RPS Warp Drive Analog Delay
By Chris Loeffler |
RPS Warp Drive Analog Delay
To boldly go...
by Chris Loeffler
How do you do something different with delay? How about adding touch-sensitive shifts to the delay time to create anything from dynamic slight de-tunes to octave dive-bombs in real time!
RPS Effects is a relative new entrant into the pedal world, but they’ve already stuck a solid landing with the Bit Reactor and Tremulus, so their new analog delay pedal, the RPS Warp Drive, is sure to peak interest with its simple feature set and unique Warp control. The RPS Warp Drive is true bypass, features controls for Dry/Wet, Feedback, Time, and Warp, expression pedal in for Feedback and Time control, and is powered by a standard center-negative 9v power supply.
What You Need to Know
The RPS Warp Drive is a BBD-based analog delay pedal with a maximum delay time of 900MS. The standard controls one would expect include Feedback (the number of repeats the effect will produce), Time (choosing the space between repeats, from a few dozen milliseconds to nearly a second), and Wet/Dry (mixing in the effected signal against the dry signal).
The Dry/Wet signal veers from some traditional blend controls in that it can go 100% on either end, from 100% dry to 100% wet, meaning noon is about where the two signals are at equal volume (although the high-end roll off and companding of the delayed signal mean you might go a touch above the mid-point to achieve perceived unity gain).
The Feedback control tends to go into self-oscillation in the final quarter of the dial, with the delay time significantly impacting the exact point of take-off. Anything past self-oscillation increases the volume and speed at which the feedback roars over your direct signal, so regular run-offs benefit from backing down the Wet/Dry signal a touch so you don’t blow your speakers (or your eardrums) as you start tweaking the pitch with the Time control.
While everyone’s definition of “musical” is different, I found running the pedal on the verge of self-oscillation created beautiful washes that filled in the background, like a sweetened reverb with harmonic feedback.
From a tone standpoint, the RPS Warp Drive brings the attack and slight high-end roll-off of classic analog circuits without being as noisy and compressed. It walks a middle-ground between digital and analog sounds and achieves what I would say is the best of both worlds; clarity without sterility, warmth without noise. While long repeats sound gorgeous in leads, and the slapback settings at low Time settings is incredibly tone-appropriate for rockabilly.
The Warp control is where the RPS Warp Drive takes a hard left from a traditional AD-9/DM-2 world. The Warp control modulates the Time control of the delayed signal based on the dynamics of the input signal, resulting in anything from warped record sounds to out-of-control, multi-step pitch zips. It’s much more reactive than the typical, LFO-based modulation overlay; it sounds more like stretching space and time, with your right hand determining when to kick things into overdrive (er, warp drive?).
There are expression inputs for both feedback and delay time controllers for hands-free control. While they are great for hands-free tweaks to the standard delay, using it to control runaway feedback and craft music out of it is where most people will find the most use.
The RPS Warp Drive is true to its mission of being a time-based effect with something extra, but the lack of tap-tempo may be a deal-breaker for some.
Of the hundreds of delay effects I have played, the RPS Warp Drive is probably the most “time-bendy” I’ve played outside of the Mid-Fi Clari(not). The standard, simple controls make the pedal immediately accessible, the tones are vintage without the noise or muddiness, and the Warp control is the key to some out there sounds without requiring menu diving or multiple controls. - 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.