The featured-packed new delay from Kansas City builder Junior Thomason sounds heavenly, but can be a beast to navigate.
Many beautiful delay tones. Nice, subtle modulation. Double-delay algorithms sound incredible. Big-box functionality in a small footprint.
No delay time knob. Requires a lot of time to memorize its color-coded operations. Difficult to quickly navigate settings on the fly without a MIDI controller.
JET Pedals Eternity
Maximalist pedal engineering—the kind that finds dozens of functions crammed into small enclosures—isn’t for everyone. The impressive capabilities of these units test conventional thinking about how much tone shaping power you can fit in a single compact housing. But such pedals can also test your patience if you’re the plug-in-and-go type.The JET Pedals Eternity Delay is likely built with patient tinkerers in mind. It's rich with fascinating delay sounds, but to unlock its ample power, you’ll have to keep your wits and do your work with the manual up front.
There’s a lot going on in the Eternity. It has two soft-click footswitches for bypass and tap tempo, four control knobs, a 3-way toggle switch, a MIDI jack, two input and two output jacks to run it in either mono or stereo, plus a 9V jack on the right side. These are all smartly arranged, so the Eternity doesn’t feel or look crammed. Its capabilities, however, are almost overflowing.
The Eternity’s four knobs are all clear plastic, and when it’s fired up, you’ll notice that the top two knobs—which control mix and repeats—double as LEDs. Along with the two LEDs above the footswitches, these knobs are the Eternity’s navigational signposts. Clicking and holding the bypass footswitch for one second changes the delay algorithm, which is signaled by a change in color in the repeats knob. There are six algorithms to cycle through: tape, digital, analog, dual, ESD, and JRD.
The Eternity’s preset mode, which is engaged by double-tapping the bypass switch, has room for six saved presets. The presets are cycled by tapping both footswitches at the same time. Presets, too, are color-coded, and indicated by the color of the mix knob. But connect a MIDI controller, and the world’s your oyster. That will allow you to program up to 127 presets, and remotely manipulate each of the Eternity’s controls.
Memorizing numerous color codes and varying LED light patterns won’t be easy for everyone. But the functionality goes deeper still. The Cntrl 1 knob functions differently for each algorithm. For example, in the tape and analog algorithms, it adjusts the level of the preset modulation; with digital mode engaged, it adds grit to the repeats; and in the custom delay modes, it sets the level of one of the two delay programs. Curiously, there is no dedicated time knob to quickly dial in or modify the effect.
JET Pedals boss Junior Thomason builds pedals for worship guitarists, so it’s little surprise that the sounds here are, well, heavenly. And no matter how you set it, it seems to possess a sparkle and three-dimensionality that turns a bedroom into a cathedral. The pedal boots up on its tape delay algorithm, which is thick and musty, and the adjustable modulation is gentle and tasteful. The otherwise pristine and endless digital delay can be dirtied-up via the Cntrl 1 knob. The analog algorithm nails the dark atmospherics of BBD delays, and the ESD, which stands for echo slap doubler, hits the mark for rockabilly echo.
Where the pedal really shines, though, is in the algorithms that feature two delays. The dual algorithm combines a customizable analog delay with a fixed dotted-eighth-note digital delay. The JRD (JET signature rhythm delay) similarly features a tweakable analog delay with a tight slapback. The dual is the most fun of the two, producing zany ping-ponging rhythms and encouraging attention to timing and phrasing. The JRD, meanwhile, is straight-up grand. It lends so much space and body to chording and single notes alike that it feels like a hack to sounding like a better player.
For the patient and invested user, the Eternity will yield a world of possibility. It’s a powerful pedal with a ridiculous swath of features and full stereo capability. Its delay algorithms sound brilliant and rich, and JET’s original double delay programs are engaging and rewarding. But fitting all of that functionality into a pedalboard-friendly package comes with hard-won compromises in operational ease, so it’s probably best to test the Eternity before you commit to exploring its deep well of sounds and functions.