Sonic LAB: Erica Synths Zen Delay

Performance delay/filter with Ninja Tune      01/05/20
    MP4 16:20 mins    

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The Erica Synths/Ninja Tune Zen Delay is something of an anomaly, its design and concept was envisioned at Superbooth 2019 by Matt Black and Dr Walker after conversations with Erica Synths head honcho Girts Ozolins. The idea was to bring together the best of both analogue and digital effects and create a custom hardware effects box. 

The Zen Delay achieves these goals and can produce all manner of different stereo delays that can be BPM sync'd. The on board 24dB synth filter and the valve overdrive give the unit a range of effects from smooth dreamy delays to lo-fi noisy distorted madness. The only thing missing here is the lack of either MIDI control over delay time or some sort of modulation algorithm. 

However the lack of MIDI does actually give the unit some advantage. It is extremely easy to use and without diving into manuals and menus you can achieve some nice effects. Everything is given to you on the front panel, so you can get on with playing around.


  • Controls
  • delay time, feedback, delay mod (5 presets), tap button, dry/wet, bypass switch, filter cutoff, resonance, drive, input level, filter mode
  • Inputs
  • Stereo In: 2x standard jack
  • MIDI In: standard MIDI socket 
  • CV In: standard jack
  • Outputs
  • Stereo Out: 2 x standard jack
  • Delay times
  • 1-5000ms with 1/8...x8 of clock/tap rate in beat mode 

The Zen Delay is fairly pricey at 499 euros Ex VAT, and for that money you may well be able to get something that does give you more range and control. But the real selling point of this thing is that it sounds good. Put a good arpeggio into it, play around with the feedback and filter frequency, lose a few hours sleep and I guarantee you won't be disappointed with your purchase.

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