Electro Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe as Echo/Delay Pedal Part Two

Today the second part of the Memory Man article which will focus mainly on the function of the Echo and Delay  features of this unique pedal. I have also used the Memory Man with two different amps and one of them is shown in the image of this article. It is the amp right at the front, not the Twin which is at the back of the image.

As mentioned in the previous article, the Memory Man may be better at Echo rather than Delay because of its fairly short delaytimes. However, it is possible to modify the Delay Pot meter to “upgrade” the pedal to the delay times of, for example, a Boss DD3. This modification will make the pedal more useful and certainly more versatile.


Okay, so here we have a delaypedal, how does this one differ in sound and feel compared to any other delays and in particular any other analogue delays? Well, as mentioned before the pedal is crude and primitive, but that is part of the beauty of its sound: On short delaytimes the pedal gives a very natural echo, not too glassy. Want a more lively sound? Turn up the Feedback and Blend controls and you are there. The controls in themselves are primitive as well: With the Feedback control all the way down the pedal still gives you one repeat! Alright, some of the Boss Digital Delays do this as well you may say. True, but turn the Feedback control two quarters up and you still get only one repeat, turn it up further and then the amount of repeats will increase. The echo does remind me somewhat of a reverb on an amp. I have tried to mimick the reverb of a Fender Twin. To get this sound I placed a Boss DD2 behind the Memory Man, to brighten up the sound (Think Twin here with its bright reverb sound). In this set-up you can get close to that Twin Reverb sound, which is great. Overal the Echo of the Memory Man is very good.

   Sound Quality Repeats:

Is distorted as mentioned before, there will be a slight hiss and it does have its own sound, no matter how you put the controls, the repeat sound will be distorted. Have a listen to one of the few videos I found about this pedal. You can hear the hiss right at the beginning of the video. The video mainly demonstrates the Delay Quality of the Memory Man.

  On the repeats there will also be a ever-so-slight whistle on the repeats, not a problem, but you can hear it. Sounds like a Long Wave Radio when using the dial to find the next station. Some people will love this feature, especially when you start playing with the Delay control to get those “Out-of-this-World” sounds. Anyone who has ever used an analogue delay knows what I am talking about here! Yes the Memory Man is good at that, but it may be more the experimentalists amoung us who willl love this feature. If you are into bright pop, do not shy away, this pedal will also be for you.
Using the Squelch control will cut down the number of repeats and will also silence the whistle.
Turn up the Delay control and use a Chorus before the Memory Man and you get a sound which reminds me of a sythn sound. Have a listen to this video here. For this song a Memory Man and a Clone Theory were used. I do not know this person, but the sound is exactley the sound you get when using both pedals. From 119 onwards you can hear that synth sound I am talking about. You get this sound when you turn the Delay control at max.  The Clone Theory [A Chorus/Vibrato/Flange pedal] help to thicken up that sound even more.

  Placement in Signal Chain: 

Because the Memory Man is in your signal chain all the time I placed the pedal BEFORE a distortionpedal. Somewhat unusual you may say. Here is my reason for doing so: Putting the Memory Man before a distortion lets you control the level of the Echo, and the distortion becomes your overal signal control. Place Memory Man at end of chain and the Memory Man becomes your overal signal control, echo and direct signal will be blended. Basically having the Memory Man first creates a better mix for your overal tone.
I used several set-ups, have a look here:

Gtr—> Boss LS2—>Memory Man—>Boss SD-1—> Amp

Using two amps I connected the pedals in the following manner:

                                                Direct Out—> Amp 1 (set up for bright and clean sound)
Gtr—>Boss LS2—>Memory Man
                                                Echo   Out—> Boss SD-1—> Amp 2 (set up for a darker sound)

N.B: Notice how I use the Boss SD-1 to enhance the distorted repeats from the Memory Man.
Using the two different amps gives you the ability to control the difference between the delayed repeats and your clean direct sound even better. You can set up your amps for contrasting tones, and you can even add more pedals in between the two amps.

 Why do I use a Boss LS-2 in this set-up?

Mainly to control the overal volume: Depending on the amp, I sometimes will add more volume on the LS2 or bring it down a bit. The LS-2 in this set-up is just a luxury, and one of my own personal preferences because I do not like playing loud, it will not have any effect on the soundquality of the overal sound.

 Why use a Boss SD-1?

I have found that the SD-1 comes close to the original dirty sound of the repeats of the Memory Man. In order to stay close to that sound I used to SD-1 to enhance its overal sound a bit. Using any distortion pedal after the Memory Man  will let you customize the sound of the repeats. Cool! 

 Using Boss Digital Delays to Mimick the Repeat Sound of the Memory Man:

I could not resist trying to find a way to mimick the sound I got from the Memory Man whilst using two amps. You can use ANY of the Boss Digital Delays and a Boss SD-1 to get fairly close. Set-up your delay for Direct/Effect sound and connect similar as I did for the set-up for two amps. The big difference will be that the Boss delays will give you longer delay time, try going for just under 800 mS. for natural sounding repeats. Not too much Feedback, as the Boss delays will give you much longer Feedback. The great thing is that Effect Level will turn up the level of amp two, which is where your repeats are. Go for a contrasting sound between Amp One and Amp Two. I used a Marshall for my direct sound and a WEM for the repeats, but any amp will do, as long as you get a good contrast.
When you start playing with this set-up you will see how the Edge got his sound during the Achtung Baby period. Instead of using two amps you can use as many as you like, and put as many pedals in between both amps as you want. Just keep two things in mind: One side is for DIRECT SOUND and the other side is for EFFECTED SOUND. In a way it is very simple set-up, but for some reason not many people had used that sound before, not at least with those distinctive sounds.
More about those sounds for next blog.

Happy Playing for now.