Digital Delays

Vintage Digital

Delay effect started out as a tape based effect, with products like the Echoplex and Roland RE-201 Space Echo being some of the more popular products back in the ‘analogue’ days. These tape based delays used a tape loop on which the incoming signal would be recorded, and then played back some time after, creating the delay effect. They could feed the recorded signal back in again to create what is commonly called the echo effect, which was simply a delay with multiple repeats. The problem with these tape based delays however was the fact that the tape would eventually wear out, and each time the signal was fed back in the sound would deteriorate a little causing the top end to roll off.

When digital signal processing came along, it would solve the ‘problem’ of tape based delays as there was nothing to wear out, and the signal did not degenerate with repeated echoes. These early digital delays of course had their own issues, primarily early digital did not have wide bandwidth so they inherently sounded less than pristine when compared to the incoming signal. However the bigger problem was delay time, which was limited by the amount of what was then, very expensive memory chips. As time went on however, digital became cheaper, memory chips became more affordable and digital delays came into their own. These newer models offered pristine delays with full bandwidth and plenty of delay time on offer.

Products like the very popular AMS DMX 15-80S and much later the Yamaha D5000 which is so dearly loved by Bob Clearmountain, took digital delay into the realm of perfection. But then a funny thing happened…Suddenly everyone missed the warm rolled off top end that tape based delays offered, and so today we have delay plugins that emulate these classic old tape delays systems, as well as offering the pristine delay that quality digital can provide. Like all things digital however, certain older hardware based delays still sit front and centre in the minds of many engineers. Products like the Lexicon PCM42 and the TC Electronics TC-2290 are heal in such high regard and still command serious money on the used market today.

MXR Model 113 Digital Delay

The MXR Model 113 Digital Delay was one of the very first digital delays to be put into production in the mid 1970’s. It is a pretty gnarly sounding early digital delay sounding more like a dirty tape delay.

DeltaLab DL-4 Digital Delay

The DeltaLabs DL-4 TIME LINE is a studio quality special effects processor designed for the professional musician to use in live performances.

AMS DMX 15-80S Stereo Digital Delay

The dmx15-80s is a true stereo microprocessor controlled digital delay line. Originally designed to meet specifications laid down by the British Broadcasting Corporation for equipment to be supplied to them, it offers two completely independently delayed channels with precisely controlled delay times.

Deltalab DL-2 Acousticomputer

The Deltalab DL-2 Acousticomputer is a true stereo (2 channel) delay and special effects unit with highly musical sound quality and extremely flexible versatility.

Lexicon PCM 41 Digital Delay Processor

The Lexicon PCM 41 is a versatile Digital Delay Processor, a compact third generation system that yields up to 800 milliseconds of high performance audio delay.

Roland SDE-2000 Digital Delay

The Roland SDE-2000 Digital Delay offers complete flexibility over all the delay parameters including Flanging, Chorus and Echo etc.

Korg SDD-3000 Digital Delay

The Korg SDD-3000 is the first affordable digital delay that provides programmability – sound effects created with the front panel controls can be memorized and instantly recalled whenever needed.

Lexicon PCM 42 Digital Delay Processor

The PCM 42 especially shines on vocals. If you push the input, the limiters on the input really add a distinct character and if you engage the x2 button, this lowers the bandwidth and makes it almost sound like a tape echo.

Bel BD-80 Digital Delay

The Bel BD-80 processor is a high quality digital delay with an expandable memory with loop edit facility, synchronised record and playback, echo and flanging.

Lexicon Model 97 Super Prime Time Digital Delay

The Lexicon Model 97 “Super Prime Time” is a major advancement in digital audio equipment. With it you can create, store and recall an unlimited variety of effects which you have programmed, in any sequence you like.

Roland SDE-3000 Digital Delay

The Roland Digital Delay SDE-3000 is a high quality Delay Machine featuring various delay effects and also the Memory function that retains up to eight different panel settings.

Roland SDE-1000 Digital Delay

The Roland SDE-1000 Digital Delay is a high quality delay machine with various attractive features.

Boss DE-200 Digital Delay

The Boss DE-200 uses analog logarithmic compression and 12 bit quantising system to obtain higher single to noise ratio. It is also provided with three output jacks, two kinds of stereo effects ate selectable.

Dynacord PDD 14 Digital Delay

The Dynacord PDD 14 is a studio-grade, Digital Delay unit. Up to eight different sounds can be programmed into the non-volatile memory and accessed directly.

Ursa Major MSP-126 Multi-Tap Stereo Processor

The 12 tap algorithm of the Ursa Major MSP-126 is more complex and, to my mind, far more interesting than that most popular of delay devices, the digital delay line or “DDL” .
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