Price paid: $ 229.99
Sound — 9
To my ears, there is no Digital Delay that sounds quite like true analog, but the Vox DelayLab does a pretty good job of emulating warm, Vintage bucket-brigade analog delays and tape echo effects, complete with sonic irregularities and saturated distortion. On top of that, it can do a couple dozen other things an analog delay is never going to do. I play a wide range of music, from thrash metal and blues to grunge and outlaw country. I was playing a semi-hollow Ibanez Artcore AXD83P with medium output passive humbuckers, and a somewhat hotter Carvin DC145M through a Carvin V3M Combo and a small Orange Crush Series amp. It was easy to find specific delay sounds that I was looking for with this pedal, no matter what genre I happened to be playing. The Looper effects were especially fun to play with, and it doesn't over-ride your amp's tone, which is great. While the 30 presets included are a really great place to jump from, this pedal really starts showing you what it has when you dial in exactly what you want and see how easy and quick it is to save your presets and to call them back up when you need them. I can't think of a single thing this pedal is lacking in the world of delays.
Overall Impression — 9
I almost didn't want to like this pedal because I'm overwhelmingly a fan of analog delay and I'm not a fan or "multi-effects" pedals, but this Digital Delay does a really fair job of emulation of analog on top of all the other wonderful things it does. I've been playing guitar for a long time, but I've taken it seriously for the last 5 years or so and I take my gear seriously. This really is the one-stop product for every delay need you'll ever have, especially if you add in an expression pedal for real-time parameter control. The $229.99 street price is quite reasonable considering the sonic ground this pedal covers. Add in the looping, the presets and being able to call up exactly what you need when you need it and the price starts to look really good. If this were lost or stolen then I would absolutely replace it at my earliest convenience. Bottom line? This pedal won me over.
Reliability & Durability — 9
In my experience, Vox products tend to last. With its die-cast metal body, the Vox DelayLab easily would survive day-to-day stompbox abuse.
Ease of Use — 9
This is the ultimate delay effect for someone who not only wants a lot of options, but also wants total control over those options. There are 30 types of delay available on the Vox DelayLab including very accurately modeled Vintage delay effects along with some Vox originals. There's also a looper that can capture up to 28 seconds, which can also be used with one of three different delay types. The regular delay effects can go from 1 ms to 4 seconds and can be adjusted in 1 ms increments. There are 30 ready-to-use presets, which you can save over with your own settings. Ten of the presets have delays dialed in for the following songs: "Welcome to the Jungle," "Lateralus," "Cliffs of Dover," "Rope," "Walking on the Moon," "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Run Like Hell," "2112," "Lovers in Japan" and "Give It Away." Three additional features are: Sync Mode, which allows you to create poly-rhythmic effects; Seamless Program Change, which helps transitions between settings sound natural; and Advanced Bypass function, which uses decay to avoid effects being cut off abruptly when you switch settings. The DelayLab uses 24-bit audio sampling just like top-of-the-line studio gear. On the back panel are a pair of 1/4" inputs, a pair of 1/4" outputs, a jack for the optional AC adapter, and a control pedal jack for real-time parameter control via expression pedals like the Korg EXP-2 or Korg XVP-10. The Vox DelayLab runs on four AA batteries, and seems to have a pretty lengthy battery life. A handy dandy little instruction book helps make all the options make sense.