Delay junkies rejoice: The crew at Diamond has done it again. Building from the same rich, dynamic delay architecture that inspired the beloved Memory Lane Jr. and Quantum Leap, the Counter Point is jam-packed with enough tones and features to please even the most discerning players.
The beauty of the Counter Point is its use of “carefully constructed” sets of multiple delay repeats and variable sample rate modulation, similar to the technology used in analog bucket-brigade delay (BBD) style modulation.
The first mode serves up to 600 milliseconds of analog-voiced vintage delay. The tone is slightly brighter than a similar mode in the Quantum Leap and slightly darker than one found in the Memory Lane Jr.—and just as tasty. According to the manual, it uses a smearing technique that smooths out transients for a more washy style of repeat. Add in a little modulation and this mode is killer for adding depth to fuzzy lead lines.
The second mode really shows off the multi-tap nature of the Counter Point in the form of galloping eighth notes. What you’ll hear is the interplay of a dotted eighth repeat with a slightly quieter quarter note added in, as though two delays were being stacked together. So if you’ve been using multiple delays to achieve this effect, the Counter Point could save you some space.
Mode three is called “Ambient” and features three distinct echo patterns designed not to overlap each other, creating a dense echo tail with the feedback knob maxed out. If you play abruptly, you’ll hear a scatter of echoes, so I found it best added to clean, ringing chords to subtly enhance the sense of space around the notes. And subtle is the key word here. You might, as I did, read “ambient” and expect a thick cloud of ethereal expanse—which this isn’t. And while more feedback is available by tweaking an internal trimmer, I suggest you tread lightly. Things can get out of hand fairly quickly.
The last mode offers the longest delay time in the unit—up to 1.2 seconds—and features a quirky style of tape-inspired modulation. The speed of the modulation runs (approximately) in time with the delay repeats, as though the delay time was controlled by changing the playback rate of a tape machine with fixed heads. It can sound glitchy at longer delay times, but can be turned off for nice, clean and clear delay repeats.
Tap, tap, tap-a-roo
Where the Counter Point really wins for me is in the redesigned tap tempo switch. It obviously works to change delay times, but Diamond has added footswitchable modulation to the mix by holding down the tap switch for one second.
Moreover, in addition to a new op-amp—the same found in the new Comp SE—that adds clarity and definition, the Counter Point comes with an enhanced feature set. The pedal will remember modulation and tap delay settings between modes. And though not true presets, due to the analog nature of the feedback and mix controls, this great new addition allows for added flexibility in setting up the pedal for specific songs or tones ahead of time.
What we like: The more I’ve thought about it, the more the Counter Point’s name makes sense to me. When you consider its place in the Diamond lineup—opposite the do-it-all Quantum Leap and deliciously straightforward Memory Lane Jr.—it really is a sonic and textural counterpoint. And I like it. So much so that the Counter Point has already found a home on my personal pedalboard. I can’t think of a better recommendation than that.
Concerns: As I tracked this pedal from the early teaser photos to its unveiling at this year’s NAMM show, there was one comment I saw pop up pretty consistently—disdain for the DYMO-esque graphics on the pedal. I understand aesthetics are important and don’t particularly mind the look of the Counter Point myself, but this pedal sounds so good that if the design has been holding you back, you should really reconsider.