Gear Thoughts: Line 6 DL4

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.

Editor’s Note: Normally, I wouldn’t do a write up on a piece of gear that I’ve never played. Even if I have played or used something, if I haven’t had enough time with it I won’t review it because I really want to know what I’m talking about. But since we are in the Month of Delay, I’m making exception and writing down thoughts on delay pedals that I’ve only played a few times or have only heard YouTube demos of, so please take these for what they are.

LINE 6

I hate Line 6. One of these days I’ll sit down and write out fully why this is so, but for now, it’s fair enough just to say that I do. This isn’t news to anyone who has read this blog for any length of time. What might surprise you is that I don’t hate everything Line 6 has ever made. I don’t hate the DL4. It was actually the 1st delay pedal I ever owned. I got a lot of use out of it and I really enjoyed the creativity it allowed me. That’s not to say I would buy it again. It died on me out of the blue and I choose to go a different route in replacing it.

Normally I would write an actual review of a pedal that I owned for several years, but it’s been several years since I owned it and I didn’t think I could do it justice, so you get my thoughts instead.

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Which Delay and Does It Matter?

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.

 

We’ve covered the three main types of delay (Tape, Analog, and Digital) in previous posts. But which one should you put on your board? Is one better than the other? Will anyone in my church notice the difference?
WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE?

If you are only going to put one delay on your pedalboard then I would recommend the one that gives you the most options. Either the Nova delay or the Alter Ego, both by TC Electronics would be my recommendation, depending on what you want/need and what your board space is (the Nova for larger boards, the AE for smaller space needs).

But really any type of delay will accomplish the same goal, which is to created repeated copies of the notes you play. (See why we use delay HERE). Ultimately I will all come down to personal preference so test out a lot of options before you make your decision.

Continue reading “Which Delay and Does It Matter?”

Gear Thoughts: The Malekko Ekko 616 Analog Delay

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.

Editor’s Note: Normally, I wouldn’t do a write up on a piece of gear that I’ve never played. Even if I have played or used something, if I haven’t had enough time with it I won’t review it because I really want to know what I’m talking about. But since we are in the Month of Delay, I’m making exception and writing down thoughts on delay pedals that I’ve only played a few times or have only heard YouTube demos of, so please take these for what they are.

Malekko

Malekko makes some really well made and innovative pedals. They also like to make things that go crazy, which is awesome of bands trying to push the limit, but not always awesome for church players who want to build a tone but not become the center of attention. I’ve found that every Malekko pedal I’ve used for worship has required a subtler approach.

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Tap Tempo

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.

TAP TEMPO IS THE BEST THING EVER

There are some who won’t touch a delay pedal without Tap Tempo. It’s a really great feature. You can now sync your delay time with the tempo of the band. Sure you could pre-set it, but if you’re not using a click track or if the song has multiple tempos in the arrangement you’ll need to adjust on the fly.

Another great feature of Tap Tempo is the ability to throw yourself out of sync in a very musical way. I have often times tapped out a tempo way faster or slower than the actual song to create an effect almost like a tremolo that can fill in the space very nicely.

TAP TEMPO IS OVERRATED

One of the things you’ll hear from older guitarists is “back in the day, we didn’t need tap tempo to set our delay” or “the Edge got along fine without it” or something to that effect.

There’s actually quite a bit of truth in that sentiment. There are many ways of using a delay pedal where a tap tempo is fairly irrelevant to the sound. Then there’s analog delays with tap tempo that are unsuitable to many worship situations because of the “warble” that happens when you tap while playing.

When using a pedal like my Kilobyte delay (see review HERE), I rarely feel like I need a tap tempo. I think it happened once, and it was because another guitarist was using it who didn’t know how to set a delay without tap tempo. Don’t let tap tempo keep you from being able to dial in a delay setting on your own.

CHOOSE WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU

As with anything, choose what’s best for you and not what the hyped or trendy choice is. There are some really great, gold standard delays like the Deluxe Memory Man that don’t feature Tap Tempo and it would be a shame if someone didn’t at least consider a pedal that well designed because they’ve been told that they “have to have” tap tempo on any delay pedal they own.

Like any other feature, tap tempo is a skill to learn, but we shouldn’t let it be a barrier to learn other skills in dialing in a delay pedal.

HERE COMES THE BUCKET BRIGADE: ANALOG DELAY IN WORSHIP

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.

WHAT IS ANALOG DELAY?

I’m not going to bore you with the technical details, but a truly analog delay uses a Bucket Brigade Chip set up (BBD) to create a delayed repeat of the notes you play. An analog delay is way more portable than a tape delay and since it doesn’t have moving parts, far more reliable. It’s easy to see why pro level guitar players made the switch and why the average guitar player embraced the technology.

Analog delay is known for it’s dark and warm tones and repeats. Great for just about any style of music, the only real limitation for a BBD style delay pedal is how long the delays can go for (usually around 400-600 ms).

The delay sounds on early U2 records are just a EHX deluxe Memory Man with a Ross style compression before it, going into a Vox AC30. (see example HERE) Ofcourse in the world of P&W, guitarists like James Duke use analog delays like the Boss DM-2 or EHX DMM all over the place.

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TAPE DELAY

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.

REEL TAPE DELAY

See what I did there? Real, actual, Reel to Reel tape delay is almost entirely a thing of the past or the realm of the studio. Famed vintage units like the Maestro Echoplex, Binson Echorec, and Roland Space Echo and Space Chorus used real magnetic tape to create a delay effect by repeating notes. The unit would take the guitar signal, record it and then play it back on another tape head, and then erase it on the final head to start the process over again. The physical distance between the tape heads affects the length of the delay (time). How many times the notes were sent back through in a feedback loop controlled the repeats.

Tape delay has been used by artists from Jimmy Paige to Radiohead to the Black Keys to Buddy Miller to Brian Setzer. It sounds great. For the most part, the only Tape units out there today are vintage units mostly 20-30 years or older selling for $100-1000’s if they’re in good shape. The notable exception is the Fulltone Tube Tape Echo which is essentially an improved modern take on the original Echoplex. They sell for around $1300 new which is cost prohibitive for most of us, but it’s used by artists like Buddy Miller and the Black Keys.

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Gear Review: Catalinbread Belle Epoch

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: Catalinbread

MODEL: Belle Epoch Tape Delay

COST: $199

DO I OWN IT?: No

WHAT IT IS: The Belle Epoch (Wonderful Era or something like that) is Catalinbread’s attempt to digitally recreate the vintage Maestro Echoplex (EP-3) that was used by many classic guitarists such as Jimmy Paige both for it’s delay effect, and it’s pre-amp circuit that acted as a light overdrive or tone booster. To that end the BE not only features delay, but an analog pre-amp circuit. It is also designed to be able to before your dirt pedal or a dirty amp setting just like the original EP-3 did. This is different from most delays who have a recommended placement after the gain pedals or in a dirty amp’s effects loop.

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