Posts Tagged ‘Delay’

Ibanez DE7 Delay/Echo

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

DE7

What is it?
Ibanez DE7 Delay/Echo from 7/Tonelok series.  Made in china around 1999-2002.

Couple of Ibanez delays hold a few remarkable places in my personal favourites. The DE7 ranks very high on that list. I set up photos with two separate units, side by side, since while the electronics remain the same on both units (DE7 and DE7C), the pink one is limited edition and the standard grey is the basic version. I have no idea what the manufactured numbers are, but pink ones tend to be seen rather rarely. In case of comparing how often different DE7 models come up for sale, that is. Both cosmetic versions are relatively easy to find through auction sites and the prices being asked have not (at the time of writing) gone through the roof. Not sure if they ever will, but if you are interested in having one.. You should probably grab one now.

DE7-guts1

The boards on both versions are exactly the same. Two-sided, modern traces and soldering quality on par with every other Tonelok-series pedal. I’m not aware of the manufacturing factory of this series, but i would not be surprised if it was the same factory behind the Marshall small metal cased series.

DE7-guts2

Construction with mostly through hole components and a few surface mount chips on the bottom looks like a killer. On the other hand, the number of links on the board.. Seems like the design is based on dedicated digital delay circuitry, rather than on DSP.

DE7-guts3

What comes to features, there are your standard Delay Time, Repeats (aka feedback) and effect level knobs. In addition to those we have two slide switches, first one setting the delay time range. There are three ranges that vary from 30 milliseconds to 2600 milliseconds. 2,6 seconds is rather long time and this may even scare the DD-7 folk. On the other features, like tap tempo and whatnot, DD-7 takes the cake, but the price range is completely different. The second slide switches between Delay and Echo modes. Delay being closer to modern standard digital delays and Echo is modelling the vintage echo sounds. Simple features ensure ease of use.

How does it sound?
Next to perfection. Even the digital delay sounds are not harsh, but remind one of smooth analog sounds. Without the noise and with long delay times. On echo mode the sounds are even more mellow. The attack for both modes make you forget that you are using a digital pedal. Natural sounding delay with massive delay times. What’s not to like?

Danelectro Wasabi AD-1 Forward/Reverse Delay

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

AD1-FRDelay

What is it?
Danelectro Wasabi Forward/Reverse Delay. Made in china, 2003.

Another prime example of Danelectro’s ability to create unique box designs. There are five designs for this series.. Or we should possibly talk about Wasabi as a separate brand. But we won’t. Everything about the pedal simply screams Danelectro, even though the Wasabi was intented to be a new brand altogether. You may or can think or make what you want of it. I’m still calling these Danelectro Wasabis.

Of the series of five effects (Distortion, Overdrive, “Rock-a-Bye”, Chorus/Trem and this delay), i somehow felt the biggest draw to to this one. And i happened to score one for very reasonable price. Previous owner had made pretty profound attachment to the bottom plate. Apparently to have the ability of sticking the pedal to velcro’ed pedalboard without damaging the bottom rubbers. Noble effort, but it took me hours to get the sticky glue residue off from the rubber. Anyway. Forward/Reverse Delay? Maybe the status of Back Talk reverse delay was one of the inspirations sources for creating a design with both modes. But. Let’s go things through in traditional manner. Opening the bottom

AD1-FRDelay-guts1

Complex SMD board with components smaller than usual. Well, the enclosure could have housed bigger boards, but battery slot always takes its share of the room available. Lifting the jack board which also houses part of the design, we have several big chips close to each other. I think my desktop computer’s motherboard has lower component density than this one. Complexity grows with added features in linear manner.

AD1-FRDelay-guts2

We have standard digital delay with your everyday controls, delay mix (from all dry to all wet), delay time (called “speed”?! and this one goes from 0 ms to 3000 ms – that’s 3 seconds) and amount or repeats (from one to infinite oscillating space mass). In addition to these rather standard controls we have Hi Cut, which cuts higher frequencies from every repeat. Not completely unlike the feature we find in Danelectro’s Reel Echo desktop/pedal unit. One push of a colorful button turn the repeats in reverse. Oh. Let’s not forget the tap tempo feature. Or in this case, a tap speed. This is a great addition to controls mentioned above.  There’s one more thing. The input selector. We have different input level setting for humbuckers, single coils and general “off” setting. These settings set the input level to suit the guitar used. May be useful in those cases where one wants to use the delay with active pickups or after another device with too high output level.

It’s not a competition to any high end delay box, but when these were available ten years ago, the bang for buck factor was pretty respectable.

How does it sound?
Could be better. In fact, a lot better. The features are very attractive, but the issues come with the sounds. To my ears the reverse mode is about as good sounding as the one found in Digitech’s X-series Delay. And that’s the best part. The raw, fast digital attack of the basic delay is nearly painful to listen to. Maybe even worse than the awful attack we hear on Boss DD-3. For drone/ambient folks, this makes a fine toy. And possibly for home guitarists as well. It could also be used as a shock effect when recording. But as a delay to be used daily on a pedalboard? No. Look elsewhere.

Boss RV-3 Digital Reverb/Delay

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Boss-RV3

What is it?
Boss RV-3 Digital Reverb/Delay from compact series, made  in taiwan. Serial number on grey label points to june 1991. But since the units were apparently manufactured from 1994 to 2002 and the label was changed from pink to grey in early 1999, i think it’s safe to assume this follows similar error on serials as early taiwanese HH-2 Heavy Metals – being a decade off. This would mean that this unit is really manufactured in june 2001. Which makes a lot more sense.

RV-3 is a second generation of Boss digital reverb pedals. Sharing the color with the ground breaking RV-2, but housed in standard compact pedal sizes enclosure. As it’s predecessor, the full blown SMD design was expected. Where the RV-2 had two boards stacked the RV-3 has only one. It is as tightly packed on both sides though. The circuit footprint is way smaller and the features are doubled. Who doesn’t like to live in the future.

Boss-RV3-guts1

There’s a schematic up at FIS, if you’re interested. It shows pretty standard buffering and mixing with simple splitting for the stereo outputs. The digital part creating the reverb behind the mixing is pretty complex. Apparently the same digital setup can be programmed to do other things in addition to reverberation. The schem has “PS-3” printed on it, so my guess is that they have been using the same board for these two different effects. Maybe even more pedals share the same DSP architechture.

Boss-RV3-guts2

Board design is very modern looking. There are 11 reverb and delay modes with reasonable controls over the main parameters. Mix control for all modes. Time and feedback controls for the delays and reverb time with tone to control the high end damping of the reverbs.

How does it sound?
Very good with lots and lots of usable modes and the stereo output also adds to the usability. The digital signature that usually takes the edge off from so many designs is practically nonexistent. It’s not harsh sounding but a lot closer to natural. There’s even a feel of the expensive rack mount effects present. Wouldn’t call it “warm” or analog-like, but still pretty good. Most negativity comes from standard Boss facelessness. Not too personal and not the greatest pedal ever made – but still. Very very good. And this will see use as it’ll suit many situations of use, easily.

Ibanez DDL20 Delay III

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

DDL20

What is it?
Ibanez DDL20 Delay III from Power series. Made in japan around mid 80’s.

I should count the Ibanez delays. Yup. At least 18 different delay units are listed at the Effectsdatabase. Sure, this includes all the units from different series since 70’s, but that’s still a lot of delays. The features on this particular one are great. From slight 8ms tracking effects, all the way to 1024 milliseconds of delay. And every possible delay time in between. The six time ranges are selected on a switch, otherwise the controls are your standard Mix = Delay Level, Time = Delay Time and Feedback = Repeat. Once the bottom plate is removed, there are a ton of neat little solder joints for through hole components and a Maxon branded digital chip.

DDL20-guts1

Bottom of the board looks like green leather jacket on a punk. May the joints represent studs. And once we flip the board around, there are 6 SIP opamps, three more Mitsubishi bipolar dual opamps in DIP packages and a regulator. That’s a lot of stuff squeezed into such a little board. Stamp on the board shows that this unit shares the board with DML Digital Modulation Delay. As you can see from the first shot taken from the bottom, there are a few empty pads.

DDL20-guts2

The board design pleases the eye. But i do apologize for not going deeper in to the design itself. Reason being that i don’t understand it well enough myself to say anything insightful about it. Well built and designed. These unit will endure use.

How does it sound?
Not special, but very, very good. Like most Ibanez delay units, this one offers solid sounds. Which is also a weakness for a few Ibanez delays. Where almost every single Ibanez unit has its own character and a face, so to speak, the delays from Power and Master series are sort of Ibanez’ line on Bosses. There’s nothing wrong with them, but some of them do tend to sound rather generic. This is one of those. Makes me wonder why did Ibanez release three different, un-modulated digital delays for Power series? I have no idea. The feature differences are slight and the overall sounds from all three are close to each other. All of them are action packed and sound good. With similar setting on each, i doubt many would survive a “Pepsi Challenge” if i played with all three to you with your eyes blindfolded.

None of that makes this a bad sounding unit. If you see one for cheap, grab it. These do not move around too much these days.

Danelectro DTE-1 Reel Echo

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

DTE1-ReelEcho

What is it?
Danelectro DTE-1 Reel Echo. Made in china in late 90’s.

Talking about action packed pedal. The desktop housing is rather big, but i’d call this stylish. For the visual design, features and general build quality, this is really one of those must have Dano boxes. Even the surf green color is pleasing. I could come up with more superlatives, but let’s go forward and talk about the features.

So this pedal, or more like a desktop unit, is a tape/reel echo simulator. Big aluminum knob on the left controls the mix between clean and echoed signals. in other words, between wet and dry. Big knob on the right is our feedback, or repeat as it’s labeled here, control. Delay time is controlled with a huge slide potentiometer, and the time ranges from zero to 1500 milliseconds. These three are the basic controls found in almost every single delay/echo effect. What happens with the rest of the controls, that’s where things get interesting.

DTE1-ReelEcho-guts1

The small control in the middle is our “Lo-Fi” knob. This feature cuts a little highs from every following repeat, meaning that if the knob is maxed, the repeats will die in the same manner as on old tape echo units with worn out tapes. Warble switch offers simulation of a stretched tape. Tone switch selects the overall filtering to sound like circuit designer’s approximation of a solid state and tube based echo units.

On top of these features, we have S.O.S. stomp switch. S.O.s. in this case stands for Sound on Sound. This feature enables the pedal to act as a poor man’s loop recorder. With repeats set to sufficient level and the Lo-Fi set on minimum, one can play a loop and leave it on infinite repeats. Then just jump on the S.O.S. switch and play on top of that “recorded” phrase. I know i shouldn’t write like this. But it’s rather rare i get this excited over a unit…

DTE1-ReelEcho-guts2

On the technical side, the design is all SMD and digital. This time i wasn’t even expecting any super-analog-wow. For the price these units sell and with the features they pack, it surely can’t be any analog-based design. And it isn’t. Those bigger chips are pretty much unintelligible to me.

The main board houses the effect and there is another slip of board for the switches. Modern board that simply screams Dano. Although i do find those cap and resistor placings rather appealing. Features could have been easily squeezed in a one fourth of the enclosure size. Enclosure size will be a big turn off for many. And i can’t think of any real use for the sound on sound feature. Other than for rehearsing or fooling around at home. These are the biggest negative issues i can come up with.

How does it sound?
Great. Simply put. Unit offers a lot of delay tones that have a nice vintage feel to them. Even though it’s a digital design, it doesn’t shine through. Only slight downside to this is the clean tone. True vintage sounds need that crappy low fidelity to them. This also breaks down to taste. From short slapback to second and a half delay times, from really clean to fun lo-fi warbles and tube sound emulation without any added  unnatural, ugly sounding distortion. This manages to do it. Very high bang for a buck factor. Pedal board friendly? Maybe not. But that aside, as a high quality delay/echo unit? Next to priceless.

Ibanez SS20 Session Man II

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

SS20

What is it?
Ibanez SS20 Session Man II Distortion/Delay multi-effect from Power series. Made in japan in mid 80’s.

Ok. Apparently the first session man wasn’t a flop enough. Sharing parts of the design with the first Session Man “multi-effect”, this unit pairs a nasty, short delay to what appears to be the same distortion section as in SS10. Board designs are completely different, as delay and chorus do not necessarily walk with the same footprint with each other. It must have taken a lot of work to create this. As features go, this one has your standard distortion controls, Level, Tone and Distortion. In addition, there is delay time control and series/parallel switch for the delay. Sticker on the left hand side of the battery lid tells us there’s more. Under the battery lid, there are holes, so that two trimmers can be accessed with a screwdriver. Those controls are a nice addition. Left trimmer controls feedback, or amount of repeats and the right one controls the overall mix of the delay.

SS20-guts1

Board design is on par with all the other Power series boxes. Same semi-dull traces as with most of them. But as always with effects that are feature packed, this one has quite a few components in there. The design has a lot of tweakability to offer. And all the features do look very interesting on paper. Distortion and delay in the same enclosure with reasonable amount of control over the features? I think at least firm is making notable amounts of money with similar features today..

SS20-guts2

I have no idea about the number of units manufactured, but i suspect the number is rather low. These don’t seem to move much on auction sites and the prices are, well. Low. It is a full analog device and while the features seem promising…

How does it sound?
Good? Not so much. The distortion part is pretty much 1:1 with the open, uncompressed distortion that the SS10 Session Man offers. So turn the delay level down to nothing and you have a reasonable distortion. Do whatever you want to the delay section and you’ll probably still want to turn it all the way down. Delay is simply set for way too short delay times, making this a reasonable contender for DOD Hard Rock Distortion. But not much more. Nice novelty effect, but i think it sounds a bit more useless when compared to SS10. If you want one, make sure you don’t pay too much for it. As that would possibly make you feel bad.

Ibanez DDL10 Delay II

Monday, May 26th, 2014

DDL10

What is it?
Ibanez DDL10 Delay II from Power series. Made in japan around mid 80’s.

Power series has way too many delays. What makes this fact even more sad is that these are all interesting designs. And most of them differ from others, so it’s a painful series to collect. To begin with, Delay II has delay time ranges from 19-113, 38-225, 75-450 and 150-900 milliseconds. This is in addition to standard mix/time/feedback controls (they are called D-Level, D-Time and Repeat here). Nice range indeed. As the first gut shot below shows, the processor is MC4101F, which we can find on other Ibanez delays of the era as well. This unit also features a clean parallel output, so the delay can be mixed in later in the path…

DDL10-guts1

Ibanez isn’t the best known brand for their full on recycling of board designs as many other manufacturers. Of course there are exceptions here and there where same board design has been rotated throughout different series and re-branded designs along the way. I have not counted the total of Ibanez/Maxon designs in existence, but the number should be somewhere around well over 200. For the six delay pedals in  Power series, which was produced for a brief time in mid 80’s, we are bound to find some recycling. I still am assuming that the recycling of board designs for Ibanez is a low percentage. At least if we compare that assumed number to DOD board designs, for example. This model shares the board with one of the DML (digital modulation delay) designs. Somehow i think the “DDL” sticker to indicate on which design this board was meant to be used, is sympathetic.

DDL10-guts2

Once again i’m forced to leave this article somewhat a stub due to my limited knowledge of these massive digital designs. Nevertheless, i can’t find a lot of negative things from this pedal. Not from the inside, nor the outside. As the units are reaching vintage age, the price of a unit in good condition is something interesting to follow. All of these are well made units and will withstand years and years of more use. Even the design is complex, i still see a long life for these boxes. Definitely a prime example why Ibanez (ok, Maxon) pedals are appealing to me.

How does it sound?
Great. There’s no super cold metallic feel to the repeats in the same manner as most digital delays of the era have. Instead there is a certain analog feel to the sound. Ibanez has succeeded in this behavior in more than one or two pedals in their vast catalog of delay designs over the years. This unit is no exception. Well working controls with wide range of setting in addition to as natural digital delay sound as possible. There’s not much to add, but Great delay. The capital G is there for a reason.

Nux MF6 Digital Multi FX

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Nux-MF6-DigitalMFX

What is it?
Nux MF6 Digital Multi FX from the Nux First Series. Made in china in 00’s.

Whole Nux pedal line has been quite interesting line. Some of the designs are straight rip offs, but while the underlying design may be just that, the rest is well engineered and somewhat original. The “First Series”, as i’m going to be referring these units, have nice and personal enclosure design. According to interwebs, Nux is originally nothing more but a sub-brand of Cherub. Folks at Cherub may have wanted to build another brand that seems more prestigious. And they have, more or less, succeeded in that venture.

The enclosure is your standard medium strenght cast aluminium box with good rubber bottom and durable feeling plastic parts. The battery slot is accessible through the pedal lid, and its lid is the cheapest feeling part in whole unit.

Nux-MF6-DigitalMFX-ctrls

Controls on the top are one rotary switch for mode and four standard pots (one dual gang) for setting the parameters of the selected effect. In short, the effects this unit offers are tremolo, rotary, flanger, chorus, multivoice (which is one repeat dual delay in reality) and modulation delay. Others seem to have nice operation range, but the modulation on the mod delay can be turned off. So that the pedal can be used as a delay unit too. All in all, the number of usable effects is nothing short of impressive. And we should not forget about the stereo output and expression pedal input. So yes. There are quite a lot of features in this cheap pedal.

Nux-MF6-DigitalMFX-guts1

When taking a look under the hood, we see modern SMD board with relatively dull view. Flipping the board over shows what one would expect. It is, like the name suggests, a fully digital design. Once again i’m going to leave you with less analysis since my knowledge of all digital circuitry is very limited. There are couple of digital chips in addition to a few opamps. And a oscillator crystal. Feels a bit like a computer now doesn’t it…

Nux-MF6-DigitalMFX-guts2

I got the unit cheap as used one from a local dude. I didn’t have high hopes for it, but since i was, and still am, somewhat fond of the New Analog Series pedals, i wanted to try this one out too. The conclusion?

How does it sound?
Surprisingly good. There’s no negative thin digital feel to any of the modes. Most of the modulation types easily beat some of their analog counterparts. That’s what you won’t hear often from me. Most of the settings are usable. Overall sound is good. Or maybe even great. I do love it when a design offers more than i expected. Well worth a try if you spot used one for cheap.

Danelectro DJ-17 PB & J Delay

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

DJ17-PBJ

What is it?
Danelectro DJ-17 PB & J (peanut butter & jelly) Delay from mini series. Made in china around early 00’s.

I thought i was getting a slightly used unit through ebay listing. Apparently not. It is in original blister packaking with only one of the corners slightly torn. Packaking indicates that this unit the early Mini series pedal. Later ones all came in cardboard boxes. As there is a little collector in me, you can take a guess if i’m tearing this one open? Hell no. So. This time i won’t be able to offer any analysis on the circuit. I may need to get another unit. One that has been already opened to do that. So this is probably one of the shortest pedal posts i’m ever going to publish.

If i ever come across a used one, i might update theis post. But for now. Just look at the ~12 year old thing in it’s original packaging. Beautiful, isn’t it?

How does it sound?
I have no idea. It has two stomp switches to change the delay time on the go, but as it is still mint in unopened blister pack, i’m obviously not able to try it out.

Ibanez EM5 Echo Machine

Friday, April 4th, 2014

What’s a better way to continue after DL5 than the other delay/echo from the same series…

EM5

What is it?
Ibanez EM5 Echomachine in plastic enclosure from later soundtank series. Made in taiwan around 1997-99.

The Internet Archive’s wayback machine has a snapshot of Ibanez site from june 1997 and on that page there is a mention the EM5 being the new and exciting pedal in the series of 18 different pedals Yes, 18. So it’s safe to assume that all the existing EM5s were manufactured in between 1996-1999, since all Soundtank production was taken over in 1999 by the next series – the Tone-Loks. In addition to those 18, the rest of the Soundtanks are in fact from the original, metal housed Soundtank series of six different dirt pedals. Namely PL5, TM5, CM5, SF5, CR5 and MF5. Only four of those made it to the plastic series as a continuation, the four being TM5, CM5, PL5 and SF5 (which had it’s model name revised to FZ5). So the latter Soundtank series produced 14 new designs to the bowl and it left out the super good Crunchy Rhythm and super bad Modern Fusion. Sort of like a ski jumping scores. You leave the best and the worst out.. All this should total at 20 different designs. Maybe i should write a Colorless Writings episode about soundtanks at one point. Or maybe even start a new writing series on history of some brands…

Ok. Let’s get back to business. The EM5 Echo Machine is a digital tape echo simulation delay/echo. I got this unit from the bass player of Versus All (huge thanks to Jason!) in perfect, nearly unused condition. Opening the bottom plate up shows your standard modern Soundtank traces. This time somewhat neater work on the joints than most other taiwanese Soundtanks. And the board is pretty crowded.

EM5-guts1

The digital chip responsible for the sounds is Mitsubishi M65831AP. Like many other Mitsubishi chips utilized by Ibanez, this one is too one of those you may find in many karaoke devices. The dual opamps used for buffering and mixing are C4570C, which are not your average choice, but they do perform quite well in this circuit. The schematic for the effect is up at Free Info Society.

EM5-guts2

As stated above, the EM5 Echomachine was apparently manufactured only for about two years, which means that the number of unit produced is somewhat low. Lots of maybe’s on that last sentence, but that’s all based on the little information that is available. If this is the case (and it probably is), these units should be quite valuable. At least when comparing to PL5 Power Lead or TS5 Tubescreamer which were the two most selling designs on the series. But then again. The TL5 Tremolo isn’t as valuable as it should be, so why this one should stand out?

How does it sound?
Like an angry tape echo unit gone slightly mad with the tightness. The sound is without a doubt one of the best digital tape echo emulators of its day and it has not been killed by time, not even now. It has tightness that sounds personal. Nice collectible, and most of all, usable unit.