Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / The Dark Echo

Again I am super duper stoked to have the chance to bring you another brilliant and extremely talented effect pedal company. Jack Deville Electronics is one of those special companies with well rounded skills all the way across the board. These cats are great at coming up with great ideas which they in turn take to create their unique and super slick looking stompboxes. Of all the pedals I have had the chance to check out these are by far some of the hippest I have ever seen. Each pedal is built into a black heavy duty enclosure, with straight-to-the-point artwork, and no-frills controls and features. What more could one ask for? Along with a dynamite line of effect pedals the Jack Deville Electronics crew are also some of the coolest and nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. These have quickly become some of my favorite stompboxes. I'm positive these pedals will be amongst the few that will become the next batch of collectibles and timeless classics. Sometimes cats just know what the players want, like, and need.

Jack Deville Electronics
Portland, OR
Design Team: Jack Deville/Cameron Morgan
Years in the Game: 4

Dark Echo
Delay Pedal

* Vintage Voiced Digital Delay
* Analog Signal Path/Analog Support Circuitry
* 50ms - 450ms Delay Time
* True Bypass Switching
* Switchcraft Jacks
* Compact CNC Machined Enclosure
* Standard 9VDC Center - Adapter or 9V Battery
* Internal Output Level Trim / -2db to +6db

* Blend: Mixes in desired amount of delayed signal
* Repeats: Controls feedback of the echo circuit
* Time: Affects the time duration between repeats
* Sway: Modulates the time control via a triangle wave


I was able to use this pedal in both live and studio situations, able to work into other instruments other than guitar, and able to create everything from subtle delay sounds to spaced-out psychedelic echoes. The Dark Echo has one of the most intelligently designed control layouts I have ever come across. The controls go like so; Blend, Repeats, Time, Sway, and a internal Level control for dialing in the delay's overall volume. With this mellow collection of controls the Dark Echo is able to perform like a champion. The Blend, Repeats, and Time all do exactly what they say they do. It is the Sway knob and quality in the echoes that separate this delay unit from the rest. At lower Sway settings the modulation becomes faster but stays subtle and light. As you turn the Sway up to higher levels the modulation becomes slower but becomes more intense. Giving you a wide variety of chorusing, vibrato, and leslie effects right into your delay sound. This means you can add a light, almost non-existent chorus to your echoes, or a downright warbling, pitch shifting effect to your delay. Without much work at all I was able to dial in some pretty convincing tape echo delay sounds. I was also able to get a much easier, quicker, and more accurate delay setting with the Dark Echo than I was with a vintage Memory Man. For a pedal freak like myself that is a pretty bold statement. Let's take a closer look shall we?

To get the purest and cleanest delay sound from the Dark Echo I started out by plugging it into a Twin Reverb. I set the amp straight up the middle without any vibrato or verb. I left the Dark Echo's internal Level control as is, rolled the repeats back to a couple, set the time short, blend to a subtle mix, and left the sway at zero. The pedal's delay sound mixed in with the Telecaster and Twin Reverb blended to create one of the sweetest sounding slapback delay's I have ever heard. The echoes were just loud enough to be heard and trailed off perfectly without stacking up on on another or disturbing the next pair of notes. The warmth in the echoes produced a classic/vintage vibe, and being that this pedal also dishes out digital characteristics I was able to get the right mount of clarity and bite. Any country slangin' and chikin' pickin' riff swinger will absolutely dig the quality and sound of this pedal's delay. Next I dialed in mellow, medium length universal delay tone with a hint of chorusing. I wanted to dial in something that would work with everything and all styles of playing. I blended in the delay effect a bit stronger, rolled up the repeats to about 4-5, and set the sway control to about 15%. Every lick and chord run I played lit up and came to life. The Dark Echo's delays bloomed behind my playing which made everything sound much more interesting and colorful. This setting also worked great with a bit of overdrive and lead distortion thrown on top of it. I was easily able to make my lead runs much more epic by stomping on the Dark Echo and letting it do it's thing. Rolling up the Blend, Repeats, and internal Level control made for some killer in-your-face delay sounds. This is when I broke out my trusty volume pedal and began hitting some swells. The delay sound was so clear, warm, and crisp that it made for some beautiful and interesting sound effects. With the right touch I was able to create a spot-on lap steel tone. Adding in the pedal's Sway definitely made things even more interesting, and things got even better when I played the delay and volume pedal with my brass slide. The sound came out of the amp floated out into thin air and whispered something really beautiful. I was even able to get some pretty convincing violin sounds with the Dark Echo and volume pedal. Next I added in a fuzz box and set the delay sound to an extreme setting. I worked the Time to a med slow setting, Blend fairly strong, Time nice and slow, and Sway dead center. This setting reminding me of a vintage EHX MM delay tone. I was able to get all the trippy and psychedelic sounds I wanted but also able to maintain the warmth and clarity one would expect from a high quality delay unit. The fuzz tone adapted to the Dark Echo nicely, without overpowering my tone or becoming out of control. It really didn't matter what setting I dialed the Dark Echo to, everything sounded wonderful. The overall tone is a perfect combo between vintage warmth and modern clarity. With this pedal you get spot-on definition in your delays and that rugged feel that everyone loves from vintage units. Adding the Sway knob to any of your delay setting makes the playing fields endless, keeps things fresh, and gives it a sounds of it's own. I have seen lots of compact delay units in my time, many of them great sounding or with great features, but rarely is there one with both of these qualities. This pedal takes care of it all without the confusion of a 10 knob, 4 fotswitch delay unit. When it comes to delay I don't want something that's going to take me a year to figure out, nor do I want something that's going to bore me. This is where a pedal like the Dark Echo comes in handy.


For more info on Jack Deville Electronics go to There is a lot of cool info and lots of awesome pedals to check out from this killer company. We will try are best to keep'em coming and keep ya'll posted.

No comments:

Post a Comment