Time-based effects have come a long way from the tape-based delays of yesteryear. And while those devices certainly have their appeal and charm, they can’t compare to the sound and versatility of modern electronic time-based effects.
With that in mind, we’ve picked five of our favorite time-based effect pedals that are new for 2015. If you’re in the market for outstanding echo, reverb or looping, these pedals are bound to deliver exactly what you need.
EPSi Convolution Reverb
One of the most astonishing products at NAMM 2015 was this small stomp box that offers up to six seconds of genuine convolution reverb. The EPSi ($199) comes with 100-plus sounds, including spring and plate reverbs, a variety of acoustic spaces (rooms, halls, chambers, cathedrals, factories, and so on), and wild special effects. And you can even load your own impulse responses into it via an SD card. Reverb times can be lengthened or shortened up to 50 percent, and the through signal path is entirely analog, for zero latency. —Barry Cleveland
EK-1 Ekko Delay Pedal and AE-1 Aero Wireless Controller
Aalberg’s EK-1 Ekko stereo delay and AE-1 Aero controller work in tandem to let you control the pedal’s parameters and presets wirelessly and in real time, with the controller mounted on your guitar, strap or belt. The company’s claim of “the world’s first wirelessly controlled effects pedal” isn’t exactly true—Source Audio has been doing wireless control for years with its Hot Hand—but that doesn’t negate the power and functionality of Aalberg’s creation. The EK-1 includes controls for time, level, feedback, FX select and tap, and has stereo inputs and outputs. The EK-1 and AE-1 will be available for pre-order soon. —Matt Blackett
JamMan Express XT
Joining the growing ranks of diminutive looping pedals packed with powerful features, the Express XT ($99 street) provides 10 minutes of 24-bit/44.1kHz stereo looping time, true-bypass switching, dedicated record, overdub and play status LEDs, and a handy undo function. The pedal also features JamSync technology, which allows you to sync the unit with another Express XT or a JamMan Solo XT to create and control independent yet synchronized multiple loops, as well as Silent Clear, which mutes the output when you clear the loop. The Express XT may be powered by the included nine-volt battery or by an optional external power supply. —Barry Cleveland
Echolution 2 Deluxe
The original Echolution was one of the best-sounding and most flexible delay pedals ever made, but its idiosyncratic design made it a little daunting for some less-adventurous users. The Echolution 2 Deluxe ($399 street) is a different beast altogether, delivering many more features than the original while being easier to use. You get up to 12 seconds of delay time, multiple taps, sophisticated filtering and modulation capabilities, complete MIDI control, and lots of onboard knobs and switches, as well as editor/librarian software for Mac or PC. A slightly scaled-down non-deluxe version is also available for $100 less. —Barry Cleveland
Ditto Looper X2
The Ditto Looper reinvented the looping pedal by offering an impressive feature set in a tiny pedal with one knob and one footswitch—and it sounded great. The Ditto Looper X2 ($179 street) ups the ante with stereo I/O, an onboard backing track recorder, a dedicated stop/clear footswitch, reverse and half-speed capabilities, loop import and export supported by Mac and PC, unlimited overdubs and five minutes of uncompressed 24-bit recording time. Priced only slightly higher than its miniature sibling, the X2 will appeal to loopists who need a few more features without sacrificing much more pedalboard real estate. —Barry Cleveland