The Providence Chrono Delay DL-4 has a wide range of features, excellent sound, and a compact footprint.
This compact and powerful digital delay offers an impressive selection of features, including the ability to deliver analog-like sound via its Echo Hardness control, which rolls off the high and uppermid frequencies on each successive repeat of the delayed signal (as controlled by the Feedback knob). Once dialed in, it’s easy to forget you’re playing through a digital pedal. The Chrono Delay isn’t designed to be a tape-echo simulator, however, so there are no modulation controls.
The Chrono Delay employs Providence’s Vitalizer analog circuitry, which provides both noise-free switching and a buffered bypass with a specially voiced tone filter that’s designed to emulate the sound of a guitar plugged straight into an amp with a 15-foot cable when the Chrono is bypassed. Even better, it maintains this sound with any length of cable you use.
The unit also has a separate analog mixer circuit that splits the input signal in two, sending one feed to the digital delay circuit and the other straight through the pedal. The idea is that by keeping the dry tone unaffected and only mixing it with the delayed signal at the output, you get a more natural delay sound without latency on the notes. Providence clearly put a lot of care into this aspect of the Chrono’s circuitry, and the result is rich, clean, and satisfying tone.
The Chrono Delay is the only pedal in this roundup that displays delay time (the Analog Man does so via the AMAZE0 controller), and it can do so in milliseconds or BPM (beats per minute). Either way, the tempo can be manually (and very accurately) set with the Time knob, or tapped in with the right-hand footswitch.
Another unique feature is the Beat Split function, which lets you dial in delays based on seven different beat and subdivision settings—from half notes to sixteenth notes, and including halfnote, quarter-note, and eight-note triplets—all of which are relative to the tempo setting. Beat Split is awesome for setting a variety of specified delay times on the fly. Tap in or manually set the tempo, select the subdivision you want, and away you go!
Also very useful is the A/B function, which you activate with the same footswitch that handles Tap Tempo. A/B lets you store two different delay times and toggle between them. You can’t have both the A/B and Tap Tempo functions active simultaneously, however, unless you connect a momentary footswitch (not included) into the Chrono Delay’s Ext. Tap jack. When you do, the unit stays in A/B mode, but you can tap in tempos from the external switch. Two status lights on the front panel indicate when the delay is on, and whether you’re in A/B or Tap mode.
All considered, this solidly build, intelligently designed, and excellent-sounding unit could be the ideal choice for players who seek a highly flexible delay that requires minimal space on a pedalboard.
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