Friday, 28 January 2011

Catalinbread Montavillian Echo

The price range of 100-200€ in delay pedals isn't very populated. There is MXR Carbon Copy and then... well, this Montavillian Echo. I'm not a tech geek so I guess this one is actually a digital delay, but it's trying to act like an analog delay. A cheaper example of delays like this is Carl Martin Red Repeat (which by the way was my delay pedal before I got this one).

Catalinbread as a company should improve their web page. I guess they are located in US and they hand make pedals. That makes the price of Montavillian a bit of a mystery because it was "only" 160€. Most boutique delay pedals are twice as much. Maybe the digital vs. analog is the reason.

Montavillian is actually a good, if not great, delay pedal. Both Mix and Cut knobs have their neutral position in noon. After that Mix will start to amplify the repeat, in fact you can add a ridiculous amount of volume in the delay. In low position Cut will add high end to the repeat, making it more like a digital delay and when adjusted more it will make the repeat muddy, just like in analog delays. These two knobs make this delay pedal really versatile.

Montavillian self oscillates really easily, but I think there is a reason for that, and when you make repeats muddier with Cut and/or decrease the Mix it will make possible to tune more repeats without self oscillating.

Repeat speed goes from 60 to 600ms. You can also run the pedal with 18V power. It should increase the headroom and make the pedal even more spacious.

I can't really think anything bad about this delay. It sounds very good to me and you can surely tune some long space delays. With some settings you can almost get weird synth like sounds. The lack of tap tempo can be a missing feature for some people. What also was missing was the manual. I think it's against the EU regulations to sell products without a manual, but it's not that bad. In this price range Montavillian is a serious competitor.