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  • Stacks FX Thsee Anomaly Modulated Delay

    By Chris Loeffler |

    Stacks FX Thsee Anomaly Modulated Delay

    Does this pedal deviate from what's standard, normal, or expected?



    by Chris Loeffler




    If delay is one of the most complicated effects to create, it also holds some of the biggest opportunities for experimentation and stretching sonic possibilities. While modulated delay has been a thing since engineers tried to recreate the random warble of a tape-delay effect in a stomp-box format, modulation in those circuits has almost always been viewed as adding flavor to the delay and not an effect unto itself. Enter the Stacks FX Thsee Anomaly.


    The Stacks FX Thsee Anomaly is a digital delay pedal with a host of unusual features, including an optically-controlled LFO with tap tempo (for the modulation, not the delay) and a foot-switchable second feedback mode for instant, controlled chaos. The pedal’s controls include Delay, Mix, Regen, Swell, Output, Tone, Wave, Depth, Multiplier, and Speed as well as foot switches for Bypass, Swell, and Tap. The Thsee Anomaly is mono in/out, includes an output jack for expression pedal control of the delay time, and is powered by a standard 9v power supply.


    What You Need to Know


    To fit easily into a pre-defined box, the Stacks FX Thsee Anomaly (oh, TH-See, I get it) is best described as a delay effect, although it has chorus, tremolo, vibrato, and even pitch shifting available without ever needing to hear a repeat. It accomplishes this with (more or less) standard controls for the delay and modulation section but diverges quickly from the crowd with how it sounds and how far the controls extend past where most manufacturers stop.


    If you are looking for a standard delay effect, or even one that’s just a shade left of center, you can stop reading now. While the Thsee Anomaly can cop great sounding traditional analog-esque and warm modulation delay tones, there are pedals out there that cost less and do it easier. The Thsee Anomaly is for people who want to challenge themselves, find new textures, and bring the sort of aural derangement to a live performance that used to be the exclusive domain of studio producers. For me, the Thsee Anomaly is pure inspiration in a box.


    The delay section of the Thsee Anomaly is comprised of controls for delay time (Delay), repeats (Regen), and Swell. The delay time runs from 40ms-3400ms, going from slightly dark at the front end (although not as soft as a BBD-generated delay with compandors) to nosier and more pixelated as it goes way past its intended delay time (around noon). Anything in the last third of the dial is essentially sound effects territory, but a lot of the noise in the middle third of the dial can be backed off with the Tone control.


    The Regen control selects the number of repeats, from a single slap-back to 50’s UFO takeoffs. The Swell control is a secondary feedback control that allows you to create a pre-set feedback point when you step on the momentary foot switch labeled (what else?) Swell. This is effectively your control section for creating the sonic equivalent of tearing a house from its foundation, swirling it through the air across the trailer park, and gently placing it back down, and is most effective when used to punctuate a passage, create a transition, or send the entire song into chaos. If you don’t use the Swell control in at least a song or two, you aren’t realizing the full potential of the Thsee Anomaly


    The modulation section of the Thsee Anomaly is different from the standard “delay with modulation applied to the wet signal” configuration, so throw that knowledge out the window or you’ll only be confused. Start with thinking of the modulation section as its own beast, and not in service to the delay, as it can (and will) entirely scramble your delayed signal in certain settings.


    As mentioned, the tap tempo is applied to the LFO and controls the modulation, NOT the delay time. This lends itself to dramatically different effects without needing to tweak knobs.


    The Wave control gives the modulation eight different shapes, from traditional sine, square, and triangle shapes to odd ramps and randomization. The differences are much more noticeable in slower settings than they are at the most extreme settings, where ring modulation and bizarre sound effects live. There are warm sounding chorus and vibrato sounds that slowly morph to full-blown, octave-wide pitch shifts (if you want) and amplitude modulation ala tremolo that goes from amp-like pulses to speeds so fast you’re well into ring modulation and bit crushing.


    The Speed control sets tempo and has an insane range. The LFO effectively leaves “normal” territory by noon and turns into a zoo of wild animal and robot noises. The tap tempo control will override the Speed control (and visa-versa) based on one of six multipliers set by the Multiplier rotary knob for .5, 1.5, 2, 3, and 4x the speed of the actual tap. Again, most traditional sounds will be found on the low end of the Speed controls.


    The Depth control sets the deepest point of whatever waveform you select, effective determining how pronounced the effect is. The Depth control is equally capable of going so far past the point of being musical that it somehow becomes musical again.


    The delay and modulation sections are rounded out by a set of global controls for Bypass, Output, Mix, and Tone. Output sets the pedal well past unity gain, but brings any white noise in the delay circuit along for the ride. The Mix control is your (not so) secret weapon to determining whether the otherworldliness of the Thsee Anomaly is subtle background enhancements or your entire signal is going to be beautifully twisted and mangled into something entirely different.


    The Tone control is a low pass filter that darkens the tone but is mostly used to tame in the artifacts of longs delay times (if that’s your thing).


    Make no mistake; the Thsee Anomaly is incredibly consistent (surprisingly so, considering how quirky the sounds get) and dialing back to setting you’ve marked instantly recalls whatever sonic stew you’ve created.




    Like most PT2399-based delays, the Thsee Anomaly gets noisier past 500MS. This is a part of its vibe, but don’t expect a pristine 1.5 second digital delay.




    The Thsee Anomaly isn’t for the faint of heart, you either dedicate the time to understand what you’re changing and unlocking as you turn the dials or you need to be a reckless noise freak with a “devil may care” attitude who blindly accepts what each tweak may bring. The Thsee Anomaly is a delightfully dirty delay, with glitchy ghosts and sonic gremlins for days, and you will either applaud them for embracing the chaos and bottling it for you or scratch your head and move one. Believe me when I say there are sounds in this box you’ve likely never heard before; I know I found a few I wouldn’t want to live without!  - HC-




    Stacks FX Thsee Anomaly Delay Product Page ($399.00 Direct)












    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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