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Fishman AFX Mini EchoBack
 
A great-sounding, compact delay pedal made for acoustic-electric instruments.
February 21, 2024
 

Delay is one of the most popular effects used with guitar and other instruments. For acoustic players, it’s often a gateway to effects that expand an instrument’s sound, rather than modify its fundamental voice the way reverb, chorus, or an EQ pedal do. The range of delay options can vary from a short “slapback” similar to reverb to long delays that are more like loops. Delay effects offer vast creative opportunities and, in extreme cases, the effect can almost become an instrument unto itself. Fishman’s recent expansion of its AFX Mini series of pedals includes a delay pedal, the EchoBack, which I take a look at in this video. (Also check out my recent demo of the AFX Mini Chorus, and we’ll be looking at the AcousticComp compressor pedal soon.) 

The AFX Mini EchoBack has the same compact, rugged metal housing as its AFX siblings. Controls include Level, Delay Time, and Repeats, and a small metal switch on the face of the unit allows the selection of Analog, Tape, or Digital delay effects. Like the other AFX Mini pedals, the EchoBack allows for true bypass or buffered switching, and it can be used with Fishman’s innovative Dual Path signal routing with the optional use of TRS connector cables (I demonstrate this feature in the demo of the AFX PocketBlender and AFX EQ). There is no provision for a battery, so power has to come from a standard external nine-volt power supply (not included). A standard metal footswitch not only engages the pedal, it can also be used to set tap-tempo delay time. Besides offering a clean audio path and effect frequencies that are fine-tuned for acoustic instruments, AFX pedals also use a parallel signal path, which is key for keeping your instrument’s tone intact, since the effect gets added to the pickup signal rather than becoming 100 percent of the sound.

I checked out the pedal with my 1994 Taylor 712c and a Fishman PowerTap Earth pickup system, running it into a Fishman Loudbox Micro amp that I recorded directly from the DI output. From the moment I kicked the EchoBack into gear, the pedal sounded great. While some delays are so sophisticated that you need to study the manual to get usable sounds, Fishman focussed on user-friendliness. The differences between the three main modes (Analog, Tape, and Digital) aren’t as profound as they might be on dedicated processors, but there was enough distinction to provide the qualities usually associated with these types of reverb. With the Delay Time and Repeats control, I was able to dial in a variety of sounds, from one that just added a little space to the tone to one that created drastic delay patterns that became the foundation of the sound and spurred me to alter my playing in response. The tap-tempo feature is very useful for creating delay sounds that directly correspond to the tempo of a song, and the EchoBack makes this easy. One fun aspect of the EchoBack is that turning the Delay Time knob changes the pitch in real time, creating sounds that bring to mind some of Bill Frisell’s tone-bending explorations. On the tamer side, I liked that the Level control allows you to fine-tune how much of the delay effect is added to the clean signal. 

Delay pedals exist in a crowded field, and there are more sophisticated pedals than the AFX Mini EchoBack. But for players who value simplicity and tonal integrity, Fishman’s new pedal has great basic delay tones, innovative routing options, and a small footprint. Add an affordable price, and there’s an awful lot to like!

SPECS

Delay pedal. Up to 800 ms of delay time. Single footswitch. Controls for Level, Delay Time, and Repeats. Selector for Analog, Tape, and Digital modes. ¼-inch input and output. 32-bit processing. True-bypass or buffered-bypass operation. Dual-path routing. Aluminum enclosure measuring 1.9 x 3.8 x 1.92 inches. Nine-volt power jack. $119.95 street. Made in China. 

fishman.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com