Electro-Harmonix EH-7850/EC-2000/EC-2002 Deluxe Memory Man
The most in-demand analog delay ever built. Musicians love it and collectors cherish it. Experience the analog edge. Nothing can compare to the organic sound of analog delay, and no one does analog... read more
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The most in-demand analog delay ever built. Musicians love it and collectors cherish it. Experience the analog edge. Nothing can compare to the organic sound of analog delay, and no one does analog like the Deluxe Memory Man! Up to 550 mS of vibrant echo that rivals tape delay; lush, spatial chorus and haunting vibrato are just a few of the treats in the Memory Man's sonic smorgasbord!
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The Classic Analogue Delay
There are so many versions of EHX's Memory Man/Deluxe Memory Man that it can be a bit bewildering for the newcomer to get their head around. It's been around in some form or other since the mid to late 1970s.
Mine's a reissue from about 2006 and it's one of the last 'original chassis' jobs made by EHX before they moved into the current XO series of Memory Men. In other words, it's got a big footprint, it takes a weird power supply (24 V). I don't know what sort of chips it's got in it, but I know they're different to the ones used in the XO series, although they may also not be the most desirable and sought-after ones. I'm still researching that, and the internet is full of heresay!
It's only when you use a real analogue delay - especially one that's fairy faithful to earlier models - that you gain a new-found respect for the original users of these pedals. It's a bit like when you get a real analogue synth with no presets and realise how much work there is to do. The Memory Man doesn't spoon feed you with tap tempos or tailor-made settings banks. You get simple controls for delay time, regeneration, input to the gain stage, blend between echo and dry, and so on. A single switch changes modulation between chorus and vibrato modulation, and depth can be controlled too.
The pedal is capable of subtle, but the range offered by the knobs is immense and it's possible for things to go into science fiction territory very quickly! The regeneration control begins to self-oscillate just past the halfway mark and gets very loud, very fast! Combine this with delay time tweaking, and wild, often unpredictable laser beam siren effects come out. If you're not fast with turning down the feedback it sounds like you might blow up your pedal, or amp, or both!
The delays themselves are very rich, warm, musical, and they seem to blend with your guitar rather than sitting on top of them glassily. They actually sort of 'become' the guitar sound, if you see what I mean. It's totally, totally different to any digital delay, even ones that attempt to model analogue or tape echoes. It's hard to tame, and it feels like you're on the edge of something a bit chaotic all the time. The upside of this is that you really feel like the effect is another instrument in your hands. It's organic and it responds in an interactive way to what you put into it. It's constantly changing in subtle ways that the ear finds very pleasing. The vibrato is my favourite of the two modulations, as the chorus, when pushed, can become quite 'ill' sounding, as its rate doesn't seem to go fast enough to match the depth. Being analogue, the delay times go no further than about 500 ms, but you won't miss the longer delays here; in a sense, the pedal isn't 'for' that...it's also noisy!
If I have a criticism (and this really is me being a spoiled brat now, I'm very lucky to own such a gorgeous pedal), it's that...well, the sound is SO SIMILAR to a certain world-famous guitarist, one who made his name by playing the Memory Man as if it was a new instrument in the late 70s and early 80s (and no, I'm not talking about Andy Summers/John Martyn!) that it can be difficult, initially, to find your 'own' sound with it. It has such a strong personality that inevitably, it does lend itself to sounding a bit like that world-famous guitarist...no matter what you play...
Does it need any introduction?
What can I say? Everybody knows what this pedal is famous for: lush, warm analog delay, best Bucke Brigade delay emulating the vintage tape delay sound. It adds a 3 Dmension sound to any rig and no digital pedal could ever reproduce this. Callibrating the chips and ICs' are highly recommended from time to time. Only downside: 24V DC.