Oil can delay units were manufactured by a company named Tel-Ray who later became better known as Morley. Tel-Ray mostly focused on being the OEM utilizing their oil can technology (Patent US3530227 A), branding units for Gibson (GA-RE4), Fender (Dimension IV), Acoustic, etc. They employed an electro-static storage method where the signal is “recorded” to a spinning disk, a layer of oil (for years rumored to be a mysterious carcinogenic oil) prevented this signal from leaking into the air before a “pickup” moments later played back the signal recorded to the disk. This was certainly a novel approach to creating a delay line long enough to generate echo and reverb effects. Compared to the counterparts of the day (tape, drum, wire delay machines), their sound was more low fidelity, murky, often with a more consistent musical vibrato that correlated to the spinning disk speed. We like to describe the sound as mysterious. The Catalinbread ADINEKO pedal is an echo/reverb/vibrato pedal that faithfully models the sonic experience of these oil can units…
We started working on an oil can delay pedal (only later to be named ADINEKO) in the summer of 2012, about the same time we began working on the ECHOREC. We identified a number of very cool behaviors of the old units, though the differences could be dramatic from unit to unit and day to day (even hour to hour!). The positive behaviors were a cool, thin, but dark sounding echo with a vibrato modulation that lined up with the echo time, and a repeat quality, that had a fog which can hover before self-oscilation in a neat way.
As we always strive to do when making something old, new again, we want to honor the old experience and expand upon it. Our ADINEKO is no exception: the murky warble of the old units, traditionally only achievable when the oil’s thickness is incorrect, can be conjured a twist of the VISCOSITY knob. The warm echo quality has an expanded range of delay time (TIMING knob), more so than any oil can unit could ever hope to achieve. The dual playback head is continuously balanceable (BALANCE knob) to favor one head over the other for interesting syncopation lobe feels.
To get acquainted with your new ADINEKO, let’s plug it in by itself, without your other pedals. Start off with a clean sound from your amp.
The ADINEKO can achieve the authentic oil can sounds, but is designed to model the mechanical concept well beyond what was possible in original units. Let’s set up your ADINEKO for an authentic oil can sound!
TIMING to 9-10 o’clock
VISCOSITY to 9-10 o’clock
REVERB to the verge of self oscillation
Now you’re hearing all of the hallmarks of an original oil can unit. A relatively short echo time on two taps, a vibrato in concert with the delay time, and a reverb that sounds like low lying fog coalescing upon the verge of a self-oscillating resonant point. To get more of the vibrato sound of a Tel-Ray Deluxe Organ Tone, use the above settings but turn the REVERB down and the BLEND up to taste!
One more thing. You may notice that each of the ADINEKO cases have been intentionally aged. A look that was fitting for this pedal, which is inspired by the old oil can units, to physically look weathered and a bit stained by leaking oil.
Read the manual
- Circuit Design/Audio Engineer – Howard Gee
- DSP Engineer/Concept – Nicholas Harris
- Photography/Videography – Jessica Liu
- Artwork – David Medel Weirdbeard72