Keeley Halo Review
Verdict and Review Summary
The Halo relies heavily on ambient trails and pad-style layers with a feel of being imprecise. It's a skillful and flexible reproduction of Andy Timmons's signature sound, and a good fit if you're looking for a trails-focused delay with a lot of feedback.
Written by Bobby Kittleberger
Updated January 13th, 2023
We use and test the gear we write about. To test the Halo I used my Mesa Rectoverb amplifier and PRS CE 24 electric guitar. No secondary information or third party. Just me and the Halo. I hope it's helpful.
I found the Keeley Halo to be almost entirely feedback oriented. It's a dangling kind of delay that leaves a layer of ambience out in the open. Ping pong is not what you're getting here. With the dual delay option you can get a lot of cascading echoes that push the rhythm out of the mix as you allow notes to rest. This is a pedal that crafts a niche based on a singular focus, rather than algorithmic variety, which is different from many of the larger digital delays on the market. Abandoning the jack of all trades for more specificity is a nice change of pace. We've got the details in the full Keeley Halo review below.
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Compare the Halo to other delay/echo pedals
The Halo is tough to compare to more traditional delay pedals in terms of sound, but we've added three others to this table that are in a similar price range. You can click the compare buttons to see live pricing (more pricing info below) and basic specs. You can also add more pedals to compare via the blue button below the table.
Walrus Audio Lore
Line 6 DL4 MK2
Keeley Halo Price Guide
Pricing updated Mon, October 02nd, 2023.
Pricing from Sweetwater
Price History for Keeley Halo Andy Timmons Dual Echo Pedal
|Current Price||$299.00||September 29, 2023|
|Highest Price||$299.00||January 13, 2023|
|Lowest Price||$254.15||May 26, 2023|
Last price changes
|$299.00||September 8, 2023|
|$254.15||September 1, 2023|
|$299.00||June 2, 2023|
|$254.15||May 26, 2023|
|$299.00||January 13, 2023|
IDEAL FOR: Enigmatic ambient trails, cascading delay sounds, recording, and performing.
The Halo's tonal persona
When I say there's an emphasis on ambiguity, that's not to say you can't get a rhythmic delay out of the Halo. That's just not its wheelhouse. It's not a ping pong delay, rather the trails are far more horizontal than vertical.
And whether or not that works for you is totally a question of preference.
With dual delay modes and all the presets, you can jump back and forth between something more ethereal and more rhythmic.
But you'll just about always notice the following qualities:
- Delay in series
- Cascading repeats
- Modulative push
- Long ambient trail sustain
- Lots of reverb in the background
Reverb isn't used to describe this pedal, but it definitely produces a lot and injects it into the echoes. To be fair, I might be confusing this somewhat with the modulation, which also has a strong presence.
That said, there's no reason to take off points for tone quality. Everything sounds really crisp and well thought out.
Keep in mind, the rig surrounding the Halo will have a lot to say in the matter. The final tone you end up hearing will be impacted significantly by the amp and guitar you're using.
But on its own, the Halo's tone is excellent.
With some breakup
I liked the sound of the Halo with a little bit of distortion. If you run the gain up too high, things will quickly get too chaotic and not really usable. But a marginally dirtier sound gives your delay trails some more punch and fullness.
If you need to dial things back, drop the feedback and/or the modulation.
There's very little detuning effect that I could hear in the modulation. It's a simple layer as far as I can tell. Again, what I'm hearing sounds more like Reverb, but I'm probably wrong.
Controls and flexibility
I'm giving points for flexibility, for the dual switches (allowing you to control two delays in one), the eight presets, and nine tweaking mechanisms. That's a lot of flexibility.
It's also helpful that the Halo gives you some bucket brigade tones, but with a lot more delay time. The feedback just lets you stretch everything out, so we get the analog vibe with a very modern layer that gets canvassed over the dry signal.
Saturation, one of the secondary controls, gives you some of the gain we talked about, which seems to inject itself straight into the trails.
Here's a list of the controls:
- Time/HPF (hi pass filter)
- FDBK (feedback)
These are the nine controls I mentioned earlier, which is easily this pedal's strongest suit. Despite a narrow focus, Keeley gives you a ton of room to get creative and to hone your preferences.
It keeps you busy - keeps your kids off the streets.
Price and value
I wouldn't mind to see the Halo a little cheaper.
If they knocked $50 to $75 off retail, I'd give it a higher grade. Check the price guide above for an updated number, but at the time of publishing this review, $299 was a pretty typical price point.
This is where the Halo lands if you buy one new.
Again, prices vary a lot, so check the price guide for yourself.
But even at $300, it'll be worth it for someone that wants this style of delay. If you're looking for the ambience and the stretched out ethereal layer.
If you're after more of a rhythmic, self-oscillating delay, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
There isn't really a set musical style for the Halo.
Any style of music that can use this kind of ambience would be a great fit for the Halo.
I'd also recommend it for a lot of clean tones.
Pop, rock, blues, or even church/worship guitarists will easily be able to put the Halo to work. Given the cost of admission, it's a better option for the intermediate and advanced playing levels.
One more thing:
The dual delays, expression pedal support, stereo i/o, and presets make it a good studio delay candidate.
This is a unique style of delay, with a very specific focus.
Make the call based on that focus and the vast amount of control. It's probably not a set and forget type of stompbox, but one where you'll want to use several different sounds to really get your money's worth. This pedal is made for a lot of movement.
That's make it a great fit for some people, and a no-go for others.
If you have questions about my Keeley Halo review, drop it in the comments section and I'll help out.
We're open to discussing our review process as well.