May 30, 2013

At $279, Diamond’s Memory Lane Jr. is more attainable by most guitarists than its $600 analog big brother, Memory Lane 2. And yet the Memory Lane Jr. has similar features, twice the delay time and it can run off a 9-volt battery.

The big difference is that the Memory Lane 2 is all-analog, so you get that great vintage warmth. If you’ve got the means, you’d better move fast, though: Diamond’s mine of NOS Panasonic MN3005 chips is running out, and with it goes the 2.

Memory Lane Jr. is the practical choice then, but is it as good? That depends how you feel about digital technology. Memory Lane Jr. digitally records up to 1.2 schumtz-free seconds, whereas Memory Lane 2’s analog chip maxes out at half that. Don’t worry, though: That crystal-clear digital recording gets the all-analog treatment at the processing stage, preserving that intangible warmth so obsessed over by analog purists.

Memory Lane Jr. has some neat features: a tap-tempo footswitch doubles the delay time if you hold it down for a couple of seconds; and its modulation mode makes for some cool whale noises at its highest setting and an almost chorus-like effect everywhere else. A sprung switch subdivides repeats into dotted eighth notes and eighth note triplets, and because it doesn’t click on and off, it’s possible to change modes on the fly with a well-aimed toe. Inside the unit, tiny little switches allow you to select true or buffered bypass, buffered bypass and “kill dry” mode, which outputs only the delays and not the original signal.

To answer the question then, yes it is good. Memory Lane Jr. doesn’t do anything too exciting or outlandish, but if you’re looking for an intelligently designed boutique delay on a working man’s budget, Memory Lane Jr. is a class act for the masses. – Howard Stock

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