DELAY IS ESSENTIAL IN ANY GUITARIST’S sonic arsenal, whether for a simple slap or a
range of ambient sounds. The Vox DelayLab
($230 street) offers delay deluxe in a solid cast-metal
housing with vintage-style pointer knobs.
Analog, Tape, Digital, Multi Tap, Dynamic, Dual,
Modulation, Stereo, Ambient, and Reverse delay
are selected via rotary switch. Pushing the Category
button scrolls through three different types
of each, for a total of 30 effects. The Time knob
controls delay length in milliseconds, or, when the
Sync button is engaged, selects subdivisions of
the time tapped in with the Tap/Bank footswitch.
When held down, the Tap/Bank switch scrolls
through ten banks; you choose three delay presets
for each bank with footswitches A, B, and C.
The four footswitches also double as controls for
a 28-second looper that offers reverse and trigger
modes. There is no half-speed option, however
you can add digital, analog, or pitch-shifted
Modifying a preset and saving it is a simple matter of turning the Time, Feedback, Tone/Speed,
Intensity, and Mix knobs until the desired sound
shows up, pressing the Write button, selecting the
location you want, and then hitting Write again.
Testing the DelayLab with a Fernandes Stratstyle
guitar and a Fender Blacktop Jazzmaster
through an Egnater Rebel 30’s clean and drive
channels, I found the 24-bit/48kHz sounds to
be uniformly high quality. The Tape Echo setting
offered rockabilly-approved slap and authentic
speaker-busting runaway feedback; the bucket-brigade
Analog patch fattened out solo excursions,
and volume-swelled chords colored by
the Ambient Space setting offered a wealth of
orchestral-like pads. With the Digital delay set in
Pitch mode, I could tap in subdivisions of dancing
fifths or octaves.
An (optional) expression pedal increased the
fun exponentially. I could program the pedal to
control any parameter—or more than one. Setting
it to adjust the mix meant that the amount
of wet signal could be quickly modified from song
to song, or be optimized for the dryness of the
room. I could also use it to fade the looper, control
runaway feedback effects, or go from a short
wet delay to a longer dryer one, without switching
The DelayLab buffered my sound, resulting
in direct and delay signals that were clear but
warm. The tone control also worked well for rolling
off highs, to keep repeats from stepping on
my original signal.
I kept looking for a flaw, but manual aside, I
couldn’t find one. Within its parameters and price,
the DelayLab deals beautifully in delay, offering a
brilliant palette of ambient colors. Add optional
battery operation, the ability to employ any standard
9V 200mA adaptor, and actually usable
factory presets, and the DelayLab pedal rates an
Editors’ Pick Award.
KUDOS A great-sounding panoply of programmable
standard and exotic delays. Easy to use.