Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to Tweak the Tone on Your Analog Delay

I added an analog delay (Ibanez AD9) as part of my ongoing project for building a pedal board. I haven’t used it much until recently because I didn’t feel it sounded good. Here’s where I went wrong in hopes it helps someone else out.

My main problem with this pedal was I misunderstood the use of the Delay Level control (right hand knob). This knob is simply a wet/dry control. If it is turned all the way up, the entire signal goes through the delay and is affected by the settings of the other knobs; Delay Time and Repeat. A totally dry signal bypasses the delay effects. Duh! Once I realized that, the AD9 has become my favorite effects pedal second only to the Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer.

You set how long of a delay you are looking for using the Delay Time knob, set how many repeats using the Repeat knob, and then the Delay Level allows you to control how prevalent (wet) you want those settings to be in your signal chain.

I’m working on two songs right now that use slap back echo; Brian Setzer’s version of “Sleepwalk” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House”. I included an example of slap back echo for the AD9 in the diagram above. Given the slow tempo of these songs it is a fairly long delay with one repeat. Once I have that I just play with the Delay Level until the effect is prevalent enough but doesn’t overwhelm the signal chain and I’m off to the races.

One other point in closing is that the AD9 pedal has two outputs; Out and Dry Out. The “Out” output carries the delayed signal. The “Dry Out” is a totally dry signal that you can route to another amp. The labels are difficult to read because of glare on the surface, just be sure you use the correct one based on what you are trying to do!

>>Related Articles
Guitar Tone: Tips and Tricks on What Works for You
How to Build a Pedal Board for Electric Guitar
Guitar Tone: How to Tweak Your Signal Chain and Nail those Elusive Tones


dirt said...

Making a product that is easily understood would also have helped you pick up the nuance of the "Delay Level." The control should be labeled differently so that you don't have to guess at what is meant. Most pedals (and effects processors) use the word "Mix" to describe what that particular control is for.

It might help to understand where in the signal chain you are putting your pedal. The path the signal takes really effects the output. Looking forward to seeing further information related to your endeavors.

VintageP said...

Good point and thanks for visiting. The documentation was not very clear in addition to the labeling. Took a glance at your site and looks like I can learn a lot here.

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