These are good days to be a delay addict. From recreated classics to fresh innovations, players have more options for adding echo to their boards than ever before. In the past, Dan & Mick have explored some of the heavy weights of delay including live encounters with the Binson Echorec and Echoplex tape delays as well as top-shelf digital pedals. This week they dove into a category of delays that occupies a central place in the arsenal of echo pedals: analog delays.
Analog delays are generally known for repeats that ping away with a hint of shadowy character. As the episode showed, the world of analog delay is diverse, ever-changing, and includes several recently released options that are high on quality without high price tags. Here’s a quick look at some of the pedals featured.
The Return of a Classic: The Boss DM-2 Waza Craft
The Boss DM-2 is a reborn version of one of the most foundational and iconic delay pedals in the library of Boss echo stompboxes. As with all Waza pedals, the onboard options include a switch for classic and contemporary modes. As Mick noted, “In the classic mode, it can go from that doubling in the room…to a fairly long [delay]…that doesn’t seem to get in the way as much.” As Dan commented, it’s not only the characteristic darker repeats of analog pedals that make them consistently viable and attractive options: it’s there fidelity. “You can get digital delays that filter that output but it’s not the same.” If a top criterion for your delay acquisition is lush repeats that are ever-present yet don’t obstruct your carefully curated sound, the something-old-something-new of the Boss DM-2 is a top pick.
The Other Famous Green Pedal: The MXR Carbon Copy
As Mick noted at the outset of this segment, the MXR Carbon Copy is “phenomenally popular.” After playing through the pedal, Dan added “it’s very popular for good reason!” With up to 600 milliseconds of analog goodness run through a bucket-brigade circuit and selectable dreamy modulation, the Carbon Copy is the type of pedal you happily get lost with. As Mick added, the popularity of the pedal has resulted in an extended lineup from MXR. “There is a lighter colored green one that’s the [MXR Carbon Copy] Bright,” which offers up repeats a little less dark, as well as a “Deluxe version, which is a dual-sized pedal, that also has tap tempo...and a lot more tweakability…and a bright switch.”
Tapping In With The Panther Cub From JHS
As Dan commented, “What’s so cool about this is that it’s an analog delay with tap tempo…which is hard and clever.” Mick added further to the pedal’s exceptional feature list: “it’s got eight BBD [bucket brigade] stages and 1000 milliseconds of delay time,” not to mention its expression-pedal capabilities and own effects loop. The pedal had warm and looming echoes that gracefully faded into the background. With subdivisions and modulation available onboard, the Panther Cub offered the prospect of rich and layered delays with several options for deep customization. As Dan & Mick demonstrated, this means you can (try!) and sound like the U2’s the Edge within a few twists of nobs or create sounds that are entirely your own.
High Value Analog In A Small Package: The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail
Among the growing collection of stellar effects from Seymour Duncan is the Vapor Trail analog delay. For the bottom dollar stompbox on the TPS board this week, the Vapor Trail packs a surprising amount of features. With options for an effects loop, expression pedal, and the clever addition of a pulsing LED to display the delay time in any environment, the Vapor Trail is a true blend of vintage sound and modern innovation. As Dan noted, its echoes still sound and feel analog due to its bucket brigade circuitry, but are a bit brighter than some others, making it an ideal option for those in the market for analog character with a clean and crisp fade away. In fact, when Mick gave the ultimatum of picking one pedal out of the lot, the Vapor Trail won Dan’s vote…not bad!
Whether you’re into digital renditions of every type of delay imaginable in a Strymon Timeline or Boss DD-500, want something “mashable” with the new TC Electronic Flashback 2, or were captured by the classic simplicity of the analog delay pedals in this episode, be sure to check in with us over at Riff City so we can take care of all your echo needs.
Guitars: Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic; Fender Custom Shop 1963 Telecaster; Fender American Vintage 1962 Stratocaster.MXR Carbon Copy; JHS Panther Cub V1.5; Moog Minifooger MF Delay; Boss DM-2 Waza Craft Delay; Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail; Providence Chrono Delay; MXR Phase 90.