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Review: JHS Panther Cub Delay

Introduction:

In 2011 JHS released their most anticipated pedal to date, the Panther Delay pedal.  It featured an effects loop for the repeats, tap tempo, and around 1 second of delay time.  Very impressive set of features for an analog delay.  It was actually the first delay to not mess with the modulation at all when using tap.  Almost exactly two years later in 2013 JHS released their even more anticipated pedal, the Panther Cub Delay.  It has all the key features of the Panther delay, over 1 second of delay, tap tempo, effects loop, expression pedal control, etc.  But at a much more affordable price and in a smaller package!  Turning the Panther Cub into a very good value for what you get.  You get all these features in an enclosure the size of a JHS double pedal.  Never before has an analog delay been available with such a feature set, in such a small package.

Controls and features:

The Panther Cub features two foot switches, 6 surface control knobs, and two internal DIP switches.  The external controls include Mix, Time, Feedback, M.Depth, M.Speed, and Subdivision.  The two switches include effect true bypass switch and soft touch tap temp switch.  The internal DIP switches are both for the Panther Cub’s “Roar” setting and the other for external Tap or Expression pedal selection.  The Panther Cub features the ability to use an effects loop on the repeats only and stereo sound via TRS plugs.

Sounds/Applications:

Most analog delays I’ve used are often very subtle, unless you crank the mix control up very high.  This is not the case with the Panther Cub, in the best way possible.  Sure it can be very subtle if you need it to, but the Mix control works much more like a true mix control, than the same blend/mix/etc. control on other analog delays.  About half way up gives you repeats at a similar volume to the dry signal.  This is VERY unique to this delay, and it may be a small thing.  But it’s something I find to be very important.  The repeats themselves are very warm and slightly dark, not quite as dark as most analog delays.  To me, this is a very good thing, I want my delay to be heard.  It works extremely well in the effects loop of an amp, or in front of it.  The Time control works in reverse to most delays, counter-clockwise for the longest delays, clockwise for short.  Thanks to the Roar DIP switch, the Panther Cub can go from the ability to have high Feedback settings without much oscillation, to much easier “run-away” oscillation.  The Roar switch also sort of brightens the sound, making it very much like a Deluxe Memory Man to me.  This is fun because the delay produces such a sweet and musical oscillation.  It’s a lot of fun to turn the mix control low and let it oscillate like crazy in the background.  This lets you create super-psychedelic layers of sound that would make Timmothy Leary jealous.  The M.Depth and M.Speed controls are for the built in modulation.  The modulation is VERY close to that of the Memory Man, deep and lush.  Like the Deluxe Memory Man, at extreme M.Depth settings, you get some beautiful pitch bending modulation.  One can use an expression pedal to control any desired perimeter.  Simply hold the tap switch for 3 seconds, then turn the control you wish to command with the expression pedal.  Someone who isn’t in the know may think you’re trying to communicate with R2D2.  It shines when used with fuzz of any kind, especially Fuzz Face or Fuzzrite variants that clean up well.  Combined with the Fuzz Factory is really something to behold.

Opinions:

I like to think of myself as a delay snob, it’s my favorite effect out there.  I’m very picky with how a delay should sound, I don’t like it too clean or too murky.  This makes it really hard to find a delay that I actually am enamored with.  Which admittedly sounds funny, since it’s my favorite effect.  I like the delay to be present in the mix, but not completely enveloping the dry signal.  This is hard for me to accomplish with most delays, as when I set the mix high enough to be as loud as I want it gets in the way of what I’m playing.  If I set the mix lower, it’s too subtle and too far in the background.  This is not a problem with the Panther Cub, I’m able to have the delay close in volume to the dry signal.  All without drowning out the dry and not being too subtle.  I can personally tell that the actual presence of the delay in the mix was highly thought over and scrutinized by JHS.  I’ve used this thing for many hours, and I’m very impressed with the hypnotizing textures one can make with it.  It’s very quiet for an analog delay with such ability to be present and such a long delay time.  Gear such as this can be very inspirational, especially with sound quality as such to make one think less of how they sound and more of what they’re playing.  JHS claims this can be used with nearly any style or by nearly any player, I completely agree.

Final Verdict:

I have really enjoyed using this thing, honestly my expectations have been blown out of the window.  It has sounds that can take you to the moons of Jupiter and back.  Or not back, if you choose to stay there.  This reviewer was so impressed that I will be giving up some of my money soon and I am NOT letting this thing get out of my clutches!!!

Rating: 10/10

You read that right, 10 out of freaking 10!  I’ve never given anything a perfect rating, but to be quite honest I’ve never used a delay that I like more.  Never used one that I feel meshes so well with what I’m trying to do with my sound.  If this sounds like something you’d dig, you can get it right here at Rogue Guitar Shop, chat with the guys to get the best price in the business.

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