Although they have been manufacturing pro spec cables for many years, Japanese based company Providence have more recently become a hugely respected brand for high quality effect pedals and routers. From effects like the Stampede Overdrive SOV-2 through to the PEC-2 routing system, the discerning guitarist has had much to drool over! And as they continue forwards they bring new concepts to the market. For example, with their Delay 80's pedal now discontinued the new Chrono Delay DLY-4 pedal boasts similar aural delights but with several new additions: tap tempo, beat split, memory for two presets and their Vitalizer circuit.
The pedal is sturdily built with a dark pink coloured metal casing, black control dials and two metal foot switches. Certainly, it looks very striking and would draw attention regardless of other pedals you may have on your board.
From left to right the dials are mix (dry/wet), echo Hardness (reduces mid and treble frequencies, replicating the sound of tape delay), feedback (amount of repeats) and time (from 1 to 2700ms). Below the time dial is the beat split dial where rhythmic divisions can be selected from ¼ notes to 16ths and triplets inbetween. It's not a common facility on delay pedals and offers echo types usually found on more expensive rack systems. Certainly, if you're a fan of early U2 with the Edge's reliance on unique echo repeats this will be of considerable interest.
Under the LED display are two smaller switches; BPM/msec offers two different display readings and A/B or TAP are two option settings allocated to the second footswitch. Interestingly, You can save two delay time settings to memory that are selectable via the A/B option. Alternatively, choosing TAP means you set the echo speed yourself via the pedal. If you want both options accessible, an external pedal can be connected for tap tempo work leaving the pedal's switch for your two delay presets. Nice!
Considering their reputation, Providence's sonic excellence is in evidence again here: the direct signal remains in the analogue domain with their unique Vitalizer circuit providing zero degradation at the output.
So how does it sound? In a word, awesome. The echoes sound very musical with the echo hardness dial providing control over the higher frequencies – the higher the setting, the warmer the echoes. Having the tap function was one of the biggest wants with the discontinued Delay 80 so with it added to the DLY-4 flexibility is greatly increased. From Surfer slap back to stadium rock ambient delay, the Chrono Delay marries 'old skool' ease of use with the functional flexibility required by modern guitar players.
Carl Verheyen on the new Chrono Delay
The new Chrono Delay pedal by Providence is the most user-friendly pedal I've come across. They have literally thought of everything.
Back in the 90s, studio guitarists would carry massive charts showing delay times and how they relatedto beats per minute (BPM). This enabled us to sync our delay times to the click track. My chart was laminated in plastic and delivered with my gear to every session I did. The Chrono Delay has a switch to toggle between milliseconds and BPM, and a knob to switch between quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes, dotted eighths. Even dotted half notes for real spacey ambience. To my knowledge it's the first delay pedal with a digital readout, too.
The Chrono Delay retails at 399 euros. For more info visit here.