Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #65
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
All your ambience needs in a single pedal.
Outstanding reverb and delay, for solos and ambient parts.
Dynamic expression keeps complex lines clean.
“Modern” reverb only - fans of splashy spring reverbs should look elsewhere.
High pass and low pass filter
Bypass and tap tempo/preset footswitches
Designed based on Periphery guitarist Mark Holcomb’s favourite sounds from the Andromeda Dynamic Delay and the Silver Lake Dynamic Reverb. The Seymour Duncan Dark Sun combines a warm and clean digital delay algorithm with a lush Hall reverb, and the ability to route the two in just about any configuration you could want. Nick Jennison tells us more.
Beyond the ubiquitous overdrive, can there be a more important pair of effects than reverb and delay? I’ll resist the urge to ask you to “name a more iconic duo”, but these two effects - often spoken in the same breath - are responsible for giving life and space to your tone. For many rock and metal players, they’re the only overt “effects” they’ll use, either for clean parts or adding a drama to a solo.
Designed in collaboration with Periphery guitarist Mark Holcomb, the Dark Sun takes Mark’s fa-vourite algorithms from Seymour Duncan’s Andromeda delay and Silverlake reverb and combines them in a single pedal. Seymour Duncan has also simplified the user interface in the process. Their “Dynamic Expression” control is still present, but in the Dark Sun, it’s limited to controlling the reverb and delay mix, creating a subtle ducking effect while you play.
The “Tweak” control allows for greater tonal sculpting of the delay sound, with high and low pass filters, modulation and saturation controls. There’s also a rotary selector that controls delay sub-divisions, with the usual 1/4 note, dotted 8th, 8th note and 8th note triplets settings, along with “Pattern” for the classic “The Edge” 1/4 note and dotted 8th sound, reverse delays, ping pong and reverse ping pong.
More interestingly, the routing control allows you to switch the order of the effects on the fly, or route the delay and reverb to two separate outputs. This has interesting implications for wet/dry rigs, but it also means you could place the reverb and delay in two separate slots in a loop switcher for greater on the fly control. You can also control the routing (and every other parameter on the pedal) via MIDI, with 128 presets available. It’ll also sync to an external clock source, whether that’s a sequencer or another pedal.
Sonically, the reverb and delay are absolutely superb. The reverb is a dark and rich hall, with the option to add modulation via the “Tweak” control. There’s limited tonal sculpting here, with only size and mix knobs, but the tone is so 'bang on' out of the box that you’re unlikely to want for more. It won’t provide you with splashy springs or bright plate sounds, but for modern, immersive reverb it’s excellent.
The delay, by contrast, is capable of a lot of tonal diversity. At its heart, it’s a clean digital sound, but by manipulating the filters, modulation and saturation controls it’s possible to cop the sound of tape delays, saturated analogue delays and even shoegaze-inspired sounds. If total authenticity is what you’re looking for, the Dark Sun won’t give you a perfect rendition of the subtly degrading repeats of a tape or analogue type delay - but then, many would argue that no digital pedal will! It’s certainly close enough, and the sheer flexibility and ease of use the Dark Sun offers more than makes up for it.
It’s also worth noting how supremely well constructed the Dark Sun is. Having had a number of high-end digital pedals start to exhibit “issues’ on the road due to flimsy jack sockets, the Dark Sun’s chunky, all-metal connections fill me with confidence. Even the MIDI in and out are tough, metal, screwed-in sockets.
The Dark Sun is a one-stop shop for modern reverb and delay sounds. It offers huge flexibility but doesn’t overwhelm you with options. It sounds killer, and it’s built like a bomb shelter. If you’re a rock or metal guitarist with channel switching, there’s a high likelihood that this could be the only pedal you’ll ever need.