One of the top trends in guitar effects involves “small-footprint” stompboxes. They not only sound and look cool, but more importantly free up space on an effects board – crucial for today’s pedal-crazed guitarists.
The Ibanez Analog Delay Mini is one such small box that does a hefty job, providing delay times from 20 to 600ms. Finished in Pepto-Bismol pink, the pedal just has a few features: Input and Output jacks with true bypass, a DC jack, and Delay Time, Repeat, and Blend knobs. Inside, Ibanez created an all-analog path using Coolaudio V3208 BBD chips to evoke the authentic warmth and darker repeats of vintage delays.
On the job, the Ibanez delivers thick, old-school tones. The first half of the Delay Time knob covers territory from slap-back echo to fat rockabilly hiccups fit for a Tom Petty or Wilco record. North of 12 o’clock there are plenty of ’70s echo heroics, from Mick Ronson to Brian May, and around 1 o’clock (or 400ms), with Blend all the way up, one will discover an Albert Lee-style cascade echo. Push it up even further for experimental sounds evoking Fripp, Belew, or Tangerine Dream’s Edgar Froese. Or turn the Delay Time knob violently during the repeats for sick and skronky pitch shifts.
Like the Ibanez, the TC Electronic HOF Reverb Mini packs a lot of firepower into a small chassis. This digital unit with all-analog bypass boasts just one knob (just like your favorite vintage amp) that dials in TC Electronic’s famous cathedral reverb, from just a hint of ambient space to full-on cavernous tone. The HOF Mini’s reverb is deliciously warm and sweet, like a much higher-end unit.
A cool tweak is that the HOF Mini uses the company’s TonePrints app and editor so you can change presets via phone (Bluetooth) or computer (mini USB jack). Choose from artist patches by the likes of Steve Morse, Robben Ford, and Steve Vai, or create your own using algorithms for Room, Hall, Gate, and Cathedral.
Best of all, both the Ibanez Analog Delay Mini and TC Electronic HOF Reverb Mini have very affordable street prices. The sole tradeoff to their petite charm is that they are DC-only, so make sure you have separate power supplies. Otherwise, they sound pretty damn killer for such adorable boxes.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.