Need help overcoming irrational analog-delay addiction? This PT2399-driven fox will sweetly, gently (or not) lead the way. The PG Caroline Guitar Company Megabyte review.
Recorded using the boost side of a SoundBrut DrVa, a Ground Control Tsukuyomi mid boost, a silver-panel Fender Vibrolux Reverb (miked with a Royer R-121 and a Shure SM57) and the DI out from a Fender Rumble 200 combo feeding an Audient iD44 going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Clip 1: Squier Telecaster with Curtis Novak Tele-V and JM-V pickups (in middle position), first with Megabyte bypassed, then with Megabyte engaged and mix at 10 o’clock, sum/feedback at 10:30, gain and modulation at max, and manipulating warp and clock/delay time (at end of clip).
Super-cool might-as-well-be analog sounds. Near-perfect balance of flexibility, simplicity, and compactness. Self-oscillation feature more flexible than previous iterations.
Tap-tempo can be finicky at lower bpms.
Caroline Guitar Company
Ease of Use:
When Caroline Guitar Co.’s Philippe Herndon demoed his then-new Kilobyte Lo-Fi Delay for PG at the 2013 NAMM show in Anaheim, two things struck me: 1) Its digital PT2399 chip had an alluring, analog-like character, and 2) its momentary self-oscillation footswitch (dubbed “havoc”) was pretty much the shit. After the show, I inquired about buying one, but it was backordered for a while. In the interim, I fell for another brand’s new-at-the-time delay with almost-as-cool features, and it stayed on my board for years.
As its name suggests, Caroline’s latest “delay computer,” the Megabyte, builds on Kilobyte’s legacy. An additional PT2399 chip extends delay time to 1.2 seconds, the bypass footswitch now lets you quickly go from true-bypass to trails mode. (You simply hold down the bypass for a couple seconds. An added LED helps you keep track of the mode: red for the true-bypass, blue for the trails). The havoc stomper now doubles as tap-tempo, and two new mini pots control a modulation circuit and a choice of quarter-note, eighth-note, or dotted-eighth subdivisions. Lastly, one internal slider yields a tamer, higher-headroom havoc experience, while another lets you completely remove the dry signal.
As with many Caroline stomps, Megabyte’s oblique iconography belies its simplicity. The mix knob’s digital VU image should be easy enough to suss. And even mathophobes should be able to make peace with the algebraic “sum” (feedback) and abacus-like delay-time symbols—especially since a friendly/happy/open-minded little alien hails from above, right next to the 21 dB gain control. In, out, and 9V jacks reside along the top.
I tested Megabyte with a Telecaster, a Jazzmaster, silver-panel Fender Vibrolux Reverb and Vibro Champ combos, and a Mojotone BlackOut British. All my encounters—whether of the extra- or merely terrestrial sort—were pretty much nonstop echo ecstasy. For funsies I compared the digital Megabyte with my current go-to delay, an Ibanez Analog Delay Mini. While Megabyte’s gain knob isn’t a tone control, setting it to about 9:30 warmed and filled out the repeats to the point that Megabyte and the Ibanez were virtually indistinguishable. Megabyte never sounds digitally sterile. Even with gain at minimum, the character of the echoes is anything but. But Megabyte’s gain control alone can help approximate many different analog-echo signatures and(in tandem with mix and feedback) enable blown-out, experimental craziness that most BBDs cannot match.
There are other PT2399 delays on the market with more bells and whistles. Some of them even penetrate deeper into spacey, weird delay realms. But most have significantly larger footprints and cost more than the Caroline Megabyte. Herndon and Co. deserve big kudos for refining the most common delay features and upping the “unusual” ante with swirling modulation, textural syncopation capabilities, and the option of a subtler, more malleable havoc mode. Weird as it might seem on the surface, Megabyte is a straightforward, no-nonsense means of achieving both classic and out-there sounds.