BY OSCAR JORDAN
Among boutique and custom pedal lovers,
Analog Man enjoys a reputation for building
some of the world’s coolest high-end guitar
effects, as well as doing expert repairs and
mods on vintage and new stompboxes. As a
fan of their gear and designs, I was excited to
check out their new delay pedal, the ARDX20
Dual Analog Delay.
What It Is
Co-designed by Analog Man’s Ohbayashi
San and Analog Mike (who—full disclosure—
contributes to our monthly Stomp School
column along with his partner, Tom Hughes), the
ARDX20 is a two-channel, handwired delay pedal
that offers between 36 ms and 600 ms of delay
time. Housed in a rugged, red metal case, the
ARDX20 is powered by either a 9-volt battery or
a Boss-style power supply. The pedal sports dual
footswitches—a true-bypass on/off switch and a
channel switch—six knobs, standard input and
output jacks, an effects loop jack, and a delay
time expression jack. The easy-to-access battery
compartment is on the underside of the pedal.
The knobs are laid out in a very user-friendly
fashion in two rows. The upper three knobs—
delay time, feedback, and delay level—
control the Yellow channel. The lower three
knobs provide the same controls for the Red
channel. Below the knobs are two small LEDs
that alternately blink, speeding up or slowing
down as you adjust the delay time.
The ARDX20 is designed to let you dial in two
delay settings and then toggle between them
with a footswitch. Nifty LEDs on either side
of the pedal tell you which channel is in play
at any given time. Conveniently, both the on/
off and channel switches sit higher than the
knobs, so you won’t accidentally mess up your
settings during a quick effects change.
Getting Down to Business
I plugged my ’ 78 Yamaha SG2000 into the
ARDX20 and a ’ 66 Fender Pro Reverb and
started exploring the unit’s sounds. My first
thought was that it’s not a transparent delay.
This may bother guitarists who want uncolored
echo, but I stuck it out, determined to give the
pedal a chance. The more I played with it, the
more I began to appreciate how it smoothed
out the high end and added a lush, organic
warmth to my tones. I could see how this sonic
coloration could become addictive, leading you
to leave the pedal on most of the time.
Within the limitations of a 600 ms delay time,
I found that the ARDX20 was flexible enough
to deliver whatever I went after, from a short
slapback to a trippy wash of recurring echoes.
In all instances, the repeats sounded mellow
and never spiky, and they didn’t obscure my
attack when I’d pick a series of notes.
Having two channels is great for gigs, because
you can set up two totally separate delay
settings and access either one at the press of a
button. I did notice a quick warbling sound when
I switched between channels while a note was
ringing, but I believe I could live with that, given
the flexibility of this two-pedals-in-one design.
The ARDX20’s extra jacks provide even more
flexibility. The effects loop—which carries
the delay tone only, not the dry signal—lets
you bring another pedal (perhaps a chorus or
flanger) into the mix. (You’ll need an optional
TRS Y-cable, though. Analog Man suggests
the Hosa STP- 201.) Even cooler: Inserting an
expression pedal into the effects loop lets you
vary delay level and feedback on the fly. Further,
plugging an expression pedal into the delay
time expression jack lets you control the delay
time in the Red channel. In this configuration, I
discovered the ARDX20 let me get pitch bends
and Whammy pedal-type sounds, but with a
more pleasing tone. If you like to experiment,
you’ll really enjoy this feature.
The Final Mojo
Analog Man has whipped up a very cool delay
pedal that doesn’t try to be all things to all
guitarists. It’s simple to use and has a lush
sound. Its shining features are the quality of
tones, low power consumption, and channel
switching. If you’re into going nuts with effects
onstage, I recommend getting a Y-cable and
an expression pedal. But even as a stand-alone
delay, the ARDX20 is impressive.
a warm delay with options is
what you crave.
you have no use for slapback.
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