Ibanez digital footpedal effects
As this month's What It All Means so eloquently explains (guess who wrote it), Flanging, Chorus and Delay are all effects based on time delays - some small, some large, and some continually changing. The cleanest, clearest and quietest way of doing this is by digital rather than analogue electronics. So for a start that's something all three of these Ibanez have in common - they're all digital, they introduce very little noise or distortion, and the frequency response for a foot pedal unit is unimpeachable. The highs really come through.
A fast response test for delays is to set the unit at a long echo time/high repeat rate, and play a harmonic on the top E string, letting it sustain for a moment. If all that comes back is the percussive click of plectrum against string, you've lost your upper frequencies. If you can detect the click and that momentary note at a good volume, the response is fine. If you can still hear both by the tenth repeat, you've got yourself a proper digital effect, as an analogue circuit would have degraded the signal.
A 'well-done' tick for the chorus which turns on, does its job, and doesn't complain, but is perhaps the least inspiring or versatile of the three.
I had more fun with the flanger which, with its range of delay times, offered plenty of variety in the tone of its "flange", and made a presentable crack at chorusing.
It swept smoothly through the slow flanges. Some pedals struggle part-way along, as if they've dropped in a gulley and are clambering up the far wall. The minimum delay time is short for a foot unit, and there are some subtle results to be had there. Experimentation could give you chorus with a touch of flange, flange with a touch of chorus, mouthy ones, bathtubby ones, and more. It did all that was asked.
Ibanez' Digital Delay performed just as well, but here I would have made some changes to how it worked. The 1800mS maximum delay is a healthy, long one, and the Ibanez comes down to 28mS, tight enough for slapbacks, so no problems there. The confusion arises with the hold feature. Essentially it will repeat, indefinitely, any line you play into it. The hold only operates while your foot is on the footswitch, but there are two methods of leading up to this. The unit is inactive - you're playing without echo, hit the footswitch, and it repeats the last thing it heard while you continue to play over the top. The unit is active - you're playing with echo, you hit the footswitch, and it repeats the last thing it heard, including all the echoes built up in the signal, while you continue to play over the top now without delay on your signal. Simple enough, it's just that the literature takes about 200 words to say it.
Setting up a repeating riff involves choosing a delay time that fits it perfectly - too long and there'll be a gap before the riff repeats, too short and you lose a note. I would have liked a feature where you could play, hit the switch on the final beat, and the Ibanez would repeat from that point, automatically truncating the delay time to the desired length.
All three are solid, stoutly made, and carefully thought out pedals. Extra marks for the side-mounted lever which springs open the battery compartment. Say goodbye to lost screw misery. Recommended are the Flanger and Delay, because both did more than their names imply. Lot of creative stuff to be had out of locking short riffs and chords into the DDL, soloing breaking out, adding to the recording, or sticking a new one in a moment later. Be two people.
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