Robert Keeley and Andy Timmons are names synonymous with guitar playing
The former for his uniquely-modified pedals as well as a stellar line of Keeley’s own pedals that have either preserved, controlled, and augmented (or all three in the case of Keeley’s famous compressors) our tone for the better part of the last few decades. The latter, Mr. Andy Timmons, is more widely known for soaring solos and bluesy licks, as well as spaciously delayed leads and melodies. Where these two come together is in the newly-announced Keeley Electronics HALO Andy Timmons Dual Echo, a compact pedal that manages to harness a bunch of Timmons’ unique sounds as well as give the player a whole lot of routing and signal options despite its small footprint.
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At the outset, the HALO is a dual-stereo echo with expression pedal capabilities, preset-saving functionality, and a clearly laid out faceplate that compliments the dark, glittering finish. It’s powered by 9V and features two soft-stomp switches for a variety of functions, all of which can be programmed to be either true bypass or retain delay trails once the effect is turned off.
Turning to the specs for a moment, the HALO is a fairly standard size effect pedal so it won’t eat up any major space on your board – but it serves the function of a few pedals so you may very well be able to clear some space anyway! It features a left/mono and right input and output, as well as a TRS input and expression pedal input to control specific parameters of your presets that can be saved to either soft-stomp switch A or B, both of which have three preset spaces available. It features five knobs with dual functionality as follows: the time knob doubles as a high-pass-filter to clean away the mud from your echo as well as adjust the time between repeats. There’s a rate/tone knob that can adjust the frequency with which repeats occur and a high-pass filter to darken and hide echoes respectively. There’s a level/saturate knob that controls the master output but also offers some soft, warm clipping if you’re more vintage or tape echo inclined, and finally there’s a depth and rhythm knob to control the depth of optional modulation and toggle between rhythm settings with different meter options. In the centre of the other four knobs is a feedback knob that controls how heavily the repeats repeat into themselves and, uh… repeat. The last three options on this dial are halo, bucket brigade, and tape echo options for our vintage pedal aficionados out there!
The TRS input is a stellar addition and admittedly not seen before, at least by me. TRS – or balanced – cables feature two lines and a ground wire. What the addition of a TRS input allows us to do, as labelled on the side of the pedal, is send two different signals to the separate circuits of the Keeley HALO. Stay with me. That means you could send the piezo output of your guitar to a subtle slapback while the main, hot-rodded humbucker output is sent to soaring and modulating repeats, both of which could be toggled on and off independently. This same rule applies for splitting your signal and sending the HALO signal from different chains or pedals, splits from a DI etc. The list is endless! Even without the addition of the TRS input, the HALO is still tough to beat.
Andy Timmons’ HALO effect is a swirling, modulating delay with repeats that crash into each other with reverberant bliss, sometimes scattering so indistinctly that they’re undefined and spacious, crossing the line from delay into echo and full-blown reverb. What makes the HALO so handy to have around is how broad its offering of delay tones is. One preset can be a super clean, cold, digital delay, while another can be vintage mush that folds in on itself and repeats into feedback and walls of noise – all within one pedal!
Keeley knows pedals, and Andy Timmons has been chasing tone since the ‘80s – so what better pair to produce the only echo and delay pedal you’ll ever need? While Andy has spent years combining modulation, reverbs, and delays to create unique waves of delay and space, Keeley has helped him put all of this into one little box. The Keeley Electronics HALO Andy Timmons Dual Echo is every sound you’d need, all accessible by just two switches, and silent stomp switches no less! It offers the subtle ‘always on’ type sounds, as well as the hooky, prominent sounds that have made so many famous guitar riffs iconic. You have as much control as you need, but even with all those options, the HALO still functions like a regular delay so you can plug and play and get great sounds if that’s all you need.
Andy Timmons is a stellar guitar player in his own right, and an effect like delay acts to serve his playing, blooming and augmenting in all the right places. Effects should never bog you down among patching, cables, and pedal board tap-dancing. The HALO serves to put your focus back in your playing – and it can handle the rest.