Vintage Digital

Digital Delay

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 is a self-contained audio delay line which utilizes sophisticated technology to achieve a new standard of professional quality. The culmination of an intensive design program, the MXR Model 113 Digital Delay is unparalleled in versatility, ease of operation, and creative application.

DeltaLab DL-4 Digital Delay

The DeltaLab DL-4 TIME LINE is a studio quality special effects processor designed for the professional musician to use in live performances. The DeltaLab DL-4 is a derivative of their highly successful DL-2 ACOUSTICOMPUTER which brings total performance to the performing musician previously attainable in very expensive delay lines.

AMS DMX 15-80S Stereo Digital Delay

The AMS DMX 15-80S 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

DeltaLab introduces the Delatlab DL-2 Acousticomputer, a flexible and rugged all-electronic ‘space machine’ with highly musical sound quality and a surprisingly modest price. The Delatlab DL-2 Acousticomputer is a combination digital delay and special effects processor designed for use both on stage and in the studio, providing well known functions plus some new effects not available in any other device.

Lexicon PCM 41 Digital Delay Processor

The Lexicon PCM 41 was a huge success for Lexicon when it was released back in 1980 and even today you will still find them in use in major recording studios everywhere. The Lexicon PCM 41 was eventually replaced by the Lexicon PCM 42 which featured longer delay times, but retained the sonic characteristics of the Lexicon PCM 41.

Roland SDE-2000 Digital Delay

Roland’s first digital delay, the Roland SDE-2000 was a big hit when it arrived, guitarists took to it like a duck to water, as too did home recording studios. It may have had limited bandwidth with the relatively low sampling rate of 26kHz, but that did not stop the success Roland enjoyed with the SDE-2000, but it did kill off the Space Echo, for a while at least.

Korg SDD-3000 Digital Delay

The Korg SDD-3000 is one of those effects that has retained it’s appeal even after decades of newer product coming after it. The Korg SDD-3000 digital delay has remained so popular that Korg themselves have re-introduced it in a guitar pedal form, as it was guitarists that fell in love with this very capable delay.

Lexicon PCM 42 Digital Delay Processor

The Lexicon PCM42 improved on the PCM41 and became a studio staple, even today you will find this nearly 40 year old digital delay in use aorund the world. The Lexicon PCM42 combines Lexicon’s reliability with features for musician. Unique in concept and execution, the Lexicon PCM-42 performs all of the functions you would of a high quality digital delay line, while the door to realms of musical expression that were only a dream now.

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 (sampling), keyboard control (1 V per octave), echo and flanging. The Bel BD-80 must be one of the most popular delay/samplers ever produced, being found in most modest home set-up to the more high-profile studio.

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. The standard unit offers a maximum delay time of 480 milliseconds, and memory extension options let you increase that to either 960 milliseconds or 1.92 seconds – all at full 20kHz bandwidth.

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