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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