Review: Erica Synths – Zen Delay Part II

Zen delayActually, Erica Synths are famous for modular synthesizers. But the Zen Delay is a delay pedal that could be really interesting for guitarists.

I got the chance for an extensive testing and here, I would like to present the second of two parts of the review.

Filter

Cutoff and resonance control the frequency and the peak of the filter.

You can choose between low pass, band pass or high pass. The filter is placed at the end of the effect chain and therefore also affects the sound of the delay and the overdrive.
I wonder why there are not more delays with a filter. For it is magnificent.
By using the low pass, you can create darker repeats and thereby simulate the sound of an analog delay.
The high pass allows to cut the repeats of the delay signal in a certain way. Thereby, it fades a little bit into the background. Or you can even create a lofi sound.
The band pass permits to choose a certain frequency to form the character of the delay.

In the world of synthesizers, filters standard. And I must confess: guitarists, use more filters to shape your sound.
If you like, you can simply use the filter, without a delay signal or you can switch the filter off and use the delay or the overdrive only.
Of course, while you play with a longer feedback, you can vary the filter during the playing to create marvelous filter sweeps. Another reason, why the control range of the feedback pot is absolutely perfect. You can simply adjust endless repeats and play around with the filter.
The creators of this pedals know exactly why they name it Zen Delay. Soon, you get lost in meditation-like soundscapes.
Simply brilliant!

As the name suggests, the tap tempo switch allows to adjust the tempo and the bypass switch engages the pedal.
For the review, I build a small foot switch (see image). It can be connected via the CTRL at the front side of the pedal and allows to control both functions.

Zen delay mit ControllerFor the pedal is really interactive, you might think about placing it on a stand to be able to use the pots all the time. Therefore, I don`t matter that both switches are net designed as footswitches.
Next to the midi jack for the midi clock, the on/off switch and the 12V DC jack at the frontside, you will also find the two inputs and outputs. Yes, this pedal is stereo! An appropriate power supply is included in the delivery.

Sound

You can see it from the length of this text: the pedal is extensive and sonically quite flexible. By the boost, overdrive, delay and EQ it is able to replace a whole pedalboard.
Even pedals with display or menu are mostly not more extensive, for all pots of the Zen Delay interact perfectly with each other.
The (manual) modulation of the tape delay is able to simulate tape slipping in a wonderful way.
The filter creates clear and bright repeats in the style of the EP3 as well as darker repeats that emulate an old and worn-out tape.
As mentioned before, it is possible to select a certain frequency by using the filter and emphasize it by the resonance. It is quasi like adjusting the sweet spot of the guitar/amp combination.

Never before, I have used a delay that can be matched with my setup so sophistically. BY adding a little tube saturation, you will find yourself in heaven – or simply totally zen.
Because of the boost, the clearer digital delay does not sound sterile, but, like mentioned above, like a rack delay.
By altering the delay time during the playing, you can create different pattern. If you want, it is also possible to let them be repeated endlessly. And endlessly means endlessly. Even if you turn the filter completely down or switch the delay off. When you switch the delay on again or turn the filter to full clockwise direction again, the sound of the past still is perceivable.
Of course, you can also, strictly classical, adjust a shorter number of repeats or synchronize the pedal with the midi clock.
But for this, the pedal seems almost too good. It will be played.

The last delay mode is called vintage and is also pretty exciting. It creates some kind of bitcrusher, which, accompanied by the filter, is perfect for lofi sounds.
For the drive circuit is in front of the delay, the gate or rather the saturation of the vintage sound varies according to the setting of the drive pot.
One time it sounds a bit like a fuzz, then you can disarm it slightly with a low pass filter or you can fight against the sound in the style of Jack White.
What a ride!
With shorter delay times, you can also create flanger or reverb effects. Depending on the setting of the pot, you will always find new and inspiring sounds.

Conclusion

One pedal, 9 pots and endless possibilities on the way to get zen.
Every guitarist should try this ambient monster. It provides the enormous sound range of a rack and is really dynamically.
For you won’t even get (unwanted) oscillation at higher feedback settings, you will be able to create soundscapes that normally can only created by using a looper.
And the filter serves for fine-tuning of the sound as well as to an extreme shaping of the sound.
Only few pedals are such well-sounding and flexible.
Therefore guitarists: go and try it out!