Control over left and right analog tape echo parameters that will run parallel to each other has never been so accessible.
Cost & Overview: $45.99 from Amazon
In one of the biggest surprises of the year, this $46 Donner tape delay has become one of my absolute favorite guitar pedals. The White Tape is a stereo analog tape delay pedal that lets you control the level, time, and feedback of a delay on the right side and another delay on the left side. This gives you the unique ability to “ping pong” delay sounds back and forth, or create some very interesting textural pads of sound. At first glance, you might be confused as to why you’d want to have two different delay signals in stereo, but once you hear the sound of one short delay cresting before a series of long repeats, it is hard to resist. Aside from your stereo ins and outs, a standard 9v power supply input, you’ll find very straightforward controls over the level (or mix), number of repeats, and length of delay for both left and right channels.
Review & Opinion:
Donner’s White Tape pedal should have been on my radar much earlier. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have gone out and purchased an Echoplex if I had tried this first. This analog delay pedal is based on simulating the classic tape echo sounds we all know and love. Except it not only does that incredibly well, it does it incredibly well in stereo.
The analog delay voice has a pretty decent in range in both the length and number of repeats. It also sounds a lot more authentic than I anticipated as well. The White Tape is also largely devoid of the two perils most cheap delay pedals face: short delay time and low output volume. Both of these problems are well displayed by another cheap analog delay, the Musiclily AD-01 I reviewed. So it was incredible to plug into this Donner box and feel right at home.
Then, just to add more to the fun, the White Tape can even get a little bit weird. With lots of tape echo saturation when you crank the mix and lots of tape echo oscillation when you crank the feedback! So while it isn’t the most beautiful, lush delay I’ve ever owned, it is like 80% of the way there, with a great price tag and unique feature set meant for stereo rigs. And in terms of the actual delay voicing here, there is more than enough quality to have this sit on your board as a go-to delay.
Conclusion & Final Rating: 8.4 out of 10
This is such a cool idea for a pedal, let alone an affordable and mass produced pedal. It’s actually really refreshing to see Donner invest some time and energy into making a cheap pedal that isn’t just a clone, copy, or clickbait circuit. But even more impressive is that the White Tape is not just a gimmick. In fact, this Donner White Tape dual delay sounds really freaking good for what it is. You get utility, function, and tonality for $46, and that is very deserving of the high marks awarded here. I do understand not everyone will want, have need for, or even have access to stereo guitar rigs, thus limiting the scope of this pedal in some ways. However, if you have something like a Walrus ACS-1, an HX Stomp or Pod Go, this is a real tool for you to create with. This might be the highest rating I’ve ever given out to a sub-$50 pedal, and it is definitely setting a very high standard for the affordable gear to follow!