History of the Delay (well, at least for me)

Well, as per request, I am going to attempt right now to make a list of all the delay pedals I have owned, and why I no longer own some of them. I’m a bit frightened, as I have never seen all my delay pedals listed consecutively. But hopefully this will serve as a quick list of opinions on these pedals for anyone trying to decide which delay to buy. And a * next to a pedal name, means that I still own that exact pedal. So, here it goes!

Delays.jpg

(These are not my delay pedals. But I sometimes feel almost as sick as this person. If I had the money, I’m sure my closet would look like this. Mmmm…..happiness.)

1. Crate GFX guitar amp.

–Ya, I know, I know! Not a delay pedal. But here’s the deal: up until I got this amp, I thought that effects were cheating. That you should be able to sound good with just your hands without using any other musical tools. Of course, I hadn’t quite thought through the fact that even a guitar is a tool, and if you want to be technical about using only your own body, then only the voice is considered a real instrument. But my maturity level had not gone that far yet. So, anyway, when I got this amp, one day I accidentally bumped the reverb/delay knob to the ‘guitar solo’ setting. Oh, and even today I remember the tears that fell from my eyes as those notes were delayed. I could probably only play three notes consecutively at the time, but they were delayed!!!! Loveliness.

2. Boss GT-6 multi-effects pedal

–I know, I know! Still not a delay pedal!! But this is where my journey of ultimate tone was taking me. (Oh, those were the days…..when I paid for a pedal with 100 effects what I now pay for a pedal with one effect. *Sigh*) So, after hearing the glories of delay from the Crate amp, I now needed to take it to the next level. Now, my ear for tone was pretty bad back then, but I do remember thinking the delayed sounds were fairly good. Very digital, if I remember correctly, but not as sterile as you would think. hehe I also remember setting the delay to dotted eighths because I read that that was what Edge from U2 did. Then I thought my GT-6 was broken, because the delay came out at a different tempo than what I tapped in. Yep. I really did….and I think I even posted bad reviews online of how the delay did not work on GT-6′s. Wow, honesty hurts.

3. Arion SAD-1 analog delay (vintage)

–First actual stompbox delay!!! Vintage 3 knob style analog delay from the ’80′s. Got it at Guitar Center Ontario for fairly cheap in their used case. I still have fond memories of this pedal. Sounded fantastic (I still have one on my board), but I sold it to a friend because he needed a delay. Aren’t I nice? Well, and I also needed a Memory Lane. So….ya, not that nice. :-)

4. Arion SAD-1 analog delay (vintage)*

–Ya, I have problems with moderation. When I hate something, I hate it 100%. When I start to like something, watch out because I smother it. And then when I can’t smother it enough, I buy another one. There’s not much middle ground with me. So, after hearing the Arion SAD-1, I was like, ‘Wow, it sounds so good when I click my delay on. Wait…… what if I had delay on all the time??!! (Remember what I said about problems with moderation? Yep.) So I went two days without eating on a roadtrip (I’m being serious), so that in my mind I saved enough money by not eating so that I could spend the money I saved on another Arion SAD-1, but this one would be at a low setting to keep on all the time. (Isn’t it great the things we can tell ourselves in our minds?) I stopped at Future Music (again, RIP) in Hollywood on the way back from the roadtrip, and picked it up for 60 bucks. And actually, I still have this one, although I use it sparingly now for ambient sounds. Now you’re thinking, ‘Thank goodness. He grew out of the mindset of having delay always on.’ Ya………..nope. I moved this pedal to an ambient place in my rig, and bought a second Memory Lane to be on all the time. Ya, so………still delay on all the time, and still no moderation.

5. DOD 680 analog delay (vintage) (the big blue box one)

–So, at one time, I was running the second out of my always on Arion SAD-1 delay into a whole ‘nother board of effects and into another amp. I had all delays and phasers on this second board, and they were all set to extremely wet settings. And then the amp was set low. In this way, I had some ambient, washy, watery sounds underneath everything I played. I still think it was a good idea, I just didn’t know how to do it properly at the time. If I ever played somewhere professionally, I’d probably do it again, but using a little thing we like to call ‘the correct way’. At the time, I stopped doing this because I realized that I didn’t have the money to buy the right effects and switching systems to make it sound proper, and also because the sound techs had no clue what to do with this ‘second rig.’ So, the DOD 680 was one of three analog delays in the wet rig. Still quite possibly one of the best delays I’ve heard….if I rememeber correctly, it seemd to color the sound in a really, really nice way. Completely organic. I sold it when I realized that by selling all the pedals on this second board, I could afford to buy a delay with a dotted eighth setting, which was way more important at that time than a second rig that was always muted in the house because the sound techs didn’t know what to do with it.

6. Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man (vintage) 

–The second delay on that ambient board. Sounded good….Memory Man’s are good pedals. Had a bit of a problem filtering out the high artifacts, though. I think the chips might have been dying. Sold it for the same reason as above (getting rid of the ambient board for a U2-style delay).

7. Omnifex analog delay (vintage?)

–Yep. Bet you’ve never heard of this one. Some Japanese clone from the ’80′s Actually sounded pretty good. Did color the sound a bit. The third and final analog delay on my now defunct wet board. (Ya….you thought I was kidding around when I said I loved delay. At one time I think I had 8 delays in my rig, all on at once. Scary. And didn’t sound so good either….although at the time, I thought it sounded great. Hmm.) Sold it with the above two pedals to get my dotted eighth/U2-style delay.

8. Arion SAD-1 (vintage, grey box version)

–I know, I know, I know! You don’t have to say it. I have issues with moderation. And yes, at one time, I had three of these on my board at one time. The grey box versions of these are pretty spectacular, though. They maintain the warmth, but have a bit more high end sparkle than the black boxes. I used it for crisper delays back when I still thought digitial was the devil. Sold it to add even more dollars to getting a dotted eighth style delay.

9. Morley Emerald Echo

–Bought it on a whim out of the used case at Guitar Center San Marcos. (It was green, and I needed more green on my board at the time. Pathetic, I know.) Brought it to a friend’s house and we tried it out. Distorted the repeats. Put it on e-bay the same day.

10. DOD FX90 analog delay (’90′s)

–At the time, these were being talked up on gearpage. (If you post on gearpage, you know that pedals go through flavor-of-the-month fads over there routinely.) Got it thrown in on a deal for other pedals from some guy in Mission Viejo, tried it, and was thoroughly unimpressed. On e-bay within a couple days.

11. Diamond Memory Lane

–Ah, the leap into boutique pedals. I remember it with joy……..and the sudden absence of any extra money. I bought this one at Analogue Haven in Pomona. I paid full price. Ya, I couldn’t wait two weeks until they were being sold on gearpage for used price. It was like Christmas as kid. I mean, analog delay but with tap tempo! The first one ever! Seriously, if you were a kid, and Christmas was two weeks away, but someone told you that if you drove to Pomona, it was already Christmas, can you honestly tell me you wouldn’t go to Pomona for early Christmas? Ya, that’s what I thought. I still adore this pedal. I have yet to find a delay pedal that sounds as lush, organic, and dynamic. Although I did end up selling this particular one to pay for another Memory Lane, but one with the dotted eighth mod. 

12. Diamond Memory Lane*

–Yep. Not a typo. I had to buy another one for the ‘always on’ delay sound. Still have it. It’s on 95% of the time. Mmmm……delay. It’s still on the board, and almost always on at a low setting.

13. T-Rex Replica

–Sold, like, 4 of the above-mentioned vintage analog delay pedals to get this one because it was digital/analog hybrid and had the dotted eighth switch so you could tap in quarter notes, but get U2-style dotted eighth delays out of it. One of my favorite pedals for a good long time. Best sounding digital delay I had heard until I heard the Damage Control Timeline. And still, I think there are a couple sounds this pedal can do that even the Timeline can’t do. Maybe. This pedal actually ended up breaking, so I shipped it back to its original country of Denmark for repair. It was beyond repair, so T-Rex sent me another one:

14. T-Rex Replica

–The replacement one T-Rex sent to me to replace my broken one. They did it for free, too. Pretty cool company. Ended up selling it to get a Damage Control Timeline.

15. T-Rex Replica

–Bought it to play while mine was being sent to Denmark for a replacement one. Ya, I can’t live without delay. Sold it as soon as my new one came in. Pitiful……yes.

16. Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man* 

–Actually, I bought this one for the chorus setting. I’m totally in the minority, but I have yet to find a chorus I like better than the chorus setting on this delay pedal. So over-the-top, spacious, and Cure-sounding. Bought it from some guy in the deep bowels of LA. I still ahve no idea what town that was. Still own the pedal.

17. Ibanez AD99 analog delay

–Got it in a trade with a friend. Not a bad delay. Colored the sound a bit…had to run off it’s own a adapter…and very large for being a 3 knob/300ms delay. Sold it on e-bay after a week or so.

18. Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man (vintage)

–Bought it on e-bay because it was broken. I have no idea how to fix a delay pedal. Yet when I see them for cheap because they are broken, I somehow convince myself that I can fix it. I don’t know how I can fix it…..magic, maybe. But I convince myself and buy the pedal……and then the pedal comes in and I open it up and go, ‘Wait. I have no idea how to fix this.’ But I ended up selling it as a broken pedal for a lot more than I paid for it. Probably some other guy thinking he’ll magically be able to fix it.

19. Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man (vintage)*

–Same story as above. Bought it broken. Thought I could fix it or sell it. But what the e-bay seller forgot to mention was that by ‘broken’ he actually meant ‘I have the metal housing and a couple of knobs and chips from what was once a Memory Man.’ The pieces are still in my closet. And he did not get good e-bay feedback from me. That showed him. Ya……..probably not.

20. Diamond Memory Lane (custom with dotted eighth switch)

–So, I sold one of my Memory Lanes in order to buy this other Diamond Memory Lane that had a dotted eighth switch custom modded into it. A friend of mine custom ordered this pedal from Diamond. Still sounded great, but the dotted eighth setting didn’t really sound right in a pedal this warm and ambient. At least for me. For me, the dotted eighth setting works the best with clearer delays, and I don’t have the Memory Lane’s on my board for clear delays. So, I ended up selling this one. It took a while for me to want to sell it, because it was also in a custom blue color. And that was pretty. Plus, everyone knew I had a ‘special modded custom’ Memory Lane on my board. And that was fun. (Lame, I know.) But I ended up selling it, then buying another regular Memory Lane to replace it, and using the extra 100 dollar difference to pay for food that month, I think.

21. Diamond Memory Lane*

–The one I bought after selling the modded one. Bought it from some kid in Anaheim. Still have it. Beautiful sounding pedal. 

22. Boss DD20

–There was a time when I was leading worship for the main service, and then during the message I’d go down and lead for the youth group. So, I put together a smaller, less expensive youth group rig. For the money, the DD20 sounds good and has a ton of features. But I just seriously could not get into its digtal flavor of delay. I ended up selling it, and just toting my T-Rex back and forth from main service to youth group. The things we do for tone. 

23. T-Rex Replica

–So, my T-Rex Replica broke again. Sent it back to Denmark for replacement. So, I found, of all things, this one at Guitar Center in Hollywood. Will wonders never cease. Bought it to play while mine was getting repaired. Sold it when mine returned. 

24. Eventide Timefactor

–I was very intrigued by all the things this pedal could do, and by how good the clips online sounded. The T-Rex Replica was great, but I’d always been looking for something that sounded like the Replica, but with more functionality. I totally thought this pedal was it, and played it for about two weeks, before I realized that my recent dissatisfaction with my tone was because of this pedal. It changes your analog dry signal to digital, then back to analog again, which in my rig, completely took out tone and dynamics. The delays sounded great, but my dry signal was just so lacking. Sold it.

25. Boss DD20*

–I totally did not get into this pedal for guitar, although it is industry standard and it’s not terrible by any means. But for keyboards, that digital thing was great! So I bought this off of a friend to use in my keyboard rig, and for any guitarist at the church to borrow.

26. Eventide Timefactor

–Saw someone selling it for stupid cheap. So I bought it and then sold it for more money. Hey, times are tough! :-)

27. Damage Control Timeline*

–Best sounding digital delay I have heard. Can do a ton of things, and you can hook a midi pedal to it and have access to 128 patches. Finally, after three years, I found the pedal that had the sound quality of the T-Rex Replica, but with a ton more functionality. And it possibly, possibly sounds just a tad better than the Replica. I’ll do a full review of this pedal soon. And, of course, as opposed to the Timefactor, it keeps your dry signal untouched and analog.

I’m sure there’s more, but I just can’t remember. I’m tired now. And if you just made it all the way to here, you should be tired, too. 

Delay.

Cheers,
Karl

26 thoughts on “History of the Delay (well, at least for me)

  1. the greatest post ever. thanks! now I have to go read about the timeline. I’m hoping for a full demo on Monday. its good to know im not the only one that buys a pedal while waiting for another pedal to come in.

  2. DUDE, you have issues. All “real” guitar players do so your not alone. That is insane. Jason has been searching forever and this might narrow down his search to just before Jesus comes back to get us.

  3. lol That was awesome, Mike.

    There’s definitely some issues in my post and my life. I just read back over my own post. Yikes! :-) haha

    And Jason, I’m looking forward to hearing the Digilog and SMMH. The Timeline is pretty awesome…the downsides are that it is as big as a small country and that they put 3 led’s in it…looks cool…but it’s like, um, I would have given up one of the led’s for a digital readout of bpm’s, ya know?

  4. WOW is all I can say… I’ve owned three delays thus far and will have to check out the Damage Control Timeline based on your review above!!1. T-Rex Replica2. Diamond Memory Lane (w/dotted eighth mod, and external tap / on-off mod)3. TC Electronics Nova Delay

  5. wow. Just wow.
    I thought i had issues modding pedals…. cuz i’m never happy with the sound.
    Hmm… so after all that, WHAT do YOU use for the dotted 8th? I don’t think i ever saw that answered!

    lespaulplayerdoctor.wordpress.com

  6. another comment with a WOW! i have the original Diamond ML on the board and was also looking for digital delay for dotted 8th sounds. I heard good things about Damage Control’s Womanizer/Demonizer before and I’m sure that they did a fine job with the Timeline. These pedals are kinda big, no?

  7. Ya, the Timeline is the absolute best digital delay I have ever heard in a pedal. IMHO, it rivals the Korg SDD rackmount series. However, the downsides are that it is incredibly large, and kind of ugly. Also, you really need an external midi pedal to control it properly; for me, though, that was a plus, because it gives you access to ten presets at a time. I need to do a full post on that pedal really soon. I’ll have videos for it, too.

  8. Hey, Larry. Um, I wasn’t a huge fan. I didn’t like the Timefactor because of the conversion it put on my dry signal, but I loved it’s delayed sounds. But the Nova converted my dry signal, and I wasn’t too into the delayed sounds. But, too each his own. Some people get great sounds out of it. I’d love to get another one in the future to try it again……I had very little time with mine before I made my mind up.

  9. you really need to try the guyatone fip tube echo,,, oh mama
    , Im in Nz and we cant get the Damage Control Timeline’s here, are they really that good?

  10. from one delay junkie to another.,.,
    this isnt complete – its about a year or so out of date, these are all the pedals ” I’ve loved before.,.,”
    The most I had at once was 90-ish, may maybe 94?
    If there’s a number next to the description it means how many times I’ve owned one – sometime all at once

    ibanez bass mosdiortion
    zoom 508 bass fx
    ibanez metal charger
    digitech whammywah 1
    ibanez fatcat
    morley overlord (2)
    boss digital metalizer (2)
    ch1 chorus boss
    ibanez ss20 sessionman
    marshall drp 1 (2)
    boss ge7B
    bozz GE7
    dod echo fx91
    Boss PN2
    johnson 50′s trem
    boss autowah (2)
    boss twah (2)
    boss dynamic wah
    dod envelpoe filter
    coloursound vol/swell
    boss metal zone (2)
    Boss OB3 bass overdrive
    Boss superoverdrive
    Boss Overdrive
    Locobox spaceship
    sansamp bass DI
    Zoom rfx3000
    Boss pq4
    akai headrush E1 (2)
    Akai headrush E2
    ibanez soundtank delay (2)
    Ibanez pan delay
    Ibanez DE7 (2)
    Boss DM2
    Boss DM3
    RAK anolog delay
    Ibanez Ph9 phaser
    Line6 echopark
    Korg dynamic echo (2)
    Morley Analog delay
    Dunlop trem/pan
    Boss Cs2 (2)
    Akai Intelliphase (2)
    Coron dist
    Boss DF2 (2)
    Cry baby (4)
    Zoom 9002
    MR ART reverb
    Johnson analog delay
    Boss rvb
    boss octave
    ibanez C505 chorus
    Boss DD2
    Ibanez Dl10 (3)
    Boss aw3
    Ernie pan/vol (2)
    ZVEX seek wah (2)
    Zvex fuzz factory
    boss turbo overdrive
    guyatone dual octave
    eh mini qtron
    ibanez ddl
    SIB Mr Echo (6)
    SIB Mr echo plus
    Ibanez Ts9dx
    ibanez ts9
    ibanez ts10
    boss ns2 (2)
    red witch medusa
    red witch moon phaser deluxe (2)
    korg mutli 411fx
    sib mr vibramatic
    sib mr phazedelic
    sib loopamatic
    sib nik nitro
    ibanez adl delay
    loco box analog delay (2)
    artec analog delay
    next analog delay
    biyang ad7 (3)
    biyang ad8
    diamond memory lane
    digtech modulator
    aria dist
    washburn fx flanger
    washburn fx st chorus
    pearl analog delay
    adrenalinn 1/ modded to V.2
    danelectro danecho
    danelectro fab flanger (2)
    danelectro fab echo (2)
    visual sound metal pedal
    yamaha SB100 series Phaser
    yamaha SB100 series Flanger
    yamaha SB100 seriesCompressor
    yamaha SB100 seriesParametric EQ
    yamaha SB100 series Limiter
    coron analog delay ad500
    holden phaser
    ibanez sonic distortion (3)
    Boss Cs1 compressor
    Boss cs3 compressor
    loco box comos chorus
    guyatone ps105
    artec resovibe
    guyatone flip echo
    wee pedals echo guy ( 2)
    wee pedals “wee Kerazy”
    Daphon E20 DL Analogue delay
    Behringer DD100
    belcat 303
    amdek octvader
    tremulous lune

  11. you guys on here make me feel sane! i now won’t feel as guilty to sell half my board and belongings for one or two stompbox indulgences.BTW have you ever tried the seymour duncan deja-vu??? i’m just starting to really get into mine. That analog side is good stuff, plus an effects loop for the delayed signal. It has been very inspiring! ( in conjunction with the timeline demo video’s;) . the feedback control is finicky, either to little effect or hair raising murderous repeats. anyways… it might sound good next to a timeline that has been in the local shop for a long while? i’m hesitant to buy because as soon as i do, “new and improved models are coming”. i know your opinion on the timeline,but should i just buy it or do u know of any ” new” innovations from DC???? OR is there another delay out there that is inspiring and intuitive. Any insight will help me sleep.

  12. Hey Karl, Just been reading your blog and really enjoying it. The only thing I think is kind of silly is how you don’t like a/d d/a converters for your board (eventide, dl4, etc) but the damage control timeline has the same conversion, maybe better quality processors but still… whatever they sound amazing!

  13. Kev77–totally missed this comment! Sorry, bro! Quite an impressive list of pedals! Rock ‘n roll. And ya, the Timeline is pretty good. :)

    Chris–so sorry! I must’ve missed this comment, too! Yikes. Totally glad we can help make you feel sane. lol That was awesome!

    I’ve yet to try out a Deja-Vu, but it definitely intrigues me. But if you’ve got a Timeline sitting around, you should so grab it! Those are rare these days! And it’s brilliant! hehe And Damage Control is coming out with a new delay under their kind of ‘sister’ company Strymon. But it is in a different vein than the Timeline. Anyway, cheers!

    Ben–great to have you here! And glad you’re enjoying it. :)

    lol I hear ya on the converters. It does seem kind of silly at first. But yes, all digital delays have the A/D D/A converters on the delayed signal. Which I don’t mind, because it’s worth it to get the functionality and crispness that digital delay offers. What I didn’t like about the Timefactor, and about almost all digital delays, is the A/D D/A converters on the dry signal. I like my dry signal to remain untouched. And the Timeline is one of the very few digital delays that does not convert your dry signal. Damage Control is very clear in their literature on that point. I believe the only other ones are the T-Rex Replica, and possibly the Boss DD20…there’s some debate on the DD20.

    But sorry if I didn’t make that clear. You’re totally right, every digital delay needs to convert the delayed signal. It’s the dry signal that I don’t like converted. :) Anyway, great to have you here! Cheers!

  14. Yea, its silly. I was wondering do you use all 4 delays for your pad sound? Right now for swells, I’m using a dd-20 tape echo delay, and an analog delay. Yours just sounds a lot fuller (maybe its the ridiculous difference in equipment…) Your tone is amazing! maybe one day…

    • Ben,

      What settings are you using on your DD-20 for the tape echo delay? (Depth, Feedback, Note value, etc.). Just curious (and looking ‘short cut’ the process of getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ — LOL! :)

      Thanks!

  15. Ben–it just depends on which sound I’m going for. But the deep swells, yes, I will use all 4. The DD20 is a great pedal though, and running it into an analog delay should be awesome! :) Thanks for the kind words on the tone. I’m sure yours is just as good! Cheers!

    Mike–lol Can’t really help you, as I haven’t played a DD20 in a bit. But you didn’t direct the question at me, anyway. hehe Just didn’t want you to feel left out! ;)

  16. Mike – the dd-20 settings are
    mode: tape (2 head)
    effect level: 3 o clock
    repeats: 9 o clock
    time: 600 ms
    tone: to taste but mine is around 11 o clock

    this runs into a modulated analog delay set at a sort of similar setting (depth, time, and repeats)

  17. Karl,

    I’ve been absolutely loving your blog…thanks for taking the time to keep it going!

    I’m a worship leader–but actually a lead guitar player at heart; I’ve got a irrational taste for delay; and yes, I love U2. So in short, your blog has been a lot of fun! But I’ve been pretty shocked by how little treatment a delay-loving, U2 junkie like you has given the EHX Deluxe Memory Man (as you know, pretty much the most famous delay pedal in existence, and one of the Edge’s favorites). I mean, you dedicated several paragraphs to that little Arion (lol), but the only DMM references I found were pretty perfunctory.

    Anyway, I’m sure you’re busy, but I’d love to hear your thoughts more in-depth re: the DMM. I have one, along with a DD-20 for now. This combo seems to me to be a similar setup to your Timeline/DML combo…so your thoughts would be valued…both in terms of the DMM itself, and in terms of the digital/analog pairing.

    Blessings man!

    Nathan

  18. I recently made the switch from digital to analog delay (from a Boss dd3 to the Analogman delay). Trouble is, I also updated my whole rig this spring from a solid state peavy amp to a Dr Z tube amp, and I added a LP Custom to the strat I’ve been using. This means that the delay sound I was used to from the strat->boss->peavy sounds quite a bit different from delay sound I get from the LP->Analogman->Dr. Z.

    To my ear the new sound I’m getting sounds to much like sitar music from India. However, I started experimenting to try to get change this and discovered a couple things.

    1. I avoid sliding to different spots on the fretboard. hammer’s sound better
    2. the bridge setting sounds better than the neck setting on the LP
    3. some tone controls on various other pedals (like my comp) sound better than others, but I’m still getting that dialed in.

  19. Great post! Just found this site, it’s totally in my wheelhouse.

    I bought a Damage Control Timeline a couple of years ago, but quickly sold it. I thought the Pigtronix Echolution had clearer repeats. Also thought the tubes were gimmicky and unnecessary and didn’t want to deal with ever replacing them (I spend enough keeping my amps tubed).

    Hopefully you’re aware of the Strymon Timeline, an update of the Damage Control piece. (Damage Control is part of Strymon now) It’s got 200 presets (as well as midi control) and Timefactor style features, including dual delay, harmonized delay, etc. And no, I don’t work for Strymon. (First batch sold out yesterday).

    Anyway, I think this thing is going to be a total Godsend, particularly for worship sets (appropriately). Right now, I run 5 delays partially for the convenience of quickly switching between precise delay times…the Pigtronix, two Subdecay Echoboxes, and two Jacques Prisoners. (And the Pig and Subdecays all have analog dry blend, btw)

  20. No worries, bro! There’s a lot of random info here…I don’t expect you to have read it all! haha I’m just stoked for all the delays you’ve got. See, you don’t need to sell those…just ‘add’ the Timeline to them. ;) hehe

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