Chase Bliss Audio has found a way to perfectly marry old school analog goodness with state-of-the-art digital technology. This holds true with its latest entry into the pedal world, the Tonal Recall analog delay. Like other pedals from the company, it comes in a cool wooden box, ensuring your investment is protected in transit. Looking sharp in a chrome casing with nifty blue knobs, the Tonal Recall looks like its siblings with six knobs, two footswitches, switches for delay subdivisions, SLB (Short, Long, Both), and modulation waveforms, as well as a switch that selects between two onboard presets. More presets are available via the pedal’s MIDI capability. An optional expression control jack allows you to control your preferred parameter in real time with an expression pedal. And like the other pedals in the Chase Bliss Audio lineup, there are 16 easily-accessible mini DIP switches that allow you to tweak to your heart’s desire.
As far as analog delays go, this one is pretty dark. It can get into brighter territory with the Tone knob, but what it really excels at is warm, fat, full-sounding analog delay. The accompanying modulation will give you everything from the most subtle modulated edge to all-out seasick vibrato. With short delay times, you can get some great modulation sounds out of this box - something to think about if you’re a MIDI user, as there are a ton of presets available. One of my favorite features on this box is the SLB switch, which allows users to choose between short delays, longer delays, or both at the same time. Using both delays with a bit of modulation, with the mix set lower to keep the delay in the background, and a generous amount of repeats, I was treated to an outstanding ambient musical cloud. The sound of the subtle delay blooming into chaotic self-oscillation via the tap switch is a thing of beauty that makes it worth the price to me.
I rarely get excited about slapback delay, but the Tonal Recall delivers some of the most satisfying slapback I’ve ever heard. It is rich and thick, and the short delay time makes it bright enough to stand out in just the right way. I found myself playing on that setting for the better part of an hour, getting lost in a rockabilly train of thought. I almost slicked my hair back and got a pinup girl tattoo—almost.
The lack of noise in this pedal is evidence of its high quality. There is the slightest bit of clock noise at maximum delay times, but it is barely noticeable playing solo guitar, and not noticeable at all when played in the context of a band. This is, after all, an analog delay, so there’s no need to be concerned about that.
Digital delay pedals have improved dramatically, and guitarists have a wealth of options when it comes to full-featured digital delays and tape echo emulations. Those take care of the need for extra-long delay times. But in my opinion, every guitar player needs an analog delay. There’s something special about the warmth and space it adds to a signal, and even the best digital emulations seem to be lacking just a little bit of that authentic analog mojo. The Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall is an outstanding analog delay toolbox that would perfectly compliment your digital delay, and it will add glorious old school warmth to your signal chain. At a street price of $399, it is more spendy than many analog delays, but those boxes can’t do what this one does.
What We Like
Analog delay toolbox with awesome tone. Options galore. Self-oscillation by holding down the tap switch.
May have more options than some players are looking for.