Enjoy Electronics combine past and present in this intriguing quadraphonic digital delay.
There is something delightful about playing with the fabric of time, and the use of delays in almost every genre of music makes them a safe business proposition. But, to stand out from the crowd, a good delay needs a personality and a unique selling point or two. You can tell from a first glance that Enjoy Electronics’ Reminder approaches things differently: it’s a desktop design that’s wide enough to be a synthesizer, and it looks like one too. The Moog‑like black livery, chunky knobs, and spacious front panel already suggest high levels of tweakability, but read the marketing hype and things start to get interesting. Anything that offers a “revolutionary” take on the classic Space Echo certainly has my attention, and I don’t know about you but I can’t remember the last time I saw something marketed as ‘quadraphonic’.
It’s worth a quick summary of what Reminder is and isn’t. It is entirely digital and it only does tempo‑sync’ed delays; there’s no setting of the delay time ‘by ear’. It revolves around two sets of stereo delays, and there is reverb, filtering, and an LFO for modulation.
The aesthetics are beautiful. The all‑metal enclosure is wrapped in a stylish oak‑coloured frame with orange LED strips embedded on each side. The larger knobs (filter frequency, 2x delay time, and reverb amount) have a similar orange LED skirt which lights up to show signal level or amount. There’s also a small OLED screen used to configure various settings.
Audio comes into the Reminder through two unbalanced TS input jacks on the rear. Operation is entirely stereo (one set of controls operates on both channels) but any combination of mono or stereo input and stereo or quadraphonic output (more on that later) is catered for. The signal then goes to the main delay. Power comes through a 5V USB B connector, which also provides USB MIDI. There’s no standard power connector, which is a shame; I’m not a huge fan of USB for power as it is far more susceptible to ground loops.
The Power Delay consists of two delay lines, one for the left channel and one for the right. The delays are, as I mentioned, always sync’ed to the tempo, and this can be set internally or via MIDI Clock (DIN or USB). Tap tempo is also available using a front‑panel button or footswitch. Delay time divisions are set using the two large knobs in the centre and cover a range of straight and triplet divisions from 1/2 to 1/16T. Dotted delays are enabled per channel with a button that lengthens all delay divisions by 50%. The delay times can also be offset relative to each other and the clock. The Offset control offers eight settings that increasingly offset the left and right channels. Assuming that both channels are set to the same base division, the middle setting (4/8) will behave like a ping‑pong delay. A second stereo delay buffer, called the Double Pulse Delay, divides the main delay division into eighths and allows you to set a different division for left and right channels.
The Power Delay and the Double Pulse Delay (I’ll refer to this as DPD from here on) share a feedback control. The Reminder’s digital core is evident when pushing the feedback to 100%. Instead of collapsing into a howl of feedback, as would happen on an analogue delay, you get perfect endless repetition. Another clue is that the delay doesn’t change pitch when adjusting delay time. Instead, it simply snaps to the new delay time without any fuss.
Both delays also have an independent filter. The filters are either high‑ or low‑pass (but not both), and although the frequency can be set separately for the Power Delay and DPD, the resonance control is shared. The filters, a vital component in this design, allow you to shape the sound of the two stereo delays separately. The Power Delay filter can be pre‑ or post‑delay (in fact, post‑everything, including the dry signal), whereas the DPD filter is only post‑delay. It’s a shame that neither filter can be placed in the feedback loop, and I did find myself wishing for a band‑pass option — both features which would be great for emulating BBD or tape delays.
Reasons To Be Digital: 1, 2, 3...
The advantages of the Reminder’s digital nature are apparent in what Enjoy call Working Modes. There are eight of these to choose from, and they alter how the Power Delay buffer operates. You choose a mode with the Mode control and then use the Trigger button (or a footswitch) to either write to the delay line or mute the audio going to it.
In Normal mode, the delay operates as you’d expect. Incoming audio is constantly recorded into the delay line. In this case, the trigger button mutes the audio going into the delay. Manual Add mode reverses this, so that no audio is fed into the delay until you press the button. Put the feedback at 100%, and this mode offers an interesting way to build up loops by tapping out rhythms on the trigger button. A variation called Manual Add 1/4 adds a timed press (from 1/32 to 1/4 of the current tempo), perfect for synchronised sliced loops.
The other modes begin to deviate from what you might consider a standard delay. Manual Change mode overwrites the delay buffer rather than adding to it when the trigger is depressed. Manual Talkover mode mutes the delay buffer and allows sounds to pass through to the output. Some modes have an ‘automatic’ option: the input signal is used instead of the trigger button, so that when the input reaches a specified threshold, the trigger is automatic. For me, these modes are where the Reminder’s unique abilities shine through. Once you learn their capabilities, you can switch between them as you perform. And speaking of performance, anyone wanting to use the Reminder on stage will welcome the ability to save up to 10 presets.
The combined delay signals can be treated with the onboard reverb. There are only four controls on the front panel: amount, size, high‑pass filter, and a button to mute the incoming signal. But there’s much more tweakability lurking under the hood.
In the settings pages, you can find three customisable reverb presets that can be recalled and used at any time. The reverb effect consists of high‑ and low‑pass filters to shape the incoming signal, pre‑delay, absorption, diffusion and even a compressor (for the incoming signal).
I was able to coax some radically different reverb sounds using the preset slots, from long‑tailed ‘bloom’ reverbs to short boxy rooms. The algorithm can sound a bit metallic at times. I wouldn’t rate it amongst the best reverbs I’ve ever heard, but it’s nice to have.
The only source of modulation, other than your hands, is the LFO. It is assigned to a single destination from a small list that includes delay, DPD or reverb amount and filter frequency (both main and DPD). It is the only part of Reminder that can be decoupled from the master tempo, meaning you can set its frequency either in Hertz or tempo divisions, as desired. There are four waveforms to choose from, and a handy LED shows the speed and intensity.
The LFO is useful for adding some movement to the delay effect, but it feels limited. For a device centred around tempo sync, it’s puzzling that there is no way to synchronise the phase of the LFO, even when the frequency is tempo‑sync’ed. There is a way to reset the LFO phase by pressing two encoders together, but it’s not a replacement for a properly synchronised, phase‑locked LFO.
The Reminder’s rear end reveals four unbalanced audio jacks, which operate as two stereo outputs. The dry and wet signals are always present at outputs 1+2. The DPD and reverb signals can be routed to outputs 3+4 either in addition to 1+2 or instead of it. This opens up some interesting options for further processing of the main delay, DPD, or reverb in isolation using other effects.
As to its credentials as a quadraphonic device, the outputs were only assignable as two stereo pairs in the version I had for review. However, a beta version of the operating system allows you to pan signals freely around all four outputs, making it truly quadraphonic. I had a lot of fun routing outputs 3+4 into various effect processors and adding anything from chorus to more delays to selected parts. Using two entirely different mono effects to process the two sides of the Reminder’s DPD produced excellent results. Imagine the possibilities with full quadraphonic panning!
Something I discovered only towards the end of my review time — the manual doesn’t seem to mention it — is that Reminder can use the USB connection for audio as well as MIDI. It’s a class‑compliant device, though sadly the audio is only one way: you can select stereo USB audio as an input but not as an output. That’s a shame because it means you have to use the analogue outputs even if you want to send audio from your DAW to the Reminder and back again. (While the Reminder did show up as an audio input on my Mac it remained resolutely silent.)
It’s so hands‑on that I never felt the need to save a preset, and that’s a massive bonus in my book.
The Reminder is difficult to summarise. It is both a delay effect and a reverb, but it doesn’t always include the kinds of features you’d expect from either effect type. Instead, it attempts to fuse the two into something new. For the most part, I think it succeeds.
It will only appeal to people making highly rhythmical tempo‑based music, and it would fit very nicely in the worlds of techno, electronica, house, electro, ambient, Berlin music, or indeed any genre that makes heavy use of sequencing.
As a fan of grit and noise, I found the sound a bit too clean and sterile for my tastes. The filters help sculpt the delay sound, but if you’re looking for heavy analogue mojo, you’ll need to use the quadraphonic outputs to process the sound further.
A bigger problem for me was the lack of options in the delay feedback loop but, as we were going to press, Enjoy told us that a future firmware update could allow the DPD filter to be inserted there; that would be welcome.
The Reminder impressed me with its different modes. Flipping between different methods of delay buffer writing is a unique and rewarding experience. It’s a complex looping device which gives you control over how and when the input signal gets used. I enjoyed this aspect, and, along with the knobby interface and dual footswitch inputs, it places the Reminder in a category of unique performance effects. Layering audio snippets to create something akin to tape splicing, or overdubbing endless harmonics onto a drone that repeats forever, then temporarily muting that drone to allow the original audio through whilst tweaking filters and adjusting the division of the delay buffer, is a unique experience. It’s so hands‑on that I never felt the need to save a preset, and that’s a massive bonus in my book.
I should address the two marketing claims I mentioned at the start. I don’t think the Reminder is in any way like a Space Echo. Those two words conjure up nostalgic images of tape echoes: noisy, organic, and imperfect. The Reminder is none of those things and, if anything, it is the opposite: clean, synthetic, and precise. And its quadraphonic credentials are still in development, but this does promise to be an excellent and unique feature.
The world is certainly not short of delays but the beauty of time‑based effects is that you can reconfigure them endlessly. Anyone looking for analogue mojo or who likes to work off‑the‑grid should probably look elsewhere. But the Reminder is genuinely unusual, and distinctive enough to stand out from the crowd. If you work in a highly sequenced environment and are looking for a delay that combines unique performance features, hands‑on control and extra audio connectivity, then it is definitely worth a look.
- An unusual tempo‑sync’ed delay experience.
- Lovely design.
- Double stereo outputs with flexible routing.
- Some great ways to interact with the delay buffer.
- Quadraphonic outputs.
- Always tempo‑sync’ed.
- Power via USB only.
- USB audio only works in one direction.
The Reminder offers a unique digital delay‑based effect revolving around two stereo delay lines, a customisable reverb, a scattering of filters and an LFO. Some fun ways to interact with the delay buffer and some thoughtful performance‑based design decisions add up to a unique package.
£725 including VAT.
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