The Mattoverse Warble Swell Echo tells you what it’s all about right there in its name. I appreciate this straightforward approach to describing a delay pedal. No special effects, just a delay pedal that chirps and swells. Yet within these simple functions – modulation for the chirp and oscillating feedback for the swell – lie worlds of tones suitable for deep exploration.
The original Warble Swell Echo delivered on the functional promise of its name by offering a delay circuit with controllable modulation and pedal-activated oscillating feedback. Since its release, Mattoverse has refined the waveform feature found on their Inflection Point and Just a Phase pedals, giving these pedals more varied modulation control. By adding this feature to the MkII, they extended its controllability and dosed it with extra goodness.
The Warble Swell Echo MkII’s basic delay parameters are controlled by simple time and repeat controls. Just by playing with the delay without modulation, I was already impressed. Although the delay line is digital, it has a warm vintage voice that reminds me of my favorite BBD delays, like the vintage MXR analog delay or the Moog MF delay. And I knew the Warble Swell and was going to hear myself as soon as I found myself vibrating to Les Paul style tape echo sounds and Neil Young riffs Dead man.
Warble controls add modulation to the delay signal via Speed, Depth and Waveform knobs. Each of these parameters is interactive, so it takes time to understand how they communicate. And some settings are bold while others are subtle. But the Warble Swell’s learning curve isn’t too steep. From the jump, I dug in the high frequency/mid depth settings with the sine waveform, which is a subtle sound, but definitely distinguishes my delayed sound from my dry signal. And even with generous mix settings, I could maintain a crisp, clear tone through the middle of the slightly distorted delay.
On the other hand, I was thrilled when I found the low rate/high depth pitch-bending sounds with the square waveform. This setting pushed me to explore wetter mixes, which reminded me of the distorted vinyl overdubbings I used to listen to in college. Turning the time knob to higher levels – starting around 2 o’clock – causes further signal degradation, taking the warped cassette feel to more joyfully broken extremes.
I knew the Warble Swell and was going to hear myself as soon as I found myself vibrating to tape echo sounds à la Les Paul.
Everything is a swell that swells well
The Mattoverse’s swell functionality is simple and intuitive. Holding down the right momentary footswitch causes the delay repeats to return. And where you set the Swell knob in the center of the pedal determines how quickly that wave of feedback peaks (turning the knob clockwise creates a more gradual feedback time). It’s essentially the same thing you would do with a feedback control on a traditional delay pedal. But with the functionality of the pedal, I found myself working with the feedback effect more often, letting the swell roll over big chords in the open position like rising waves. It’s a simple effect but the kind of thing that opens up possibilities you might not have considered. And with the modulation effects in the mix, it offers plenty of additional surprises.
The Warble Swell Echo MkII adds just enough functionality and weirdness to a basic delay pedal formula to be wild, fun, surprising, and easy to use. Within each control is a wide range of tones and targeted features. In its most basic settings, it’s a warm-voiced, vintage-style delay. But at its extreme, the Warble Swell is an excellent choice for psychedelic excursions or for evoking early tape delay experiences in the studio.
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. Test Pedal Echo MkII Mattovere Warble Swell