Deluxe Memory Man review by Electro-Harmonix

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (7 votes)
Electro-Harmonix: Deluxe Memory Man

Price paid: C$ 250

Sound — 10
The DMM is capable of producing wonderful, warm, wet, modulated delay tones. To my ears, the tones created are rich and beautiful, and haven't been truly replicated by digital models. It is difficult to find unpleasant tones on this device. I use it with my Yamaha Pacifica fat strat clone and Mesa Boogie Express 5\:25 for chimey el-84 tube tones. To my ears, the delays sound more pronounced using the bridge humbucker, rather than the neck/mid single coil pickups. Although it is designed for use in front of the amp, I usually put it in the loop because it is less noisy. It produces a small hiss when in use, but this isn't really noisy, it is just that, given the choice, I prefer it less noisy and put it in the loop. When in the loop I cannot use its unique overdrive function (through cranking the level knob), but this isn't a deal-breaker: the overdrive has a sound unto itself (that I don't use), and I get my gain from my amp. The DMM does remove some of the treble off of your tone, but does so in a musically pleasing fashion that provides some compression and accentuates natural and pinched harmonics. The chorus and tremolo effects are only applied to the delayed signal, rather than the original guitar signal. The blend knob is very useful, allowing you to completely drown out the dry signal, or dial down the delay so it may be heard subtly in the background. The 550ms delay time is fine for most delay use, from slap-back to cavernous reverb-like sounds. The chorus and tremolo are not the same as you would find in a stand-alone effects pedal: they mimic the warbling of old tape echo units, rather than provide a useful stand-alone chorus or tremolo effect. If you are looking for stand-alone chorus and tremolo effects, look elsewhere, these effects on the DMM are great for enriching the delay effect, but they aren't really appropriate for a stand-alone chorus or tremolo. It hisses a bit with higher-gain applications. I think it sounds best with clean tones or slightly overdriven clean tones. The feedback dial is sensitive, allowing the user to determine how many repeats may be heard. Use feedback with caution, because on extreme dial settings it is easy to cause the unit to self-oscillate, rapidly increasing in volume: I have always been able to turn down the effect before damaging my speaker, but be warned! With regards to imitating popular tones, this pedal is capable of mimicking U2 tones from their first two albums. Despite the quirky analog nature, unusual power supply need (12v), clunky casing and large footprint of the pedal, it is the quality of the sound that makes this a classic.

Overall Impression — 9
The Deluxe Memory Man is less versatile than popular digital delays which come with features like tap tempo, reverse delays, longer delay times & loops. But for what it does, it does it really, really well. But since most delay applications use <1/2 second delays, and delay is often linked with a chorus effect, the Deluxe Memory Man has a broader field of application and more tonal variety than one might initially think. Despite it's quirks I love this pedal, and haven't tried another pedal that can replicate its warm and rich tones.

Reliability & Durability — 7
I baby my unit and don't stomp on it or gig with it, so I haven't had a problem with it. It comes with a footprint that is larger than most pedals today, which might be irritating to those with little space left on their pedal boards. The metal casing seems thin and incapable of holding someone's complete weight or rough stompings. The footswitches are a little clunky, causing a small click to sometimes be audible through the amplifier when stepping on the switch.

Ease of Use — 8
I bought a second-hand Deluxe Memory Man seven months ago. It is an analog delay pedal that also allows chorus or tremolo effects to be applied to the delayed signal. The stock version comes with approximately 550 milliseconds of delay, but my Analogman-modded version allows a wee bit more delay time (still less than a full second). The input impedance of my unit has also been modified to allow stronger signals from the guitar to pass through the pedal without overloading, which was a weakness of the stock version. The pedal is operated through a power switch, on/off pedal Switch, chorus/tremolo toggle, chorus/tremolo rate dial, signal level dial, signal blend dial, a feedback dial, and delay time dial. It is intuitive and easy to use, allowing for near-instant dialing in of useful and musical tones. Since this is an analog device, it does not allow for tapping in delay times or precisely setting the delay time: one needs to do this by ear, so if you are using the delay in time with a song (like for dotted eighth note delays), the rest of the band may need to look to you for setting the pace. The instruction manual is a modest one-page sheet that is not particularly helpful, but isn't really essential: you can figure this out in a few minutes of tweaking. I power mine with a 12-volt adapter.

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