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Earthquaker Devices Space Spiral Modulated Delay

Modulate your delay...delay...elayd...layde...aydel


by Chris Loeffler



Earthquaker Devices debuted the Space Spiral at 2017 Winter NAMM, adding yet another left-of-center option to their impressive line of delay and reverb effects. As anyone who has been paying attention to Earthquaker Devices’ pedal introductions over the last year or two has likely noticed, they’re slowing down on the “me too” circuits that most pedal makers fall into and ramping up unique sounds that expand the general sonic palette. With nearly a half-dozen Earthquaker Devices delays on the market, let’s unpack what makes the Space Spiral different.


The Earthquaker Devices Space Spiral is a darkly-voiced modulated delay effect that features a 30 ms-600 ms delay time with controls for Time, Repeats, Mix, Depth, Shape, and Rate. The pedal runs on a standard 9 volt DC power supply with 2.1mm negative center barrel, and features clickless true-bypass.


What You Need to Know


The Space Spiral's control section divides into delay and modulation categories, with the Repeats dictating the number of delay repeats, Mix blending in the delayed signal from entirely absent to almost exclusively wet signal, and Time dictating the delayed signal's length. Without modulation, the delayed signal has a darker sound that cuts treble a bit more with each subsequent repeat. The delays are slightly rounded off but have a solid presence; for example, they're less smeared-sounding than a Deluxe Memory Man.


The modulation portion of the Space Spiral is applied only to the delayed signal. The Depth control determines how wide the pitch modulation will be in the effect, the Shape control goes from a soft-shouldered triangle wave to a hard-chop square wave, and Rate sets the speed at which the modulation ramps between extremes. The range of all these controls allows for extremes that most will find go beyond their needs, so it will help to listen with your ears - not your eyes - when determining ideal settings.


The Depth control allows for a pretty hefty amount of detuning, both musical and otherwise, but can be dialed in as subtly as you’d like. I found the most common tones to reside in the lower third of the modulation controls, but interesting warped record and drones emerge as your reach the halfway point of all three controls. Even modulated pads could be coaxed out with careful dialing, and near octave-spanning stepped jumps are available  on the far side of the Depth dial.


For a lo-fi delay effect with modulation, the Earthquaker Devices Space Spiral is immaculately devoid of background noise or artifacts. This holds true even at the highest delay time. Players seeking the analog-style UFO takeoffs and other musical forms of self-oscillation will find the Space Spiral’s out-of-control feedback very organic and controllable.




Modern delays have made features like tap tempo and stereo outputs almost obligatory, so their absence on the Space Spiral is conspicuous and make it a less likely contender to be the delay that replaces all your other delays.




The Earthquaker Devices Space Spiral takes a familiar sound to very new places. While there is an undeniable “Deluxe Memory Man with more definition” vibe to the more modest modulation settings, the extreme settings go way beyond that due to the extended pitch depth and unique modulation shapes. The modulation and repeats marry beautifully, and the lack of hiss or digital artifacts deserves repeating. -HC-




Earthquaker Devices Space Spiral Product Page


Buy Earthquaker Devices Space Spiral ($195.00 Street) @ Sweetwater, AmazonMusician's Friend, Guitar CenterSam Ash





Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 


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