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The straight ahead echo. It’s simple, it’s ambient, it’s essential.
“Lushy mellow hero. Not so dull and sterile, if a little feral.” – Jess
Spoiled by the various tube driven echo units we have around the shop, we wanted the Montavillian Echo to sound and feel just as BIG! So we went all out on the audio path on this thing… We took painstaking efforts to make the dry signal sound and feel better when on than with the pedal bypassed. The Montavillian Echo utilizes the PT2399 chip, one of the more common delay chips used in modern delays, however, rather than slavishly following the datasheet, we threw it out and ventured out on our own, using our ears to guide us, and what we achieved is a fantastic sounding delay, with a slew of sounds in a small, easy to use footprint. It has great headroom and stacking abilities, often short comings of echo pedals. We’ve run the Montavillian into all of our amps clean and cranked (Hiwatt, AC30, 5E3, Super Reverb, Blues Jr. etc.) we’ve also stacked it before our dirt pedals. We’ve even slammed it with numerous fuzzes and overdrives. The Montavillian handles it all with no effort. Should you need even more headroom the Montavillian can be run at 18V.
The Montavillian is a no-frills delay with a dry audiopath designed to not mess with the tone of pedals in front of it. Ever have a great fuzz or overdriven tone that became harsh and thin when you engage an echo pedal situated downstream on your pedalboard? This pedal was designed fatten, not thin out your signal!
This is an echo pedal right? So lets talk about what makes the echo parts of the Montavillian so unique. But first some backstory, In order to reduce clock and anti-aliasing noise, nearly all bucket-brigade (BBD) delays use a compander, a device originally designed to reduce noise over old telephone systems. Companders reduce the dynamic range of what goes into them and tries to expand the signal downstream. The problem is that many companded echos have unattractive repeats, which sorta bubble, chirp, and become messy as the repeats become quieter… The effect ruins the illusion of SPACE and ambience. The Montavillian has no companding, therefore the echos trail off almost forever over the horizon, disappearing into the ether rather than crash landing back to earth. The resulting echos function to provide a sonic soup, a bed of ambience to play over. The illusion of depth of field, space and size that the Montavillian provides, makes it one of the few stompboxes that comes close to.
Time knob ranges from 60ms to just about 600ms.
Cut knob allows you to adjust your echoes to sit perfectly in the mix.
Don’t be fooled by the simple 4 knob arrangement. Each knob has a great amount of range, making this seemingly simple delay very versatile.
- The TIME knob allows for a wide range of delay times, ranging from around 60ms all the way up to over 600ms max time.
- The CUT knob’s function is to sweep from about 400Hz to about 1500Hz, lowpass filter… When the knee sweeps to the high side it gives a nice little bump in the mids right before the subtle fall off. Tuning this knob allows you to sweep from old school BBD dark filtering to a clear repeat. It gives you the power to adjust your echoes so that they sit in the mix perfectly against your dry signal. This control also functions to EQ the tonality of self-oscillations.
- The MIX knob is traditional in the way it mixes into your dry path the amount of echo. What is not traditional the amount of boost it permits you to add… So many echo pedals out there you can hardly tune the repeat to unity with the gain. This is not at all the case with the Montavillian Echo! You can make your repeats much louder than the dry signal. This comes in really handy for short repeats for a dramatic doubling effect as well as self oscillation freakouts.
- The REPEATS knob feeds signal from the output of the delay line to the input. This control allows for a single repeat all the way to self oscillation.
Read the manual