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This article was originally published in issue #51
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Electro Harmonix has taken the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach in a very affordable package with the Canyon Delay and Looper Pedal, crafting a great sounding and well-built pedal that should be very high on anyone’s list to check out.
Amazing array of delay sounds in a very small package
Easy to use with dual function controls
Very affordable considering how much you get
Built in 62-second looper
Comes with a power supply in the box
Too few preset storage spaces
Guitar Interactive is no stranger to EHX's long line of quality products, but is The Canyon Delay another home run? Tom Quayle delves a little deeper.
Delay pedals have in recent years taken a very much 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach to the effect, offering a plethora of different delay types in a single pedal format for increased versatility and customer value. The Canyon Delay and Looper is Electro Harmonix's take on this concept, offering 10 different delay modes and a 62-second looper in a small footprint pedal that is very affordable indeed.
The unit is housed in a diminutive metal chassis 7cm wide and 11.5cm long, finished in white with well-printed graphics that are easy to read with intuitive controls. The four knobs allow control over FX Level, Delay Time, Feedback and selection of the 11 modes plus a dual function tap tempo/divide switch for tapping your required tempos or for selecting between quarter, 8th and dotted 8th note sub-divisions of said tempo. While the controls feel very responsive and solid in operation, the mode switch feels a little inaccurate and could do with a more assuring 'click' between modes. At this price though, this is a small niggle. The pedal features mono in and out (no stereo operation here), a tap tempo input for an external switch via a TRS cable plus the usual 9v DC input. It's worth noting at this point that Electro Harmonix includes a high-quality 9v power supply with the pedal adding further to the value on offer here.
The 11 modes on offer cover a wide variety of delay types from pristine digital delays to rich analogue modulated repeats (ala memory man), through to multitap, shimmer, octave and reverse delays for more experimental effects. Each of the modes (other than the basic echo) have access to secondary controls for further tone shaping by holding down the divide button for two seconds, transforming the delay and feedback controls into custom secondary settings unique to each mode. These include modulation rate and depth, low pass filtering, volume swells, reverb time and tone and tape flutter. The amount of control on offer is impressive for such a small package, but it can be easy to forget whether you are accessing the primary or secondary controls when the same knobs share them. This is more than acceptable though, given the tiny footprint of the pedal. Opening up the back panel allows the user to switch delay trails on or off when the pedal is bypassed.
The eleven modes on offer provide a fantastic level of depth and flexibility from such a small unit, the only downside to this degree of flexibility being the lack of preset saving or midi capability. This is very much a hands-on, tweak in realtime pedal, and those looking for the ability to save their favourite sounds will need to look at the more expensive options on the market. That hands-on approach can yield some very impressive sounds though with a tonal palette that easily matches units costing three times the price in a package a third the size, so the small compromises don't seem too bad all things considered.
The basic Echo digital delay sound is totally pristine revealing good quality A/D conversion and a noise free signal path. Here the options are basic with simple Delay level, time and feedback controls to play with, but the delays mix very well with the original signal without becoming over-bearing (unless you want that of course). This trend continues throughout many of the more standard delay modes on board with lush modulations that sound easily as good as the more expensive pedals on the market. The only slight disappointment is the Shimmer mode that lacks some of the clarity heard on more expensive units. It does have a unique sound of its own though and is more than usable. The Octave delay is another highlight, with exceptionally clear pitch shifting that really fattens your sound with an octave above, below or both. The real eye-opener is the Deluxe Memory Man mode that really captures the warm, analogue sound of the original with incredible modulation that can go from a rich chorus to almost ring-modulator territory if required. The pedal is worth the price of entry just for that sound alone.
Electro Harmonix has taken the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach in a very affordable package with the Canyon Delay and Looper Pedal, crafting a great sounding and well-built pedal that should be very high on anyone’s list to check out. There are a few limitations compared to the bigger and more expensive all singing and dancing delay units on the market, but considering the Canyon costs a third of the price it is a very worthy contender for the only delay pedal you would need on your board. Excellent stuff!