Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai

Introduced in 1976, the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man and later Deluxe Memory Man have become the go-to analog delay pedals for many players. The new Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai ($286 retail/$214 street) digital delay greatly expands on the originals by giving you 30 seconds of loop time, tap tempo, reverse delays, and the ability to store eight presets. Now, I know what you’re thinking—that’s a lot of features in a single stompbox, and what the f**k is hazarai? According to E-H founder, Mike Matthews, “hazarai” is what you say at a Jewish delicatessen when you want everything on your sandwich, so it’s no wonder that this new box is a bit more involved than your average floor pedal. To that end, the SMMH sports eight modes: three Echo modes (3 Second, 1 Second, 300 MS+Modulation), three Multi-Tap modes (3 second, 1 second, 1 Second+Reverse), and two Déjà Vu modes (Reverse Echo  and Loop). The Hazarai knob clicks you through each mode, each of which is indicated by
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Sonically, the SMMH is an absolute gas. In 3 Second Echo mode not only are tripped-out repeats easily obtainable, but also an expansive reverb as well as some lo-fi, seriously tweezed tones that I got by manipulating the low Delay settings and the Filter and Blend controls. Having the SMMH at arm’s reach, rather than on the floor, allowed me to tweak the Filter and Decay controls on the fly for some inspiring ambient improvisations. I quickly became overwhelmed by the sheer number of sounds and textures I could get out of the SMMH—yup, it’s that deep. In the 300 MS +Mod mode, the chorus/flange effects are chewy and as whacked or subtle as you want. Running in stereo in this mode is particularly satisfying.

Moving to Multi Tap mode, the Decay control sets the volume for each subsequent repeat, and, like the Echo mode, you can dial up effects that blur the line between chorus, flange, and delay. And when you stumble onto something you dig, simply push the Hazarai knob to store it. The 1 second+ Reverse is the only mode on the SMMH where holding down the Tap/Loop button won’t record a loop. Instead, a backwards version of the dry signal will start to play as long as you hold the button down (six seconds max). Although it may seem a little weird, this feature is remarkably intuitive, allowing you to perfectly time a chord swell for maximum impact among other things.

In Déjà Vu mode, the Reverse setting was easy to dial in, yielding instant gratification as I coaxed an almost tremolo-like effect that pulsated with backwards guitar rather than volume fluctuation. Way cool and way useable. Keeping the manual handy helps quite a bit as some of the controls change their function depending on what mode you’re in. For example, when you click to Loop mode, the Delay control changes the speed of the loop continuously, either up or down an octave. Even trickier is the Repeats knob, which now works as an attenuation control, allowing you to adjust the volume of your loops when overdubbing them. The Filter control, however, lets you color your loop with some funky filtering, morphing your loop from thick ’n’ wooly to small and stanky. Fun. Finally, cranking the Decay knob reverses your loop. You can apply all of these effects to a loop you recorded in, say, the 3 Second Echo mode, but you have to click the Hazarai knob to the Loop mode. Now you can see why I liked having this box up where I could fiddle with it! The Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai continues the Electro-Harmonix tradition of sonically inspiring, musical effects. It can take you places where other stompboxes can’t, and it’s an absolute blast to see what you can make it do.

Kudos A ton of delay fun that also goes into modulation, reverb, and reverse realms.
Concerns Multi-function controls take some getting used to.
Contact Electro-Harmonix, (800) 633-5477; ehx.com

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