Guitar - Fender Stratocaster, with D Allen Voodoo 69 neck and middle pickups and Seymour Duncan SSL5 bridge pickup
Amp - Reeves Custom 50, Laney LT212 cabinet with Celestion V30 speakers
Mic - Shure SM57
Delay and echo is as synonymous with David Gilmour, as his Black Strat and Hiwatts. It’s the one effect that really defines his tone and sound and if you can only have one pedal, it should probably be a delay. Vick Audio’s most recent creation is the Hypocenter Delay. Here’s my review.
Vick Audio should be known to most of you. They’ve created some of my favourite effects over the last few years, including the ’73 Ram’s Head, Overdriver and the Tree of Life. The latter is my go-to overdrive over any.
What I’ve always liked about Mike’s pedals is the simplicity and no-frills attitude. Most of the pedals are based on well known classics, with a few welcomed improvements and everything is done with a great knowledge and understanding of tone.
The Hypocenter Delay follows in that same tradition and philosophy. It is digital, based on the PT2399 chip, but it sounds convincingly analog, with dark musical repeats and a very low noise distortion.
The pedal is housed in a T-Rex-ish chassis, with controls for volume, delay, mix and repeats.
The volume controls both the input gain and delay volume. The delay controls the time, ranging from 25ms to 450ms. Not the longest delays but enough to cover anything from slap-back to classic tape and analog echo. The lowest settings also creates a nice doubling effect, similar to some of the new double tracker pedals that have emerged lately.
The mix controls the blend between dry and wet signal and the repeats control, controls the number of repeats from a single repeat to fairly moderate self-oscillation.
The Hypocenter Delay runs on 9V Boss-style adapter and feature true bypass switching.
I must admit that I haven’t been too keen on analog delays up until recently. I preferred those pristine repeats and the accuracy you get with digital. But, over the last couple of albums that I’ve recorded, I tend to use echo and analog voiced delays more and more.
Of course it depends on how you’ll be using delays, but in many cases, I find analog and those dark reverb-like repeats to be more musical and they blend better with a distorted guitar signal.
The Hypocenter has quite dark repeats, similar to the MXR Carbon Copy, and some might find this to be just a bit too dark, but compared to the Carbon and similar pedals, the Hypocenter seems to have more space or room. The repeats creates a nice and lush atmosphere, reminiscent of the Binson.
What I also like about it, is the fact that you can use the volume control to boost the overall signal into the amp and really crank everything for some wild ethereal echo sounds. In fact, when I did this review, I got such a cool tone doing that and I used it to record a solo for a project that I’m working on.
I would have loved to have some modulation built in. It’s not a huge draw back but I think analog echo, or the simulation of it, often sound more natural when you can add just a hint of warble or flutter.
The Hypocenter Delay is a beautiful sounding echo pedal capable of reproducing those classic tones of the 70s Gilmour, including the reverb-like soundscapes of the Binson. For a modest $139, this should be a great alternative for most budgets.