032 | Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man: A Closer Look at this Analog Delay/Chrous/Vibrato Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 32 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today we've got another EHX pedal. This one is the Deluxe Memory Man, Analog Delay/Chorus/Vibrato pedal. It's a pedal with a rich history and we can't wait to unpack it on the other side.

Hey everybody Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you guys today. Hope you're having a good one. I hope you're keeping safe and healthy as we're still going through, obviously all the COVID quarantine stuff. In fact, again, we are recording this from our homes and glad to be with you guys this morning, or this afternoon, whenever you're listening to this episode to talk about our next pedal. So on that note today, we are going to be talking about the Electro Harmonics Deluxe Memory Man. This one is definitely a really beloved pedal that most people tend to admire. And we're looking forward to talking about this one in more detail with you guys today.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I've always loved the sound of the Memory Man. And it's one of those pedals that's been used by a ton of people like dating back to like the late eighties and stuff from The Edge, that O'Brien.

And really if you look at most famous guitar players, most of them have one of these somewhere or they've used one in the past, or it's kind of been a part of a lot of guitar players, musical journeys and pedal journeys and that sort of thing. So it's just a really cool pedal. It was kind of a really big deal, so it's cool to get to be able to talk about this one and this specific incarnation of it that's kind of stemmed from that.

Scott Schwertly:
For sure. I mean the artist roster on this thing is mind blowing. There's so many musicians that have used it or are currently using it and it's going to be fun to kind of unpack those various different artists that are using it right now. So yeah, I mean, as you mentioned, this pedals been around for quite some time.
It does have a very rich history. And in fact it goes all the way back to 1976. That's when it actually first debuted and since 1980, there actually have been six different iterations of that. And I believe today we're going to be talking about the actual sixth iteration.

Eric Wilson:
So the one we're going to be talking about today is actually the 1100 Tap Tempo. So it's got 1100 milliseconds of delay time. And it's actually the one that I have here is a reissue of the one that came out that had the Panasonic MN3005 chips, it had three of them in there. And it introduced, kind of doubled the amount of delay time, as well as having Tap Tempo and expression control and all of those sorts of things.

Scott Schwertly:
Nice. And so on that note as we just mentioned, there's been six different iterations of this pedal since 1976 or more so since 1980 and probably the two biggest additions to this pedal were really kind of two simple things. One, they added a knob for basically just to control the preamp levels and then two, they added the knob for the chorus and vibrato. So those originally did not exist on the debut model in 1976. And they've been basically kind of revamping that over the years since then. And Eric, I've actually not personally used this pedal, but I know obviously you have one, there were kind of mixed thoughts on the chorus and the vibrato options. What are your two cents on that?

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So the cool thing about this one is that, so there was chorus and vibrato on the older Memory Mans, but what they did with this one is they separated out the RATE and the DEPTH knobs. And so you have independent control of both of those, but actually if you ditch the delay time, all the way back to as fast as it can go, you can just use the modulation on it. You could use it as a chorus and a boost if you wanted to, because it does have that GAIN knob as well. So it has this really cool effect where you can push like the preamp GAIN, distort your repeats, and also just add that chorus signal in there. So it really just gives you a tone, a really interesting character.

Scott Schwertly:
For sure. And I mean, that whole idea of character, I think is kind of Testament to why so many people actually have used this pedal or continue to use as pedal. I know we were talking earlier about just the impressive artist roster. You mentioned names like The Edge and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead, but there's so many others like Robert Smith from The Cure, Eric Johnson, Tycho, Ray Toro from My Chemical Romance. So many out there.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I know for this specific version, well, I'm sure they actually have the one that's still costs like $700 because they bought it back when it was first released. But I know Andy [inaudible 00:05:03], I've seen him use this a bunch, James Duke again, Josh Klinghoffer and Alex Trimble. So I've seen them using this specific iteration of the Memory Man. Whereas obviously when you add in the previous iterations and the older ones, the artist roster just expands exponentially.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh for sure, even names like Peter Frampton, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. I mean it's amazing just how many people this, this pedal, I mean, musicians it's actually touched and for that how many years have had the pleasure of actually hearing a Memory Man on some sort of recording at some point in time. Yeah. It's truly made, made an impact for sure.

Eric Wilson:
Absolutely.

Scott Schwertly:
So, looking at this pedal and, and, and learning more about its history, honestly, I couldn't really pinpoint based on reviews that I've seen videos that I've watched, not a whole lot of flaws. I think if anybody was kind of torn between this pedal and another pedal, often I'll see like maybe the MXR Carbon Copy come up as a competitor for some just preferring sort of more of that analog delay sound. But other than that, I mean, there's not a whole lot of things that are people saying negatively. I mean, again, maybe the chorus vibrato stuff where maybe it wasn't quite up to par for what people are listening to, but it seems like general consensus across the board is that this is really just a great solid pedal, which is why, again, it probably has such a rich history behind it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So the only like critique I've really seen of this pedal is that it gets kind of noisy. But to be honest, if you're worried about noise then analog delay is probably not for you. Cause it's still one of the more quiet analog delays that I've personally used. So it's just one of those things where it's like, if you have a problem with the noise that it gives, then you might want to look at a digital delay.

Scott Schwertly:
For me personally, I've kind of always gone the digital delay route. Researching more about this pedal, definitely has made me want to explore that a little bit more and experienced the analog delay side of things. But yeah, I can get why people may complain about that. I tend to be probably more in that wheelhouse.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. That makes sense. Everybody. I know everybody has their own preferences as far as stuff goes. For example, like there are certain digital delays I really like, I think boss digital delays are the best digital delays. I actually don't like the digital delay on my stream and timeline, but because it can do so much, I keep it around. So it's one of those things where it's like, everybody has different tastes and that's why there's 2 trillion different kinds of pedals out there.

Scott Schwertly:
Exactly. Yeah. I'm a BOSS DD-3 kind of guy. So, but yeah, no, I definitely appreciate all of them though, for sure. Well, let's go and talk about, as you mentioned here, not a whole lot to really be nitpicky about, so we'll definitely go through some of the likes that we sort of enjoy about this pedal. Obviously with people like The Edge, you can really get sort of those U2 type tones and delays out of this thing, which is beautiful. I mean, it's such a great sound.

Eric Wilson:
I actually really like pairing the Memory Man with a digital delay. It just creates a really nice sound. But my favorite thing about this delay is just how a musical the repeats are. They're kind of warm. So when you do pair it with something that's a little more crisp, it gives you just a really nice sound that's kind of a contrast to both sides of it. And then also one of my favorite things to do is to run things through the Memory Man, and put it into self ocsillation and just let it kind of take off. And so it's really cool for intro songs, outros the songs, just putting it under stuff. It's a lot of fun.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, it's a solid device for sure. So while we're on that topic of just what it can do, there's obviously several knobs on this pedal, I'll just kind of quickly run through what you can expect with it.

Six knobs in total, you've got a Blend knob, a level feedback, chorus, vibrato, depth and delay. And Eric since I know you use this pedal or have used it for quite some time. I'll let you walk everybody through. Yeah. Pretty straightforward, but what you can expect with each knob.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So you have your Blend knob, which is you're blending between your dry and your wet signal. Then you have that GAIN knob that controls the full preempt gain of the pedals. So even if you don't have the delay function sign, you can crank that up and just get a nice boost. And you have your modulation rate and your modulation depth, the Feedback knob that around two o'clock or so starts the head into self oscillation. And then you have that delay time knob, which also can be set by the foot switch. So with subdivisions, you have a dotted eighth triplet quarter, a triplet eighth and 16th note. So ton of options there, you have an EXP pedal out where you can control blend, rate, depth, feedback, or delay. It has an effect send like an effects loop.
Yeah. And then the Tap Tempo out. So you have six jacks on this small ish pedal and just tons of options as far as being able to control different things.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Just so much variety, so much warmth too, I think that's kind of one of the key, key themes or keywords that you can get from this pedal. Just a, it's a great tone, which again, why it's been around forever.

Eric Wilson:
Absolutely.

Scott Schwertly:
So for those that actually have not had a chance to actually listen to the Memory Man, we're going to go ahead and plug it up and, are you going to mix this one with anything today?

Eric Wilson:
I might mix it with a digital delay, but for the most part, I'll probably leave it alone. Just kind of let it shine.

Scott Schwertly:
Alright. And guitar of choice?

Eric Wilson:
I will definitely play the Tele for this one.

Scott Schwertly:
Sweet, awesome. Well, we're going to get all this connected. Let you guys take a listen and we'll see you all on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
All right. That was the Deluxe Memory Man. I loved playing that pedal. I just find it really inspiring. Lots of good tones coming from that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, speaking of inspiration, it makes me feel like I want to turn on some U2 or Radiohead this afternoon and tap into some of those Memory Man tones. It's a good one. Really love it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, just go take a couple hours. Listen through OK Computer this afternoon.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. There you go. Well, awesome. Well, that's what we wanted to cover today with the EHX Deluxe Memory Man, Analog Delay/Chorus/Vibrato pedal. Join us next time. We're going to be talking about the Digitech Multi Chorus pedal. Interesting side note. I actually got this pedal for $10. It actually retails used for about $50, and currently discontinued for $10 it's actually a good one. And we're looking forward to showcasing that one for you guys in the next episode.

Eric Wilson:
Yes, definitely. Definitely not bad. Just trying it out yesterday, making sure it worked.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Glad it works, but can't complain for $10. So well good deal. Well we're excited to talk about that pedal the next episode and until then have a great day. Have a great week. And we will see you guys soon.

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