A super sounding analog delay stalwart finds refinement in tap tempo, subdivisions, and a hold switch.
A great-sounding analog delay that’s easy to use and rather addictive in the process.
Repeats control tapers abruptly, and the two footswitches are very close together.
Jam Pedals Delay Llama Mk3
In this thoughtful, understated upgrade of the original Delay Llama, those sneaky folks at Jam Pedals have brought much of the essential bonus functionality of 2020’s Delay Llama Xtreme to a more compact pedal with a simple and familiar layout. Though the new Llama looks a lot like its predecessors, the Mk3 includes a tap-tempo footswitch, subdivisions switch, and a hold function—simple, practical, but critical improvements that enhance its functionality and musical capabilities considerably.
Most importantly to those that have always savored the sound of the original Delay Llama, it retains the same analog delay engine, driven by bucket-brigade chips that are faithful reproductions of the beloved Panasonic MN3205. This architecture means the Mk3 is capable of a maximum delay time of 600 ms. So, you’re guaranteed the warm, full-bodied sound that, over the years, attracted major players like Jim Campilongo, Marc Ribot, and Adrian Legg to the original Delay Llama.
"Best perhaps, the pedal is a doddle to dial in and use as desired."
Knob and Tube
The core of the Delay Llama Mk3’s functions still reside in the three knobs for delay time (T), repeats (R), and level (L). Below these, the previous single on/off footswitch has been moved to the lower-left corner of the enclosure and is now paired with a tap-tempo footswitch situated in the opposite corner. Needless to say, it requires nimble footwork and practice to avoid hitting both. But essentially, the setup works. Just above the tap button, a 3-way toggle lets you divide the tapped tempo selection into eighth, quarter, and dotted-quarter notes. Holding down the tap footswitch engages a self-oscillation mode.
Inside the enclosure, there’s an internal trimmer that sets the delay trail’s fade-out time (the amount of time the delayed signal takes to decay once you switch off). Another trim pot sets the maximum number of repeats. Further, a nifty trick allows you to change the pedal from its preset (factory) true-bypass mode to a buffered mode that enables trails (this involves removing the power cable, pressing and holding the tap button, then reinserting the power cable until three LED blinks tell you the buffered mode has been set). Power comes via standard center-negative 9V adaptor, and the unit draws 120 mA.
Llama Rama Ding Dong
In practice, the Delay Llama Mk3 reveals a superbly characterful and juicy-sounding analog delay voice that shines—even within a product category that’s rich with enticing delay sounds. At its essence, there is very little to criticize in the design or sound. The 600 ms maximum delay time is pretty standard for the bucket-brigade crowd and supplies enough spacey echoes to suit just about everything save for ultra-expansive, otherworldly soundscaping. What’s best, perhaps, is that the pedal is a doddle to dial in and use as desired.
Though many deep texturalists need über-complex delays with a boatload of extra parameters and presets, many guitarists relish the straight-ahead pleasures of an analog delay pedal—where you settle in, fine-tune the repeats and blend, and dig the atmosphere without wondering about the little stuff. That’s exactly where the Delay Llama Mk3 transported me with ease. I’m not exactly a delay fanatic, yet I did not want to turn this thing off. Its sound and the effect itself inspired new riffs—and plenty of smiles—from the start. And it only got more enjoyable the more I played it.
Very few of its design shortcomings upset the bliss of playing the Delay Llama Mk3. The taper of the repeats knob accelerates pretty quickly from the fully anti-clockwise position, so dialing just three repeats instead of six or eight can be tricky. Still, most such nuances can be managed with practice and a light touch.
The Delay Llama Mk3, which is one of the last BBD delay pedals still being handmade with through hole components, is a great-sounding analog delay pedal that easily dishes late ’70s and early ’80s bucket-brigade goodness with a low noise floor and useful tap-tempo functionality. The repeats pot taper could benefit from some fine-tuning, and the enclosure is a bit narrow for negotiating both the bypass and tap-tempo footswitches cleanly. But the Delay Llama Mk3 is still a standout in the analog delay camp, any way you cut it.
Nels Cline, Graham Coxon, Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, Sean Ono Lennon, Steve Lukather, J Mascis, Lee Ranaldo, Nile Rodgers, Richie Sambora, Neal Schon, John Scofield, Alex Skolnick, Andy Timmons and David Torn are participating in this limited-edition pedal auction.
Athens, Greece (July 2, 2020) -- JAM pedals is proud to announce “Lending A Hand”, a charity campaign in collaboration with Nels Cline, Graham Coxon, Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, Sean Ono Lennon, Steve Lukather, J Mascis, Lee Ranaldo, Nile Rodgers, Richie Sambora, Neal Schon, John Scofield, Alex Skolnick, Andy Timmons and David Torn.
The detrimental effects the C-19 pandemic has brought on music industry professionals’ livelihood for the foreseeable future are felt worldwide, something JAM pedals along with the participating artists are looking to help alleviate and shine more light on.
Lending A Hand is a platform that seeks to raise as many funds as possible for eligible music industry professionals, enable people and organizations willing to contribute to this cause to do so while in the process recognizing their generosity with unique, one-off, handmade and hand-painted pedals out of the JAM pedals Custom Shop, hand-signed by their favorite artists.
JAM pedals will be creating 10 limited-edition pedals per participating artist (150 pedals in total) each hand-signed by the artist.
These pedals will be awarded to the people who will have made the 10 biggest donation offers per artist pedal between June 21st and July 12th at www.jampedals.com/lending-a-hand
In an effort to broaden the donation base as much as possible, JAM pedals is also offering "Lending a Hand" limited t-shirts which will only be available able to order for as long as the campaign is live!
The charities that JAM pedals and the artists have picked to support are MusiCares, Jazz Coalition, Jazz Foundation, New Music USA, Crew Nation and Northern Greece Musician’s Union.
Watch the company's video demo:
For more information: JamPedals.com
The PG Jam Pedals Delay Llama Xtreme review.
A powerful, versatile, and very-well-conceived delay pedal that spans great sounding traditional analog echoes and stunning weirder fare.
A little noise with some common wall-wart style power adaptors.
Jam Pedals Delay Llama Xtreme
Ease of Use:
In simpler times, delay pedals lived in a world split by the analog-digital divide. On one side, there was the warm, dark, vintage-y flavor of analog. On the other, the clean, sometimes complex, multi-functional potential of digital. These days, however, digital control blurs the delineations between these worlds, and pedals like the Delay Llama Xtreme, reviewed here, make the most of the reduced barriers between sweet analog tone and digital’s capacity for effect manipulation.
Extrapolating from the delectably rich analog foundation of the original Delay Llama, the Delay Llama Xtreme adds a boatload of functionality—including tap tempo with three subdivisions, and effects including vibrato, tape age, random delay times, and pitch shift (which even delivers a 5-mode sequencer). There’s also an increase in maximum delay capability from 600 ms to 800 ms, user-created presets, a hold-oscillation function, and more.
The analog heart beating inside the Xtreme’s 5.8" x 4.8" x 1.5" enclosure is made up of three 3205 BBD chips. And the core of the Delay Llama Xtreme’s functions remains the three conventional and familiar knobs the original Delay Llama uses for delay time, repeats, and level. But below these controls lurks a trio of mini-toggle switches. “TRLS” (or “trails”) retains the delay trails when the pedal is switched off and activates buffered bypass. You can switch to true bypass in the lower position, which, of course, also lops off delay trails when the pedal is disengaged. “KD”or “kill dry” mutes the dry signal as it passes through the circuit, delivering processed signal exclusively only at the pedal’s output. The tap-divisions switch creates quarter-note, eighth-note, and dotted-eighth divisions of your tap-tempo selection.
The three non-latching footswitches along the bottom of the pedal serve varied roles. The leftmost is a simple bypass. The center switch enables selection of the presets. It also enables selections from the four extreme modes—vibrato, tape-age, random, and pitch-shift—when used with the “alt” push-button just to the right of the footswitch. The rightmost footswitch is for controlling the tap tempo, but also engages the self-oscillation function when you press and hold.
An abundance of connectivity options further underscores the versatility of the Delay Llama Xtreme. Standard in and out jacks allow mono connection only. But while the lack of stereo output will be limiting to a small percentage of players, the three additional side-panel jacks enable expression pedal control of delay time, remote preset selection, and remote tap tempo, which open up many other expressive possibilities. Internal trimmers, meanwhile, enable alterations to the maximum repeats and the maximum decay of trails.
Given the plethora of functions available, it would be near impossible to explore every possibility in a review of this length. (Thankfully, the excellent owner’s manual is thorough and concise.) But by pairing the Delay Llama with a selection of guitars and amps well as a Fractal Axe-FX III, I discovered a genuinely thrilling and inspiring bonanza of sound-sculpting possibilities, not to mention scads of downright tasty traditional echoes for the player who wants to keep it simple.
The pedal’s traditional echo sounds are superb—warm with just a little grit that is a fantastic match for the wobbly “tape age” setting. The added delay time is a striking reminder of how long eight-tenths of a second can feel, too. The repeats knob ushers in self-oscillation pretty fast. You can consider the first half of its range a standard repeats control, but the second 50 percent of its range is primed for exploring the wild textures of oscillating echo. Things really get interesting when you explore the xtreme settings in depth, however.
For my tastes, the xtreme settings are most useful when providing lush enhancement to traditional echoes. This approach is best exemplified by the sounds of the tape-age setting, which adds random pitch fluctuations to the repeats and can be set from subtle to extreme. A touch of vibrato also works beautifully to dress up otherwise traditional delay settings when you want a more predictable touch of wavy atmosphere. The award for most fun, however, might have to go to the random setting, which will rarely be deemed practical for Sun Studios slapback sounds, but should delight sound sculptors that like to build towers of chaotic texture from irregular repeats. The award for “most likely to rob you of hours of hypnotically blissful noodling,” however, goes to the pitch-shift function. It can mimic synthesizer sequencer sounds in many modes. But it can also be dialed in for five distinct, specific pitch-shift intervals including a fifth up//fourth down, a second up/second down, and a ninth up/seventh down. It’s both trippy fun and an extremely creative composition tool.
The Delay Llama Xtreme admirably extends the capabilities of the simpler original Delay Llama. But it’s capable of much more adventurous tones and is bound to impress any fan of delay’s outer limits. Altogether, it’s a bountiful bundle of conventional delay delights as well as a texturalist’s dream come true.
Watch the Review Demo: