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Death By Audio's new Speed Tripper pedal sounds like “listening to the Rolling Stones through a kaleidoscope on acid”

Death By Audio Speed Tripper
(Image credit: Death By Audio)

NYC effects specialists Death By Audio has teamed up with Austin, Texas psychedelic festival Levitation on another outré stompbox, the Speed Tripper Feedback Phasing Delay pedal.

As you might have gathered by the name of the pedal and the parties behind it's design, the Speed Tripper is not a common or garden delay pedal. And while all effects pedals should not be used while driving an automobile, that advice would seem particularly relevant with regards a pedal that looks to send you through the wormhole.

The Speed Tripper was created by accident, though as Death By Audio's founder and circuit designer Oliver Ackermann tells it, it sounds more like a dare than accident, as he wondered out loud what kinds of crazy sounds could be created if a phaser could be placed in the middle of a delay's feedback loop.

“So just to prove ourselves wrong, I programmed one up and we were flabbergasted,” said Ackermann, who described the sounds generated by this unorthodox circuit as being “like listening to the Rolling Stones through a kaleidoscope on acid.”

This, of course, is kind of the point of Levitation Festival. Running from 28-31 Oct, the 2021 line-up includes bands such as Crumb, Chicano Batman and The Black Angels, with whom Death By Audio and Levitation collaborated with on the 2019 design of the Phosphene Scream echo/reverberation pedal – again, not a garden variety reverb pedal.

Back to the Speed Tripper and we've got four dials controlling Delay Time, Feedback, Intensity, and Tripper Speed. Delay times are demarcated on the side of the dial. Set fully counterclockwise, the Feedback control delivers a single repeat, and at the other extreme it can be set to self-oscillate – which is definitely what you want from a pedal like this. Well, at least to have it on the menu.

The Tripper Speed and Intensity bring that optical phaser into play and start warbling things and messing with the sound. While the original prototype's delay chip proved too hard to source, Ackermann says the all-analogue components used to create the finished product made it “gooier, goopier, slinkier, stinkier, and more magnificent than a double rainbow".

If you want that on your pedalboard, you'd best be fast. Only 666 of these are being made. They take 9V DC power, have an internal trim pot for Mix, and have top-mounted jacks to save you space. See Death By Audio for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.