Review: Akai Chorus and Analog Delay – English summary

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A chorus effect is produced by splitting a signal in two, and then slightly delaying one half (by less than 50 ms) and adding a tad cyclical pitch modulation to it. At the output both the dry and the effected half are summed, resulting in a lush, shimmering effect, which at times may even sound like two instruments playing at once.

The Akai Chorus (current street price in Finland: 69 €) is an old-school analogue effect. This pedal doesn’t use A/D-converters and digital processing, deriving its tones instead from a good old condenser circuit, as well as an analogue LFO. Most anoraks feel that this is the only way to fly when it comes to chorus-pedals, even if an analogue chorus always tends to contain a tiny amount of hiss, not found in modern digital equivalents.

As with all Akai Analog Custom Shop -pedals, the Chorus also features a sturdy steel chassis and true bypass switching.

The Akai-pedals are powered by one 9 V battery or an optional, Boss-compliant power supply.

Akai’s Chorus is quite a versatile little bugger. The Rate-switch offers two different speed ranges for the LFO, and the Speed-knob takes care of fine-tuning the speed. Spread lets you determine the depth of the chorus effect, while the Tone-knob is self-explicable.

Here’s an example of the Spread-knob’s range: Akai Chorus – Spread-knob

I even tried the Akai Chorus on keyboard sounds:

Akai Delay & Chorus – Clavinet

Akai Chorus – Electric piano

I liked the Akai Chorus’ sound very much, and was positively surprised by its low hiss levels.

A stereo output option might have been great, for those of us who use stereo set-ups on stage, but this is the only drawback of the Akai-pedal, in my opinion.

Most of us do it in mono, though, and in such applications the Akai Chorus performs very nicely, indeed.

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The first tapeless delay pedals in the Seventies were based on a chain of capacitors and timed electronic switches. The condensers record the incoming signal, while the switches feed the playback of the delayed signal, as well as passing the signal on to the next capacitor in the chain.

Because the principle behind this type of delay is reminiscent of a bucket brigade of people, working together to put out a blaze, these pedals are called bucket brigade delays.

Akai’s Analog Delay (current street price in Finland: 69 €) is such a vintage-type delay.

The coolest bit about a bucket brigade delay is the sound of the delays, which are always rather lo-fi and slightly dirty, with the fidelity deteriorating further with each repeat. Clean and crisp digital delays didn’t arrive on the scene before the early Eighties.

The mini-switch on the Akai lets you choose between two different delay ranges, with the shorter one (0 – 600 ms) offering slightly crisper tones, and the longer one (0 – 1,200 ms) being a bit greasier.

The shorter delay option is perfect for slapback echoes: Akai Analog Delay – Whispering

The longer option lets you build Brian May -style walls of sound: Akai Analog Delay – guitar wall

On high Repeat-settings – two o’clock or above – the delay starts to feed back on itself, with the delay volume increasing and the sound rushing in on you like an avalanche: Akai Analog Delay – feedback avalanche

What a groovy little pedal! Akai’s Analog Delay gives you the authentic tones of a bucket brigade unit, warts and all. The increasing amounts of hiss on the longest settings are a design feature of a vintage-type delay as this, and not a fault. Something for the true lovers of earthy grime!

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Akai Analog Delay ja Chorus – à la Mr Summers

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Akai Analog Custom Shop -pedals

Finnish Distributor: Studiotec

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Akai Chorus

Street price: 69 €

Pros:

+ price

+ sound

+ sturdy build

+ versatile

Cons:

– mono only

****

Akai Analog Delay

Street price: 69 €

Pros:

+ price

+ sound

+ sturdy build

+ long delay times

****

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