Effect Information

“The Carlsbro Mantis analogue delay unit from the 70s. Has a lot of delay options for speed and feedback with the Delay and Swell push button functions. Looks like an old fashioned transistor radio! Runs on 240 volts mains. These units are based on old Philips BBD delay chips so they are not the quietest in operation.”

“Dating from the late 70s, these are basically an attempt to copy the multi-head tape and disc echoes of the past (Copicat, Binson Echorec, Echolette, Space Echo, etc) using the (then) new Bucket Brigade Delay chip technology. Four analogue delay lines are connected in series with options to select different combinations of ‘heads’ (push switches) for playback and feedback (‘swell’). It also features a ‘Rotafaze’ section which varies the pitch of the delayed signal, delivering a variety of vibrato, phase and chorus-like rotary speaker effects.”

“As well as having a mix output (for use with guitar amp etc), it also has a wet-only output making it useful as a send effect in the studio. Not only will the Mantis replicate the sound of a multi-head tape delay such as the Copicat, experimentation with various amounts and types of Rotafaze can yield some very interesting and unique-sounding effects.”

Mantis Controls:

Rotafaze:

  • Speed –  Speed/rate of the LFO modulation
  • Depth – Depth of modulation

Echo:

  • Echo – Delay level
  • Tone – Tone of echo
  • Swell – Echo repeats (feedback)

Input – Input level (can overdrive/distort at higher settings)
Output – Output volume

“How cool is this? On a scale of 1 to 10, this one definitely goes to 11. It’s a Carlsbro Mantis! What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s an echo effect; in fact, it’s very early BBD type analog delay effect. Like many early European made analog delay units, the controls of the Carlsbro Mantis clearly indicate that it was designed in the fashion of a multi-head tape delay unit. There are four push-button switches that represent tape heads, so each has a subsequent longer delay time. They can be selected individually or in any different combination of the four. The Swell section allows you to select how many repeats the echo has.”

“What makes the Carlsbro Mantis really cool is the Rotafaze modulation section. The modulated to echo delay tone on this thing sounds amazing. It also predates the similar implementation of chorus and vibrato on the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man. The Rotafaze also has controls for speed and depth, which allows a lot more control than the modulation on the Deluxe Memory Man.”

“The delay time itself is not terribly long, yielding just a little more than a slapback delay. The delay out is kind of noisy, as it’s giving you 100% of the effect signal, which has a high noise floor because of the old Philips BBD delay chips. You can get a good balance of minimal noise and maximum effect by adjusting the input and output level sliders. There’s also a tone control, which is actually useful for taking the hiss of the high end out that’s caused by the primitive BBD.”

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Video Demo

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