July 23rd, 2009 by Andres Gallo
When it comes to delay pedals, it is always hard to justify the price as the good ones are pretty expensive. My all time favorite delay pedal, the Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man, was such a pedal, which always awed me with its gorgeous tones, but unfortunately coupled with a pretty big price tag. Donâ€™t get me wrong, the DMM is worth every penny, but new delay pedals do many things better, and some even though digital sound much similar to the classic analogs, while being capable of much more.
Here comes the TC Electronics Nova Delay, which in my opinion is the most beautiful pedal I own, and the smartest designed pedal I have ever used. TC Electronics is a company that has much experience in the live stage market, and with that in mind, you can expect something that is a pleasure to use while on the stage.
The beautifully designed pedal features both preset and manual modes of functioning for quick and simple use on the stage, as well as a nicely designed tap tempo switch. The stomp-on-switches are very smooth to the touch, and are really easy to press, which is godsend to those who like to change their delay settings in real time with their hands. The unit can store up to 9 presets and they can be completely switched from the floor.
Standard features for a delay that were of course not forgotten are a delay knob, a feedback knob, and a mix knob. These standards are included here as is to be expected, but there are some really neat aspects on the way in which these were implemented. The delay knob for example stays set only on the middle position, while the amount that it is offset determines how quick the delay time is raised or lowered and once you have the setting you want you set it to the middle position. A button controls the type of delay that is being created, of which there are 6. These little details are not very important but are sure to enhance the experience using the pedal.
Unique to the Nova Delay and the grand beauty in its design are the Mod, and Color knobs. The Mod knob can provide some really interesting textures controlling the amount of modulation in the delay, while a Mod button allows the type of modulation to be changed. This is all absolutely genius, but it gets better with the inclusion of a Color knob which allows the pedal to sound like a tape echo delay, an analog delay, or a digital delay. The genius aspect of this is that the way this was implemented, allows you to get sounds that are in between, where as in other pedals you only have the three choices and thatâ€™s that.
Last but not least, the unit also has a subdivision button that can cut the delay time in a subdivision of the set time which can come in quite handy. The delay time can also be viewed in both ms, and bpm numbers. Thatâ€™s not very important in my opinion, but I am sure there is no problem when it is an option. It has so many options, and yet is so easy to use. Definitely a must buy pedal for all delay fanatics.
The sound in this pedal is absolutely blissful. I am not referring to the many tonal options provided, but rather the ability for the delays to come out absolutely pristine, to the point that you may even call them clinical. I understand many may dislike this aspect in a delay pedal, while others love it. Thatâ€™s why the color knob is such a beautiful addition. It can make the tone go anywhere from pristine and clinical to the lush thick sound of a tape delay.
Beyond the wonderful quality of its sound, it also features many tonal options as already mentioned. The mod types and the mod delay for example can provide some really interesting textures impossible with another setup as they only affect the repetitions and not the original notes. To top it all, it has 6 delay modes, and one of this is unique to TC. This is the dynamic delay which does some really interesting things with the volume of the repetitions. A beautiful sounding unit which makes creative tones a pleasure.
Its pretty heavy, but that seems to be part of the engineering as it seems to have been made to last. It feels very solid.
Have not dealt with their customer support, but it seems they have a good reputation.