Review: Earthquaker Space Spiral

The Space Spiral ($195.00 street) seems on the surface to be a typical modulated digital delay, but as with many Earthquaker Devices, er, devices, it is something more.

Like their Dispatch Master, the Spiral Delay is designed around what their literature refers to as a “dawn of digital” echo processor. This lo-fi technology gives this unit a more analog murk that sits the delayed signal nicely behind the original. Despite being digital, the sound of the delays are warm and smooth, without any audible aliasing, even when mixed very wet.

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The controls operate as follows:

Time changes the delay length from 30ms to 600ms. In analog delay and tape delay fashion, modifying the length while a signal is still repeating alters the frequency.

Repeats controls the regeneration of the delay signal. The repeats gradually build into self-oscillation at around 3 o’clock, continuing until the control is brought back below the 3 o’clock threshold. I found it easy to maintain infinite oscillation without having it run away completely, though full on it will. One of the cool things about the Space Spiral is that these oscillations continue even when the pedal is in bypass mode, allowing you to do interesting things with turning them on and off.

Mix, as you would expect, blends the delay signal in with the dry.

Depth controls the desired amount of modulation.

Shape morphs the wave shape from a triangle shape to a choppy square shape, as you turn clockwise.

Rate controls the speed of the modulation from slow to fast. Mixing and matching the Rate with the delay time (or a subdivision) created some cool rhythmic effects, especially awesome in square wave mode with the depth set high.

I found the Space Spiral to deliver a wide range of delay effects for such a simple pedal. Fans of the EHX Deluxe Memory Man will find a similarity in the slap sounds, from room-like, to rockabilly, to longer 250ms delays that help extend solo notes. Adding a little modulation and setting a 50/50 mix of dry and delay offers a wealth of chorus and vibrato type sounds in a more pedalboard-friendly package than the EHX effect. Lengthening the delay, and adding modulation with a medium rate, comes very close to the early, warbly sound Frisell used to eke out of his Memory Man. For modern noisemakers, cranking the repeats into oscillation and playing with the Delay, Mix, Depth, Shape, and Rate knobs, turns the Space Spiral into a creative instrument.

If you are looking for a warm sounding, delay with modulation and noise –making capabilities, in a small footprint, the Space Spiral fits the bill.

 

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