Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ugly Guitar Truth: MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe

Whether you love the Carbon Copy or you passed on it. Nearly everyone's ears perked up when MXR/Dunlop announced the Carbon Copy Deluxe. Nearly everyone agrees that's the original Carbon Copy sounds great (or it is too dark). Whatever you think about the original, the Deluxe fixes some problems about the original and gives us everything that you could want, right? Let's take a look.


There's More To Love


So those that love the Carbon Copy have a lot more to happy about. A larger format allows for additions like Tap Tempo and moves the Width and Speed of the Mod to the outside of the pedal this time. We also get the bright mod added to the Deluxe. I glad they added this, that way we avoid the predictable Carbon Copy Deluxe (Bright). All this in addition to the neat add-ons like expression and instrument/line level options make this a well thought out pedal. So is it all roses?


It's Not All Roses


Yeah, The Carbon Copy is loved by many players, but is it really live up to all the hype? It's not an all-around type delay. Coming from the point of do-it-all digital delay, analog delays have a big gap to make up in way of value. There are no fancy tricks (well, not many) or dizzying specs. One could argue that an analog delay with 1.2 seconds of delay is a pretty good trick. Others would say that a mono delay just doesn't cut it anymore. With the addition of sub-divides, tap-tempo, and expression, one would difficult not to admit that the Deluxe is a serious step up for the Carbon Copy

It All Adds Up

Given the popularity of the Carbon Copy and the current trend of analog delays, the Carbon Copy Deluxe gives players looking for that sound even more. The sound that many of us love is still there, but now there is so much more to love. It is even in a top-jack format, which is more-and-more becoming my favorite format. The price of the original, to me, seems a little steep. Then again, I'm a penny-pinching, old so-and-so. The Deluxe, on the other hand, seems to fit well in the market for modern analog delays.

Conclusion

The worse new in this entire post might be for the original Carbon Copy (including the Cabon Copy Bright). There just isn't enough reason to buy the original anymore. There is so much more in the Deluxe that it would just make sense to make the leap. Does it do everything? Of course not. What it does do, it does very well.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Happy World Guitar Day


Today marks the first World Guitar Day. It's about time that we guitar players had a day. I'm not sure about the origins of World Guitar Day, but it's nice to have a day to make us stop and reflect on the fact that there are guitar slingers all across the world. We may not speak the same langue or have much in common, but the thing that unifies us is a love for a wonder instrument know as the guitar. I am reminded of the global reach of the six-string when I look into my traffic analytics. I can see that I receive traffic from nearly every country in the world.

I fell in love with guitar as a young lad. I found a beat up old classical in my sisters closet and begged to be taught how to use it. Even at its best, that guitar was barely playable, but play it I did. It's what I learned my first chords on. I learned how to strum and keep time. I have a special place in my heart and closet for that guitar. So today, I remember it and everyone that supported my musical journey. Thank you.

Best Delay Under $50

A delay pedal is one of the most intimidating pedal-decision that a guitarist can make. There are endless features, staggering costs and tons of options. Despite this, a delay is a core effect on the pedalboard of most guitarist. The first time I bought a delay, I just asked the guy working at the guitar shop what the best one was. I bought it. And that was it. I spent over 200 dollars and luckily ended up with a great pedal that I enjoy, but I easily could have ended up with a turd. So here is a list of pedals that are cost-effective and useful.  If you are in the market for a "cheap" delay, then here is my list of the top eight pedals to take a careful look at.


Behringer DD600


This pedal is inspired by the BOSS DD6. Behringer has done a decent job of copying BOSS pedals. The feature list is nearly unheard of on a pedal in this price bracket. The availability of tap tempo and tons of different delay modes make this pedal a tempting pick. I'd encourage you to test one out. There are reports of noise with this pedal, so be sure to test drive before you buy.


Behringer EM600


This pedal is a long time favorite. This is based off the Line6 Echo Park. The Echo Park is still loved by a loyal set of fans. The Swell effect only made this pedal very desirable. Besides that, you have analog and tape filters included in this digital delay. Tap tempo and available Mod filters on your delay tails add a cherry on top. As of a few weeks ago, this pedal was difficult to get a hold of, so prices might top $50 on the used market, but keep an eye out for one of these.


Ibanez DE7


The Tonelok series from Ibanez was unfairly overlooked. Fortunately, you can still find these pedals relatively easy and for $50 or less. 2600ms with an available 'echo filter' give you plenty to play with. Solid metal enclosures are a plus over the plastic Behringer boxes, but the feature list takes a bit of a hit. Overall this pedal is a solid choice with few drawbacks. Not to mention the key feature of these pedals: the set-it and forget-it knobs. If you have a core sound you can lock it in and not worry about it getting knocked around.


Danelectric D-8 FAB Delay



This is one of the cheapest options for a standard type delay. At $25 this pedal is tempting to pick up just because. Obviously, there are limited features on this pedal, but it's a solid choice for bargain-ben prices. It has about 600ms of delay which is decent for half of some of the other pedals on this list. It's another plastic pedal, so it's not one to beat around. If you don't ask much from your delay and want to save some money this one might be one to consider.


DigiTech Digidelay


This is another full-featured delay that has come and gone. Although you can't pick one up new from the store, there are plenty out there to be had. Up to 4 seconds of delay and handful of useful modes, including looping, make this a top contender for best delay under $50. The used market goes up and down, but you can find these hanging around $50 fairly common. All this and tap tempo make this a must watch.


TC Electronic Prophet


Fair new to the market is the TC Prophet. This is a simple digital delay. The most impressive features of this pedal are structural. Top jacks and super-solid construction make this pedal impressive just to hold. Features wise, this pedal doesn't really impress. There are three modes, but they aren't extremely useful. For being one of the most impressive on this list, the features of the actual delay doesn't seem impressive, but this pedal probably has the best "feel" on the list. Street price on these pedals is $60, but I've caught them on sale for well under $50.


Behringer VD400


Another bargain is the Vintage delay from Behringer. Plastic? Check. But you get the feel of an analog delay for under $30. Your delay time is limited, but if you don't like the D-8 but want to find a bottom dollar delay, then give this pedal a try. This is another one you want to test drive. Find a local dealer is see if it's right for you.


TC Electronic Echobrain


Everything that you can say for the Prophet you can say for the Echobrain. The delay time is limited, but it's built like a tank and the delay sounds great. This is probably the best/interesting sounding delay on the list. While the digital delays do their best to sound like analog, this pedal delivers on the authentic analog sound. It's a little on the dark side, but that's what the appeal of these pedals is. Dark, dirty delays are what this pedal does. Again, the list price is over the limit, but if you want to check one out, then wait until they go on sale and snap one up.

WHAT NOT TO BUY:

JOYO Digital Delay

This pedal did not make the list, but I thought that I'd put it on this post in case you were looking at inexpensive delays. This pedal has an issue with passing signal while in bypass. Don't buy this pedal. There are better options. In my opinion, every pedal is a better choice than this one. This pedal also goes by the name "Time Space" but I'm pretty sure it is the same pedal. Check out the full review of this pedal here.



Conclusion

These pedals aren't in any kind of order. All of these pedals are worth a look if you want to spend minimal dough. I've played all these pedal personally and tried to share some useful information to help you make your delay decision. There are several from Behringer. I don't particularly like their pedals, but they have a large list of inexpensive pedals. So, what do think? Did I miss any pedal that should have been on the list? Leave it in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hands On Review On MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay

For a long time, the Carbon Copy analog delay has been the darling of many analog delay users. It wasn't until recently that I was able to sit down and fully review one of this pedal. I've been going through tons of delay pedals recently and I was looking forward to really get to know this pedal. So with that in mind, let's get into it.


Solid




This pedal is compact. Messing around with the new line of TC Electronic's economy line has gotten my used to a bit larger format. Even a BOSS pedal make this pedal seem slender. It also has a lot of heft. The enclosure is thick. In fact, I took the screws out of the bottom and fit of the bottom plate was so solid, I almost had to pry it off. When you hold this pedal next to something like the JOYO digital delay, the differences are huge. Quality is evident even before you plug it in. MXR did an awesome job at building a super solid pedal.


It Does What It Does


There isn't a lot of extras with this pedal. Mono in, mono out, but what is cool is that it includes a mod buttons, so that's fun. There are three controls, but you do have internal controls to control the mod. That is good, because when I first engaged the mod button it was too present. Other than Tap Tempo and longer delay times (both are almost always limited on analog delays. Also, the carbon copy has longer times than the Echobrain analog delay.) This isn't a feature pack pedal, but what it does it does quite well.


The Sounds



I did want to compare the Carbon Copy to the other delays that I had laying around. I was excited to compare the Carbon Copy to the Echobrain. The Carbon Copy blew the Echobrain away. Delay time (which is a big deal for me) was a lot of it. The Mod switch just made the Carbon Copy so much more of a pedal. I also put this up against the Behringer EM-600 Echo Machine. I set a good tone on the Carbon Copy and tried to copy it with Echo Machine. It got 90% there. The Carbon Copy just has a way of not coloring your dry signal. When making a big ambient swell, other pedals cover up higher frequencies, but the Carbon Copy is a champ. I could hear delicate note despite the huge amount of noise behind the playing. Impressive.


Conclusion





This pedal I lovely. There is a reason that this pedal is so popular. Yes, it was trendy, but there is something to be said for when I pedal is done well. There is very little to complain about with it as well. You might want stereo operation or tap tempo, but that is still rather uncommon is a small format, sub $200 pedal. The only thing that really detracts this pedal is the price tag. I'm not saying that this pedal isn't worth $150, but that price point puts it next to pedals like the EHX Canyon, BOSS DD-7 and TC Electronic Flashback II. Yes, they are all digital pedals, but I am Ok with running digital if it sounds good. So for the analog loyalist, this is awesome pedal, but those that play the field might want to check out their options.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hands On Review Of Joyo Digital Delay

Those that shop thrifty pedal know the Joyo brand. It's been years since I've played my first Joyo pedal. It was an Ultimate Drive. I didn't like it very much despite the fact that it's supposed to be an OCD clone. I've tried other offerings of their to varying level of, "Meh". But I saw a Digital Delay sitting in my local music store's used bin and I bit. I've been on somewhat of a delay search, so I decided this would be the black horse. Oh boy...



Right Off The Bat





I wanted this pedal to be more. I wanted it to defy the expectations that pedal snob would have for it. I love to find a sleeper pedal. Too cheap to appeal to the cork-sniffers, but those willing to get it a shot would know it is indispensable. This pedal, well, it's not that. As soon as I power-up and plug in, there is a very audible, screeching noise (and it's not even on!). I turn it on and it's deafening. I quickly turn it back off and contemplate the mistake I made when purchasing this pedal. However, I realize that the delay is dimed and the signal bleeds through while in bypass. Not a good start.



Not Much Else



So, there are the standard features of a delay of this type. It has about 600ms of delay and standard Time, Repeats, and Level controls. The repeats are the rather standard digital type, nothing special there.



Conclusion



I know that there aren't as many points as I usually have, but there just isn't that much more to say about this pedal. That's about the worst thing you can say about this pedal. It is exactly what you might think. It's super cheap and you get what you pay for. Actually, you probably don't get what you pay for because if you have this pedal in your chain then you are going to get unwanted noise. You'd have to put it in a bypass loop. The only application I can see for this pedal is a practice rig, or a paperweight.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hands On Review Of Behringer EM-600 Echo Machine

If you are familiar with the Behringer line of guitar effect pedals, then you know that they are mostly BOSS clones. They are basically plastic versions of our favorite BOSS pedals. So what BOSS pedal is the EM-600 Echo Machine? It's actually a facsimile of a Line6 Echo Park. You may have know that. Actually, If you are reading a review for the EM-600 then you probably already knew that.  So, is the EM-600 a decent replica of a Echo Park? Let's see...


Old School


So, just like all the other pedals in this line. It is very similar to the size and shape and function of the BOSS format. However, that format is old. If you look at the pedals of twenty years ago, you'll see that a lot of companies made pedals just like that. DOD, Digitech, Ibanez, and others made pedals just like that. However, form and formats have changed over time. BOSS is huge and doesn't have to change, but inexpensive pedals attracts younger players and younger players follow trends. Those that want trendy pedalboards will have to weigh economy against style.


Where's It At?


Just in the past few weeks, this pedal has become hard to find. Most of the main online retailers have gone from 'item backordered' to 'no longer available'. You can still find this pedal on the used market, but there are few to be had and people are already asking more than street price. It may be easier to get a hold of an actual Echo Park.

The Sounds

So, this has been a pretty solid Ugly Truth post, but we have to talk about how the pedal actually sounds. This pedal have a ton of modes, but the ones that matter to me are the Taps, (quarters, eighths, and dotted eighths) Swell, Multi 1, Multi 2, and Reverse. The taps are super basic. I'm just stoked to have a tap tempo on a $50 delay pedal. Swell is a key feature of the Echo Park. It was a big deal when the pedal came out and its still cool to play with. The Multi (pattern delay) setting are really cool. I wish they were a little more flexible. Reverse is a pretty standard feature, but when you add all the feature together, then you have a deep mode selection for minimum cash. If that wasn't enough, you have a Analog and Tape filter. And you have Mod control. There is just a stupid amount of feature packed into this pedal. I wouldn't say that all the sounds are 100% convincing, but just the fact that they are there is impressive. It's close enough to fake it in a pinch.

There Is A Problem

There is always a problem. There problem with this pedal (other than the plastic construction, old format, an unoriginal design) is that with the mix knob is at 100% the bypass signal can completely drop out. I noticed this on the Swell setting. On the swell setting the mix knob works like a mix know rather than a effects level, so when it is at 100% then you have 0% dry signal. However, even when the pedal is in bypass mode the signal is lost.  So, if you are using the Swell feature, then you can kill your entire guitar signal. Unless... you turn the tails to off. So, there is a work around. But in that particular circumstance, it is a little annoying.

Conclusion


I've tried out a few delays lately. This is the only one that I've thought about adding to my board. It does some things that I can't do with my current delay (swell) and I'd like to have a number 2. If I did add it to my board it will probably be a place holder until I get one of those uber delays, then move my number 1 into my number 2 slot. That all said, this is a solid delay. I might even recommend it higher than a DD-6. When its half the price of any pedal that objectively beats it, and it can compete with any delay under a hundred dollars its hard to put it down. Check one out, if you can.



Hands On Review Of TC Electronic's Echobrain Analog Delay

I have neglected a realm of effects. So I apologize to fans of analog delays, I haven't really delved too far into analog delays. People die on the hill of which analog delay is the best. EHX is known for their Memory Man series, MXR has the Carbon Copy, BOSS has DM-2, Ibanez has their Analog Delay. These are all beloved for their own reasons. I've used many of these pedals at one time or another, but I've never really connected with any of them. That probably explains why I settled on the DD-20. Then there is the Echobrain.

It's Chewy

The first thing I noticed about this delay is that the filter on these repeats is dark and gritty. This is an analog delay that stands up against the classic delays that we all know. The benefits of the Echobrain is that it is housed in a box that is more geared toward the trends of today. Top Jacks, True Bypass, Clickless Footswitch, Unique and attractive design. All these things make it a solid option for today's guitarists.

Money Grab?

If you love TC Electronic, you may know that they were recently acquired by Music Group (the parent company of Behringer and others). This happened only a few months before the unveiling of the Smorgasbord of affordable, simple effects. The two may be unrelated, or it could have been Behringer trying to legitimise their second phase of effects. It was smart to imitate BOSS and other industry-leading pedals of fifteen years ago, but now people are focused on form as well as function.

Season To Taste

So analog delay is a little bit of a strange subject. There are many different options for an analog delay, but they are basically the same. I don't really understand the basic differences between most of the basic analog delays. Obviously, there are some pedals that have interesting and novel features, but the basic features are the same. Their max delay time is typically very limited compared to digital delays, but there is a special character that analog delays have. Analog delays degrade with each repeat, and they all do it differently. It depends on a person's taste, but you won't know till you try.

Conclusion

I dig it. Playing this pedal is just fun. Playing with the repeats and time controls is rewarding. This pedal is done correctly. True analog delay with noiseless operation at this price point is crazy. If you are a fan of analog delay, then this is worth a try. However, it suffers in the same way that all classic analogs do. It's limited. This whole line is an update of simple effects into a format that many players are looking for. However, analog delays are now being expanded into much more sophisticated effects with tap and other controls. Even though it fits within its own line of effects, it is a little underwhelming compared to most other analog delays released lately. Lastly, you get what you pay for, but you may be left wanting more.