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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gear: Moog MF-104z Analog Delay

I think I've only ever really loved one pedal; my Boss DM-3 Delay pedal. It's often overlooked as it was "brighter" than the Boss DM-2, but it still added a really nice something a guitar sound. I often just had it on all the time, bubbling away really low.

When I was finally happy with my pedal setup last year, I decided to cobble together a pair of boards using some scrap wood and velcro. It was all up and running, I clicked on the delay and... nothing. Light was on, but no delay was home. It was dead. I was sad.

I was replaced by my trusty Line DL-4 (an 18th birthday present from my folks) for a little while, which is cool but didn't quite do what I wanted it to. I still use the same guitar presets for my vocal effects in the band; the sweep-echo, the tube-echo for a gainy slapback sound and the multi-head (Space-Echo-ish) setting for the low, slightly modulated echo.

My next delay was a Freakshow Digilog; a hand-painted digital delay from Portland, Maine which does a great job of emulating a nice analog/tape echo. It's a great pedal, but didn't sit the same way as the old Boss. It also has a cool self-oscilation footswitch (which is a little more subtle than the one you find on the SIB Mr. Echo, which my brother Matt has) which allows you to do some really nice atmospherics without going too far into ultra-feedback territory (unless you want to). It only really works on the longer settings though, and I didn't use it much as my delay settings are usually set to mostly slapback type stuff with a few extra repeats.

(BTW, we use also use Freakshow Brown Rabbit distortion pedal on bass.)

Anyway, yesterday I managed to snag myself a used Moog MF-104Z at a fantastic price in (almost) mint condish. I've only spent a little bit of time with it, but it's sounding just right. The guy who sold it to me said it was the best sounding delay he's had, but he decided to keep the Diamond Memory Lane II for the more practical features (tap-tempo, two delay presets, etc). There's all sorts of cool features on Moog too, such as an expression pedal option for every parameter, as well as CV stuff and a loop, where you can modulate your delays with any other pedal or processor. I've tried this with a phaser and the MuRF for a little bit it and it has potential for some interesting stuff... however, I'm just keeping it simple right now... I have enough tap-dancing to do on-stage already.

I did an comparison of the Moog and the Freakshow and the Freakshow actually got pretty damn close. It's a great pedal and well worth checking out if you're in the market for a delay. It's since graduated off the floor and now sits on top of my Nord Electro keyboard.

Post-practice update: I love this pedal.

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