Review: Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Analog Delay Pedal

Digital delay has been around for quite a while, as has realistic digital modeling of vintage analog and tape delays. But as great as those effects are, it’s still hard to beat the inherent musicality of a genuine analog delay.

With the new Vapor Trail Analog Delay, Seymour Duncan has created a true analog delay pedal that combines the best attributes of genuine BBD (bucket brigade device) integrated circuits with modern low-noise analog electronics.

The result is a pedal that delivers the fat, warm tone of genuine analog echo, with crystal-clean signal quality and definition similar to state-of-the-art digital technology.

FEATURES The Vapor Trail is housed in a standard small “bud box”-style enclosure that takes up minimal real estate on a pedal board. It makes the most of its small size by providing three full-size control knobs for mix, repeats, and delay and two small knobs for adjusting the modulation section’s rate and depth settings. The delay control knob is transparent to allow a blue LED mounted beneath it to illuminate in time with the delay setting. In addition to standard mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks mounted on the top vertical panel, the pedal has a side-mounted TRS insert jack with which users can process the wet signal with separate effects, output a wet-only signal to another amp, or even control the wet signal’s mix level with a volume pedal.

The Vapor Trail provides an impressive range of delay times, from 15 to 600 milliseconds, and the mix control can boost wet delays up to 3dB louder than the source signal. It features true-bypass switching and operates on a standard nine-volt battery or with a center negative nine-to-18-volt power supply.

PERFORMANCE While many new analog delay pedals still have a slight amount of hiss in the background, the Vapor Trail is dead quiet. As a result, the delayed signals sound big, rich, and full while they retain the percussive attack and definition usually found only with digital delays. Dialing in a hint of slow modulation produces echo tones with luscious lushness that is always smooth and never turns into indecipherable mush.

The Vapor Trail’s warm but incredibly clean sound is its strongest attribute, but the insert jack comes in a close second. It expands the pedal’s creative potential well beyond that of the average delay effect, allowing guitarists to easily configure a wet-dry setup like many pros use or experiment with unusual processing.

CHEAT SHEET
STREET PRICE $149.95
Manufacturer: Seymour Duncan, seymourduncan.com

Delay times range from 15 to 600 milliseconds, and a blue LED under the transparent delay knob illuminates in time with the delay setting.

A TRS wet insert jack allows guitarists to use external effects to process the wet signal only or set up a wet-dry rig.

THE BOTTOM LINE With its incredibly warm and lush tone, noise-free performance and versatile insert jack, the Vapor Trail packs all the power of a pro rack unit into a compact, affordable stomp box.

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Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.