Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: Catalinbread Montavillian Echo

The past week or so I have been playing around with this unique little echo pedal. It provides some unique delay tones, runs on 9 and 18 volts and self-oscillates creating some crazy noise, read on to find out more about this delay from Catalinbread.


Input jack and 9-18V DC plug
The Catalinbread is packed neatly into a regular MXR sized enclosure. The finish looks and feels great, really great feeling hardware overall the fit and finish is great. The graphic looks pretty damn cool too, a very aesthetically pleasing pedal. One thing I don't like is the location of the DC jack right next to the input jack, but that's an extremely minor gripe.

The Montavillian has four knobs that all serve an important purpose. The repeat knob controls the number of repeats obviously. The time knob controls the delay time. The mix knob obviously controls the wet/dry mix and the cut knob is a lowpass filter that allows you to darken the tone of the delay or make it bright and clear.
The switching is true bypass and the pedal can be run  9-18 volts, 18 adds extra headroom to help keep the pedal from self-oscillating.

Close shot of all four knobs
How it Sounds

It's kind of hard to describe how a delay sounds, you just need to hear it and don't worry you will. Each knob is pretty interactive in changing the sound the delay, you can get just a little echo or a really spaced out sound. The cut knob can also drastically change the sound making the delay darker turned down or much brighter turned up. Well, enough of me rambling on about this, here's some clips so you can decide for yourself!

Montavillian Delay Long by Mike Fetting

Montavillian Delay Short by Mike Fetting

Catalinbread Montavillian Long Delay Fuzz by Mike Fetting

Catalinbread Montavillian Short Delay Fuzz by Mike Fetting

Catalinbread Montavillian Oscillation by Mike Fetting

These were all recorded running the Montavillian on an 18 volt power supply

The first two clean clips were recorded by my good friend Jordan Gatesmih of Howler and Total Babe with his strat in bridge position through my VHT Special 6.

The fuzzy clips were recorded with My Rig. More specifically I used the bridge position X2N humbucker and played through a Death by Audio Fuzz War before going into the echo.

The last clip was me playing with the oscillation, which is really quite fun! The time knob controls the speed, the repeat knob controls the intensity, the mix controls the volume and the cut knob acts as kind of a filter, changing the tone but not drastically.

Final Word

Overall I had fun playing with this echo and I think it sounds great when used with a clean guitar. I however, did not really dig how it meshed with more distorted tones and felt it wasn't too present of an effect when the fuzz was introduced to the signal. I wasn't really gelling with it, but that doesn't mean it's a bad echo, it just doesn't fit my sound. I do however love the self-oscillation, very unique and interactive as well, noise makers will thoroughly enjoy this box. Even at 18 volts this thing seems to oscillate quickly when you increase the repeats and turn down the cut, a little too quickly for my taste.

Jordan loved this thing and I also thought it sounded really great for his sound, he's considering getting one for his board to use with Howler and Total Babe.

If you liked what you heard from any of the clips or any other demos online, don't hesitate to get this thing, it's a great deal. I didn't really like how it interacted with my fuzz tones but that doesn't mean you will get the same result.

Thanks to kbithecrowing on the I Love Fuzz and Shoegazers forums for lending me this thing to try out!

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