Which pedal sounds like the Deluxe Memory Man (Part 1) ?

After the release of a new analog delay mostly the question arises if this pedal sounds like an old Deluxe Memory Man and if it is possible to replace this legendary pedal by the new one.

And here is the reason for this question: although the Deluxe Memory Man has already been developed in the 70s he still represents the reference concerning analog delays. While many other analog delays were able to thicken the sound of the guitar in the whole band’s sound they sounded some kind of muffled the sound of the Deluxe Memory Man is more brilliant and cuts through the mix. Its sonority is quite similar to the sound of a tape echo but compared to it the Deluxe Memory Man does not need intensive care.

The integrated preamp is pretty suitable as a booster and the modulation also is unique.

But also the Deluxe Memory Man has its disadvantages: it is big, the first versions miss true bypass, and partly it needs an own power supply, the maximum delay time is 450ms and some of them hiss.

By a simple modification you can extend the maximum delay time up to 550ms without making the sound suffering. Of course you might create a even longer delay time by this modification but than you will get lo-fi sounding repeats which in my opinion do not do justice to the sound of this pedal.

In a few weeks I will explain how this mod is done.

Deluxe Memory Man XO

Some time ago Electro Harmonix developed a XO-version of the Deluxe Memory Man. But although it is said to be built up in the same way its sound varies from the sound of the original. I had two old Deluxe Memory Man pedals to compare the different models (one of them with a MN3008 the other with a MN3005 chip). The old Deluxe Memory Man pedals created a richer sound while the XO-version thinned the sound out. Of course it is possible that the calibration of the new Deluxe Memory Man is reason for this but to me it is a fact that they sound differently.

Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall RKM

When the Tonal Recall came on the market the same old question came up: will this pedal be able to replace the Deluxe Memory Man? But this pedal has got its very own sound. The signal is more compressed and it is not able to produce percussive highs like the Deluxe Memory Man does. But there for the modulation of the Tonal Recall is unbeatable and its tap tempo also is pretty helpful.

Digital Emulation

Some digital delays have a preset that is supposed to emulate the Deluxe Memory Man. Mostly the modulation works pretty well and the repeats sound quiet percussive. And some emulation enables you to set how much hiss will be heard. In my opinion these emulation lack of the dimensionality and liveliness of the original. I guess in the mix you would hardly hear the difference between a Deluxe Memory Man and a digital emulation. But on a record it is possible to hear the variation and to me the feeling of playing the guitar is a different one.


Those who really want the sound of a Deluxe Memory Man should get one. Every delay has got its own character and its own sound. Even delays with an integrated tone stack are not able to emulate another pedal exactly because the frequencies of the tone stack mostly vary in a certain way. And last but not least: the boost function of the Deluxe Memory Man is an important aspect that is disregarded by many emulation.