Compact multi-delays have long been a staple for the modern guitarist. Examples in the genre include the Boss DD-7, Line 6 Echo Park, and TC Electronic Flashback. I’ve owned the latter two multiple times, and they never fail to impress me with their ability to pack a ton of sound into a pedalboard-friendly package. Electro-Harmonix is no stranger to delay pedals, having created the Deluxe Memory Man, among others, and the company has thrown its hat into the ring with the Canyon delay and looper. I was thrilled when I watched the EHX Canyon teaser video, and even more excited to learn I would be reviewing it. I had only one question: Can the Canyon deliver the goods in the crowded multi-delay arena?
The Canyon is delightfully compact, coming in the same size enclosure as the Freeze. It has four knobs which control delay level, time, and feedback, with the fourth knob selecting between the ten delay modes and a looper. There is also a Tap Divide switch and a footswitch jack for an external tap tempo switch if that’s your thing. It’s a very clean design, and the canyon graphic looks great against the brilliant white enclosure.
The design of the Canyon is absolutely brilliant. Each delay mode (Echo and Looper Modes excluded) has parameters that can be adjusted by entering the pedal’s secondary knob mode. For example, you can adjust warble and grit for Tape mode, and you can dial in classic chorus or vibrato on the Deluxe Memory Man mode. Not only that, but when you exit secondary mode, the adjustments you make stay with that delay type, meaning you have the ability to dial in ten delay presets. The presets stay put until you change them; they don’t undo themselves when you power the pedal down. I used my MXR Tap switch with the Canyon, which worked great, but you really don’t need an additional switch, because the pedal’s tap tempo function is fantastic.
The main complaint about other compact delay units is their inability to incorporate an intuitive tap tempo function, and this is where the Canyon has its competition beaten. Just click the switch multiple times, and the pedal reads it as the tempo. Tap once, and the pedal is bypassed, but tap two or more times, and you’ve got yourself a new tempo. I am used to the clunky footswitch of the Line 6 Echo Park. It’s a great pedal, but you have to stomp on it with the same fervor as killing a black widow to put it in bypass mode. With the Canyon, I was shocked to learn I didn’t need to hold down the switch for two seconds or do an animal sacrifice to activate tap tempo—it just works. Rarely do I wax poetic about the way a pedal functions, but damn, EHX has really done it this time.
Each delay mode sounds great, from the DMM and Tape (my favorites) modes to the far out Octave and Shimmer modes. The standard modes we’ve all come to know and love—straight digital delay, analog, tape—all sound good enough to be the only delay on your board, and the wacky ones are actually quite well done, and I could see them being useful in a variety of musical contexts. Reverse mode sounds great, and the S/H mode could be very cool for intros, outros, or even wild Tom Morello-esque solos.
EHX has knocked it out of the park with the Canyon—I love it. When I write these pedal reviews, I try to do so with a certain amount of eloquence, probably due in part to my English-major pride. But I’ll describe this pedal the same way I described it to my friends: the Canyon is freaking sick, bro. I’m buying one. So should you.
What We Like: Great sounding, versatile delay pedal. Brilliant design. Tap tempo works great.