[Originally published in the August 2014 issue of Bulldozer Magazine]
Back in the ‘90s, I went to a Good Guy’s Electronics store. I was looking for a new record player as my old one had broken. I couldn’t find any, so I asked the salesman for help. “You want a what?” We found a floor model and it was literally the last record player they had. I tried to explain that some people still listened to records. If I didn’t have a record player, how could I listen to “Welcome to my Bone Yard” by Impetigo over and over? The salesman didn’t care. He thought I was an idiot for wanting to hold onto my vinyl. I thought he was an idiot for never having known the majesty of Ultimo Mondo Cannibale.
Believe it or not, there was a time when you had to explain what a vinyl record was at a show. “Are you guys selling calendars or something?” No, little one, this gigantic thing plays music. But now records are back. I watched as they climbed back into the awareness of folks’ minds as a collectible item while the ubiquity of iPods and digital files collapsed the music industry into a whimpering baby without its binky.
The holy grail of sound seems to be analog. Why? Because it holds more clarity? Hardly. Because it more accurately captures sound? Nope. Is it because your brain wants to hear all those pops, muddiness, and fizzles? Precisely. Effects are kinda the same. Though diligent programmers have been able to model digital delay and echo in every conceivable form with astronomically long delay times, there is still a demand for the old, limited use, barely functional analog delay effects for making music. Just look at eBay. The prices are high for what is ostensibly outdated technology. And what can I say, I’m one of those jerks who totally goes for it.
The DOD FX90 analog delay is not one of those delays one would call coveted, as it sells used for fairly cheap… why? I’m not sure. I like the delay sound on it. With some coaxing, it will run away and self-oscillate with the best of them. Likely, it’s not that coveted because there are many available. In the after-market for discontinued effects, if it’s rare, it must be AMAZING!
The actual circuit creates makes for a pleasing, warm and dark analog delay, but the construction of the pedal itself is sub-par. I scored a couple for cheap. That is to say, I found them left behind in our jam space and no one claimed them. They didn’t work, so I set out to get ’em going again.