The Strymon Deco is less of your standard effects pedal and more of a tape simulation machine in a box. It has two modes in one with Tape Saturation on one side looking to add in that compressed saturated sound that you could only achieve from real tape before this pedal. The other side of this pedal features what they call the Doubletracker which looks to simulate all of the effects that originated from doubletracking tape such as slapback delay, flanging and chorus though this pedal can do a lot more than that.
From Slapback to Spacey
The doubletracker side of this pedal can take your from slapback short delays to mid length tape echo effects via the Lag Time control. These effects were used heavily during the 50's and 60's when people started to work out what you could really do with a tape machine. The effect is still used heavily to this day but not very often with the same tape tone and feel. The Deco takes us back to those original tape delay sounds and when you start to add in the tape saturation it makes it hard to tell the difference between the Deco and the real thing.
You don't just get great sounding effects through you also get an incredible amount of control over how you want the effect to sound. On the front you have Lag Time (Delay), Wobble (Modulation), 3 Way Type switch that control Phase and Blend which can change the volumes of the virtual tape machines. you also have hidden controls for high trim, low trim, wide stereo mode, auto-flange time and +/- 3dB boost/cut controls. So no matter the sound you are after this pedal can deliver your vintage tape tones.
From Flange to Chorus
When you turn the Lat Time control down you start to go into chorus and flange effects. These choruses and flange effects are emulating what it sounds like to run a doubletracked guitar on tape and having one run slightly ahead or behind of the other creating a phasing effect that we now call flange or chorus.
These effects are controlled by the Wobble, Blend, Type and Time controls taking you from glassy and slow effects to deeper sounds that work great with lower frequency sounds.
From Compression to Overdriven
The Tape Saturation side of the pedal delivers the classic saturation and compression that you get from running to loud of a signal into a tape machine. This is a sound that is highly desirable across a wide range of sounds and genres including blues, rock, country and pop. With the tape saturater you can either turn it on to add a different feel to certain parts of your songs or you can leave it on all the time and get great sounding emulated tape drive.
Like real tape this pedal goes between near transparent compression when only light pushed (saturation knob low) but when pushed hard can turn into a mild overdrive with lots of saturation.
Here's what Strymon say about the Deco Pedal
Our journey begins with the early recording studios of the '50s and '60s. The introduction of reel-to-reel tape machines and the creative engineers that used them brought on some of the fattest sounds imaginable. These early machines really were the first effect pedals-they just wouldn't have fit on your pedalboard!
From the inherent warmth and luscious tape saturation-to the forgotten art of how these machines were manipulated-they are capable of creating a huge range of beautiful, distinctive, and enveloping sounds.
Deco brings this original inspiration back, giving you these vintage tape effects from the earliest recording studios, right on your pedalboard.
Deco's Tape Saturation smooths out your sound with familiar and delicious tape compression and saturation, while fattening it with subtle tape-driven transparent overdrive. The Doubletracker provides the power to shift your sound in many ways, easily allowing you to achieve syrupy slapback tape echoes, psychedelic tape flanging, and gorgeous tape chorusing sounds.
Two Effects in One.
Give your sound the smooth and warm qualities of analog tape, along with the enhanced touch sensitivity and playing dynamics that are intrinsic to the inner workings of tape machines. Achieve incredible transparency at low levels, with reduced high frequency spikes and a harmonically rich low end. Turn up the Saturation to increase the amount of tape drive, dynamic compression and distortion.
Tape Saturation knob - Transparent Overdrive
Deco is perfectly suited for a last-in-chain, "always on" sweetening effect. Everything sounds better on tape. Want to push the limits of tape beyond what was originally possible- Use Deco as a tape-style transparent overdrive-crank the Saturation all the way up to "peg the meters" and gently overload the machine's input. Go back to the early days of recording studios, where a few creative audio engineers discovered a new world of augmented sound by pushing the limits of studio tape machines. By inventing automatic doubletracking, they introduced echo, flanging, and chorus to the world of recorded music.
Lag Time knob - Tape Flange, Tape Chorus, Slapback, Tape Echo
Intensify and widen your sound with Deco's Doubletracker controls. Turn the Lag Time to obtain classic slapback tape echo, spacious doubletrack chorusing, and mind-bending tape flanging. Add random modulation with the Wobble control and go from very subtle movement to more extreme undulations-just like having a recording engineer vary the speed of the machine.