Livingston Studios adds pedals, part 3

Livingston Studios’ delay/reverb pedalboard

In our final part of our series on the new pedalboards at Livingston Studios, we look at possibly the most fun one of all time, the delay/reverb board.

First up is a one-off for these three boards. We’re not the biggest fans of multi-effects units but in this case we make an extreme exception. We’ve always been huge Eventide fans and their H9 Harmonizer multi-effects pedal could be seen as a greatest hits list taken directly from their groundbreaking ModFactor, PitchFactor, TimeFactor and Space pedals. Preloaded with 15 algorithms from those four pedals, the H9 also has two algorithms that are unique: UltraTap and Resonator. All of this processing power is housed in a surprisingly small, modernist-looking white box with an efficient, minimalist feature set. Welcome to the future.

Next up are two opposite sides of the same analogue coin, the wonderfully dirty and much underrated DOD FX90 delay and the wonderfully new take on analogue the Maxon AD-999.

Maxon AD-999 at Livingston StudiosLooking at the AD-999 first, the Maxon is one of the most ambitious and practical analogue delay pedals to come along in a very long time. A few years back the hopes of analogue lovers the world over were dashed when Panasonic closed their BBD production line for good. Rather than giving in to the digital wave, Maxon took the opposite approach and had BBDs manufactured exclusively for them. Each AD-999 comes loaded with eight Maxon MN3107D BBDs for a total of 900ms of pure, rich, organic analogue delay. Standard delay time, delay level and feedback controls combine with wet/dry outputs for a variety of sounds and signal routing options.

DOD FX90 at Livingston StudiosThe DOD however is one of the last great pedals to utilise the famous MN3005 chip. Introduced in mid-1984 as the twelfth DOD FX-series pedal, it was the last FX-series pedal to feature ‘bars’ graphics and the first with three control knobs. Although its circuit was revised some 12 times (up to Revision L), the FX90 always used the revered analogue MN3005 chip, the same chip used in the first version of the Boss DM-2 Delay. We have found that the FX90 can be easily coaxed into wild Radiohead-style self-oscillation. Whats not to love?

Next up is the most in-demand analogue delays ever built. Musicians love it and collectors cherish it. Nothing can compare to the organic sound of analogue delay, and nothing does analogue like the Deluxe Memory Man. Up to 550ms of vibrant echo that rivals tape delay; lush, spatial chorus and haunting vibrato are just a few of the treats in the Memory Man’s wild sonic palette. Utterly wonderful also on a Moog-style synth or for those early U2 tones.

Electro-Harmonix POG at Livingston StudiosAnother unit from Electro-Harmonix is up next. This pedal has been attracting serious attention over the past few years, especially from those of the duo variety such as The Kills and Royal Blood. Back in 2005, Electro-Harmonix unveiled the POG, a polyphonic octave generator that enabled guitarists to conjure everything from the surreal jangle of an 18-string guitar to rich, thick walls of symphonic sound. If you want that bigger than big sound, this is the guy.

Lovetone Doppleganger at Livingston StudiosTwo pedals next from one of our all time favourite brands Lovetone. For those of you who might not have encountered the magnificence of Lovetone before, the chances of which being highly likely due to the short lived nature of the brand, we would really recommend trying to find some of these pedals to experience. They were truly unique in design. On this board we feature a Doppleganger (dual LFO phaser/vibrato) and The Meatball (amazing envelope follower/triggered filter). Both allow control of multiple parameters of the effect through the use of low frequency oscillators (LFOs), expression pedals or control voltage (CV) – features more commonly found in analogue synthesisers and synthesiser modules. This ability to create extremely unusual sounds has made the pedals highly regarded by musicians and producers including Beastie Boys, Metallica, Radiohead, The Edge, Johnny Marr and Alan Moulder. Although neither strictly time-based effects, the versatility of these units, especially in terms of interfacing with other units, compliments our selection of delays wonderfully, creating some totally unique new effect combinations.

Strymon El Capistan at Livingston StudiosLastly is a pedal from a brand that has really caught the attention of many over the past few years, that brand being Strymon and the pedal their magnetic monster that is the El Capistan.

The El Capistan is able to go from the sound of a pristine, studio-quality tape machine to the heavily fluctuating sound of a machine in need of service in a heartbeat, giving the full-bodied sound of fresh tape all the way to the gnarled qualities of worn out tape. All of this without the headaches of tape machine maintenance and repair, it’s simply a must have.

Three pedalboards at Livingston Studio 1