Diamond Memory Lane Jr vs Way Huge Supa Puss vs MXR Carbon Copy: my impressions

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by lux_interior, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. lux_interior

    lux_interior Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Somewhere between heaven and hell
    As promised to a fellow TGPer, a few days ago I tried the Diamond Memory Lane Jr, the Way Huge Supa Puss and the MXR Carbon Copy side by side, and this is a thread including my impressions on that comparison. I was planning to include the Deluxe Memory Man 550 as well to have a comparison on 3 tap tempo analog (or analog-ish) delays, but the store didn’t have it in stock at the moment, so I put the Carbon Copy in its place and I’ll refer to my memory of what the 550 sounds like, although it will obviously not be as accurate and useful as having all of them side by side.

    I used a brand new American Standard Strat on a Hot Rod Deluxe 3. I will omit the specs and prices of the pedals since most of you are familiar with them (and are easily available online), and I will focus on their sound and ease of use.

    The Memory Lane Jr was exactly as I expected it to be: very lush, very analog and very natural sounding. It’s impressive to see how far the whole analog-digital hybrid concept has come. It also has a very wide range of sweet spots, giving excellent results for any tone: rich slapbacks, a gentle “tail” behind leads, big soundscapes, moderate reverb-y room filling sounds are all there & easily dialed on the fly within seconds, without spending hours getting deep into menus and submenus. As I wrote on the other thread, it's rare to find easy-to-use delays with a very simple interface that doesn't drag you very deep, with a rich sound and with a huge sweet spot that makes it sound good at almost all knob placements. Their ranges and behaviour seem to be adjusted to perfection. The modulation is also excellent: on one hand it doesn’t get "seasick" leslie-like and the Deluxe Memory Man’s vibrato isn’t there, but it’s tuned to complement the delay instead of overpowering it or making it sound cheesy.

    Two drawbacks: (1) due to its character, its repeats are not percussive enough for tap tempo purposes. You can play of course shorter notes and allow the repeats to ring between note intervals, but that doesn't seem to be the main purpose of the pedal. You can make them more audible at a very high dry/wet mix ratio (around 2-3 o’clock), but the introduced wet signal has already made things very reverb-y, and that might not work for you. (2) There is a noise floor that's sometimes quite audible when the repeats are heard, especially at higher wet settings. At least when the repeats stop, that noise floor disappears. I am guessing this is the nature of the beast since the pedal was designed to mimic the behavior of its analog brothers (the Diamond Memory Lane 1 & 2) with analog components, and for me this is perfectly fine and not annoying at all as I’m a huge fan of bucket brigade delays, but like before this might not work for some people.

    The Supa Puss is clearly tuned to be much brighter. It sounds thinner and not anywhere near as lush as the Memory Lane Jr. On paper the specs seem impressive, and they work just fine (the interface is very straightforward and the main knobs are big enough to allow small fine-tuning), but when you get to its actual sound, its character can be a bit polarizing. It’s obviously great for people that like gritty and slightly noisy delays like for example the Caroline Kilobyte, but it seems rather limited in this regard. On the other hand it works great for people that want their tap-tempo-ed repeats to be audible. It can get a bit cleaner and warmer by using the tone knob, but its range is rather limited over the core sound – if you don’t like it, it won’t really correct things much for you. The modulation is nice and helps to get complex modulation sounds and the occasional “seasick” experimental tones. With the help of the gain knob the repeats can sound a bit fuller, but then oscillation comes quickly and the gritty, noisy character of the pedal again becomes more pronounced.

    The best option for someone who wants audible, bright-ish yet warm tap-tempo analog repeats with an ethereal modulation would be the Deluxe Memory Man 550 (or the 1100, but only if you want longer times). However, even that falls a bit short of the Memory Lane Jr in terms of pure tone, at least to my ears. The 550 does have better definition in its modulation and its repeats, though. Its character is a bit more neutral, and that might work better in some dark, bassy setups where delays need to stay clear. But I always had the impression that it somehow sounds a bit too perfect (especially the 1100!), with a tone that can be easily reproduced by many digital rivals. I've written more about it in a previous thread (if you can't find it, post a reply and ask for the link - I will search for it).

    The Carbon Copy sounds… good. Just good. Some would call it mediocre. It’s dark, a bit darker than other analog delays. It has a good range of sweet spots, but once you find them you somehow don’t consider them to be very interesting if you have experience with a variety of other delays. Definition in the repeats doesn't seem to be its strong suit. It's not able to find the great - and fine - balance between being not too bright and not too dark while maintaining its rich, complex sound. To me, that fine balance is what truly makes a great analog delay (ironically enough the Mem. Lane Jr isn’t analog, but in my opinion it finds that tonal balance with impressive ease). At least the Carbon Copy seems OK for a set-and-forget always-on setting for people who don't want to fuss too much with the fine details of a delay, and simply want it to sound good right out of the box, with a minimum adjustment. But since it's the darkest of all of the delays mentioned here, I can easily see why that will not work for some people, myself included.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  2. JB6464

    JB6464 Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Run the CC at 18v and it will brighten the unit up.
    It will also make the repeats slightly stronger.

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