I’ve been following the development of this pedal since Robert first announced it back at Winter NAMM 2018 - although I believe that was somewhat of a dummy box as the development of the DSP was still pretty early days. In the intervening near two year period quite a lot has changed - while from a distance things look fairly similar. The core mission is still the same where this is principally a simulated Tape Modulated Delay with processing on the repeats / delay trails and combining that with the unadulterated clean guitar signal. I understand that the Record / Looper functionality was part of the pedal concept from the start, while some of the parameters and controls have been fine-tuned from the earliest prototypes.
This is Robert’s first pedal to feature the brand new Keeley Dream DSP Processor - which has been under development for 3 years to deliver high end stereo sound quality and effects. The Dream DSP offers 4 simultaneous effects and operations with unprecedented control over their parameters. This means Dual/Alternative/Secondary parameter controls and more on each Control element - be it knob, toggle-switch or footswitch. The central knob also has a push-button / press function which opens up further functional abilities.
The ECCOS is the foundation of an entirely new format for Keeley Pedals, and is just the first of many intended to adopt this design and these elements. The pedal is further served by full stereo ins and outs, expression control, and remote tap / control. The reason it has take 3 years in development is that this is to be a platform which will absorb most of Keeley’s digital effects - Delays, Reverbs and Modulations principally and thus of course needs to work for each of those scenarios.
I will likely do a follow-up post to show just how evolutionary / revolutionary this pedal is for its compact form factor - by comparing it to its other digital delay peers in this category. The pedal is due for release on Black Friday or November 29th - it definitely goes onto my wishlist, but won’t be an imminent acquisition target this year - as I’ve already acquired 3 new delays in the last few months - the Strymon Volante, Red Panda Particle V2 and Boss DD-200. I feel that this pedal is going to do really well as it brings a number of innovations to this particular form-factor.
There is so much to admire here, and this is a great product design project all-round really. I really like that Robert has included the legends for the key secondary functions - which so many do not, and by and large the pedal is fairly intuitively laid out. I have long has a slight issue with dual-mode knobs though in that you have to adjust the alt sweep and then remember exactly where it was set for the primary function - which can be tricky depending on the taper of that parameter - as someone who is slightly obsessed with precision - this toing and froing with knobs is kind of a pet peeve of mine - and one that annoys me too on the Volante and other pedals of this ilk - Meris etc.
There has to be a better methodology for dual functions - I much prefer stacked / dual-concentric controls for instance, and in my latest compact pedal prototype visuals came up with mini digital read-outs which would solve this whole issue. I would also probably more likely use a push-button to toggle between modes rather than a toggle-switch. And in some ways I feel that Boss has the right idea with including small screens on its pedal - as I've done on my prototype. Not withstanding that my prototype is simply a visual to date - Robert can be justifiably proud of his new pedal platform here - which I believe will serve him really well - albeit it might need just a couple of nips and tucks along the way.
Overall I'm really impressed with this pedal - and had I not acquired 3 delay pedals already this year, I would surely have added this one too within this cycle. For many I think this will be the perfect solution for their pedalboard, while for me it will remain a nice-to-have for a while longer.