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Korg SDD-3300 review
Some of you have been discussing the SDD-3300 lately, so I thought I'd pass
along this "review" Michael Caloroso sent to Analog Heaven earlier this
year, hope it's helpful...
>The SDD-3300 is a programmable triple digital delay with 64 memory slots
>and MIDI In, Thru, and Out. It has a 2x40 LCD screen, menu page buttons,
>and six sliders for editing the sounds. This is five better than one or
>none at all on most FX boxes and is much better than increment/decrement
>buttons, but sometimes I confuse the sliders as I move between menu items.
>You can name each patch.
>I see a lot of head scratching out there. Most people wouldn't
>immediately recognize the applications of three digital delays in one box.
>Hey, I didn't either when I saw one of these in a store five years ago.
>Wanna know a dirty little secret? The best stereo chorus and ensemble
>effects use a triple delay configuration. These include the coveted
>phaser/chorus/ensemble in the ARP/Solina String Ensemble/SE-IV, the Korg
>Trident, the ARP Omni/Omni II, and the original analog chorus pedal, the
>Boss CE-1. Well looky here, this little gem can do that.
>The delays can go from 0.5 to 500 milliseconds at 16Khz bandwidth and you
>can apply 12dB lowpass and/or highpass filtering to the feedback path. If
>you chain the three in series you can get 1.5 seconds of delay. The delay
>resolution varies depending on the range you're in; the longer the delay,
>the more coarse the resolution, so it's not as fine as the SDD-1200 or the
>SDD-2000. You can get up to 110% feedback for runaway loops. Each delay
>can be used as sampling units for playing over looped audio, and you can
>assign a MIDI note to trigger each unit.
>There's an input mixer and an output mixer for each delay unit, with
>levels for any of the three input busses, feedback busses, output busses,
>and effect busses. Not only that, you can invert *any* of the inputs off
>the busses. This allows you to configure the delay units in parallel, in
>series, or any combination, and you can cross feedback lines to your
>taste. The nicest plus is that you can tap any combination of effect
>lines to the outputs for the ultimate stereo processing. It's like having
>a programmable patchbay for three delay boxes. This is one *seriously*
>There's a peak level LED above the three master input sliders and a four
>segment input level LED for *each* input and output mixer. The LEDs are
>also critical to make sure you're not clipping anywhere in the system,
>which is easy to do. Once you've normalized the levels and made them as
>even as possible, you'll get the best S/N ratio. Let me tell you it's a
>*gas* watching these things dance in a complex stereo effect.
>Each delay has *two* LFOs, and you can control the phase of each LFO
>relative to the LFO in the first delay or you can run them asynchronously.
>Why are phase control of LFOs significant? You use out-of-phase LFOs to
>get stereo processing that doesn't cancel in mono mode. Why two LFOs per
>delay unit? For awesome ensemble effects, like the ARP String Ensemble.
>On the rear panel we have input, direct output, mix output, hold/trig, and
>level control for each independent delay unit. At a glance it's sparse
>compared to the rear panel of the SDD-1200, but deep inside the SDD-3300
>*does* has the I/O flexibility of the 1200, with the added bonus that it's
>programmable in software. But there's no access to the feedback path at
>the rear panel.
>Changing the delay time interupts the audio signal which is common for a
>digital delay, but it's about a one second wait before the audio comes
>back in. Likewise with the bypass function - when you enable it the
>effect does not come on immediately. This is not a box you'd use for live
>As experienced as I am with delay processing, it took a little time before
>I got comfortable with this system, it's easy to confuse the parameters in
>the input and output mixers. This is not a box for the novice, so if
>you're starting out you'll want a good reference on delay processing.
>Harmony Central has an excellent primer on delay processing techniques:
>So how does it sound?
>The cleanest clearest stereo chorus I have ever heard, excellent flange
>effects, good reflections (simple algorithms), and good tapped delay
>effects. The ultimate in going hog wild on outlandish effects and
>unconventional delay configurations not possible on any DSP box,
>especially when crossing feedback ann effect paths. I used to pump the
>Memorymoog through my old ART Multiverb and it would clip way too easily,
>and then I'd have to raise up the already noisy output of the ART to
>compensate. I don't have that problem with the SDD-3300. The delay
>effects I get on this thing just doesn't compare to a DSP box; if I want
>reverb I'll use DSP, but if I want basic delay processing I'll reach for
>this thing. The clarity is unreal. I can get awesome stereo ethereal
>sounds from the Memorymoog, and playing the Mini on one oscillator through
>a stereo imaging algorithm is heaven.
>I bought my unit used and I think it had the original presets in it. I
>think Korg originally marketed this to guitar players, but many of them
>give up trying to struggle with it. The presets are so-so, but I started
>having fun creating my own effects. This thing is made for the
>experimenter. There's a lot of magic in this box, if you see one and are
>not afraid to experiment, grab it you will not regret it.
>It will find use on vocals, guitars, and other instruments. I dialed up
>an awesome stereo imaging effect that uses phase-controlled LFOs, it is
>*wonderful* sounding. I also dialed up a great chorus effect that makes
>any sound move around the room in the stereo image :) The famous
>ARP/Solina String Ensemble/SE-IV, whose sweet stereo high strings have
>been heard on almost all the 70s records (and is still popular today),
>gets its sound from a triple delay processor with twin LFOs. That effect
>is nice enough that many SE owners have had the chorus board scavenged
>from the keyboard and mounted in a rack as an outboard effect. With a
>little research from http://www.midiwall.com/aharchives and info from the
>schematics, I was able to duplicate that effect with the SDD-3300. This
>baby can do it. Feed it a simple filtered ramp, and -presto- instant
>stereo strings, high notes are *sweet* just like the real thing.
>The kicker is even though it's 12-bit A/D at 88Khz, it sounds *good*.
>The manual tells you how to operate the unit, but it doesn't give you any
>basics of delay processing, IE parameters for chorus, flanging, doubling,
>etc. The manual *is* well written, nothing like most pathetic Roland
>manuals. It has a MIDI program mapper and you can load/save a single
>program or the whole kit-n-kaboodle. The block diagram on the top of the
>unit is reproduced in the manual. It even provides the MIDI Sysex codes
>for remote editing!