It’s very difficult for a single pedal to be all things to all players, but, man, does the MBS Efectos Mr. Smith delay come close. With a single footswitch, Mr. Smith offers tap tempo and a plethora of other functions. Will it meet all of your needs? The odds are good, but read on.
As you might guess from the single-switch footprint, Mr. Smith leaves a lot of room on your pedalboard. Nevertheless, in addition to offering tap, it manages to offer controls for the speed and depth of the modulation in the delays, as well as the traditional Level (to determine the amount of effect in the mix), Time (to manually determine the tempo of the delay—Mr. Smith offers 1600 ms of delay) and Feedback (to control the number of repeats). There’s also a button to select subdivisions for the delayed effect, offering quarter-notes, eighths, triplets and a “rhythmic mode,” which combines quarter notes and triplets.
But that’s not all! Open the pedal and you’ll find controls to lower the input (to avoid overdriving the circuit, although I had no issues on this front) and to determine whether the pedal has “trails” or kills the effect immediately when deactivated. There’s also a control to boost output, a feature that I love—nothing makes me crazier than when I activate a delay pedal or reverb and my perceived signal seems to drop. On that note, the guitar’s signal stays analog when run through the pedal.
That’s a pretty amazing array for such a modestly sized box, right? So, how does it sound? Really good. The repeats are dark and sturdy, but dark in such a way that the trails sit nicely behind your signal, allowing them to be heard rather than clutter the signal.
The modulation controls are powerful, so you can further accentuate the delay effect by bringing in a subtle amount of modulation to add some shimmer, or crank those controls for some sea-sickness inducing wobble. I found that bringing the Depth control to 10 o’clock and the Speed control to between 11 and 12 o’clock really helped the delay pop in the mix without swamping the signal. Those who don’t want modulation in their delay (and I’m usually in this camp) can just turn the controls all the way down.
Now it’s time for me to air a couple of grievances. The first: There’s no visual indicator of what setting you’re on when using the Subdivision button. Obviously, you can hear the effect as you play, but if you’re kneeling on the floor and plucking notes while tweaking, it’s going to difficult to pinpoint where you are in the cycle between the four settings.
More worrisome was the tap tempo function itself. A search on the Internet (the pedal’s instruction aren’t in English) turned up the claim that Mr. Smith requires four taps and then it’s on. In my experience, when the pedal was in bypass, I needed an odd number of taps (three or more) to both get the tempo in and activate the effect. If I wanted to change the tempo, I needed an even number of taps (four or more) to do so without deactivating the pedal. I had to put a little more thought into this process than I would’ve liked, but I suspect my confusion was exacerbated by the misleading online directions (it took me a while to realize I wasn’t the problem), and that more familiarity with the pedal would breed content(edness).
What we like: An amazing feature set—including a nice sound—in a small footprint with a small price tag.
Concerns: The tap and subdivision features are tough to master (although easy to use).