This digital unit with a tube-powered output circuit offers three
seconds of delay, six different types of delay emulations, and
dual looping selections with 7.2 seconds of loop time. Weighing
in at nearly three pounds, the silver, bricklike unit has a
simple and easy-to-use system of controls that include Effect
select, Time, Feedback, Saturation, and Level (delay mix). There
are two footswitches: On activates the effect, and Tap/Loop
controls the tap-tempo feature unless you’re in one of the two
looping modes. In that case, it handles recording on/off and
triggering of the loops.
The delay choices are Linear (conventional digital delay), Analogue
(analog delay emulation), Multihead 1 and Multihead 2 (simulated
tape delay with multiple taps), Tape (tape delay emulation
with warbly sounding repeats), and Space, which is designed to
sound like a Roland Space Echo. I was impressed with the realism
of all the presets, particularly the Analogue and Multihead settings.
The HT-Delay is the only pedal in this roundup with a stereo
output. On its left side are the left (mono) and right outputs. The
delay panning in the stereo field varies from preset to preset. The
manual advises using the left output when running the HT-Delay
in an effects loop, however, there’s no way to get a fully wet
signal out of either output.
The two looping modes are a welcome extra, although 7,200
ms of recording time is significantly less than you’d get on most
dedicated looping pedals. Loop 1 lets you record a loop and retrigger
it by pressing on the Tap/Loop button. It works well and is
easy to use. Loop 2 mode lets you record a loop and then continue
overdubbing onto it.
On the face of the pedal you can see a protruding 12AX7 tube
glowing under a metal grill with a transparent plastic cover. The
tube, which is in the pedal’s circuitry after the digital-to-analog
conversion, is designed to add crunch, compression, and harmonics
to the delayed signal. A green Saturation LED lights up when
the delay is on, and it glows various shades of red depending on
how loud your input signal is, and how high the Saturation control
is set. The Saturation effect is subtle, but it can add some cool
grind to the delayed notes.
The unit comes with a lump-in-the-line power supply, and
according to Blackstar, the tube receives a full 300 volts. This
would explain why the metal casing becomes quite warm after
the pedal has been on for a while.
For sheer versatility, it’s hard to beat the HT-Delay with its
abundant features, variety of rich-sounding delay effects, and ease
of use. It’s also a bang-for-buck champ that offers solid value for
a tube-powered pedal.
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