Author’s note: Delay pedals are a one of the most common types of guitar effects. They function essentially as an echo -– taking the note or chord that you play and then spitting it back out again and again at a certain interval. We recently looked at four of these devices. The best one, the Memory Lane 2, is the review that follows. If you’re not a musician, though, may we suggest an awesome writeup of the MacBook Air or Logitech’s Google TV instead?
The Diamond Memory Lane 2 is hands-down the nicest sounding delay pedal I’ve played. The tone is warm and real. The delay signal has the ability to sound like a mirror of your dry signal. or it can even add some of its own pleasant character to enhance your tone.
The Memory Lane has most of the features you’d find on any analog delay pedal: feedback, modulation, mix, plus a few extras. For instance, there are two separate delays to switch between, which allows you some versatility in a live performance. You can keep a shallow, T. Rex–style slapback sound on deck while, on the other channel, you’re freaking out on psychedelic waves of delay. Tap tempo is a nice addition since it can be hard to find on analog delays, and it allows you to easily sync up with the rest of your band.
Out of the box, the oscillations of the delay signal are a bit limited if you’re used to a lot of feedback and zany sounds, as with Electro-Harmonix’s Memory Man. This can be remedied by opening up the pedal and putting the pedal in ‘space ship mode’ by fiddling with an interior switch. Once you get used to the settings, this pedal is just plain fun to use. You can easily dial in familiar delay tones or go exploring off the deep end.
The EQ knob has some nice coloring effects, brightening and darkening your delay signal by emphasizing either high or low frequencies. There’s also a switch to add some dotted eighth notes to your delay. This means that instead of just the constant pulse of the delay, it will actually come back to you in more of a rhythm. This can be used for either a trippy effect or a backing rhythm for scale practice.
The pedal’s large round knobs for each setting help with mid-song adjustments. You can either bend over quickly to change them by hand or just edge the knobs with your shoe.
The Memory Lane’s killer app is its ability to add other effects to the delay signal. If you have a distortion pedal, for example, you could make all your delays sound crunchy and messed-up. You can achieve this by putting an insert cable into the expression-pedal input. This presents all sorts of silly options and makes an otherwise straightforward pedal a lot more versatile.
Even without added effects, the two expression-pedal options — delay time and feedback — are a huge bonus. They allow you to adjust either value with a pedal, so you don’t have to stop playing.
The main downside of the Memory Lane 2 is the price. You could buy a pretty nice guitar or several other pedals for what it costs. On the other hand, if you have that kind of extra cash, the increased quality and value is there.