Gear Review: Kilobyte Delay

Photo on 3-7-14 at 1.54 PM #4

This article is part of The Month Of Delay at the Real World Worship blog. All throughout the month of March we will be looking at different aspects of the delay effect in worship music.

 BRAND: Caroline Guitar Co.

MODEL: Kilobyte LoFi Delay

COST: $199

DO I OWN IT?: Yes

PROS: A worship guitarists needs versatility on their rig. Never more so than with their delay pedal. I can do almost everything with the Kilobyte. Rythmic/U2 delay. Slapback rockabilly/country. Ambient/atmospheric delay. This pedal can cover a LOT of ground sonically. (The pic above shows me and my Kilobyte with my settings at U2-ish).

When it comes to build quality this thing is a tank. High grade components in a solid all metal housing makes for a pedal that’s going to stand the test of time.

Soundwise, this thing just sounds good (see example HERE). The Kilobyte is a LoFi Digital delay that uses a low quality, very limited processing chip to give it a digital sound all it’s own. If that were all there is then the Kilobyte delay would be the best LoFi delay on the market, but this thing has much more under the hood. The attack control (which looks like an alien from an old Atari game) controls an analog pre-amp that only effects the repeats. The end result is that the more you crank the attack, the more your repeated notes get darker and dirtier like an analog delay would sound. So while it officially is a LoFi digital delay, you could tell someone it was was an analog and they’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. What I love about this is that it’s not a digital delay that’s been analog voiced (although I enjoy many pedals in that category) but it’s a digital delay that’s using an analog trick to make an analog bucket brigade sound.

One delay setting that gets overlooked a lot in church that shouldn’t is the Slapback. How many of our old songs like Leaning On The Everlasting Arms or I’ll Fly Away would be really rocking and fun to play with a good snapback delay? How many times have you wanted to just add a touch of delay without going Hillsong on everyone? That’s were the slapback comes in. The Kilobyte has the best sounding slapback sound my ears have heard. It really stands out as awesome.

The last thing to mention is the momentary switch on the pedal. Hold it down and the pedal will throw itself into self-oscillation. This will give you a lot of options, especially when you are trying to create an atmosphere in a song. This is a feature that is seen on pedals like the El Capistan, Boss RE-20 etc, but that I’ve found to be very useful.

CONS: It’s funny. For as much as I love this pedal, I have to acknowledge that it has some knocks against it. I’m not talking about flaws in it’s inherent design. Like I’ve said in previous reviews, if you are annoyed that a tube screamer sounds like a tube screamer then there’s nothing that can be done to help you. The same is true in this case. This is a LoFi digital delay that can be tweaked to sound like an analog delay. If you want a tape delay, that’s not this. If you want a crisp, clear digital delay then look somewhere else. It does what it’s designed to do and it does that very well.

Now, what are some of it’s valid cons? If you need presets, this doesn’t have it. No reverse delay, no dual delay, no dotted 8ths (although you can set it up to get close), and since it’s designed with analog vibes in mind it doesn’t have a long delay time (advertised is around 600ms). There’s is also no tap tempo function since they choose to add the momentary switch instead. Since we mentioned the momentary switch, while it’s one of the pedal’s pros, it is also sort of one of its cons. If you are a looking for a momentary switch for sustain purposes, this pedal’s isn’t for you. When you release the switch it tails off very quickly. That’ neither good nor bad, just how it was designed. I found the momentary on the El Capistan held out a lot longer and might be more useful for sustain. The momentary switch on the Kilobyte is for atmosphere. All it has meant for me is that I’ve adjusted how and when I use the momentary switch and when I release it.

HOW WOULD YOU USE IT FOR WORSHIP?: As I said, you can cover a lot of ground with this pedal. I’ve used it for just about every type of delay that you could think of in a worship setting. (See Why you’d use a delay pedal HERE). I enjoy the way it interacts with other pedals, especially the gain and compression pedals depending on how I have the analog pre-amp (Attack) knob set.

In regards to the momentary switch, I use it for moments when I’m trying to create and ambient or atmospheric sound. One of the cool tricks is to let the note die out quiet a bit and then oscillate the tail end of the dying note. Another trick is to use it to hold out every other chord on a chord progression. In a song like This Is The Air I Breathe where not much its going on, this will fill in the space in a cool way, provided that you don’t over use it. I could also see (with a lot of practice) sending the pedal into self oscillation during an intro or before a build and timing it to end when the full band kicks in.

This pedal also has the BEST slapback Delay sound I’ve run across. So old country/gospel songs are kicked up to a new level with this pedal.

FINAL VERDICT: This is one of my favorite pedals of any kind, let alone delay, but it’s not going to be for everyone. If you are looking for purely digital or tape emulation this probably isn’t the pedal for you. If you’re looking for a lot of presets, then it’s not for you. If you’re looking for a good analog delay, this one could be for you because you’ll be hard pressed to tell that it’s not analog, and without some of the just plain bad sounding repeats that many analog pedals are guilty of (I’m looking at you EHX Memory Boy).

It’s a great sounding delay that will inspire most players to create some really cool sounds. It will work functionally in almost all church settings that would allow an electric guitarist and it just sounds great. It may not work for you if you have really specific delay needs, and the price point may scare off some, but as far as delays go, the cream rose to the top with the Kilobyte and I can’t recommend it enough.

Check out Demos HERE and HERE

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6 thoughts on “Gear Review: Kilobyte Delay

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  3. Brian

    Thanks for your website–I appreciate it as a new guitarist hoping to get involved with my worship team. I bought the KB pedal based on your recommendation primarily looking for the slapback delay and the U2-style, dotted-eigth delay. Can you tell me how you go about getting that U2 sound on the KB pedal?
    Thanks!
    B

    1. Hey Brian,

      Thanks for commenting! I started with the settings in the manual and then kind of went from there. Repeats somewhere between 9 and 11am. Time somewhere between noon and 1pm. But there’s not way around it being a more “primitive” early U2 sound, ala the DMM delay on pre Joshua Tree records.

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