With delay being one of the oldest effects in recorded music, there have been many attempts to try and replicate the sounds of old, whether it be tape-loop based, analog bucket-brigade, or primitive early digital. The Daydream is perhaps on the stranger side of the spectrum, not really trying to mimic anything in particular, but being an ambient machine all on its own. It works by running the delayed signal through high and low pass filters, which alternate on each repeat based on the rate which you set. It is a new and original idea in today’s saturated pedal market, but is it enough to make the cut to instant classic? Let’s find out.
SHE WAS A DAYDREAMER
The Daydream has muscles enough to flex for ambient work, but it does have a bit of a significant learning curve attached to it before you find its true potential. Everyone will play the Daydream differently and find different settings that work for their different playing situations. The Daydream somehow forces you to find the corner of the pedal you connect to. Reggae guys will connect to the deep and resonant slapback sounds here, while some others will use it to enhance texture in chord work. Before I got my bearings on it, I was stumbling around on the repeats for perhaps the first hour of playing. Playing chords with the filter-switching Daydream took too much sonic space and sometimes felt overwhelming, as the sound can get really busy. I hit my stride with turning down the Mix almost completely and playing arpeggios that were subtly trailed by the repeats. This added a space and a texture, and I built a whole progression on my looper based off of it. Only about an hour later I realized how long I had been playing for, which is always a good sign. Getting lost in the music is a good part of why I’m sure all of you play.
Testing features outside of my little corner of the Daydream yielded a few interesting results, namely on the extreme sides of the pedal. I found the shorter delay times to be conducive to reggae riffing, albeit with a bit of a spacey twist to keep your tones on edge. By setting the repeats slower and letting it chug along, the switching filters really opened up on slower and more complex jazzy chords, creating a somewhat dissonant flowering of the chords being played. However, with the positive discoveries made, I also made some negative discoveries, especially while stacking different pedals with the Daydream.
DIRTS, DRIVES, AND DIVES
I tried testing the Daydream with a number of dirt pedals, and almost none of them “melded” in with the Daydream like I find happens with other delays. The character of the Daydream is unsubtle, so naturally it would be a little hard to mix together a more overbearing effect like distortion with it. Running a vintage ProCo RAT big box reissue before it, the repeats seemed to accentuate piercing top-end frequencies within the distortion that jarringly flew around between the alternating filters. Trying a more subtle distortion in the form of a vintage Real Tube Overdrive set to low gain, the same piercing high end frequencies ran rampant with the help of the overdrive sound.
The Daydream has a bit of a learning curve, and could be a very interesting tool for exploring different sonic territory. It’s an atypical delay, and it is definitely one of a kind, which is becoming harder and harder to find in today’s saturated industry. It doesn’t work as well with drives and distortions, and it can be jarring with the filter mangling away an artificial screaming top end. But once you find your corner of the Daydream, it is a fun and rewarding tool that forces you to stay on your toes.
WHAT WE LIKE:
New and fresh idea that isn’t too obscure for the mainstream guitar player. Great slapback and longer delay tones that work well with complex chords and arpeggios.
Doesn’t work well with distortions, has a learning curve that requires some time to master.