When Empress Effects asked me if I would like to review their Vintage Modified Superdelay I jumped at the chance, not only does it have great looks with classic styling it is packed to the hilt with features including the ability to save up to 8 presets, something I am missing on the two delay pedals I own. The Vintage Modified Superdelay is based off the original Empress Superdelay with a revamped tape mode which Empress describe as “more of the compression, grit, and saturation heard in tape echos” and I have to say for a digital delay it does do a very good interpretation of an analog tape delay. In order to tailor the delay sound to your liking Empress have included filter and modulation controls so you can switch on a low or high pass filter and add either slow or fast modulation, I found the slow modulation and low pass filter really added to the tape echo modes to create a nice analog sound.
As you can see above in my demo I recorded a comprehensive run through of the features of this pedal showing the different modes and sub-modes. You have everything from basic digital delay settings to the very cool rhythm delay mode and reverse mode which is capable of that old Eventide style delay that Steve Vai used on Passion & Warfare. The pedal has a tap tempo switch which is an invaluable feature when using this pedal in a live situation to lock in the delay with the drummer and it also has a basic looper too, because I was demonstrating this pedal on a table rather than using my foot to control it I obviously had trouble getting the pedal to loop in time just in case you were wondering.
The pedal is really solid and quite large, about double of a standard boss sized stomp box. The pedal comes with it’s own power supply and accepts 9-12v but for some reason my Sanyo Pedal Juice wouldn’t work. The controls are all super smooth as with all Empress pedals so it is really easy to fine tune your settings and then easy to save as a preset by clicking through to the preset position you wish to use indicated by LED’s under the control knobs and then holding the save button while clicking the Presets button. When using presets be aware that you only have a single preset switch (up) so you have to cycle through them all to get back to the beginning, for instance if you only have 4 presets saved you still have to click through 5-8 to get back to one. Empress suggests that in this case you could duplicate your 1-4 settings as presets saved into 5-8 so at least you can cycle in 4′s. Having and up and a down switch would really complicate this pedal too much so I understand why Empress would choose this option.
As you can hear in my demo the pedal sounds great, my setup was simply my Suhr S4 into the Empress Superdelay and finally into the front of my Blackstar HT100 Clean Channel. This pedal really does cover all ground so the name of the product is really quite fitting, it is a Swiss Army Knife delay stomp box capable of modern and classic delay sounds so it is perfect for both studio and live use.
For more info check out the Empress Website.