023 | Way Huge Electronics Aqua-Puss MkII: A Closer Look at this Analog Delay Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 23 of the Sonic Renegades podcast, where we're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Today, we're going to be talking about the Way Huge Aqua-Puss Analog Delay pedal. If you love all things related to slapback delay, you're going to love this conversation.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Sonic Renegades podcast. Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson here with you from Siren Pedals. And today we're excited to be talking about the Way Huge Aqua-Puss Analog Delay pedal. If you love all things related to slapback delay, you're going to love what we're going to unpack in today's episode. So yeah, really excited to walk you guys through what this pedal is really all about, and it's got an amazing history. I know Eric, you're a big fan of delay, and I know you've had a few days to spend with this pedal. Yeah, I'd love to get your thoughts on it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, it's really great. I haven't had too much experience before this with a delay pedal that's specifically geared towards a slapback delay or something to just sit under a solo. Most of my experience with delay pedals has been more of the DD-5, DD-7, Memory Boy, Memory Man, that kind of stuff, where you typically get longer delay times. So, being able to mess with this one and where you have these confines that you have to work with has been really interesting, it's been really cool to see how I can put it to use, and it's been really great.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, I'm kind of in the same vein. I know on my board right now, I've got a boss DD-3, tends to be a little bit more of my flavor, but I did have this Aqua-Puss on my board for, I don't know, maybe five or six months and enjoyed it. It's not necessarily my go to, again, just all personal preference, all very subjective, obviously. But yeah, the time that I did have on my board definitely enjoyed it. And the pedal that we're specifically talking about today for you guys is the MK2 version of this. There's obviously the original, which we'll talk about here in just a bit, the MK1. That is the one that is coveted by most people out there. It's super hard to find, it's super rare. We have the MK2, which came out several years later, and then if you fast forward, there's even a later version now the MK3, or what they call the WM71. Again, sounds like a mouthful, but basically there's three versions out there. We're going to be talking about the middle version specifically.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, well they also have... They did the Supa-Puss, which is actually, it's more of a traditional longer analog delay with tap tempo and some additional controls and things like that, but still it stemmed from this pedal and then that original Aqua-Puss that they released back in late '90s, early 2000s.

Scott Schwertly:
Exactly. That's right. I totally forgot about that one. So yeah, let's go and talk about that first version, because that's the one that I think obviously started all of this. So if you think about folks like Brad Paisley, John Mayer, really specifically John Mayer, I believe that original version was spotted on his board back in 2004 after the release of Heavier Things. And it's just one of those staples that again, everybody's always trying to chase that John Mayer tone, and when they look at his board, they see that one and that's the pedal that they want to have, that slapback delay. So yeah, definitely getting the things that catapulted all of this. So a little bit of history about that specific pedal. In a nutshell, what makes that pedal stand apart from the ones after it basically comes down to... the main component of all this is the MN3005 Panasonic Delay chip.

That was kind of the shining star in that unit. Unfortunately, that chip is really hard to find. It's a rare thing. You'll see people trying to mimic it or closely match it. I've seen things on Reverb where people are trying to get as close to it as possible, but it's difficult. But again, that is the shining star in that pedal. So, a little bit of history to about Way Huge, the mastermind behind all of this is Jeorge Tripps, who actually created the company back in '92. He then closed shop in the late '90s. And then, fast forward through that, Way Huge was eventually acquired by Jim Dunlop, which is now making the versions that we're talking about today, again, specifically for this conversation the MK2, the MK3, and others. But yeah, lots of history. This pedal has been around for a while and yeah, we'll get into the details of what you can actually expect with it if you were to put it on your board.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, and I think additionally on the subject of that Panasonic chip, if I remember correctly, that's the same one that was in the Memory Man, the 1100 tap tempo?

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, that's correct, yeah.

Eric Wilson:
The older ones that ended up... I think they're still $700 or something crazy like that?

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's insane. Trying to track down that, or just pedal in general is... They're hard to find. So yeah, let's go ahead and talk about... we've talked a little bit about John Mayer, Brad Paisley, there are a number of other famous artists that have used either the original or variations of it. Names that stand out to me would be folks like Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Brad Paisley, obviously. Those are probably some of the biggest names that I've seen just doing research on this pedal that obviously there are fans of the slapback delay that's provided by it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, and I think something cool to note about it is you can kind of notice a similar thread throughout like each of those people that the pedal doesn't typically stand out. Like, you would never wonder, hey, what's that unless you're getting really serious about it, because it really serves the purpose of just supporting whatever their solo is, or just adding a little bit of flavor to whatever they're playing. So I think it really speaks to the nature of this pedal and just what it can offer you as a player.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. On that note, as far as that flavoring, the MK2 is pretty solid. It's not going to break your bank. I think you can get one now for about maybe $150. I think I got mine used for maybe like $125, $129 on reverb. So it's not going to set you back in... you do get what you just talked about there, Eric, just a lot of great tonal support, but I think it's important to mention, just not to set the wrong expectations. For those that are listening to this specific episode, because you're just a big fan of the Aqua-Puss in general, I think it's important to point out maybe just some key differences between what you would get between the MK2, as great of a pedal as it is, versus what you'd get with the MK1. And I think there's probably maybe three or four key differentials, I think, that are probably worth pointing out. I know for one, the repeats are probably a little bit warmer with the MK1, not to say that they're bad with the MK2, but they're a little bit warmer and a little bit less trebly.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I know that just in reading, cause obviously we haven't gotten our hands on an MK1, so this is all second hand knowledge that we've had to find because we can't get our hands on that one. But, been reading that the repeats are typically longer or at least rumored to be longer. And then it's also a great slapback without sterilizing your signal as well.

Scott Schwertly:
Exactly. So again, just a few extra perks that you're going to get with that MK1, given that you're... Again, just sounds like it just obviously has better components. But again, you still get a lot of those nice tonal qualities with the MK2. It's still a solid pedal to have, and being someone that, again, has had it on my board for five or six months, yeah, it's definitely worth it. So, you're chasing that specific sort of, again, John Mayer type sound. As far as flaws with the MK2, I mean, obviously the biggest flaws would be that it's not the MK1 if that's what somebody is looking for, but beyond that, I think probably the main flaw that I've seen or read about online is that it does have some clock time noise, which shockingly, that was actually something that was intentional by Jeorge Tripps, but other than that, there's really not a whole lot that I'm seeing as far as negative reviews or negative feedback regarding this pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I think if you go into owning this pedal with the mindset of that, it does one thing and it does one thing very well, then you're not going to be disappointed, but I mean, if you buy this and you're like, oh, I wanted a Memory Man, then yeah, you're going to be disappointed. Because I mean, you can only get 300 milliseconds maximum delay time out of it, but it is really cool. I know as far as the pros go the good things about it, I love how it does slapback, and it's really cool because you can also get into self oscillation even with those shorter delay times. So it's been really cool to get to explore that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, and on that note, I guess that's a good transition to really talk about the things that we like. It's obviously very bright, just those jingly repeats that you get with it. I mean, as you said, Eric, it's a really just a great slapback delay pedal, and it's hard not to dislike that sky blue. I do love the color of it. It's definitely a standout, nice to look at.

Eric Wilson:
It looks great. And honestly, when I found the newer one, the smaller one, actually, I liked it a lot more because that has been my biggest beef with the way huge pedals is, well, they're huge. And so I'm always concerned about board space and not having to get too large of a board. So seeing the new, smaller one, I'm like, oh, hey, now it makes sense.

Scott Schwertly:
Well, if you guys are curious to actually see what this slapback delay is really all about, we're going to go ahead and plug it in here and take it for a test drive. Eric, what's going to be your choice of guitars for this one?

Eric Wilson:
I'm going to use the Strat, and I also decided to bring out the ANVIL compressor that is Siren's, and just really compress the signal, showcase that slapback delay and what it can do when you're fingerpicking. As much as I can chicken pick, I try, so...

Scott Schwertly:
Nice. Well, no, definitely looking forward to hearing it and yeah, we'll get that plugged in, and yeah, that sounds lovely. A compressor with this delay. Yeah. Can't wait to showcase it for you guys.

Eric Wilson:
It was the Way Huge Aqua-Puss Mark two. Really wish we could get our hands on a Mark one, but the Mark two will have to do for now, as well as that was also the ANVIL compressor that we offer here at Siren Pedals. So, if you liked what you heard, you can go ahead and pick one of those up at sirenpedals.com.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I really love how you decided to combine it with the ANVIL. I think it just made the Aqua-Puss shine that much more. Yeah, that sounded fantastic.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I've really enjoyed using this compressor as... Really using it as an effect. I know I used to use some compressors as an always on sort of thing, but I've really liked what I've been able to do with this one using it just as an effect and just keeping a compressor on my board for that purpose as opposed to having it as an always on sort of thing.

Scott Schwertly:
Nice, yeah, no, it sounded great. I love that, so... Well, hopefully that gave you guys a good sampling of the Aqua-Puss and kind of what it's all about. Again, today showcasing the Mark two or the MK2, however you'd like to describe it. And then in this case kind of the added bonus there is we threw the ANVIL in the mix as well. And yeah, definitely, I think both really shined in that demo. So awesome, well that is the pedal that we wanted to cover today. Up for next time, we're going to be talking about... I guess Eric, this is another one of your favorites. You like the fancy brands. We're going with the Maris Mercury7 Reverb Pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I love this reverb, it gets wild. It's based off of the Blade Runner soundtrack, if you don't know. So that should tell you something right away. But yeah, I'm really excited to talk about that one.

Scott Schwertly:
That is awesome. That's so cool. Yeah. Looking forward to unpacking that one as well in our next episode. And as always, we always appreciate your recommendations and suggestions. Again, if there is a certain pedal that you guys want us to cover, let us know and we'll add it to our list. We've heard the recommendations so far. Trust us. We've got it. We'll get to them and hopefully get those knocked out. Nonetheless, it gives us a good excuse to go out and buy more pedals.

Eric Wilson:
For sure. Yeah. I've been really enjoying getting to see those suggestions, start looking into some of the different pedals and just really see what's out there.

Scott Schwertly:
Most definitely. So always fun. Always enjoy it. Well, until next time guys, have a great day, have a great week and we will see you in the next episode.

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