Rocktron Short Timer

As suggested by its moniker, the Short Timer ($79 retail/$60 street) specializes in less-than-lengthy delays.

The pedal operates in two modes: Short (200ms to 400ms) and Shorter (0ms to 200ms), which is still enough time to emulate the full range of classic echo effects—particularly those deployed on rock, rockabilly, blues, surf, and psychedelic recordings from the ’50s and ’60s.

The Short Timer is housed in a lightweight extruded aluminum casing, with an easily accessible battery compartment on the bottom. Its three knobs—Level, Time, and Regeneration—are self-explanatory, as is its bright blue on/off LED. Although the Short Timer is a digital pedal, it has the soul of a vintage tape delay. It not only sounds lush and fat, it actually responds much like the real McCoy, with billowing regeneration and lots of harmonic complexity, but without tape hiss (though you do get some noise at longer delay times). The pedal begins self-oscillating at a three-quarter knob turn, and it produces great spaceship sounds that rival those of tape delays—all without digital “zippering” or other unpleasant artifacts. The Short Timer gives you much of the sound and vibe of a vintage tape delay in a compact and lightweight package for a ridiculously low price, which wins it an Editors’ Pick Award.