Last week we talked briefly about the history of the delay effect and how it started out as a recording engineer trick requiring the use of tape heads on reel-to-reel recording systems to create a unique echo effect. This method, although effective, proved to be an arduous task. As a result, various companies began developing analog products that produced the same outcome in easier and faster ways.
The dawn of the digital age coupled with affordable parts and the use of digital signal processing (DSP) really brought the delay effect into a new era. Now users could manipulate their signals in ways no analog pedal ever could. The invention of amp modeling and multi-effects pedals now give us the option to emulate classic analog delays and even offer added parameters the original gear couldn’t provide.
The Analog Echo delay model in the POD® HD multi-effects pedals is a classic example of this. It is inspired by* the rare and often sought-after Boss® DM-2 analog delay pedal. The Boss® DM-2 is what is referred to as a “bucket brigade delay” in that the stored audio signal moves along a series of capacitors in steps and at certain clock cycles, like a group of people passing a bucket of water to each other down a straight line.
The Boss® DM-2 had three total parameters:
- Repeat Rate (Feedback)
- Intensity (Mix)
- Echo (Delay Time)
This pedal became known for its warm, soft feel and was often used as much for reverb as for delay. Additionally, this type of delay is perfect for a nice slap-back sound, something you might here in a Stray Cats tone. Artists known for using this pedal included Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy and Billy Duffy of The Cult.
The Analog Echo model in the POD HD multi-effects pedals takes the concept of the Boss® DM-2 a step further in that Line 6 gives you some added parameters to play with. Sure, you still have control over the feedback, mix and delay time but now you can also tweak bass and treble controls, dial in the delay time up to 2000ms and even choose rhythms including whole, half and dotted notes to name a few. It brings some of the digital new school into this effect and can really make it a fun model to play with.
I’m more of a traditional kind of guy so I like to use this effect for what it’s proven to be good for, great slap-backs and nice, warm delay and reverb at lower time settings. Below are four tones I dialed in with the POD HD300/HD400 and POD HD500. The images below are from the POD HD Edit software using the POD HD500 exclusively. I’ve uploaded these tones to CustomTone, Line 6’s free tone sharing website, and included POD HD300 and POD HD400 versions as well. You can get them here: Line6MillersTones
Gary Moore from Thin Lizzy quite often played out of a Marshall® JTM-45. Since the POD HD multi-effects processors actually include a model based on* this amp (it’s called “Brit J-45”) I figured it made perfect sense to demo the Analog Echo delay with it. I’m using the normal channel of this model which is a newly modeled channel offered in firmware version 1.31 for the PODs. I used a guitar with dual humbucker pickups in the bridge position. I panned the mixer settings in the POD HD500 to front and center from hard left/right. The Studio Direct output modes were used and I dialed in through a pair of studio-grade headphones.
I love the fuzz the 4×12 Greenback 25 cabinet brings to this tone and the J-45 model just sounds awesome anyway. I have the Analog Echo delay set to a relatively low delay time of 200ms. The Analog Echo really warms up the tone and brings a “reverby” type feel to it. Feedback is set to 25%. Bass and Treble parameters are set to 55% and Mix is set to 35%.
My “AnalogEchoGain2” patch is similar to the “AnalogEchoGain1” except I went with 4×12 Blackback 30 cabinet which helps lose some of the fuzz and gives it some more bite. As a result I tweaked the EQ a bit on the amp model to taste by bringing the drive down a bit and turning the presence completely off. Some minor tweaks were made to the bass parameter on the amp model.
The Analog Echo delay model is great for a slap-back type effect a la Stray Cats, rockabilly, etc. For this tone I used the same guitar with humbuckers. This tone uses the Blackface Dbl Nrm amp model and I panned the POD HD500 mixer to dead center (as I do with most of my single tone patches). The Analog Echo parameters are different here. I set the delay time to 100ms and set the feedback to 30%. Mix is also at 30%. I took the bass parameter down a bit to 40%. Treble is at an even 50%.
I love the Gibtone 185 amp model in the POD HD multi-effects processors. It’s modeled after* the 1939 Gibson® EH-185 and it sounds sweet. It’s a perfect complement to the Analog Echo delay effect. It really lets you hear what kind of warmth the Analog Echo can bring to a tone. I’m using the same guitar (bridge selection), output mode and mixer settings as before. I cranked the drive to 100% on the amp because I just love how this little guy breaks up. I tweaked the delay settings here just a bit by setting the delay time a bit higher to 250ms as well as the feedback to 55%. Bass is set to 30% and Treble is set to 55%. The Mix is turned up a tad to 35%.
As always, experiment with this effect and see what it can do. Like I said last week, the only limit is your imagination. Next week we’ll take a closer look at the Tube Echo and Tape Echo models in the POD HD multi effects pedals based on* the Maestro® EP-1 and EP-3 Echoplex delay units. We’ll talk about their history a bit and some of the ways they can be used. Until next week!
*All product names used in this webpage are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Line 6. These trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose tones and sounds were studied during Line 6’s sound model development.