Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon Super Delay
By Chris Loeffler |
Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon Super Delay & Looper
If you thought the original Canyon ran deep, wait until you see how much additional territory the Grand Canyon covers!
by Chris Loeffler
What do you do when you release an award-winning, affordable delay pedal that covers ten classic delay tones and includes a looper? If you’re Electro-Harmonix, you listen to customer feedback and build on it to make an even more robust, feature-rich deluxe version and add a “Grand” to the title.
The Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon Super Delay utilizes the same algorithms and controls as their Canyon delay pedal put adds two additional delay modes, a bit crush function, expands the looper from 62 seconds to 16 minutes, brings the “hidden menu” parameters to dedicated knobs, independent tap tempo, and stereo outs. The Grand Canyon is true-bypass and is powered by a standard, center-negative 9v battery supply.
What You Need to Know
Harmony Central reviewed the EHX Canyon last year, so if you’re unfamiliar with the pedal upon which the Grand Canyon is built, please feel free to start there. As a touch-point, here was the conclusion-
At nearly half the price of similar “multiple delay modes in a box” pedals, the Electro-Harmonix Canyon is hard to beat if you aren’t looking for deep parameter tweaking, saved presests, or stereo output. With great-sounding and diverse delay types (both common and "out there"), nearly every sought-after delay tone can be yours for under $150.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about what Electro-Harmonix has added to the Grand Canyon, and how it works.
In addition to the previously mentioned 10 Canyon delay modes, the Grand Canyon introduces a Drum and Doubler mode.
The Drum mode introduces an Echorec-like drum echo mode to the mix, which has a slightly different preamp/saturation flavor than the Tape mode and creates rhythmic echo patterns modeled on which configuration of the four heads you incorporate into the wet signal. At its most basic, there are four drums that run in serial, creating a 1-2-3-4 standard echo count. Heads can be dropped out to create pronounced forms, like 1-2-X-4 or 1-X-3-4, for mid-career Gilmour-style lead enhancements. The “age” of the drum can be adjusted to be more faded and saturated, a good way to dial the delays into your mix without needing to address potential muddiness further upstream.
The Doubler mode introduces a slight detune and delay that either thickens up a mono signal or splits in a stereo amp situation. This effect is a classic studio effect to make guitar parts sound bigger without being overly effected. The amount of detune and delay time is controllable, but the sweet spot seems to be in the 10-20 MS delay range. Too far out and you’re getting into chorus territory (not that that’s a bad thing).
The Echo mode, which was the standard, high-fidelity digital delay mode in the Canyon, adds a bit crusher to it to add a little weirdness and tension to the delays. Controlling the sweep of the bit crushing with an optional expression pedal creates otherworldly artifacts and ring modulation-style fizz and hum.
The Looper mode expands from 62 seconds to 16 minutes, increasing unlimited overdubs, a start/stop, reverse, speed adjust, and for the first time allows you to include the delay effect modes within the loop.
The Grand Canyon allows for up to 13 presets, although the preset slots are tied to the delay mode, so there is only one preset per mode.
The stereo output, depending on the delay mode, runs either true wet/dry blend to each channel or dry to both with a ping-pong between the two channels for the wet channel. While I’ve heard wider sounding stereo delays at the highest end of the market, the stereo spread is robust and spacious and more than accomplishes what it sets out to do in recording and live situations.
Tap-tempo, a “kinda there” feature in the original Canyon, is now a dedicated footswitch with nine tap-tempo subdivisions.
By exploding out the hidden parameters onto the faceplate (and including a legend on the faceplate describing how each control behaves in the different modes), the Grand Canyon becomes significantly more convenient to tweak in live situations (my one complaint/concern about the original Canyon). Because each delay mode requires different controls (for instance: Echo mode allows for control over the Filter and Bit Crush, whereas the same knobs on the DMM control the rate and depth of the modulation), there will be tweaking required when jumping between modes if you’re in live mode (as opposed to leveraging the presets), but all the controls are intuitive if you’ve ever used that delay type.
The addition of stereo output greatly opens the pool of interested musicians, but the lack of stereo input means true stereo modulation effects either need to go after the delay, by summed into mono, or split prior to the Grand Canyon, meaning one side won’t be delayed.
Literally everything that was viewed as an acceptable sacrifice in the Canyon for price and form factor has been added in to the Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon. It’s one of the most affordable delay workstations available and the quality of the build and easily competes with the most expensive delays in sonic quality. Moving all controls to the front of the box and making an independent tap-tempo will appeal to the traditional, “I hate menus” crowd, and it has enough delay modes and looping capability to be the only delay effect even the most ambient of players would need. -HC-
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.