The Dream Mender includes both delay and modulation. Both are front and center in the sound and when in use; neither are subtle or subdued, which means if you’re looking for a strong effect, then you will get it. The delay is very clear and apparent, perhaps a touch on the treble side, but not much. The delay also fades in a very clear manner; you can hear the repeats diminish without them sounding less clear (simply less audible, like any typical delay). The modulation (which is optional) follows the delay time/repeats so that a faster delay results in a faster modulated syncopation. And, of course, the modulation repeats with the number of repeats. The modulation also is very clear in the mix. The extent of the delay and modulation’s ‘power’ is controlled by the Blend knob – the greater the blend or mix the more apparently the delay and modulation effect so that the result can range from faint or modest to in-your-face apparent (although not 100% wet, with the original tone still heard clearly).
The Dream Mender engages and disengages via its footswitch. When on there are three major controls, including Delay, Feedback and Blend. The Delay refers to the delay time, ranging from a quick slapback effect to just over 900ms. Feedback refers to the repetitions, which reaches a peak around the 2-o’clock mark without going haywire (viz., once you get around 3-o’clock the repeats start to swell and become more frenzied, thereby making for some interesting sound effects, but you then need to manually reduce the Feedback in order to escape the chaos). The Blend control works in two directions with no effect present when set at 12-noon. When turned to the left you get nothing but delay, which is quite audible within a few millimeters of movement, with a fairly wet result when turned all the way counter-clockwise. When turned to the right there is modulation mixed with the delay. The white pushbutton switch sandwiched among the main controls provides either Chorus or Vibrato as the modulation. When left up there is Chorus and when pressed down there is Vibrato.
Measuring 110mm(D) × 60mm (W) × 45mm (H) or 4.3 (D) x 2.36 (W) x 1.77 (H) inches, the Dream Mender is both light-weight and built well, with a brushed aluminum chassis and black/maroon screen graphics. The footswitch has a solid click with very minimal noise in the signal when engaged. The plastic knobs are typical in quality and the pots feel smooth and solid when turned. The modulation type pushbutton switch also feels solid and engages the intended effect (chorus or vibrato) without any issues. The footswitch also is set higher and far enough away from the controls, thereby avoiding damage when stomping. The Dream Mender requires a 9VDC standard power supply (negative tip) while drawing less than 70mA of current.
Modeled after a popular 1970s echo, the Dream Mender is not subtle, but is meant to be an up-and-front delay effect. If you’re looking for subtlety, then this is not the pedal for you. When engaging just the delay, all you need is to rotate the Blend control slightly to the left (from 12-noon off position) and you will hear the crystal clear delay loud and clear. Turning up the Blend to only half-way and the delay is very apparent, with a wet mix of at least 50% (although full blend is not 100% wet). Likewise, barely turning the Blend clockwise offers up a good mix of delay with modulation (you can choose either Chorus or Vibrato). A touch of Blend provides a very nice combination of delay with vibrato, making for some very dreamy lush chords and melodic leads. Blending these half-way definitely places the effect into the realm of ethereal and deliciously strange. The Delay time exceeds 900ms, which should be enough for most people, while using a Spin Chip, as opposed to the ‘traditional’ Buck Brigade Chip (using the Spin Chip means there are no recalibration adjustments required with nearly double the delay time while keeping the repeats clearer for longer). Overall, Dream Mender produces a very analog and clear (yet warm) delay. Two drawbacks may be that the Dream Mender operates in mono and there is no tap tempo. Regardless, the clearness in effect, along with how the modulation works with the effect makes the Dream Mender a great 2020 addition to the pedal world.