Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Deluxe: What is it?
The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail was an impressive analogue delay pedal that was first released in 2014, offering 600ms of BBD delay with modulation, but is all but unrecognisable from its successor, the Vapor Trail Deluxe.
It has been upscaled into a dual-footswitch enclosure, with features such as tap tempo, an expression pedal input, and programmable presets to help it standout in an era of intense competition for your pedalboard real estate. The brushed metal and painted logo aesthetic of the original has is gone, with a neat piece of typography printed on dark blue-green, with high-contrast cream plastic dials with silver-faced inserts.
There are controls for Mix, Repeats, Time, Depth/Multi, Rate and Mode. With all this going on it won’t surprise anyone that this is an analogue delay pedal with a digital brain keeping its schedule, laying its clothes out for it in the morning, and making the most of its quartet of BBD chips. Altogether it makes for a much more functional pedal. If you need an analogue pedal to do more, then this is a contender.
The maximum delay time has also been upgraded, with the Deluxe offering up to 1,200ms of delay. Repeats can be set anywhere from one to infinite – i.e. into self-oscillating sounds for your Ed O’Brien-esque ambient freakouts – and you can set the delay time via the tap tempo footswitch. Furthermore, you can set the tap tempo feature to four different subdivisions – quarter note, a dotted eighth, an eighth note or an eighth-note triplet – each selectable via the eight-way Mode rotary switch.
The other four stations on the Mode knob offer micro delay, pitch sequence, runaway and pitch bender delay modes. Like the original, you can add modulation, this time via full-size rate and depth knobs. Once you have found a sound you like, you can save it down to one of three onboard presets.
And the features keep coming. If you have an expression pedal to hand, hook it up and take control of any from the Mix, Repeats, Time, Depth/Multi and Rate parameters. On the top of the unit, there is a Wet/Insert jack with a TRS input with tip-send/ring-return to allow for adding ancillary effects pedals to your wet signal via a Y cable. Why not add a fuzz pedal to those repeats? Why not, indeed… Make a night of it and hook it up to a ring mod. The option is there.
Alternatively, you could simply hook up the Vapor Trail Deluxe to drive a stereo rig. Finally, you can select whether you want trails off or on, allowing those repeats to carry on after you’ve disengaged the effect. It’s a nice option to have, and a blue LED light will flash to let you know if trails are active.
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Deluxe: Performance and verdict
For all of the new features the electric guitar pickups giant has bestowed upon its new-and-expanded delay, the Deluxe is easy enough to get to grips with. Storing and recalling presets is a simple process, with four LEDs letting you know whether you are in preset 1, 2, 3 or Manual mode.
Access the presets mode by holding down on the Bypass footswitch, then cycle through with the Tap Tempo footswitch. If you are in a preset and have adjusted a parameter, the corresponding LED will flash slowly. It won’t take you long to get the hang of it.
• MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe
With bright and dark modes plus modulation, the Deluxe affords you a more versatile range of the now-iconic sounds of the Carbon Copy.
• MXR Carbon Copy
But, if you don't need modulation, presets, or any of that sort of thing, then the industry-standard analogue delay remains the consistently brilliant Carbon Copy.
• Universal Audio UAFX Starlight Echo Station
Need analogue delay but wouldn't mind some studio-quality digital repeats and a ridiculously musical tape echo emulator, the Starlight Echo Station is a top-shelf option. It's not cheap, but still... Incredible.
As with the original Vapor Trail, applying the modulation to the analogue repeats can yield some lovely old-school tape echo loosey-goosey warble, and there’s scope for chorused repeats and more extreme and queasy vibrato sounds.
Players who find digital delay too sterile, the Deluxe might be more to their tastes. When used as an undiluted delay, with no modulation, the repeats are clear but have that three-dimensional quality as they fade.
The tap tempo works as advertised, and with the subdivisions on offer and the doubled maximum delay time, the Deluxe positions itself as a delay for all seasons. But it’s extra modes really do add more options. Micro Delay is ideal for setting short slapback delay times, and for being precise with delays under 300ms – in Micro Delay, that’s the Time knob’s maximum delay time.
The other three modes are more suited to augment your performance. In Runaway, you can hold down the tap tempo footswitch for steady and ever-rising feedback – hello, oscillation – and once you take your foot off the pedal it reverts to wherever the Repeats control is set. It’s a nice tool to have at hand; better still, we’d turn this sort of control over to our expression pedal.
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Deluxe: The web says
“The repeats sound great, possessing a clarity that’s not too far removed from the dry sound but with that analog quality of melting away into the distance, so they sit well with your sound... If you like the sound of analog delay, this pedal is an extremely practical iteration with a full set of features for traditionalists, plus extras for those who might like to add something a little more ‘out there’ to their performance.”
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Deluxe: Hands-on demos
Jay Leonard J
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Deluxe: Specifications
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Analogue delay pedal
- FEATURES: True hard-wire bypass with selectable active-bypass trailing repeats mode, 3 presets, 1200ms max. delay time,
- CONTROLS: Mix, Repeats, Time, Depth/Multi, Rate, Mode, Bypass footswitch, Tap/Hold footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output, Wet/Insert (TRS), expression pedal POWER: 9V-18V adaptor, 150mA minimum (Not supplied)
- DIMENSIONS: 90 (w) x 128 (d) x 55mm (h)
- CONTACT: Seymour Duncan