Malekko Echo 300b Review
A review by GMC Instructor Ivan Milenkovic
Hello everybody, here's a review of my new delay pedal:
Model: Echo 300 Bright
Price: 185$ (february 2010)
This is an analog delay boutique stomp with bucket brigade chip. There are several versions of this effect, and this one has 300ms of delay time, and somewhat brighter delay effect. There is also a dark version, and both versions feature either 300ms or 600ms of delay time, priced accordingly. The 300ms versions are mono, and 600ms ones offer stereo outs (dry/wet separation) and also expression input to control the delay time via external pedal.
The effect has True Bypass/Buffered switch, so you can choose what option works best on your pedalboard. The true bypass gives you more darker tone, while the buffered is excellent for big pedalboards where you need the signal to be amplified a bit. When combining different pedals it is good to experiment with both options to see what suits your tone the best.
The pedal runs on 9V - center plug, and also on battery that is tucked away inside the case. When the adapter cable is plugged in, battery stops working completely. The 3 knobs on the pedal are controls for delay time (0-300), mix of dry/wet (echo), and feedback (excess).
There is internal trim pot for adjusting the gain at the output of the pedal so you match the level of effect with bypassed signal. You can see the picture of the inside bellow, with marked "gain" pot.
Sound of this stomp is very interesting, and I can offer a good video review already made by proguitarshop, you can see it down there for sound reference:
The analog delay effect has a more darker tone than digital one, and it offers warmth that digital delay cannot match. On the other hand, new digital delay units are extremely good, and they are not necessarily bad. It is just a matter of personal preference. In general analog offers tone transparency because the signal isn't going through AD/DA converters. This can also be discussed about since analog pedals can also alter the tone, and newer digital ones don't alter it that much to be noticeable.
Nevertheless, I prefer the darker warmer delay repeats of analog delay, so this pedal was the right choice for my setup. This pedal has pristine clean analog delay sound, it doesn't alter the base signal at all,. It creates warm repeats that enrich the base tone with nice delayed padding effect.
Although this is the "bright" version, it is only named that because there is even darker one. This effect is not bright, and it shouldn't be bright because it will loose analog sweetness. However, the contrast from the first echo and 5th one is a bit lowered down so you get sort of a hi-fi analog delay effect that sounds very natural in the same time.
This stomp doesn't do a define cut through mix on live usage since the repeats are darker, so a digital one may be better if you really want the repeats to be sharp and cut well. If you want a delay that will warm up the tone and give a nice dark padding of echoes than analog may be the right choice. Neither can be said is better, it depends on the preference of the player, but some important things like transparency, features and effect quality and character are very important and they can be compared even between digital and analog pedals.
Echo 300B is packed inside an aluminuim casing with brushed alu knobs, custom paint job that is super cool looking, and a bit smaller in size than usual -but quality made switch. The blue LED diode that lights up when the effects is on comes from the robots head, and the LED is not visible through paint on the front side when switched off, which is a nice design touch. I think the stomp is very reliable, but I wouldn't toss it around like regular boss pedals.
Some comparisons with other devices
I compared this pedal with MXR Carbon Copy, and although that one is very nice, it sounded a bit sterile to me compared to this, and the knobs and switch felt a bit weak on touch. The CC sounded also a bit darker than this. Far from being a bad pedal, the analog delay it delivers is a quality one but simply without any distinct characteristics and with thinner feel to it.
As far as digital delays go, I owned Boss DD3, Boss DD20 and EHX Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai. All where good, and I think DD20 was the best of the bunch, offering most features and decent transparency. The DD3 was in the middle, and SMMH had the worst converters, but it offered some pretty unique shaping features and good (30seconds of) loop time. All 3 digital delays could cut well on gigs, but they lacked that little bit of transparency and warmth.
This nice little stomp is extremely natural sounding delay pedal that has character and offers some nice features not found otherwise in factory models. The boutique price and not being able to test it can turn down some people, but if you like analog delay sound, you cannot make a mistake with this one. It's a real jewel.