Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Feature Gear Review : Maxon AD-999 delay

Feature Gear Review : Maxon AD-999 delay

Just when you thought you'd have to go digital, Maxon unveils the new AD999 Analog Delay. The newest member of the highly touted Maxon Vintage Series, the AD999 is the most ambitious and practical analog delay pedal to come along in ­ well, ever!

A few years back the hopes of analog lovers the world over were dashed when Panasonic/Matsushita closed their BBD production line for good. Immediately the price of all types of analog bucket brigade IC's went through the roof, and many larger companies started buying up existing stock and hoarding it for the future. But Maxon is a tough company to hold down, and instead of making the switch to digital as so many other small manufacturers were forced to do, they took a very different approach to solving this problem.

With their vast knowledge of analog technology and their extensive network of contacts in the electronics industry, Maxon was able to source a completely different manufacturer of analog BBD's. After critical examination and testing of this company's product offerings, it was finally determined that these components were worthy to carry the Maxon brand name, and thus the AD999 was born!

Not a company to rest on its laurels, the AD-999 Analog Delay was created after careful examination of other analog delay units (including the AD900) in an effort to improve upon them. Each AD999 comes loaded with 8 ­ yes, 8 ­ Maxon MC4107D BBD's for a total of 900 milliseconds of pure, rich, organic analog tone. Like past Maxon analogs, the AD999's controls have been kept to a minimum to free the unit from unwanted noise and complex operation. Standard Delay Time, Delay Level, and Feedback controls provide a simple user interface and a wide variety of delay effects. To improve the unit's versatility, Wet/Dry outputs were added to allow for panning of the delay effect between two amplifiers or channels.

The AD999's tone is pure analog heaven ­ rich, round and three dimensional, the AD999 is much more akin to the tone of vintage tape echo units than either the AD900 or AD­9. In comparison to other Maxon delay units, the AD999's fat, vintage tone is closest to the now­defunct AD80, but with the added benefit of triple the delay time, yielding many medium to long delay effects that the AD80 simply cannot reproduce.

AD999 switching is handled by a Fujisoku 4PDT mechanical switch for transparent, noise-free true bypass operation. Lastly, the AD999 has been designed to run off 9 volts DC for easier integration into players' pedalboards. An internal, replaceable fuse protects the circuit from voltage spikes as well as the accidental use of incorrect adaptors.

When you're ready for the ultimate analog experience, the Maxon AD999 is the only serious choice in an otherwise digital world!

Input Impedance 500K Ohms
Output Impedance 10K Ohms or less
Residual Noise -95 dB (input shorted, IHF-A weighted)
Delay Time 40 mSec ­ 900 mSec
Control Delay Time, Repeat, Delay Level
Switch Normal/Effect (4PDT mechanical true bypass)
I/O Input, Output (Mix in mono, Wet only in stereo), Dry Output
Current Consumption 46 mA at 9VDC / 48 mA at 10VDC
Dimensions 117 (W) x 150 (D) x 60 (H) mm
Weight 600 Grams
Standard Accessories Maxon AC210N adaptor (we strongly urge the use the Maxon AC210N only. Other adaptors may trip the internal fuse, requiring professional service of the unit and voiding the warranty)

So you are looking for a vintage delay you say? You dont want to deal with chasing obsolete tapes down? Youre afraid your older unit might break down and dont want to subject it to road wear?

We think Maxon has your solution.

The AD-999 delay is one of the few true Analog delays being produced today. With seemingly a market full of "analog sims" out there the AD-999 is the real deal analog delay pedal.

Improving on its own AD-900 Maxon took the AD-999 to a higher level with a longer 900ms of delay and a Wet / Dry Output to be able to pan the delay effect with a dual amp setup. Another great feature over the AD900 is the 999s use of a 9v power source instead of the 12v.

With so many effects going the digital route it is refreshing to see a pedal that is a true analog design especially a delay pedal. While it does come at a slight premium most things that take this kind of time to build, design, and high part count are not inexpensive and we feel it is worth every penny. A tone savy player that isnt happy with his tone until its 100 percent will gladly pay this premium to get "the" tone they are after.

Ever notice some of the best sounding amplifiers and pedals in history are very simple and rarely feature laden? There is a good reason for this. Alot of the digital delays seem to have mega features but lack in one area. TONE. This is where the AD-999 shines. With only 3 knobs it can retain the signal path and deliver spacious, beautiful, toneful delay with True Bypass switching and plenty of delay time .Alot of tone purists agree that the least amount of circuitry between the guitar and amp the better. That seems to be the case here and the delay really is the warmest, most natural sounding delay we have heard.

From rockabilly Sun Studios slapback to Van Halens follow the leader Cathedral delay to huge David Gilmour stadium leads with warm delay circling behind and putting the crowd in a trance, the AD-999 delivers classic warm delay just like a true analog delay is supposed to.

For those not wanting to drag out that old tape delay this is the perfect solution.

After playing a delay the caliber of the AD-999 Maxon makes it very hard to go back to an "analog sim" pedal. Its kind of like test driving the Corvette just for fun while you are buying a minivan. Sure the minivan does the job but you fall asleep everynight dreaming of that Vette.

Needless to say we are knocked out with the AD-999. There is a downside though. It has lead to us wondering about that Rotary Phaser and Chorus in that series.

Dang Vette.To purchase your own Maxon AD-999 please visit your local dealer or