Teisco Delay Pedal
By Chris Loeffler |
Teisco Delay Pedal
Sometimes you just need a little delay ...
by Chris Loeffler
Last month I reviewed one of three new releases from Japan-based Teisco’s new line-up, the Teisco Fuzz. I was able to evaluate it not only on its own merit, but also within the context of the rest of the lineup, during which a sonic design philosophy began to emerge for the line that revealed a willingness to get a little weird while still being musical. One of the other two pedals I evaluated from the line was the Teisco Delay (how much more straightforward can you get than that for a naming convention?) which is what I want to talk about today.
The Teisco Delay is a BBD-powered analog delay with an added chorusing modulation applied to the delay line. Featuring delay controls for Level, Feedback, Time, and modulation controls for Depth, Rate, and a Slow/Fast switch, the Teisco Delay is housed in a unique zinc enclosure, powered by a standard 9v, center-negative DC supply and features a Dry-Out output jack for semi-stereo rigs.
What You Need to Know
The Teisco Delay offers 600ms of dark, hazy delay via traditional BBD chips that is quirky and pleasingly lo-fi. Additionally, there is a modulation circuit added to the path to introduce movement. It’s feature-set calls to mind many of the Deluxe Memory Man-inspired delays to have hit the market in the last ten years, but it’s where the controls took me that caught me off-guard.
The core delay sound falls in the middle of the darkness spectrum for an analog delay circuit with reasonably full-spectrum repeats at lower settings, but quickly darkens up as you pass the 200MS mark, gaining a soft, hazy fuzz halo around the notes and a ring mod style clang and sizzle detectable at the top end of the note. At the most extreme time setting the delay tone sits somewhere between a vintage Arion SAD-1 and a lonely AM radio transmission.
Jesus, can this thing oscillate. Whereas most analog delay pedals tend to go into oscillation in the last little push of the Feedback control’s sweep, the UFOs are ready to take off at about the halfway point in the Teisco Delay. I found less of a volume jump as the pedal oscillated into bit-crushed mayhem (no speakers were blown in the evaluation of this pedal) than I’ve experienced with vintage units, and the pitch travel of the knobs is zippy and to the point.
The modulation section creates the dreamy warble players use to emulate tape delay units, offering a range of options that remind me of early EHX modulations in that the controls extend way beyond where most people would consider them musical. The modulation Depth gets extreme beyond the first 3rd of the dial and can create pitch shifts as dramatic as warped records being skidded to a halt or bird-like chirps. Similarly, the Speed control quickly goes to neck-breakingly short turnarounds of the waveform to being nearly imperceptible by the end because it is moving so fast.
Don’t mishear me; the standard, sweetened modulated delay sounds are available, albeit with their own lo-fi flavor. They aren’t as crisp as some high-voltage analog delays, nor as syrupy as others, but they hold their own (especially at the price point!) and sit well in the mix.
As mentioned in the Teisco Fuzz review, I can’t talk about the Teisco Delay without discussing the form-factor. Their uniquely shaped zinc enclosure looks built to withstand a ten-story drop, and everything from the jacks to the knobs scream Japanese precision.
This is not a pedal to set with your eyes the first time you plug in. “Traditional” settings tend to happen in the first half of a given dial’s sweep.
The Teisco Delay is a strange, amazing beast that reminds me of some of the early boutique attempts at analog delay (I had a Death by Audio one-off delay that comes to mind) where shamelessly reveling in the noise and mud was a part of the game. The Teisco Delay isn’t as clean as an AD9 or DM2 and isn’t as warm as a DMM. It occupies its own space and does it really well. It may fill in shorter delay needs without imparting too much character, but the Teisco Delay shines most when being its own weird, lo-fi, sometimes clangy thing. - HC-
Buy Teisco Delay @ Amazon (Street $149.00)
Video Created by Pedalboard of the Day.
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.