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9 of the Best Compact Combined Delay and Reverb Pedals

Alexander PedalsBossDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbEarthQuaker DevicesEchoverbKeeley EngineeringMr Black PedalsMuza EffectsReverbShift LineShift Line A+WamplerZCAT Pedals+-
2018GPX9CompactEchoverbPedals700-min.jpg

This article was triggered by a question on the most recent episode of ’Know Your Gear’ (Phillip McKnight) where someone asked about a compact pedal which combined both Delay and Reverb. The ones that immediately came to my mind were the Alexander Ski Fi, Wampler Ethereal and EarthQuaker Dispatch Master But I also thought of the larger EarthQuaker Avalanche Run, GFI System Specular Tempus and the now medium enclosure Keeley Caverns V2 which are all too large for inclusion.

 

There are also Reverb pedals which have a single ’+ delay’ mode - like the Boss RV-6 and Neunaber Immerse for instance - but I’m excluding those for now. What I’ve chosen is 9 pedals which combine reverb and delay equally in the same pedal - i.e. the pedal was specifically devised as an ’Echoverb’ type. This is the case even with the Boss TE-2 Tera Echo - which though it’s billed mostly as a delay, but has a core sound which cleverly combines Delay and Reverb.

 

There’s a couple of recently discontinued pedals on here too - which though can be relatively easily found on Reverb.com and Ebay - the Keeley Caverns V1 and Mr Black Ambience. I also roped in a few lesser known brands - Muza (China), Shift Line (Russia) and ZCAT (Latvia). In many ways my preference here is for the original Keeley Caverns which has separate footswitches to activate Delay and Reverb. What I would actually like here is a dual-footswitch version including tap-tempo and where the main switch allows you to switch on and off Delay and Reverb effects separately - possibly via mix of quick and slow presses.

 

I am a touch surprised that there aren’t more pedals at this level, and that they aren’t more advanced. The Keeley Caverns does have its dual footswitches, and the Muza its 4 presets - but beyond that most of these pedals are pretty basic really. I figure Alexander is the most likely to do something here in the near future - possibly a NEO series dual footswitch replacement / update for the Sky Fi.

 

Pedals are listed in alphabetical order by brand as usual:


Alexander Pedals Ski Fi - £199

A great sounding Echoverb with Reverb, Delay, Mix and Repeat dials - alongside 3-mode toggle - Wash, Gleam and Echo. There is an additional 'Hold' momentary mode on the one footswitch - really decent pedal which is easy to dial in.


Boss TE-2 Tera Echo - £117

This is a superb pedal that has been on my wishlist for the longest time - and importantly the Stereo effect is pretty critical here. You have 4 dials - Effect Level, Tone, Feedback and Spread Time - to generate the most beautiful of ambient swirly tones - it's also a great reason to get the Boss DD-500 Delay - which includes this effect. I am still deciding on which of those two pedals to get! I may end up with both...


EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master V2 - £199

This is another pedal which readily comes to mind when you think Delay + Reverb - it's a sort of little brother to the much more capable Avalanche Run, and has 4 easy dials to tune in the desired effect - Reverb, Repeats, Mix and Time.


Keeley Caverns V1 - discontinued - c£100 Reverb.com

In many ways the original but second edition Keeley Caverns is the most capable pedal here. This particular version has proper dial knobs - while the very original had those tiny mini dials. In a similar way to the Alexander Ski Fi - you also have an additional 3-way mode toggle, here with Modulated, Plate and Shimmer options. The truly handy feature of this Caverns though is the separate footswitches - which allows you to switch on and off the Delay and Reverb independently. In fact this is the only pedal that does so in this listing. Obviously now replaced by the larger and more capable V2 version of Caverns. If pedalboard space is tight though - this one is still worth seeking out and there are normally one or two up for sale on Reverb.com at any given time.


Mr Black Ambience Echoverb - discontinued? - c£150 Reverb.com

This is the simplest pedal featured here with its 3 dials of Level, Decay and Span. I some ways it's along similar lines to the Tera Echo but with less variation. The core tone though does sound gorgeous. This has been recently discontinued I believe - but there are still some units available with a few stockists and on Reverb.com.


Muza Effects FD-900 Reverb/Delay - c£75

In terms of overall features this is the most advanced in the listing with 4 dual-concentric dials covering 8 parameters, including 11 different modes for each of Delay and Reverb. It also has 4 onboard presets. For Reverb you have Level, Mode, Time and Tone Controls, and for Delay you have Time, Feedback, Level and Mode controls. You can switch off either effect as such by turning the relevant level dial fully counter-clockwise, but it would have been nice to have twin footswitches like the Caverns so you could do this properly on-the-fly as it were. This Chinese-made pedal is the lowest-cost one featured.


Shift Line A+ Everest Reverb-Delay - £145

I have and love the Termofuzz pedal from this St Petersburg, Russia outfit - who are probably most famous for that and their multi-mode Astronaut Reverb pedal. This A+ Everest is their take on Echoverb - with 4 dials - Reverb, Mix, Regen and Time and a 3-mode toggle displaying different stages of solar eclipse, which represent Sunshine, Eclipse and Moonshine modes - or Bright, Dark and Psychedelic (phasey) modes. I can vouch that these boutique pedals are really well made and easily acquired via the Shift Line Reverb.com store.


Wampler Ethereal - £225

This is another cool sounding pedal I'm quite familiar with - Brian's take on the Echoverb - with 5 dials this time - Feedback, Tone, Delay, Delay Mix and Reverb, along with 4 Subdivision Modes. The pedal also has a small handy button switch on the side of the unit to switch 'Trails' on and off - a really neat feature. I would have quite liked separate footswitches too for tap-tempo and the ability to switch off Delay and Reverb independently. The dual-footswitch thing is one of the trends that Brian has not got into quite yet as I believe it involves the use of an additional digital control circuitboard - yet Alexander Pedals, Chase Bliss, Foxpedal, JHS and Walrus Audio are doing great things with dual footswtiches on compact enclosures - as is Rober Keeley on the Caverns V1 featured in this same listing.


ZCAT Delay-Reverb - €129

This is the second time I feature this lesser-known Latvian boutique pedal-maker. Their simply named 'Delay-Reverb' is their take on the Echoverb style pedal and is probably most similar here to the EQD Dispatch Master - with just 4 dials - Time, Repeats, Effect Level and Reverb Level / Mix dials.


Final Thoughts

I feel that this is a category with some significant demand - particularly for the 'Praise and Worship' type player wanting to keep things simple. There are of course a number of mid-size and larger-size enclosure Echoverb stye pedals, but really relatively few overall, including in this compact form factor category.

 

I reckon that as a category it is somewhat still slightly fledgling and under-developed. I still don't think the perfect compact pedal in this area has materialised yet, although there are indeed some intriguing candidates already available. Several of these have been featured on this site already, and I feel there hasn't really been much development in this area of late. Possibly those that are after these really just want them as simple as possible and are happy with the one footswitch and the manual setting of intervals. I though don't really like to see delay pedals these days - even combination delay pedals being without tap-tempo footswitch. In fact there is much you could do with dual footswitches - used short or long press or in combination even - in this example to switch on and off separate Delay and Reverb effects, apply tap-tempo and other momentary functions.

 

Alexander Pedals is doing some really neat things with its NEO series pedals of late - featuring dual footswitch and tap-tempo models - with several modes and onboard presets. I feel that is definitely the way to go. Of the 9 featured above I'm not really in a hurry to get any as I have such a capable Delay and Reverb section in my pedal-chain already. But I've often stated my admiration for Boss's Tera Echo effect - which is also one of the presets on their larger DD-500 unit. I don't think the DD-500 would every dethrone my much loved Empress EchoSystem, so there is a question as to whether to get the DD-500 or the TE-2 for occasional rotation in that slot. There is much to recommend the DD-500 and if it can be acquired at the right price!

 

But then I also have my eye on a GFI System Specular Tempus - which I would acquire for occasional rotation with my currently preferred Source Audio Ventris unit - so decisions decisions ...

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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