Diamond Memory Lane Review & Demo
It was a day just like any other day (meaning, I was surfing Gear Page), and I was joining in with the usual banter of ‘Which univibe is the best?’ ‘Well the one I play, of course.’ ‘Have you played any other univibes?’ ‘Why would I need to? Mine’s the best.’ After about an hour, having solved all the world’s tone problems, I moved up to the search bar and typed in the search. I named it ‘the search’, because that is exactly what it was. The search, my search, my life. Actually, if I’m describing it as ‘my life’, I suppose I could have taken a few electrical engineering classes and tried to invent it myself. But that goes against everything I stand for. Which is, as afore-mentioned, solving the world’s tone problems one internet message board argument at a time. Little time to play even with the pedals I have, let alone invent and build new ones. So I typed it in. The words of absolute joy. ‘Analog delay with tap tempo.’ I had typed those words in to that search on that message board many times before. And had always been left stupendously disappointed. But on this day…oh fanctious (heard that word once…not sure if it’s real) day…the search yielded results. Brilliant results. In the form of ‘Diamond Pedals Memory Lane.’
The world would never be the same. And right then my roommate knocked on my door. ‘Did you hear about the new analog delay with tap tempo?!’ And I just smiled and showed him my computer screen. ‘Already on the waiting list,’ I remember replying, and not without a very smug satisfaction, I might add, at the fact that I had discovered it before him. Ya, minutes before, I know. Pretty shallow of me. But you try living with a guy who’s touring with countless worship leaders around the country, including The Kry, while you’re still pretending to know what a dotted 8th is and wondering why you just got sent ECC83 tubes when you specifically ordered 12AX7′s. You take what you can get.
And from that moment on, I have had a very passionate and ravenous love affair with the Diamond Memory Lane. (Ya, if you happen to re-read this post, just go ahead and skip over that last sentence.) It came out in 2005, and is still currently the only analog delay on the market to offer tap tempo. (Others are just starting to come out with them.) And that would have been enough for me. But on top of that, it sounds just gorgeous. It’s an overused word, but ‘organic’ actually does this pedal justice. It really does respond to your playing, and almost seems to bloom and wither with your dynamics. And the best modulation I have ever heard.
The craziest thing about this pedal is it’s response. For me, it has had the biggest learning curve of any pedal I have ever played. It reacts to everything you do, and many times almost plays you, rather than the other way around. It’s almost a grab-bag for what you’re going to get out of it when you feed certain things into it. And I love that. I’m still discovering things about it years later.
So here’s the demo. And…a couple apologies. One, for demo’ing a pedal no longer available. You can find them used all over, but not new. Diamond has since moved on to issue the version 2, which offers a second preset, a dotted 8th option, and is supposed to have a tamer reactivity. Which is the reason I do not play it. I love the unpredictable nature of this version 1. I have owned another version 1 with the dotted 8th mod. It was great too, but the I find the Memory Lane to be a bit too warm to make consistent usefulness to me of the dotted 8th; I find that to be more useable on digital delays. But this version can be modded for it, if you like…and the second version has it stock. But I chose to demo this pedal even though it is unavailable, because I have run across some recent discussions of why you would ever need an analog delay, or an analog delay with tap tempo, considering the current array of digital options. So hopefully I can show a couple reasons why. Plus, I kind of ban myself from buying things around Christmas, because I will inevitably buy something someone else will wrap up and give to me. (Am I really that predictable?…Delay, U2…ya, I guess so.) So I had to do a pedal I already own and currently have on my board. And not doing a demo was out of the question because it’s been a long time since I’ve posted one here, and I’m not sure how much longer I can rely on my charming personality to keep this site going. (Please be noting the sarcasm there.)
The second apology is that the playing is lamentably not so good. I only got to do one take at this with no editing because I promised my wife that I’d clean the house today. (How’s that for rockstar?) So, if you dig the video, then feel better about yourself that I suck too. And if you don’t dig the video, feel better about yourself as you post the nasty youtube comments, because now you have more fodder for them.
So here ya go:
I absolutely love this pedal. I have two Damage Control Timeline’s on my board. They are the completely best digital delay pedals I have ever heard. But yet nothing really gets that analog modulation sound like an analog delay. (Novel, huh?) Does it do everything a digital delay can do? Can it cop those sounds? Nope. That’s the reason you have a digital one on your board, as well. But I’ve yet to hear anything capture that lush, real sound that feels like it has actual layers, like the Memory Lane can. What makes it genius, is that it has tap tempo. Its delay time only goes up to 550 milliseconds, but that’s enough to make sure even the washy sounds can always be in tempo with the song if that’s what you’re after. And it allows you to throw on this beautiful sound in the background or foreground of what you’re playing, so much more often than if it didn’t have tap tempo. At any time, you can kick on this delay. Which is something I desperately wanted in an analog delay before this thing came out.
You also get a ton of options with the killer eq section for decay, and the big modulation sounds. Oh, and the modulation. Like a blooming flower. Not very hetero, but neither is this: it’s also very pretty, and I always feel the urge to press it to my cheek. I mean, rad paint job. The expression pedal option adds a lot, too.
There is a steep learning curve; not so much on the knobs, but on actually playing live with the pedal. It will give you some crazy oscillation at odd times, and seem to sound and react differently when you play what you thought was the same thing into it. But that’s also what I love about this pedal; it’s pushed me and inspired me musically.
It, as does the version 2, runs on 24 volts and needs a separate adapter. They do sell adapters to power it using the PP2+, but it will need to take up two of the outlets. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning.
Oh ya. And you can only find them used.
So there you have it. Diamond Memory Lane. The world’s first analog delay with tap tempo. (As far as we know. There’s probably been some electrician guitar genius living in Norway who’s had a homemade one on his board for decades.) And after four years, I still cannot imagine being without this pedal. And apologies once again for the sucky playing, and then actually posting the video rather than re-doing it. I guess basically if most guitar/worship blogs are going, ‘Please think I’m awesome! Please think I’m awesome!’, I’m just trying to be the antithesis of that. And then probably going, ‘Please think I’m awesome because of the fact that I’m not saying ‘Please think I’m awesome!’ Please think I’m awesome because of the fact that I’m not saying ‘Please think I’m awesome!” hehehe Humanity dies hard. And then, of course, you gotta give more honor to the Christmas season. ‘Ho ho ho. Now I have a machine gun.’