Hunter H. Keegan
Essays, news, etc.
(AUDIO CLIPS INCLUDED AT BOTTOM)
Malekko is a small/medium sized guitar pedal / synth company that I've always had a weird interest with because of their small, simple to use pedals and the fact that their name is really fun to say.
I have been looking for a secondary delay (guitar pedal that makes echo sound effects) to back up my Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man 1100tt (often abbreviated as DMM1100TT) because I run a relatively complicated stereo setup that really warrants its own entry on here... and perhaps one day I will post that write-up.
But anyway I had been using a Boss DD-3 Digital Delay as the "secondary delay" and it was just way, way, too bright sounding -- especially through my Mesa Lone Star Special which is a very bright sounding amp to begin with. Don't get me wrong -- The DD-3 is an awesome delay, I used it extensively on some of my recent tracks including the songs, "Dark Little Eyes" and "Heart" but it was just too "chirpy," and uniform.
Enter: Two months of me experimenting with different mid-range delay pedals at guitar shops trying to find something that I liked. The obvious choices were the MXR Carbon Copy (which I ended up disliking due to it sounding "flat" and the modulation setting sound ... ahem... awful), and the Boss DM-2w ... I also tried a vintage Boss DM-2. Both versions of the DM-2 sounded great BUT they did not have any modulation (i.e. making the echos "warble" and slightly bend in pitch) function which was a big deal breaker.
I was looking for something that would sound good, suit my needs, and not break the bank. Delay pedals are particularly expensive pieces of gear, higher-end ones range anywhere from $300 - $1000+
Long story short -- I ultimately went with a used Malekko Ekko 616 Mk. II. This was kind of a shot in the dark as I wasn't able to personally demo one before purchasing it, but I'd read good reviews and one of the YouTube demos I watched featured it being used on a cover of "Holiday In Cambodia" by Dead Kennedys in a very authentic sounding way which pretty much sold me (Also I was able to find one online for like 50% cheaper than they normally go for which is always nice).
The Malekko Ekko 616 is an analog delay -- Analog delays are characterized by being warmer, and more "organic" / "lush" than traditional digital delays. They also exhibit something called "decay" which basically beans each echo gets progressively dirtier / darker / slightly distorted than the previous echo... which is very cool sounding. It has about 650ms of delay time, which I personally find to be more than enough for most applications.
Important Note: Just so I don't get murdered by fellow gear nerds, modern high-end digital delay units have gotten to the point where they can virtually perfectly mimic analog delay tones -- but fuck that fake shit. Also I'm not paying $300-$600 for a Strymon digital delay with a ton of hidden features that are a pain to dial in blah blah blah.
Back on track: The Malekko Ekko 616 reminds me a lot of the Boss DM-2 however it features toggle-able modulation, a toggle-able bypass function, and a lower profile design. I believe they are out of production, but they can readily be found on the used market. There is also a "Dark" variant and a "Lo-Fi" variant of the 616. It sounds great.
Below are some clips I recorded using a small handheld digital recorder that I use for recording jam sessions (Zoom H1n). I was using my Fender American Pro Strat (SSS) through a Mesa Lone Star Special. Obligatory apologies for sloppy playing, I was just jamming and not really planning on posting this when I recorded it.
Do you have a favorite delay? Or a delay that surprised you with its sounds? Would you like to see more gear reviews on this page? Comment below and let me know!
(c.) 2020 Hunter H. Keegan