TC Electronics Nova Delay

Discussion in 'Effects' started by smitty_p, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    This will be the first of several, on-going installments of my impressions of the TC Electronics ND-1 Nova Delay.

    First, let me say, this is not a quick, "put it on my board and quickly tweak some knobs" pedal. You will need to read the manual. This pedal does a lot and to really get good use out of it, the manual is a must.

    Second, I could describe everything the pedal does, but the manual already does a pretty good job of that, so I've linked to the manual here:

    http://www.tcelectronic.com/media/217840/tc_electronic_nd-1_nova_delay_manual_english.pdf

    As a bit of background, I had been on the hunt for a digital delay for some time. My criteria were as follows:

    1. I needed tap-tempo.
    2. A rackmount unit would not really be ideal. A compact pedal would be better, for my purposes.
    3. I need to be able to specify subdivisions, i.e., quarter, dotted-eighth, triplet, etc.
    4. While not critical, I wanted the ability to store presets.
    5. I wanted delay spillover
    6. I needed reliability
    7. Above all, it needed to sound good!

    I had looked at the Boss DD-20, and the Boss DD-7. The Boss DD-7 had the drawback of not storing presets. The Boss DD-20 would have worked but it is larger than the ND-1. That would not have been a show stopper, but would have required more reworking of my pedal board.

    I went through many, many reviews to get ideas. Personally testing all of these was not really an option. In addition to this forum, I also read reviews on Harmony Central, Ultimate Guitar, the Telecaster forum (tdpri), the Gear Page, and Youtube videos.

    What pushed me to this one? Well, I like the size and TC electronics publishes real specs. This has 24 bit depth and 128x oversampling on both its analog-to-digital conversion and its digital-to-analog conversion. I could find no similar specs for the Boss units. What these specs essentially tell you is that this pedal provides real, studio-quality processing. Also, its feature set met everything I needed.

    The Boss units were generally described as warmer, and the ND-1 as crisper. I already have the lo-fi, warm analog territory covered with my Electro-Harmonics Memory Boy, so the ND-1 seemed more to my needs.

    My first impressions are very good. The unit is heavier than it looks and has a powder-coated, metal case. Photos almost make it look like its plastic, but its metal.

    The delays really work nicely. With the feedback knob all the way down, you'll still get one delay repeat. You have to have the unit in bypass to get no repeats. The repeats seem very precise.

    The unit has six subdivisions: quarter, dotted-eighth, eighth note triplet, quarter + dotted-eighth, quarter + eighth note triplet, and sixteenth + dotted-eighth. These last three are called, "Dual Delays," and are unique in that the unit will produce TWO sets of repeats. If you run the unit in stereo, one subdivision will go to the left channel and the other subdivision will go out the right channel. If you run in mono, the delays will both go out the left. If, for example, you are using a quarter + dotted-eighth and you hit the string one time, you'll get a repeat at the dotted-eighth time followed a sixteenth later by another repeat at the quarter note. It's pretty cool. Incidentally, the quarter + dotted-eighth works pretty nicely for U2, ala, "Where the Streets Have No Name."

    These subdivisions work for me very well. I have never needed one that isn't covered.

    The bypass tone was very important to me. I wanted a minimum of coloring of the music when I had the pedal in bypass. I was pleased here, too. When I was testing it, I had my guitar plugged into the pedal, and the pedal was plugged into my amp. I played a while in bypass, then swapped cables to go straight into the amp. If there was any difference, it was subtle enough that in the time it took me to swap cables it didn't stand out.

    As I do more with this pedal, I'll post more updates to this review.

    Now, I gotta get that thing mounted to my pedal board...
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
    flyswatter, thinkgreen and Dreamscape like this.
  2. thinkgreen

    thinkgreen Active Member

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    A very good report, it certianly got a lot of potential. And sounds like your smitten with it. I like tc electronics stuff, they seem to have pedals that cater for everyone and their bigets. Well done on your purchase and I look forward to how you get on with it
     
  3. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I figure I'll show the installation process and add a few comments.

    ...and since we need pics, or it didn't happen, I've added a few!

    One thing to know about this pedal is that it is a 12 volt DC pedal and uses no batteries. The research I did suggests that it will work off 9 volts DC. An acoustic guitar player friend of mine uses a Nova Delay and runs it off a 1Spot 9 volt supply, and it seems to work okay. However, I'm usually a bit leery of running digital equipment at less voltage than is specified by the manufacturer, so I can't recommend using 9 volts.

    This is where the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus power supply is nice. The Voodoo Lab power supply has a DIP switch on the bottom. Outputs 5 and 6 can be switched to supply 12 volts instead of 9 volts. However, the Voodoo Lab power supply also has a 120 volt, 200 watt courtesy AC outlet.

    So, to keep from using up a DC output on my Voodoo Lab power supply, and because I prefer to use manufacturer-specified ratings, I elected to plug the supplied TC Electronics power supply into the AC outlet on the Voodoo Lab unit as shown below:

    [​IMG]

    This next shot just shows the power supply lead coming back up through my board into the pedal. It also provides a rear shot of the pedal.

    [​IMG]

    This is a shot of the pedal all plugged in and powered up. The "136.9" readout you see on the pedal is the tempo I tapped in. The tap-tempo light just above the tap-tempo switch flashes in time with the beat you tap in so you actually have a visual indication of the beat frequency. You don't see it here simply because I took the picture between flashes.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, here's my rig after all was said and done and after I played it for a bit.

    Pardon the cables...

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, I continue to be pleased with the pedal. I'll post more updates as I play with it more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  4. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    I 'spose I'll post an update since I've been using this pedal for quite awhile.

    I continue to love it. It works very well in an effects loop.

    As for my routine usage, I've got about four presets that I use almost exclusively, and they work quite well for me.

    One cool thing I've recently begun doing is using reverse delay. It takes a bit to get used to doing reverse delay, but this pedal does it well.

    As for performance, I can't fault the pedal. The only item which could be perceived as a negative is the fact that it does so much and you can forget how to make it do certain things. I downloaded the manual to my phone, so I always have it available, if necessary. Honestly, though, this is not a real operational issue, but can make it more complicated than simple analog pedals.
     

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