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Jack Deville Mod Zero

February 15, 2012
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The oft-told tale of flanging begins with a recording engineer using a pair of tape decks to synchronize two identical recordings, and then slowing down the decks manually by touching the “flange” of the tape reels. Tiny delay fluctuations in the playback of each reel created the swirling sonic soup that became known as flanging. Whenever the fluctuating delays synched up, it was called the “through zero” point.

The Jack Deville Mod Zero ($250 direct) uses all analog Bucket-Brigade (BBD) technology to emulate the flanging heard on records by Jimi Hendrix, the Small Faces, and other classics of the ’60s. It also produces chorus, vibrato, and Leslie effects.

A pair of Jack Deville Click-Less truebypass switches toggle back and forth between Chorus/Vibrato mode and Flange/ TZF/Leslie mode. The modes share all controls: Volume lets you tailor the output of the effect, handy for making up the perceived drop in volume that modulation effects can create. A Dry/Wet knob adjusts the balance of the effect versus the dry signal. It never achieves full dryness, but for that you can just shut the effect off. Depth, Regeneration, Speed, and Manual round out the usual controls associated with flanging and chorus.

The controls are extremely interactive, allowing a wide variety of rich, warm analog effects, but you might want to write down the settings for any sounds you fancy. I was surprised at how many of the parameter combinations work equally well for both modes.

I was especially impressed with the variation on Leslie-type effects available in both modes—echoes of everything from “Badge”-era Clapton to SRV. As is often the case with flangers, I found some sort of distortion was needed to really bring out an audible whoosh. The distortion must also come before the Mod Zero—not from a pedal after it or from the amp itself.

The Mod Zero is not out to recreate any specific vintage effects. Its stated mission is to “bring a multitude of modern and classic tones to your pedalboard.” From this test, I would say, mission accomplished.

KUDOS Wide range of great sounding analog flange, chorus, and Leslie effects. Quiet operation. Long battery life.

CONCERNS No easy battery access.

CON TACT jackdeville.com

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