Continuing the tradition set forth by the stout little metallic gray/gold boxes of the GV-2 Guv’nor Plus, BB-2 Bluesbreaker II, VT-1 Vibratrem, and others, Marshall recently introduced the EH-1 Echohead delay, RG-1 Regenerator modulation & RF-1 Reflector digital reverb effects pedals.
All share the same aesthetic elements and basic functionality; each is housed in a heavy-duty metal case with high-gloss gray metalflake enamel finish, has stereo 1/4″ output jacks, a single 1/4″ input jack, passive-bypass footswitch, six-position mode control, mini chrome-dome knobs, 9-volt battery/adaptor operation, and LED indicators.
The EH-1 Echohead is a digital delay with modes labeled Hifi, Analogue, Tape Echo, Multi-tap, Reverse, and Mod Filter, as well as controls for Delay Time (up to 2,000 milliseconds), Feedback (number of repeats) and Level. The RG-1 Regenerator is a modulation pedal with modes labeled Vintage Chorus, Multi Chorus, Vintage Flange, Phaser, Stepped Phaser and Vintage Vibe (Uni-Vibe), along with controls for Speed, Depth, and Regeneration. And the RF-1 Reflector is a digital reverb with modes labeled Hall, Plate, Room, Spring 1, Spring 2, and Reverse Reverb, along with controls for Reverb Time, Dampening (high-frequency reflection) and Level.
We tested all three stompboxes using a Hamer Daytona with single-coil pickups plugged into a pair of tube-driven Crate V5212 combos running in stereo. Starting with the EH-1 Echohead delay on its HiFi setting, we were greeted with a solid, straightforward digital delay with crystal-clear repeats and nice, long delay times (also up to 2,000 milliseconds). The Analog setting produces less-pristine, more old-school repeats, while those on the Tape Echo setting are also low-fi and add a bit of pitch variance designed to emulate the mechanics of a tape echo machine and the flutter of tape. This setting sheds low-end response and high-end fidelity gradually with every repeat – just like a true tape echo. The Multi-Tap setting offers up a cool rhythmic delay, while the Mod Delay setting is a straight digital delay with modulation on the repeats – very spacious sounding, especially in stereo.
Without a dedicated blend control to mix the dry-to-wet signal blend, the Reverse Delay setting isn’t as cool as it might have been if the pedal let you dial in a 100 percent wet mix to get a true “backward” sound. But all delay settings on this box are fairly transparent from a tone standpoint, so they don’t alter the overall tone of the guitar or amp. Plus, they’re very quiet.
While testing the EH-1, we started with our amps running in stereo and using both outputs, so delay repeats bounced between the amps. Switching to mono (and using either output separately) and plugged into Output 1, the bypass switch killed the delay repeat almost the instant the note was played, while Output 2 allowed the delay repeats to spill over and fade naturally after we hit the bypass switch.
The RG-1 Regenerator has two chorus settings, both of which have a thick, lush sound that didn’t change the overall tone of the guitar or amp with unwanted lows or mids. Instead, it simply created a spacious, transparent, stereo chorus sound. The Multi Chorus setting has a bit more character and pitch shift, while the Vintage setting is more subtle, while the Vintage Flange gives classic hollow jet-aircraft flange sounds with a layer of chorus/flange mix. It does add low-end response that can be easily compensated for by tweaking the amp’s EQ. The Phaser setting sounds good, as well – nice and thick – but additional phase settings would be a plus, perhaps with a waveform other than the stepped phaser…
The Vintage Vibe setting, on the other hand, was very usable and did a good job replicating a Uni-Vibe, with a deep rotary swirl and fair amount of pitch shift. It may not quite as “liquid” as the original, but it is convincing.
The RF-1 produces six high-quality reverb tones, each with its own voicing. The Hall, Plate, and Room settings feature complex reflections and traditional digital sounds, from cavernous halls to snappy rooms and clean, round plate reverbs. The Spring (1 and 2) settings do a good job of replicating short- and long-tank spring reverbs, with rich decay and splashy highs, and to our ears was the most guitar-friendly sound, adding nice ambience without getting in the way. The Reverse reverb offered up a cool reverse-gated reverb setting that emulated a backtracking/reverse-tape sound. It’s hard to imagine being unable to find an agreeable reverb sound with the RF-1.
All three Marshall pedals are high-quality, ultra-quiet effects with tons of variation, in a small, easy-to-use package. – Phil Feser
This article originally appeared in VG‘s November 2006 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.
Marshall EH-1 Echohead
Marshall RG-1 Regenerator
Marshall RF-1 Reflector