In 2017, I can honestly say that I paid more attention to new delay pedal launches than I did to my favorite bands’ new releases. It was a big year for fans of pings and pangs, with the delay lineups of boutique builders and big brands alike expanding in both depth and diversity.
One noteworthy trend was that many pedal designers minimized the physical footprint of their standard-format stompboxes, yet somehow distilled incredible amounts of functions and delay types into that smaller package. Though these aren’t your large-format delays, in many cases, that’s how they behave.
At a time when I was curating a new pedalboard, these new options meant a lot of detail-digging, spec research, and possibility exploring. To that end, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned about the delays released this year in the following rundown.
Multi-Function Delays from Walrus, JHS, and TC Electronic
Economy of space without compromising onboard options seems to have been the design philosophy behind these items in the arms race against large-format delay pedals.
Walrus Audio Arp-87 Multi-Function Delay
The Arp-87 launches with four new delay algorithms that provide the full range of delay sounds, from looming analog echoes to pristine digital repeats to hazy lo-fi delays and snappy slapback. Not only are subdivisions selectable with the turn of a knob, but the madmen at Walrus included a tap tempo switch that, when pinned down, crescendos the feedback up to the max.
Plus, any pedal that has a knob simply labelled "X" is a win in my book. In this case, the knob changes different parameters, depending on which delay setting is selected.