[REVIEW] EarthQuaker Devices Space Spiral Pedal

earthquaker devices space spiral delay pedal

Performer Magazine reviews the EarthQuaker Devices Space Spiral Delay Pedal, a unique modulated delay stompbox that is great at both extreme and subtle settings. 

Some effects when pushed to the extreme, get way too unmusical and over the top. EarthQuaker Devices make pedals that thrive in extremes, and yet stay musically useful.

The top row of controls on the Space Spiral Delay pedal handle the delay functions; time, repeat and mix. It’s a digital delay, but tops out at a more analog delay-ish 600ms. Overall the delay is nice with the repeats being warm and full. The bottom row controls the modulation of the delayed signal, with Rate and Depth knobs, but the Shape control starts with a soft triangle shape, and increasing it, brings things to a harder square wave response. The modulation is modeled on the idea of oil can delays of the old days, where particles suspended in oil, get electro statically charged, and spun on a disk, and those particles act like the metal oxide on a tape; when run through a playback head, they give a delayed signal. Because of the inconsistencies of all of those variables it had a warble effect to those repeats. That same effect is here, just without all the hassle. Nice.

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At slower speeds, and longer delays, it’s quite haunting. Using higher depth settings, with the shape and rate controls set low, it’s a nice retro modulated delay that’s perfect to fill things out in a subtle way. Those classic early ’80s pop tones really shine here, while maintaining a sweet warmth. Going into the higher ranges, it still stays musical – the high-speed warble feels like a Univibe-meets-vibrato-unit response. Because these happen on the delayed notes it is quite trippy. Amazingly, each control seems to interact and affect the response of the other controls, so upping the mix or delay time, accentuates the settings of the other knobs. If you want more of one thing, be prepared to possibly adjust another parameter to either compensate, or reduce the effect.

The only downside is putting the repeat control anywhere past 3:00ish, it starts a cascading regeneration and oscillation that can get a bit over-the-top. Players looking for a classic delay and want a bit of that vintage warble/decay, this is right up your alley. The street price is $195, and while there are cheaper delays out there, they don’t seem to have the warmth and haunting vibe that lives here.


Great at extreme settings, excellent subtlety at lower ones.


Repeat control tops out around 3:00, which some players might not appreciate.


$195 (list)

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