Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Review – Best Analog Delay Pedal?

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Seymour Duncan has been long regarded among pro guitarists as one of the leading names in guitar pickups. And back when Seymour Duncan made their first foray into guitar pedals with the now iconic Seymour Duncan SFX-01 Pickup Booster, it became immediately clear that they know a thing or two about pedals, also. After a series of successful pedal releases, it’s actually been a few years since Seymour Duncan has released something new. But they sure weren’t resting on their laurels as their brand new Vapor Trail Analog Delay shows.

The Vapor Trail clearly shows just from its spec sheet that the folks over at Seymour Duncan have been doing their homework. This is a pedal for guitar players interested in warm sounding, authentic analog delay tone who don’t need tap tempo. Therefore it will conveniently fit into a standard-sized stompbox slot on your pedalboard. And it hits that perfect street price point of around $149.

The Vapor Trail also packs a few extra features that give this pedal some distinct advantages over the competition. It has modulation as expected, but both its modulation Rate and Depth controls are on the surface, easily tweakable in live situations. There’s also an effects send/return, perfect for coloring the delay with other pedals, using the delay in stereo, or controlling the Mix (delay level) with a volume pedal. A transparent Delay knob with a flashing blue LED light also gives you realtime feedback of the delay time.

This just might be the most exciting pedal Seymour Duncan have released. If it sounds as good as it looks, the Vapor Trail could be a hit. Is it the best analog delay pedal in this price range? You’ll find out in our Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail review.

Seymour-Duncan-Vapor-Trail-Review-Best-Analog-Delay-Pedal-02Features:

All analog Bucket Brigade (BBD) delay signal path supported by modern low-noise analog electronics. No microprocessors or digital signal processors.

Delay control knob adjusts delay time from 15ms to 600ms. Actual delay time indicated by flash rate of illuminated Delay time knob.

Repeats control knob sets delay feedback from one repeat to runaway repeats and self-oscillation.

Mix control knob blends wet and dry signals. Wet signal is adjustable from muted to +3dB. At the highest settings, the first echo is actually louder than the dry signal.

Rate control knob adjusts the rate of modulation from 0.2Hz to 4Hz.

Depth control knob adjusts modulation depth from zero to “over the top”.

TRS wet channel insert loop allows external effects to be applied to only the wet signal. Also serves as wet-only output for wet/dry stereo or studio use.

True bypass for letting your signal pass unaffected when disengaged.

Powered by 9-volt battery or 9-18VDC power supply.

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Sound & Performance:

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a great analog delay pedal. One of the first things I noticed about the Vapor Trail is that Seymour Duncan really put in some time to get the tone right. Just by setting the Mix, Repeats, and Delay to around noon and kicking on the pedal, a gloriously warm analog delay replicates your playing with that characteristic high-end rolloff that darkens more as the repeats fade out. Taking those 3 knobs up in the 1-2 o’clock vicinity adds a little more of everything, bringing that warm delay up in the mix with more feedback repeats and longer delay times.

The Vapor Trail produces a wide range of classic delay sounds. Cutting back the Repeats and Delay to around 9 o’clock produces a vintage style slap back delay. Cutting the delay time even shorter and bringing up the Rate and Depth knobs lets you achieve all kinds of modulation ranging from gentle chorusing to rotating speaker-like effects. Pushing up the Vapor Trail’s Delay knob to around 2 o’clock lets you pull off those longer delay times that are good for some Edge style rhythmic delay tones.

Again, tone is one of the paramount features of a great analog delay pedal. One of the biggest drawbacks of some classic old-school analog delay pedals is, of course, the noise often inherent in those outdated electronics. Seymour Duncan have made great effort to use high quality modern components that create a lush analog delay sound that isn’t diminished by noise in the signal. The Vapor Trail retains warmth and clarity without any annoying hiss. If you do appreciate a little graininess in your repeats, you can get a little bit of that lo-fi sound with heavy delay layering on a high feedback setting via the Repeats knob. And there’s always taking it over the edge to sonic insanity by cranking the Repeats for some wild self-oscillation.

If you want even more ways to color the tone of your delays, the Vapor Trail’s TRS send and return jack is the way to go. You can patch in any pedal (or pedals) to affect the delay signal only. I found great results using various overdrives and pedals with versatile EQ sections to saturate and color the tone. If you have a favorite modulation pedal, you could even use it to modulate the delay instead of using the Vapor Trail’s onboard modulation. But the Vapor Trail’s modulation actually sounds quite nice, and you can even use it in conjunction with the effects loop to modulate the processed delay signal. I’ve been having a lot of fun getting a grainy distorted sound and modulating it with the Vapor Trail set to maximum Depth and minimum Rate for some broken tape machine effects. There’s a lot of sounds to be achieved by throwing your favorite pedals in the loop and seeing what you can come up with.

The Vapor Trail’s delay time indicator LED in the Delay knob is nice touch and gives you handy visual feedback in a live situation. It’s another one of the subtle little features that shows the folks at Seymour Duncan really thought this pedal through in terms of features. Some guitarists don’t need tap tempo but will appreciate having this little visual indicator of where your delay is set before kicking on the pedal.

Quite frankly, the Vapor Trail is so good that there just really isn’t much to complain about. If I had to nitpick, I’d suggest moving the footswitch closer to the end of the pedal for easier access with less possibility of hitting the knobs with your foot onstage. There’s certainly room inside the pedal to switch the battery compartment and footswitch positions. But that minor criticism pales in light of just how good this pedal sounds. Before you drop your hard-earned money on a comparably priced analog delay pedal, you need to try the Vapor Trail. You’ll be glad you did.

The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail has essentially upped the ante among affordable, space efficient, and quality sounding analog delay pedals. With this and their fantastic 805 Overdrive, I predict Seymour Duncan is going to keep making waves in the pedal game. Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-5.0

The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail has set a new standard for an affordable, high-quality analog delay pedal. The Vapor Trail sounds pristine and warm, with a beautiful vintage-inspired tone. Thanks to Seymour Duncan’s use of quality components, the Vapor Trail sounds remarkably clear, free of the background noise and hiss suffered by many old-school analog delay pedals. The modulation (with convenient surface controls), TRS send and return jack, and handy LED delay indicator further stand to set this pedal apart from the crowd. If you’re in the market for the best analog delay pedal that’s affordably priced and has premium tone, definitely audition the Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail.

That concludes our Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail review. Thanks for reading.

 

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Moog Moogerfooger MF-104M Review – Best Analog Delay Pedal?

Moog-Moogerfooger-MF-104M-Review-Best-Analog-Delay-Pedal-01Behold… the Moog Moogerfooger MF-104M Analog Delay. The original MF-104 and its successors, the MF-104Z and MF-104SD, have become highly sought instant classic pedals. Now the latest and ultimate version of this legendary delay pedal has arrived in the MF-104M.

The Moogerfooger MF-104M features the exact same vintage “Bucket Brigade” delay chips as the original MF-104, providing up to 800ms of the warmest all-analog delay you’ll probably ever hear. The original MF-104 was limited to only 1,000 units, becoming a treasured collector’s item in the years following its production. And with these vintage chips becoming ever more elusive, the MF-104M may very well be the final incarnation of this incredible delay pedal.

In addition to its ecstasy inducing sound quality, this pedal features an unrivaled amount of functionality in an all-analog delay pedal. Is it the best analog delay pedal out there? We’ll help you answer that question in our in-depth Moog Moogerfooger MF-104M review. But first, let’s run down the list of what all this pedal has to offer before we dive in.

Features:

All analog signal path.

Uses the same vintage “Bucket Brigade” chips as the original MF-104.

Control knobs for Delay Time, Delay Feedback, LFO Waveform Selection, LFO Rate, LFO Amount, Drive, Output Level, and Mix.

Short/Long Delay Switch.

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Tap Tempo for Delay Time or LFO Rate.

Bypass footswitch with optional Spillover mode for delay trails that ring out after the effect is bypassed.

¼” Jacks for Audio In, Mix Out, Delay Out, and FB Insert.

Expression Pedal control jacks for Feedback, Time, LFO Rate, Mix, and LFO Amount.

MIDI Input Jack for controlling all parameters.

Power by included 9VDC 400mA adapter.

Visit Moog for more info about the MF-104M Analog Delay & Super Delay.

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Sound & Performance:

I must say, I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about a delay pedal as I am about the MF-104M. And as excited as I was to get my hands on this pedal, this is the first time I didn’t just plug in and start jamming. No, not this time. This pedal inspired something completely different.

From the moment you first open the box of a Moogerfooger, you can’t help but be awestruck at how beautiful these pedals are. The Moog MF-104M Analog Delay features a level of craftsmanship that is unrivaled in the world of guitar effects pedals. With its sophisticated, retro synth styling and sleek hardwood borders, the MF-104M Analog Delay is as much a work of art as it is a musical instrument. I couldn’t help but set it on my desk and admire it for a few days before I finally worked up the nerve to plug it in.

When you first plug in the MF-104M, it’s recommended to get your input and output levels set first. With the Delay and LFO effects rolled off, you can push the drive up until the middle Level light flashes green with just a hint of orange. The Drive knob of the MF-104M lets you set the perfect signal level or add a bit of grit for an even warmer analog tone. Adjust the Output Level knob to unity gain and you’re good to go.

From here you can push up the Delay Time around noon or so and set the Feedback to 1 or 2 repeats to start getting a taste of how this pedal sounds. Adjust the Mix knob to blend the dry and delay signals. I found a great starting point with the Mix set around 10 or 11 o’clock for a delay that sits right under my dry signal. The MF-104M produces an absolutely beautiful analog slapback delay that is among the best I’ve heard.

The Short/Long switch offers an easy way to essentially double or half your delay time. But more importantly you can use this function to color the sound of your delayed repeats. The Short position offers the higher frequency response, while the Long setting is generally a bit darker in tone. There is plenty of overlap in the range of the Short and Long positions for setting the delay time with the Time knob. Both options sound beautiful, so it’s just a matter which character you need for any given application.

The delay sounds of the MF-104M are warm and musical, adding a depth of character to your sound that will glorify your overall tone. Once you hear the added dimension of sound and warmth offered by the MF-104M, it’s hard to take seriously those digital pedals offering “analog” style sound. Make no mistake, if you want real analog delay tone of the highest caliber, the MF-104M delivers in spades.

One of my favorite features about this pedal is the Spillover mode. By pressing and holding the Bypass footswitch, you’ll see the Bypass LED change from green to orange. This indicates that the MF-104M is in Spillover mode which allows the delay repeats to continue after the pedal has been bypassed. The Spillover mode can be quickly toggled on and off with your foot for those moments when you need tight delay stops or cascading repeats over the next song section.

Tap Tempo is a very welcome addition to Moog’s latest delay, offering a simple way to set precise delay times that sync to the music. For me, Tap Tempo is definitely an essential feature for any performance delay. Three rhythmic taps on the footswitch with your foot will cause the pedal to switch from the rate set from the Time knob to the tapped out delay time. Simply turn the Time knob again if you want to switch back to manual time control.

Moog-Moogerfooger-MF-104M-Review-Best-Analog-Delay-Pedal-03This pedal is already a top-notch product, and I haven’t even talked about the LFO or expression pedal control yet.

The LFO section offers the ability of modulate your delay sound in several different ways. With the Sine waveform, you can achieve chorus-like delay effects with lower Rate and Amount settings. This adds a nice level of movement to your delay sound which is very pleasing to listen to. You can use the Triangle wave to get some interesting tape-stretching effects. The Square wave lets you achieve wide interval pulsing effects. A pair of ramps sends your repeats up into the stratosphere of deep into the depths. And the last waveform offers random fluctuations for all kinds of glitchy mayhem. The LFO can range from subtle and musical to otherworldly and bizarre. The MF-104M’s LFO definitely rewards the sonic experimentalist, revealing endless creative possibilities to those who plunge the depths of this performance instrument.

You can also use the Tap Tempo footswitch to control the LFO Rate. Simply press and hold the footswitch, and the Rate LED change from orange to green to indicate that the Tap Tempo is controlling the Rate. Tap in your tempo, and you’re pulsing in time. Press and hold the footswitch again if want to switch control back to controlling Delay Time. Despite its complex possibilities, the MF-104M is surprisingly intuitive and easy to use. Kudos to the engineers at Moog for constantly improving on their designs in ways that greatly benefit the end user.

While the Moogerfooger pedals are great for knob turning, they beg to be used on the floor with expression pedal control. I hooked up dual expression pedals to experiment with what the MF-104M has to offer. You can achieve all kinds of ethereal and chaotic sounds by controlling one or more parameters with expression pedal control. My favorite parameter to adjust is Delay Feedback for some self-oscillating repeats that cascade into white noise. The pedal lets you reign in the wall of sound when it reaches its useful limit.

Another ingenious function of this pedal is the FB Insert and Delay Out jacks. You can send the delay to the separate amp for true stereo operation or add in another effect to color the delayed repeats. This is great for you sonic pioneers out there. They using various distortion or modulation effects on the wet signal. The possibilities of this pedal are limited only by your imagination.

I can’t leave out the MIDI control. You can use MIDI to control the tempo of the delay or tweak any knob function or parameter under the hood. This takes performance possibilities to a new level as you can sync the pedal up to your for digitally controlled analog bliss. MIDI gives you as much in depth control as some of the most feature-packed delay software available. Moog spared no attention to detail in making the MF-104M one of the ultimate analog delay pedals money can buy. (We’ll See if the Moog MF-108M Cluster Flux is as good in our upcoming review.)

Moog has created a real treasure trove of delay possibilities with the MF-104M, and it’s a testament to the good decision the legendary synth maker getting into guitar pedals. Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-4.5

The Moog MF-104M is another true gem of the Moogerfooger line. This is an analog delay pedal of the absolute highest quality. Moog has packed in nearly every possibility conceivable in an analog delay and made it surprisingly easy to use. Tap Tempo – it’s here. Delay trail spillover – it’s got it. Send and Return, Stereo Operation, LFO modulation, deep expression pedal control, MIDI – the MF-104M Analog Delay does it all. If you’re looking for the best analog delay pedal available, this just might be the one for you as no other all-analog delay in existence offers this much functionality. The Moog Moogerfooger MF-104M Analog Delay is a must-have.

That concludes our Moog Moogerfooger MF-104M Analog Delay review. Thanks for reading.

 

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MXR Carbon Copy Review – Best Analog Delay Pedal?

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With so many guitar players looking for that elusive warm analog delay sound, the folks over at MXR decided to do the unthinkable. They created a real analog delay for the masses that incorporates retro bucket brigade technology and packs it into a pedal the size of a Phase 90. Best of all, it’s pretty affordable. Does this pedal live up to the lofty standards set by classic analog delays of old? Is it the best analog delay pedal? In our MXR Carbon Copy review, we’ll find out if this is the new standard in analog delay pedals.

Let’s run down what the MXR M169 Carbon Copy offers before we dive right into the review.

Features:

MXR-Carbon-Copy-Review-Best-Analog-Delay-Pedal-06All-Analog Audio Signal Path

600ms Delay Time with Optional Modulation

3 Knob Layout with Delay, Mix, and Regen Controls

2 Internal Trim Pots for Adjusting Modulation Width and Speed

Ultra-Bright Blue LEDs for visibility on dark stages

True Hardwire Bypass Switching

Compact Stompbox Enclosure

Read more about the MXR Carbon Copy at JimDunlop.com.

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Sound & Performance:

The Carbon Copy has already cemented itself as one of the modern classic guitar pedals. Now let’s see how it plays. I started with some clean punchy tones. With the Delay control set all the way left we got some nice slapback delay tones. The sound is warm and fluid, deeply reminiscent of the best slapback tones you’ve ever heard. There is a nice, warm character unique to this pedal which makes it more than just a clone or emulation of some classic design.

I set all the knobs around 12 o’clock with the Mod button engaged and kicked in the lead channel of my amp with a high gain setting and was greatly impressed with the satisfying delays. The sound is smooth as silk, adding a lively vibrancy to the sound. You can get a big lead sound with ease.

Pushing the knobs further right led my sound into cascading waves of delay for some psychedelic sonic explorations. This pedal sounds absolutely massive. Oh, the glories of real bucket brigade analog tone. 

Taking the Regen knob to extremes causes the pedal to self-oscillate for creating even more experimental soundscapes. There’s just so much creative potential in the interplay of the few available controls. But wait, there’s more.

Tweaking the Trim Pots inside adds even more character to the repeats. It’s worth opening up to find your signature Modulation preference. You can add some nice warble or just a bit of coloring to your repeats. Set it and forget it.

I like this pedal… a lot. I’m sure you will, too. This pedal has been making its way onto many pedalboards, and it’s easy to see why. Of course products like the Red Witch Violetta Delay create comparable delay tones for less money and an even smaller footprint, and the Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail has raised the bar for an analog delay a this price point. But this is one of those pedals that’ll always be a solid value, especially if you can find a good deal on a second-hand pedal.

Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-4.5

The MXR M169 Carbon Copy sounds incredible. It is a contender for the best analog delay pedal you can find in this small of a footprint and for such a low price. In fact, it’s one of the best analog delays… period. Want tight slap back echos? You’ve got it. Need to thicken up your solos? Check! Want to take your soundscapes to the deep end? The MXR Carbon Copy does it all. It’s a great value and an analog delay pedal you’ll treasure for years to come. Definitely a modern classic.

That wraps up our MXR Carbon Copy review? Thanks for reading.

 

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