A colorful analog echo with ample delay time and trippy modulation options.
Vox may be better known for legendary amps than effects, but in recent years the company has made a mark in the effects world with pedals such as the Delay Lab and the Joe Satriani Time Machine. The company’s new Tone Garage line is a series of five all-analog, true-bypass pedals that, in true Vox style, take idiosyncratic approaches to design and operation. The Double Deca is the analog delay of the fleet, with three delay modes offering up to 900 ms of delay, plus modulation.
Bucket o’ Chips Dressed up in a lipstick-red enclosure with a double-decker bus graphic, the Double Deca is hard to miss. A see-through section that looks like a bisected power tube provides a peek at the pedal’s innards, a look some may find downright bizarre. (Though as one look at a ’60s Wyman Bass will tell you, adventurous styling has always been part of the Vox equation.)
Nothing gets analog delay freaks more worked up than the mention of bucket brigade chips. The Double Deca, with its three 3205 chips, might send BBD lovers into a state of shock. The three chips allow the Double Deca’s to offer up to 900 ms. of delay time, an impressive duration for a BBD device. You can switch between three delay modes: Short mode provides delay times up to 300 ms., using only one of the chips. Long mode cascades the three chips for up to 900 ms. Both mode combines both long and short modes.
Too Much, This Magic Bus… My ride on the Double Deca commenced in short mode. I got a full-sounding slapback effect with natural-sounding decay. Obviously, it’s easier to perceive the individual repeats with longer delay times, and those are the settings that reveal the essence of the Double Deca’s voice. Its delays are dark and soft—you are not going to mistake this for digital delay. The delays start out relatively loud and distinct, but soon become softer and less percussive. In both mode, a wash of subtly subdivided echoes enhances this natural taper. It’s a cool effect, atmospheric and spacious.
A dedicated modulation knob controls the depth of the pedal’s chorusing effects. The modulation speed is fixed internally, but that’s not necessarily a drawback. The preset rate is very musical, and depending on how much effect you apply, you can go from a gentle shimmer to trippy pitch shifts or cool faux-Leslie sounds.
Infinite Madness If you’re a fan of self-oscillation, the Double Deca will keep you busy for days. When Maxing out feedback, level, and modulation in short mode creates an endlessly repeating, feedback-like chirp. Flicking the switch through the three modes as endless repeats swirl makes for some entertaining moments! Moving to both mode yields a thunderous powerboat roar, while switching to long mode generates a deep but softer rumble. Switching modes like this could open new doors for a player with a think-outside-the-box approach.
The Verdict The Double Deca is a fun pedal with more available delay time than many other analog delays. Even with its three time modes, it’s straightforward and easy to operate. It doesn’t have tap tempo or preset rhythmic subdivisions, but it offers a wealth of killer tones. Whether you want to conjure apocalyptic self-oscillation, or just thicken your core sound with warm repeats, the Double Deca is up to the task.