Strymon Deco

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No effects pedal has managed to pack in all the juicy sonic goodness and delicious mayhem of dual tape machines — until now!

In the five years since they launched, Strymon have turned out a steady stream of high-end digital modulation and delay pedals that have completely won over the normally analogue-obsessed hordes of guitar pedal cognoscenti. They’ve achieved this through a combination of ingenious design, great sounds and a commitment to thoroughly engineered hardware, featuring SHARC DSP chips, 32-bit floating-point processing and 24-bit/96kHz A-D/D-A converters, all sandwiched between high-quality analogue input and output stages.

Another reason for their success is the fact that Strymon pedals, such as the one on review here, the Deco tape simulator, both look and feel completely analogue. There are no menus and displays, just knobs and switches that behave like knobs and switches, even if they in fact conceal some pretty deep functionality.

The Deco is unlike any other guitar pedal I’ve encountered in that it sets out to capture the kind of fun that can be had with a pair of reel-to-reel tape machines, from fattening tape saturation to the flanging, double-tracking and tape echo effects developed and used by studio engineers in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. This pedal doesn’t just promise to put a range of studio-only effects (and complex ones to set up at that) conveniently at the feet of guitarists — Strymon have also built in a ‘studio mode’, allowing the Deco to interface with a synth or recording gear at the appropriate levels.