Carl Martin’s Red Repeat Delay Echo, Greg Howe’s Lick Box

Boxes of Rock
Carl Martin’s Red Repeat Delay Echo, Greg Howe’s Lick Box
Price: $266 (Greg Howe’s)

After hearing – and taking to heart – feedback from players, Carl Martin recently upgraded its Red Repeat Delay Echo by adding tap tempo and modulation functions. The former allows players to tap-in desired tempos for specific songs, while the latter, along with the use of the Depth and Speed mini-pots, allows players to control the quality of echoed notes to imitate the complexities of vintage tape echoes. The additions give the Red Repeat Delay Echo flexibility to create anything from contemporary repeats to old-timey slapback. 

Price: $168 (Red Repeat)

The Red Repeat has an Echo knob to control slap-back, a Time knob to control the distance between original note and the echoed note (0 to 600 milliseconds), and a Repeat knob to control the number of echoes. The Tone knob controls the EQ, and the Manual Time switch enables the Tap Tempo. It powers with a nine-volt adapter.

Settings are easy to dial and offer everything from simple repeats for thickening tone to super-delayed shenanigans that would leave Brian May scratching his head. It’s compact and solid, and the knob settings are easy to see on dim stages. The sounds are upscale and substantive, and the additional switches affect the quality of your signal trail to yield everything from pristine ’80s repeats a la Andy Summers to the cavernous slapback echoes of Brian Setzer.

Funk fusioneer Greg Howe travels the world to make a living playing agile licks and wide intervals. He needed a pedal small enough to fit in his carry-on bag but that retained his sonic persona when played through a different backline night after night.

Carl Martin rose to the challenge with the Greg Howe’s Lick Box, a pedal with three channels that offer Boost, Crunch, and High Gain. The channels work independently or in combination, and the Tone knobs – Crunch and High Gain – coerce even the most unpleasant amp to a player’s will. From 12 dB of sparkling boost to mid-focused saturated distortion, the Greg Howe’s Lick Box works a number of musical settings – from gritty Americana to heavy-duty rock.

Plugged into an old Pro Reverb, the Crunch channel was smoky with a beefy midrange and crispy bite. The Tone knobs offered a usable range of colors; sweet spots begin at around 1 o’clock and will indulge the Allman Brothers blues rocker within. The High Gain channel produces cranked-up Satriani-meets-Bonamassa with copious harmonics, sustain, and notes that truly sing. It’s still too smooth for contemporary metal, but engaging the Crunch and High Gain channels together allow for serious damage.

The channels can also be tweaked in tandem, balancing gain stages while adjusting levels of saturation and EQ to achieve a rich distortion that just might compel promoters to fly you around the world – just like Greg Howe.

This article originally appeared in VG January 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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