Am I the only one who finds pt2399 Delays to be sterile sounding?

Mike Thomas

Member
Messages
115
I don't get the whole digital/analog hybrid delay craze of the last few years. I get it, people want a delay pedal that is analog and true bypass but where the delays repeat cleanly, not having to deal with the darkness and regeneration loss of bucket brigade based analog delays.
I know there are some coveted PT2399 delays that have come along one that comes to mind immediately is the Mad Professor. However, I just don't get the love. To me a pt2399 based delay next to a bucket brigade is just lifeless sounding. The darkness that people supposedly do not like with bucket brigade delays has never really been so noticeable to me that it bothered me so much so, that I just had to get rid of the pedal altogether. I also get that not all pt2399 pedals try and mimic bucket brigade delays, in fact most are probably trying to go more for a tape echo sound than anything else. Even so, as someone who has owned a few coveted vintage tape delay units, I still think bucket brigade delays do a better job when it comes to resembling an actual tape echo verses any of the pt2399 delays that I have heard. The only benefit that I see with some of the pt2399 pedals is that many of the pedals seem to offer a lot of other variables and controls that can be tweaked such as things like tape wow and flutter for example. Where as for the most part besides maybe some modulation control,most bucket brigades will typically just feature your standard delay settings. I'd like to see a pedal come along that was like the Strymon El capsitan as far as having all the different features and controls to perfectly mimic an actual tape delay except for its time delay ic's have them be actual bucket brigade if possible? But then again if they did something like that it would probably cost as much as just buying a fulltone real tube tape echo?
 

zetamkiii

Member
Messages
677
Indeed. They were absurdly outdated and lacking even when they just came out. I supposed they had to make do with what they had but I always snerk when someone tries to convince me anything containing a pt2399 is Boutique, Though I have heard the supply may be starting to trickle down so who knows, maybe one day...
 
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benjammin_

Member
Messages
267
pretty sure that last part isn't possible--there's just not as much you can do with a bbd circuit in comparison to what digital delays are capable of doing, which is evidenced by most analog delay pedals having really basic controls. even the echoczar is pretty simple.. i love the deep blue delay, and the 1776 Multiplex is awesome too (pretty sure the guy who makes the pcbs posts here a lot)

i've always wondered how much people are hearing buffers or preamps when they talk about a pt2399-based delay being sterile
 

Pewtershmit

Member
Messages
773
Isn't the C-BREAD Montavillan one of those? Cause that's like the most "organic" delay I have ever heard in a pedal format
 

MogwaiBoy

Member
Messages
3,734
Any time I see a "boutique" "analog-voiced" (or even advertised as tape-y sounding) digital delay that only has around 500-600 milliseconds and is tellingly "more lofi" in the upper time ranges, I know it'll be the same PT-based garbage. Never met a PT-based delay I liked better than true analog.

If you go digital delay, go all the way (Catalinbread) I say!
 

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,326
Like most anything else, it all depends on the designer. Things can sound pretty good or pretty terrible depending on what you do with them. If you just plug a PT2399 into a basic application-note circuit, it can sound pretty sterile, I guess.
 

Coldacre

Senior Member
Messages
9,839
if there was a plentiful supply of MN3005 chips, things would be very very different. the DMMTT1100 would still be in operation (for a very reasonable $350) and there would be plenty of other companies trying to undercut them and offering budget versions that would be just as flexible.

at the end of the day - in this day and age (and forum): low price, small footprint and tweakability are more important than tone.

the AD-999 is the best "tape sounding" delay in current production, but most people think that $350 is unreasonable for a delay without modulation and the size factor.
 

benjammin_

Member
Messages
267
what i'd love to see, but is an enormous request: one of the delay junkies out there, set up a pt2399 (deep blue delay, for example), a 3005 (old DMM), a v3205 (any new production BBD delay), and a dsp-based delay (timeline) to achieve a similar delay effect, then let us all blind abx them and see if we can pick 'em out. i'd be curious if we could beat it
 

JesterR

Member
Messages
2,572
I had EQD disaster transport Jr and catalinbread montavillian. And I loved them both. I do not care about what they suppose to emulate, I just think, that they are sounds great. And Monty, in fact, really unique sounding unit. I can not have this kind of sound from any other delay, which I tried.

On the other hand, it depends on your goals. If you like BBD, then go for it. But it does not mean, that other delays are bad.

And, again, this is just a chip. It's really important, how to use it in pedal. There is a lot pt-delays, that's just sounds dull, because they are poorly designed. Also, I had EHX memory toy, which is BBD, but sounds really horrible for me. Go figure!
 

Sentenced

Member
Messages
1,651
Skreddy Echo, Deep blue delay, Sunny day delay and other good implementations are fine examples of the PT2399 potential and sufficiency.
 

zetamkiii

Member
Messages
677
^What you call delay I consider echo. You need at the absolute least 800ms, those are just glorified slap back.
 

Coldacre

Senior Member
Messages
9,839
what i'd love to see, but is an enormous request: one of the delay junkies out there, set up a pt2399 (deep blue delay, for example), a 3005 (old DMM), a v3205 (any new production BBD delay), and a dsp-based delay (timeline) to achieve a similar delay effect, then let us all blind abx them and see if we can pick 'em out. i'd be curious if we could beat it
it's a completely flawed comparison though as once they enter the digital domain (down sampling, compressing, youtube-afying etc) the subtleties are lost. I'm not saying we couldn't hear differences... but the differences become something else. e.g. a guy sitting at home listening on computer speakers will hear a spike in the treble as a good thing, where as in person.... it's harsh etc etc.

in theory it's a brilliant idea though! I just don't think the comparison can be fairly done.
 

Mike Thomas

Member
Messages
115
^ this man knows how to wrestle one. there was a good thread on this with some great builders chiming in here: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/820972
I'm still fairly new around here and honestly was not aware of the older post. In other words I wasn't looking to cause a fight.

I could actually do without many of those digital delays that have all the bells and whistles such as tap tempo,and all the tape mimicking controls. I know those builders are trying to please a wide range of people,but I'd almost rather have none of that stuff and instead have all of the time,energy and costs go into concentrating on the quality of the delay itself first. If the delay effect itself is only mediocre at best to begin with who cares if a pedal can do things like recreate the wow and flutter of tape delay or if it has a tap tempo?
 
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JimmyR

Member
Messages
3,788
I couldn't care less what chips are inside a pedal. Generalising that a PT2399 delay must be bad is silly. And a delay NOT having a PT2399 is not instantly better. I have heard many awful PT2399 delays, and some very good ones. Likewise, I find most Strymon delays to be incredibly uninspiring. So very clever, yet so flat. I do have a couple of Strymon pedals still including a Strymon Timeline. I like it because of the programmability, but the TC Mini-Flashback I have sounds better to me! :)

I have a Maxon AD999 too, which I have used for years. But I end up using the Mini-Flashback, because (a) it's tiny, (b) it sounds great for my use, and (c) I only use it for slapback, and it's not so easy to appreciate the differences between an AD999 and a TC mini-Flashback when used this way.

However they do sound a lot fatter than any setting I use on the Strymon Timeline, the Eventide delays, any of the "boutique" FOTM delays so popular around here. And for longer, random delays by far my favourite is the PT2399-based Gekko.

I find using my ears in random blind tests gets me better results than generalising about chip types. Blind testing is a real eye-opener.
 

Mike Thomas

Member
Messages
115
I hear a lot of builders that tell me in order to keep the cost of their delay pedal reasonable they use a pt2399 instead of bbd's. Sure the cool audio BBD's aren't as fat as the old mn panasonic's but they are relatively inexpensive and sound IMO better than a pt2399 any day. Its like an amp builder that might not be able to offer a tube amp with nos tubes,and instead of offering it with something like groove tubes,he just decides to build a solid state amp instead. There I said it, I think comparatively a pt2399 chip is like a solid state amp and a bbd is like a tube amp. There is just way more life inside the tone of a bbd delay than a pt. Its not a generalization it is fact. And I have owned everything from different actual vintage tape echoes to highly coveted bbd pedals and I have yet to come close to finding a pt2399 delay out there that has thrilled me as much as any bbd out there.

Here is an interesting Idea that I don't think has ever been done. Imagine a pedal in one box that allows you to toggle between a pt2399 and BBD? I'm willing to bet the BBD of course would excel for shorter delays of course and the pt2399 option would be great for those who like their longer delay to be cleaner?

Speaking of the cool audio bbd's, does any one know if those are what the moog minifooger analog delay uses? Thanks.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,800
Knowing a little bit of the science behind this stuff, I don't agree that PT2399 delays are "lifeless" and BBD delays are great… The thing is that the PT2399 does exactly what the BBD does: it samples the audio signal at a certain rate. The BBD sample rate is MUCH slower, sure, so the clock noise can slip down into the audio spectrum if the low pass filter isn't high quality but that's the main difference between them. The fact that the samples in the BBD are true analog and in the PT2399 are quantized doesn't mean anything because of the low pass filter. Oh, and there's going to be noise problems if you try and stretch a PT2399 delay out to more than 350 msec or so, just like a BBD.

So, why do they sound different? Because the LPF filter in the analog delay has to be at a lower frequency cutoff, steeper and more effective. A PT2399 delay with the same filtering is going to sound indistinguishable from the MN3005 delay. I had one of the very first BJF DBDs in a tour box, at the time I didn't know that it was digital. I thought it was a really good delay, although in the end I preferred my original Aquapuss, especially at those prices!
 






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