closer to the pedals in the latter category, and whether that expense is worth it to you will be down to how well the filter function fits in your tone-sculpting scheme and the extent to which you utilize the expression pedal function. If those features do merit the extra expense, you’ll be rewarded with a high-quality, quiet, and thoughtfully executed delay with a warm, inviting analog voice.
Watch the First Look: