Electro Harmonics Deluxe Memory Man
The Deluxe Memory Man is a legendary analogue delay and a powerful creative tool with hundreds of possibilities which are easy to access. It has delay / chorus / vibrato with warm and clear delayed signal that never gets harsh nor unnatural. This is one of the most popular delay pedals ever assembled and can entertain musicians for hours exploring vast terrains of delay and echo.
It features chorus or vibrato on the repeats with a depth control for mild or wild tones. The blend knob allow the player to have the delay perfectly fit in the mix. The level control is needed for exploring self-oscillation or and getting a cut or a boost in signal volume. The time knob goes from zero to 550ms plenty of time for space rock and slap backs. The time knob sounds musical when its turned during the repeating note, this effect can be heard on many recordings including end of Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’. The feedback knob can turn this pedal into a experimental instrument when pushed into self-oscillation but it also fine tunes the number of times the signal repeats. There are two outputs one the effected and second the dry signal allowing the player to run into two amps with two effects chains.
The basics of delay are readily available with this pedal. Set it for short or long repeats and both will have depth and clarity. The modulation gets very heavy when the depth knob is fully clockwise and is very subtle when turned all the way counterclockwise the modulation is off. The two outputs can be very helpful when recording or onstage because it splits the signal into effected and dry. The guitar can plug into the delay and then be sent to two different amps or two channels. The delayed signal is warm and clear when feed into a clean amp with headroom. The dry signal coming out of the delay can plug into an amp with more gain to maintain your tone and rhythm while creating textured delays. For unique tones add effects after the dry single output and use a modulated echo. This is a big bonus for exploring the sonic possibilities of your gear when recording, composing or playing live. Placing fuzz, phase, and other effects after the delay can be richly rewarding especially if running a dry / wet rig.
This pedal has been used by Ripley Johnson of Moon Duo and Wooden Shijps; Radiohead’s Tom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of Mars Volta, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Chris Cornell of Audio Slave and Soundgarden and many more. With the new generation of digital delays getting ever more sophisticated the Deluxe Memory Man has been migrating off of musicians boards. Coincidentally Electro-Harmonics dropped the price of these units in 2016 making them more accessible to players.
There are a few factors that can move this wonderful pedal off of the modern touring pedalboard. First is the power draw; this pedal requires a 24 volt plug which comes standard with purchase. There are no pedalboard power supplies which can power it requiring the musician to have a separate plug and power strip to operate the unit. Often the point of having a pedalboard is to plug in the guitar and play but this additional factor adds one more piece to the puzzle. Secondly, it is larger then the average pedal in size and with many smaller cheaper options available (Memory Toy, Carbon Copy, Dispatch Master) it can easily be bumped into home recording category. In reality, many of the best delay pedals offer much versatility and many knobs for control, these units are equally large in size but usually have a draw between 9 Volt – 18 Volts allowing them to be powered by the pedalboard power supply, think Strymon and Empress delays. These super powered digital delays also can do just about anything with presents which has broad appeal for touring artists.
The best part of this pedal is versatility, accessibility, analogue bucket brigade tones and high sound quality. The pedal has great clarity and is excellent for home recording. Every time I am overthinking my delay tones and listening back on recordings the final decision has repeatedly been the Deluxe Memory Man from Electro-Harmonics. I love the sound and the size and 24V plug is fine on my pedalboard and it has never let me down nor left me with harsh or lifeless delays. My favorite use for it is with heavy fuzz for big solos. In this setting it is rich full and feels very natural and easy to play with. If sound is number one and you don’t want to spend over $200 there is no better choice.