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JHS Lucky Cat Digital Delay with Modulation

Here kitty, kitty, kitty ...

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

The JHS Pink Panther modulated digital delay was released over a decade ago and was joined a few years later by its analog siblings, the JHS Panther and Panther Cub. With analog delays being all the rage, the Pink Panther found itself side-lined and facing an uncertain future. Fast forward to today and the recently released JHS Lucky Cat (not surprisingly, a certain entertainment company eventually took notice of the Pink Panther and kindly asked JHS reconsider the name) takes the Pink Panther’s place in the JHS lineup.  

 

The JHS Lucky Cay is a digital delay that features two delay voicings, two modulation modes, and controls for Time, Mix, Dark, and Repeats. Additionally, the Lucky Cay includes a tap-tempo footswitch and ratio selector for hands-free delay time adjustment. The JHS Lucky Cat runs on a standard 9v adaptor and includes a Tap Out jack to hook it up to an optional tap tempo controller. 

 

What You Need to Know

 

The JHS Lucky Cat is about as dead-simple and fully featured as most players would want their delay to be. Starting with the Voice control, located on the side of the enclosure, you select between a pristine, musical clean delay tone and a more saturated, darker tape setting. Both are surprisingly textured and distinct in the mix without any of the sterility people associate with early delay units. The tape voicing has a sound and feel that go beyond a simple high-end roll off; there is warmth and bloom to the notes that suggests  soft gain stages helping drive the character. 

 

What was surprising to me was was discovering that each voice mode reacted differently when the modulation was engaged. The modulation switch has three settings; light, off, and heavy. In the tape voicing, the light modulation mode emulates the wow of a tape that’s slightly used but none of the pitch-bending flutter. The heavy modulation mode, on the other hand, kicks in more warble and gets funky without being distracting or stepping over the direct signal. In the digital voicing, the light modulation adds a dreamy warmth to the delayed signal that lets it sit back and fill in more ambient space, and the heavy modulation gets into exaggerated DMM vibrato tones, especially with the Dark knob rolled back. 

 

To round out the controls, the Mix knob sets the blend of the delay against the original signal, from bone dry to 100% wet. The Time control is a somewhat curious addition, given the speed is also set via tap tempo, but does its job. The Repeats knob sets the delay line from a single repeat to infinite playback, and the squealing wall of sound that comes with it is appropriately UFO sounding while not surfacing some of the more unpleasant artifacts associated with digital oscillation. The Dark knob rolls off high end, and works well at pulling the delayed signal into a more spacious, ambient place that lets the direct signal step forward a bit. 

 

Even with two controls that feel redundant (Time knob and Tap Tempo out jack), it is amazing how much JHS was able to cram into such a small format, and the top placement of the jacks meana it takes up even less space on a pedal board.  

 

Limitations

 

The modulation in both voicings is so lush that I found myself wishing the Lucky Cat had a true stereo output to build even more space with the delayed signal. 

 

Conclusion

 

The JHS Lucky Cat is a rare offering in the delay world, being a relatively straightforward approach to classic digital and tape delay sounds without a bunch of sonic gimmicks, but also more fully featured than the three-knob options that inhabit the entry level of the delay world. Tap-tempo and modulation really bring the delay to the modern world of flexibility, but it is the rich, velvety voicing of both the digital and tape modes that will make most players fall in love with the Lucky Cat  -HC-

 

Resources

 

 JHS Lucky Cat Delay Product Pages

 

Buy JHS Lucky Cat Delay at Amazon.com (Street $199.99)

 

                                      

____________________________________________ 

 

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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