Akai Professional E2 Headrush Delay/Looper Review
Under: Guitar Gear Reviews
The Akai Professional E2 Headrush Delay/Looper Pedal is a really complex yet cool device. It has two different delay sounds, a built-in looper, many control and 5 outputs!
This pedal was made famous by KT Tunstall, amongst others and is quite affordable, especially for the number of features you get.
The Akai Headrush combines delay, tape echo, and a loop recorder.
The delay sound has a rich almost lo-fi sound, especially if you keep the HF Damp control low.
The tape echo setting simulates a four-head analogue-tape machine. This effect can either summed to one output or each virtual head can be controlled by a separate output – hence the 5 output jacks.
The looper function allows you to record a phrase or chord pattern then record and play over the top of this first loop. The looper has a max record time of 23.8 seconds! That’s very long!
Build Quality: 9/10
The Headrush is extremely well-built thanks to its metal case. The large knobs enable the pedal’s settings to be seen on stage easily. The input and output jacks are screwed in and therefore ensures longevity.
At 140mm x 183.5mm x 65mm and over 1.1kg – it’s a large pedal. However, regardless of the size, the sounds and features onboard make it worth the pedalboard space it will need.
Controls and Features: 9/10
The Akai Professional E2 Headrush pedal has a lot of controls! Along the top row is a Level control, HF Damp, Feedback, Time.
The second starts with two switches: Looping Level, Looping Time. Then a Mode switch, the last two controls are Ratio and Head gap.
The pedal’s two footswitches activate different function depending on the mode. In either of the two delay modes, the left acts as an on/off with the right footswitch allowing you to tap in the tempo. This tap tempo feature is really useful and has it’s own led which flashes in time.
Switching into looper mode, the left footswitch is on/off. The right controls the record and overdub function.
As mentioned before, there are 5 outputs which can be used in the tape echo mode, with the normal delay and looper modes being summed to the mix output.
Tones and Sounds: 9/10
Despite the Akai Headrush’s many controls, it’s fairly simple to get a good delay sound out of the box. The Level control acts more as wet/dry mix than providing a boost – like some delays do.
I’ve found that it’s easy to set up a basic 8th note delay which is useful for most things using the normal delay. Then by adjusting the Ratio control which is only usable on the tape echo mode, you can get a dotted 8th note delay sound – that famed U2 sound. These two delay setting allow me to cover most delay sounds I need on gigs. Plus it’s easy to hit the mode switch to change the delay setting.
Of course, I use the tap tempo control to delay time rather than reaching down and try to find the right setting for the song’s tempo. To me, most digital delay should have an easy to use tap tempo control, even it you have to by a control pedal.
The looper function is very cool and allows you to record a simple chord pattern down and then either build layers on top or use as a practice tool. In this mode you can select from normal or extended looping time.
Also, if you want the pedal to compress your guitar so that each loop is roughly the same volume [fix position on looping level switch] or let it record different volume levels [vari position].
Overall: Akai Professional E2 Headrush Delay/Looper Pedal
I’ve used the Akai Professional E2 Headrush for a few years now on my smaller gigging pedalboard. While I don’t use the looper function on gigs, I do use the two delay settings.
I don’t like a few things about it. Firstly, the size, it’s huge! If you’re like me you need a small pedalboard which covers a lot of ground. Therefore, you want to use a few pedals which aren’t massive but are versatile. That said, it’s sound good and is quite easy to understand how to use it after some messing with it.
The other thing I dislike is the looper, which I have to confess I’ve only used for practice – you can’t store loops. That’s ok if you’re using it like KT Tunstall but not if you want to record and recall.
While this works for my current gigging needs, it might be replaced for something like a DD-20 or Nova delay. That said I do recommend it!