If you want ehx memory man 'style' analog delay at a bargain price then this is a pretty good pedal. Maximum delay is reported as 550ms (that is probably about right) and it sounds pretty dark but if you are looking at this then you already know that don't you? If you are looking for long delay times and super clear repeats then, as others have said look elsewhere, but if you want the 'lofi' analog decay within the half second parameter then, for the price, this is a pretty good bet. The delays sound warm, the controls are straightforward (as long as you are careful with the feedback control as the pedal as an eagerness to self-oscillate), it comes with a power supply and that's all you need to know...
BUT the not so good news.
The modulation controls are pretty crazy and whilst you can get a nice modulated delay sound with the depth control a fraction off zero and the switches on triangle wave and chorus, anything more and you are in head swimming territory. The faster speed and the square wave modulations continue further into this 'experimental' territory. I haven't tried it with an expression pedal to control the modulation but I suspect that anyone but the most psychedelically inclined sonic experimenters will end up leaving the modulation well alone or on a very minimal setting. I have managed to get a useable, though quite intense, chorus and a vibrato effect by playing with the controls but it's not exactly easy to dial in and I like, most I suspect, have perfectly good pedals to do these jobs for me.
I bought this as an analog delay pedal and, whilst the issues with the usability of the modulation controls are a negative, they don't stop this pedal being a success as a delay. Though it is a compromised success and if you are looking for a cheap, straightforward analog delay, without too much weird modulation, then you may want to consider the 'memory toy' for a little less money. Although when you factor in the fact this doesn't come with a power supply there really isn't much in it and you can always leave the modulation off!
First and foremost, the Memory Boy is a cheap pedal and for the price we can't be too picky. I made the mistake of thinking I'd get fantastic value for my money - well, I got good value but hardly fantastic. Having used it for a bit, I've decided to move on and buy something bigger and better.
The bits worth noting:
- Sound: weird. It might be just me but there is something metallic about it. Brighter than a "typical" analog delay but not as warm, either.
- Expression pedal control - this was the selling point for me. However, tweaking the parameters in real time (by means of an expression pedal or just by rolling the knobs) creates some weird, unpredictable noises that failed to charm me. A matter of personal taste, I guess - others may fall in love with them. Bear in mind I love all sorts of noise, especially guitar noises; also bear in mind I wanted a delay effect with an expression pedal so I could add "take off" noises to one or two songs - you know, when you fiddle with the delay time while the feedback is on. Well, the Memory Boy does something... else.
- Vibrato - that's actually surprisingly good. I don't suppose it is anything like a really good Rotovibe unit, although I haven't tried one. Sadly, I had no intention of buying a vibrato. All I wanted was a delay that would allow me to tweak some parameters with my foot (see previous point).
All said, I can't really recommend it. However, it might be just the thing for people who: - want a simple delay effect with its own signature sound (a bit unorthodox, to say the least) and a few extra bits. - want a cheap but really decent vibrato unit - love awkward noises - like the typical EHX metal housing that shouts at you: "I'll still be around when the grandchildren of your great-grandchildren are one foot in the grave."
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