top of page

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Although it may not be the most popular pedal in the Strymon lineup, it is perhaps the one that benefited the most from the latest V2 feature upgrades.



Introduction

I was first introduced to Strymon pedals a few years ago. At that time, I explored their entire lineup of V1 pedals, including the big box variants. At one stage, I had both the Big Sky and Timeline positioned on the upper tier of my expansive double-decker pedalboard, with a Mobius discreetly tucked away beneath:


When I first plugged in and switched on the saturation side of the Deco through my tube amp's fx loop, I was genuinely amazed. My guitar felt alive, responding to every touch, much like what you'd expect from a highly responsive compressor pedal. Yet, it also brought out the clarity in each note, especially with the tone knob set around 3 o'clock. I've been jamming with the V2 for a few months now, and it's become like an old friend on my pedalboard, always there and always on, mainly for its brilliant preamp side. I didn't quite get this much enjoyment from the Deco V1 a few years ago. I definitely believe that the V2's JFET input upgrade made all the difference.


For anyone curious about the magic behind tape tracking, Strymon has put together a wonderful article that dives deep into the topic. It's a technical read, but I highly recommend taking a read if you're keen to learn more. You can check it out right here.


Features

  • Saturation Side: The Deco V2 is designed to emulate the effects that studio engineers in the 50s, 60s, and beyond created using tape machines. The "Saturation" side of the pedal covers a range from a subtle boost and EQ shift to full-on drive and natural compression. This side of the pedal can add warmth, body, and a hint of compression and edge to your guitar tone. As the saturation control is increased, the gain becomes more pronounced and the compression more evident. The pedal also features a new cassette tape voicing in addition to the classic reel-to-reel tape mode, which emulates the auto level control (ALC) process found in high-end tape recorders from the cassette era.

  • Doubletracker Side: The "Doubletracker" side of the pedal is designed to emulate the effects created by using tape machines for double tracking. This side offers a range of effects from chorus and flange to tape echoes and slapbacks. The lag and wobble controls allow users to dial in a variety of sounds, from woozy chorus effects to classic tape echoes.

V2 Version Enhancements:

- New 520 MHz ARM Superscalar Processor

- High impedance low noise discrete Class A JFET preamp input circuit

- USB-C connectivity

- Full MIDI control, accessible via TRS, with access to 300 preset locations (I personally use the Disaster Area Designs MIDI Box 4 with a Tech 21 MIDI Mouse)

- Saturation side now features a tone knob for EQ shaping & switchable cassette tape voicing


What Sets it Apart

- Unique delay range

- Sweet-sounding preamp saturation and compression

- Ability to engage an instant Auto-Flange feature by holding down the doubletracker footswitch

- Secondary control features (Live Edit Functions) such as ability to control:

  • Auto Flange Time

  • Wide Stereo Mode

  • Low Trim

  • +/- 3dB Doubletracker Boost/Cut

- Switchable Input Mode (Normal or Studio)

  • Normal: for electric guitars or basses

  • Studio: higher headroom for hot fx loops, keyboards, any other hotter signals

- Like all Strymon pedals, it is built like a tank, able to survive nuclear blasts


Price Point

Strymon - $379

Sweetwater - $379

Thomann - €433 incl. VAT

Andertons - £359


Alternatives

The features of the Deco stand out distinctly on their own. When considered collectively, they position the Deco as a truly unparalleled pedal with no direct competitors in the current market. To mimic the doubletracker aspect of the Deco, one might consider using a TC Electronic Mimiq Doubler or a Keeley 30ms Double Tracker. However, to fully emulate this feature, adding an Eventide MicroPitch Delay pedal might be necessary. And remember, this only addresses the right side of the Deco! I'm uncertain if there's another preamp comparable to the Deco's, especially one that offers such extensive character shaping options, stereo capabilities, MIDI, and more.


GPH Final Thoughts

The Deco V2 by Strymon is a distinctive gem in the realm of guitar pedals. It serves multiple purposes: as an overdrive/delay/modulation, an end-of-chain pedal introducing that delightful tape analog warmth before connecting to a mixer or interface, or as a tool for managing stereo imaging and spread. In my opinion, the upgrade to the JFET input in itself justifies the transition from V1 to V2. While I recognize that some (especially the Flint V1 owners among you) might disagree, when it comes to the Deco specifically, the JFET upgrade is a compelling reason to trade in your V1 for the V2.















16 views0 comments
1
2
bottom of page