There are tap delays and then there are tap delays. While the former feature tap tempo, the latter allow you to take various outputs, or “taps,” off the delay line, which are known as multi-tap delays. This awesome pedal from Emma Electronic does both of these things, and more, in a straightforward and intuitive manner.
At the Navigator’s heart are two voices: a main delay and a second one that can be split into eighth notes, dotted eighth notes or triplets. The repeats can have their tone modified with the color knob, taking them from a crisp and pristine echo to one that is darker and somewhat muted. It’s a great tool for helping a heavily delayed tone settle into a mix less intrusively. You can further expand the delayed signal’s sonic potential with the digital modulation section, which can deliver everything from gentle chorusing to out-of-tune wobbles.
While this might sound like what plenty of other delays do, hang on, as the “tapped” aspect of the second delay takes things to a different place. Here’s how it works: The Main delay always gives you quarter notes based on what you enter with the tap-tempo button. Color them how you want, add modulation if you wish, and you’ve got a sweet-sounding “normal” echo pedal. Adding in the second delay, however, produces hip, musical rhythmic bounces, particularly with the dotted-eighth and triplet settings. A note isn’t just a note anymore but a cool, syncopated musical provocateur. You have to try it to understand, but once you do, you’ll dig the results.
The tails switch allows the repeats to fade out naturally when the pedal is bypassed. This is a nice feature for letting the last note of a solo carry over after you’ve gone back to the verse, but it can do way more than that. With the feedback cranked, you can create a bed that will sustain forever, which you can then play over with a delay-free tone, creating great contrasts and layers. Additionally, the knobs stay active after you bypass the Navigator, and that means you can play the pedal like an instrument by messing with the feedback and time controls, giving rise to all kinds of awesome spaceship and monster noises.
Bottom line, this is a well-thought-out and great-sounding delay that puts its own spin on a time-honored effect. I would have no problem using the Navigator as a standard echo, but the twists and turns that it’s capable of are intriguing and inspiring. Sonic adventurers should seriously think about mounting this box to a mic stand, manipulating the knobs in real time and blowing minds along the way.
ND-1 Navigator Delay
PRICE $279 street
CONTROLS Main D (delay), color, depth, speed, second, feedback, time. Beat-split switch (1/2, 2/3, 3/4), tails switch, bypass and tap foot switches I/O Input, mixed/wet, dry
POWER Nine-volt battery or external supply (not included)
KUDOS Flexible, great-sounding echo. Clever features. Big-time sonic possibilities