Caroline Guitar Company was founded in 2010 by guitarist Philippe Herndon. He first started modding pedals and later on decided to start a pedal business. From then on, everything Caroline Guitar Company released were original circuits and unique pedals, targeted towards guitarists in search of exciting sounds. Every Caroline pedal is handmade at their small batch distortery in Columbia, South Carolina. Currently, the range consists of the Haymaker overdrive, the Olympia fuzz, the Icarus booster, the Wave Cannon and Cannonball distortions, the Météore reverb and last but not least the Kilobyte Lo-Fi digital delay. Development of the Kilobyte was crowdfunded and the pedal was already released in 2013. So without further delay, here’s my Kilobyte review.
Some Kilobytes are black some are light blue or grey and there also is a retro 64 style Kilobyte design.
The one I got from Bart is black with gold lettering, In and mono Out and a 9V DC plug on the front panel, black MXR style knobs with clear white markers with enigmatic icons next to the controls. The controls are Level, Attack, Sum and Clock and Tacos, a small minipot in the middle for modulation. The original Kilobyte had this pot hidden on the inside. There are two footswitches, on the right is a momentary switch that engages the Havoc mode and on the left, there is a true bypass On/Off switch.
More on the controls. The Attack control is for adjusting the gain of the preamp circuit that boosts the repeats. Clock sets the delay time. Sum is to dial in the number of repeats and Level is to set the overall volume of the repeats relative to your original signal. The Tacos mini pot controls the modulation of the repeats. The modulation section was designed by Jack Deville of Mr.Black pedals. The heart of the Kilobyte is an analog signal path with a 21dB preamp booster and low fidelity, bandwidth reduced PT2399 digital delay chip. Maximum delay time is about 600ms.
But how does it sound? Well, surprisingly warm and analog, a little dark even and also a little noisy at longer delay settings. Particularly on a higher attack setting, there is a fair bit of audible hiss and clock noise present. It all adds to the Lo-Fi character of the Kilobyte. The modulation is a nice touch, it adds a bit of pitch shifting and modulation depth to the repeats.
In use, it takes a bit of tweaking to adjust the Level and Attack controls. Attack adds a lot of grit to the repeats, Level sets the overall volume of the repeats, so both controls interact in a manner. Same goes for the Clock and Sum controls, respectively delay time and feedback controls, that allow settings from slapback to self-oscillating mayhem. This is where the Havoc switch comes in. It is a kind of runaway mode where the repeats are getting louder and gnarlier. The Havoc switch engages a high-pass filtered (reduced bass) runaway oscillation mode. Hold it down to override the feedback/sum control for cascading and louder repeats. Release it to gently return to your dialed-in settings. Quite unique and great fun, takes a bit of practice but you can really create some ripping delay effects with the Havoc switch.
Well, it the Kilobyte fills the gap between digital and analog delay pedals, it is a warm and gritty sounding pedal, that can add a really nice and subtle detune effect to the repeats, but it excels at loud and dirty lo-fi-ness. It teams up great with dirt pedals. The Havoc switch is a bit challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can really add a nice groove to your sound.