Death By Audio Ghost Delay

  • By Ian Garrett @tonereport
  • October 20, 2014

The Death by Audio Ghost Echo is one of the more unusual delay pedals I’ve tried out in recent memory. It isn’t out to recreate yet another vintage echo pedal; rather, it takes the road less traveled in incorporating not one, not two, but three delay units into one pedal.

At first blush the Ghost Echo might seem like a complicated pedal with eight knobs on top of a fairly large box (although it saves pedalboard space by having jacks on the top edge of the pedal). But six of these controls are repeated—Time and Feedback (number of repeats) for each delay that are then color coded by black, silver and white panels. All you have left is a Master volume control, and a Blend four-way switch which functions like a mix knob.

I must confess that at first I wasn’t sure how to set up the Ghost Echo. Initially I had all three delays set at different time and feedback settings, and I got this odd cacophony of sounds coming from my amp. Then I turned off two of the delays, and ended up with an unusual amount of noise—finally realizing that the other two delays needed to be set at something to prevent this. Finally I saw the light, and set all three delays exactly the same, getting uniform delayed notes. From there I would tweak the other two delays in equal divided parts. Once I did that, I finally got this pedal.

Overall, the Ghost Echo follows its own path. If you want a traditional digital delay like a Boss DD series, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a delay for added texture and different soundscapes that can give you a complex sort of haunting tone (pun intended), the Ghost Echo could be a great tone enhancer for your pedalboard arsenal.

What we like: If you’re looking for something different in your delay, something that sounds very analog-like, more in the ambient realm, the Ghost Echo is worth a look. I found I liked it best when setting all three delays to the maximum setting first (about 800ms) keeping the “black” delay at that maximum setting, and then adjusting the silver and white delays to half that delay time. You get a really cool rhythmic effect in doing so, like adding quarter notes and half notes at the same time. There are a lot patterns you can create, or do what I did initially, and make a lot of noise!

Concerns: There are a couple of issues I had with the Ghost Echo. The Master volume seems to be set too low for my liking. If I set the Blend control on the lowest setting, I had to max the volume, which produced a fair amount of white noise, more than most analog delays. Turning it back helped quiet things down some, but then your overall volume is significantly below unity volume—not a problem if you keep the delay on for an entire song, but if you plan on using the delay for only certain parts of a song, the sudden change in volume may be an issue for you.

To an extent, using a higher Blend setting helps resolve this issue. At setting 1, you get the least amount of echo coming out, and more of your guitar’s tone, whereas by setting 4 (maximum), you get the largest amount of the echo which can overpower your tone, so you reduce the overall Master control. I’m still not sure I was thrilled with this setup though.

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