Not sure if I am ignorant, unlucky, or just have a badly designed pedal?

Got my Mooer Spark Delay in the mail used from ebay and thought it was perfect for what I needed. (Skip the vintage button....oh my God) The first day I played at really low volumes so not to wake the house so didn't notice much, but after dropping it into my signal chain on the board it does this very bad thing to my tone when engaged. The same dark smoothness of the repeats happens to my original tone really sounding like my tone control is rolled off a bit. Not what I want.....

Is it an analog delay thing to really darken and mellow out the original signal? I always used multi effects and this is my first official pedal board so I am learning gobs of info on all the effects so not sure if that is a design of analog delays? (I doubt)

Here is my signal chain..... EB Volume-Danelectro Transparent OD---joyo california sound (for heavy drive/distortion)---EHX Knockout----rocktron Tremolo---Mooer Spark Delay---EHX memory man----digitech reverb----Out/amp

I have tried turning everything off and running clean, still the tone killer when the spark is engaged.

Is this a possible defective unit or is there something else I am not seeing? Thanks all!
Delays will often change your dry tone a bit, but many are either designed to enhance it (old ones are famous for this, the Echoplex in particular has a really sweet preamp built in) or be as transparent as possible, but if the person designing the pedal wants to save money, they might not take the time to get the dry through right. It's also possible that it was designed to sound like that, and you just don't like the effect, but that seems unlikely if it's really dull.

Inconsistent/cheap parts might mean that the dry processing was designed correctly, but that your unit specifically got unlucky and just doesn't sound right. I don't know if that falls under "defective" from a manufacturing/warranty perspective but it may not be working as designed.
Roc8995 That is what I was thinking as well, but since I purchased it 2nd hand I seriously doubt mooer will work with me on it. I was hoping someone here had some experience with it and could perhaps tell me if that is 'how it was designed' or if I have a defective (albeit still useful) pedal.

Learned something else today. I had no idea Echoplexes had a preamp as may other delays. Cool!
Last edited by bass.desires at Aug 7, 2016,
Delays need to process the dry signal in order to sample it, so AFAIK there's no such thing as a delay that doesn't touch the original signal at all, and if there is it's a recent invention.

The difference between units, then, is the competence in processing of the dry signal. Most modern delays have very transparent and effectively unnoticeable dry through, because we take it for granted that the sound should be the same with the pedal on as it is off (besides the delays, of course). Old units like the Echoplex and Binson Echorec went the other direction, in that they were big bulky units that weren't meant to be switched on and off as needed, so instead of trying to pretend they weren't there (and because it was the only way at the time) they built the preamps to sound nice and didn't necessarily care if it sounded exactly like the original tone. Dunlop and Xotic and probably a few other companies make an Echoplex preamp in a pedal, without the actual echo effect, because people liked it so much.
the Chinese knockoff digital stuff hasn't faired as well as the analog stuff in quality. I don't think that the issue is so much "how it was designed" as using cheap parts in the digital/analog converter. the issue you mentioned was fairly common in the early digital delays back in the day though.

I wouldn't count on Mooer doing anything and do you really want to send the pedal to china anyways. have you tried just using the Spark pedal by itself into your amp with no other pedals? you may be having buffer issues with your other pedals.
monwobobbo I already had the rig packed up last night so later today when I get everything back into the house I will give it a go by itself, but I am doubting that is the issue as the other pedals run beautifully down the line. I thought I needed a buffer but after doing some tests I really can't hear any tone loss from my board as compared to just a direct cable to amp. I have a work around for the spark however and engage the knockout to sparkle things up prior to the spark and it is a different tone but not at all bad. I'll let you know what happens later today with the pedal solo.
From the few video demos I could find, the dry through tone seems very similar to the dry tone- similar enough to make me think your pedal is just broken. Sorry friend. :/ If you have some contact cleaner it may help to spray a bit in the jacks and on/in the switch to see if you just have a dodgy connection.
Well now this is interesting. I just ran it straight into the amp and the difference was there but hardly noticable to the level as in my chain. I checked the box and it states it needs 9v 60ma which is fine as my brick supplies 9v 100ma. I am going to throw a boss compressor on and see how it handles 18v plus with the built in buffer I am going to see if that is the problem. I am surprised though, I have a transparent overdrive that is on always and can hear no difference between the 'on/off' tones on all my other pedals so I am curious why this one even in the middle of the chain is having issues.

Edit: Ok so the compressor is still out with this guitar, something about it just kills the quality of the pups. With my other guitar it sounds amazing but this one is a big no-go. Even with the boss buffer the problem still present. I even took the knockout and tremolo out of the loop and still have the same tone suck as before. None of the other pedals does this. I have tried running at higher voltages and no difference also. Kinda stratching my head with this one.

Here is what I have tried so far:

higher voltage (manual states no more than 18v so I'm ok no french fries.)
taking other pedals out of the loop
boss buffer (compressor on and off, no difference.)
its own power supply

Not sure what else I can do other than live with it or sell it. Any other suggestions?
Last edited by bass.desires at Aug 7, 2016,
You're running the Mooer on a 9v center negative supply though, right? You're also not chaining two 9v pedals together thinking you need 18v from the supply, right? Sorry, your wording was confusing...
Will Lane Yup, it is the correct polarity and no, I tried both 9v and 18v lines from my brick. I don't think power is the issue because I ran it on the exact same supply out of the signal chain and it sounded fine on it's own. I am thinking that there is some kind of signal loss I'm not hearing and the pedal is just making it more apparent. (There was a slight change in tone even by itself but very small.) I thought the buffer in the boss would help but no luck. I am curious why this is the only pedal that is showing any tone suck even further down the chain, the pedals all sound as they should.
Okay- well do not run it at 18v anymore. The manual does not say it can take it.

So the pedal works fine by itself- bypass is reasonably clear, on it sounds as normal. But when the pedal is in your pedal chain, the bypass is muddied? That sounds more like you have a dodgy cable somewhere.
Will Lane I have tried multiple cables and no difference. I wish I could figure it out so I could use this delay on anything I needed. It isn't the bypass. It muddles the sound when engaged. It is true bypass because even without power the signal can pass through. Not sure what else to try.

Even tried putting a boss pedal right in front of the spark not turned on, and nope still goes 'lo-fi'.
Last edited by bass.desires at Aug 7, 2016,