In a few short years, Oklahoma’s Walrus Audio has forged a reputation for handmade sonic excellence. The pedals in the company’s original range have been universally well received but Walrus Audio is obviously unwilling to sit on its laurels and NAMM 2020 saw the debut of the Mako line – the first of which is the D1 high-fidelity stereo delay.
Aesthetically the D1 is a world away from the original Walrus Audio range. Gone are the whimsical graphics in favour of a stark, industrial design language that clearly means business. It’s beautifully made and bristling with the sort of features more often found in rack-mounted studio hardware.
At the heart of the D1 is a Sharc DSP processor chip and five delay programs: digital, modulated, vintage, dual and reverse. The repeats created by these can be sculpted with the time, repeats, mix and attack knobs, and there’s an additional tweak knob – this offers further versatility via a mini toggle switch which adds modulated, tone and age textures to the echoes.
Any stereo delay pedal at this price-point should be expected to feature a tap-tempo button and accompanying LED. The D1 also features a division switch giving quarter, eighth or dotted eighth repeats. There are also nine internal preset banks which you can cycle through with both foot switches simultaneously. Full MIDI functionality allows even more storage in addition to complete MIDI-based control.
There’s a startling amount of functionality available here – far more than we could hope to cover even in a review of double this length – in fact it’s no exaggeration to say that we are confident the D1 is capable of just about any existing delay texture as well as myriad yet to be discovered.
Dialling in full Edge-style dotted splendour is the work of a moment with the digital voicing, and moving to vintage mode and setting the tweak switch to ‘age’ – adding gentle warm overdrive and high-frequency roll-off to repeats – makes finding expressive John Martyn soundscapes laughably simple.
MVP award has to go to the combination of the tweak and attack knobs, which together open up new and breathtaking sonic spectra. Imagine a crystal-clear digital delay with added warmth and grit, and a smoothed-off attack so each echo blooms gracefully in a wash of miniature swells. Or how about a deep, modulated reverse delay subtly underpinning your acoustic guitar with the mix knob giving your attack all the clarity and bite it could need… with trails? These are just some of the examples of extremely high-quality sounds we pulled from the D1 in the time we spent with it.
As a bonus, the pedal also features stereo ins and outs so keyboard and synth players can join in the fun. While there is a glut of overachieving delay pedals on the market, the Walrus Audio D1 could soon replace many of them in the top-left corner of pedalboards around the world. It’s superb.
- PRICE £279
- DESCRIPTION Stereo delay pedal, made in the USA
- CONTROLS Time, repeats, mix, tweak (plus mini toggle for modulation, tone and age), program (digital, modulated, vintage, dual and reverse modes), attack, A/B/C memory bank selector switch, quarter, eighth and dotted eighth division switch. Bypass and tap footswitches (select presets with both together) with LED indicators
- FEATURES MIDI in/out, stereo in/out with mono option
- DIMENSIONS 67 x 62 x 125mm
- CONTACT face.be, walrusaudio.com
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