educate me on DMMs

rotlung

Member
Messages
956
I sold my Flashback X4 to fund a Belle Epoch. I mostly used the X4 for modulated delay and tape echo. I was hoping I could get by with a Carbon Copy for modulation and the Belle Epoch for tape, but the CC isn't going to do the job. So I want to try a DMM, but there's so many versions and chip preferences, that I'm clueless which would be the best. Can someone give me the rundown on commonly available DMMs? Is the current production model not that great? I don't need long delay times if that us the main difference between all the models. I only need a strong delay with character and adjustable modulation. How much am I going to spend for the right DMM?
 

InkStained

Member
Messages
3,888
Subscribed.

I have a DL-4, an El Capistan and a Carbon Copy, but still the DMM haunts my ambient dreams. No sense in resistance.
 

nrandall85

Member
Messages
2,325
The XO sounds fantastic, but build quality is deemed less serviceable than the earlier big box counterparts.

From my understanding, the best way to go is to grab a big box for the best price you can find, and then send it to Howard Davis (the creator of the DMM) for calibration (and even refinishing if you want.) I have a friend who currently has his out to Davis and I'll report back.

I don't have experience with the tap tempo versions.
 

Psyfuzz

Member
Messages
1,372
The XO sounds fantastic, but build quality is deemed less serviceable than the earlier big box counterparts.

From my understanding, the best way to go is to grab a big box for the best price you can find, and then send it to Howard Davis (the creator of the DMM) for calibration (and even refinishing if you want.) I have a friend who currently has his out to Davis and I'll report back.

I don't have experience with the tap tempo versions.
XO DMM user here and had zero issues, built like a rock. Sounds great too! True bypass is a god send.

Part of the DMM magic is how it colours your dry signal, warms it up and thickens it big time. For single coils it's great, gives it a lot of 'body' you'd usually need a humbucker derivative to get.
 

nrandall85

Member
Messages
2,325
XO DMM user here and had zero issues, built like a rock. Sounds great too! True bypass is a god send.
Ah yes, the XO's are true bypass.

My point was, built like a rock or not, in the event that something DOES break on an XO, good luck fixing it. Surface mounted everything.

That said, the XO sounded every bit as good as the box box I used to own.
 

Howard Davis

Member
Messages
316
XO DMM user here and had zero issues, built like a rock. Sounds great too! True bypass is a god send.

Part of the DMM magic is how it colours your dry signal, warms it up and thickens it big time. For single coils it's great, gives it a lot of 'body' you'd usually need a humbucker derivative to get.
That "coloring" of the dry signal only exists in the older models without total bypass, which is implemented in the newer big-box models with a relay on the PC board. However, what may sound good with single-coils is a very noticeable and detrimental tone sucking (loss of highs) when used with hot pickups like Humbuckers. My Hot Pickup and Input Impedance Increase mods greatly reduce undesirable tone sucking and overdrive distortion.
 

krndanny

Member
Messages
265
how much do these cost
like the big box compare to the XO and the ones with a tap tempo.

I have a AD800 from Young pedal and do they pretty much do the same thing other than the modulation since the AD800 doesnt have any option for modulation other than on and off?
 

rotlung

Member
Messages
956
Thanks guys, but I'm still rather clueless about the differences between all the DMMs out there. The current XO has true bypass and others don't... what else?
 

Psyfuzz

Member
Messages
1,372
Thanks guys, but I'm still rather clueless about the differences between all the DMMs out there. The current XO has true bypass and others don't... what else?
The XO is a continuation of the traditional big box, the Hazarai memory man is a digital delay and more flexible (not a 'traditional' memory man, it'll do a lot, but wont do the smooth DMM modulation like an XO DMM will), the others like DMM 550tt/1100ms are analog like the XO are more flexible with modulation options and tap tempo (again, flexibility vs the classic DMM modulation).

Depends what you're after, if you want a lot of options and creative possibilities go down the Hazarai/550tt route - if you want classic analog delay modulation and warmth get the XO DMM.

The difference between the XO and the big box DMM is negligible, despite what many claim on here claim - in a mix the differences will be unnoticeable.

Here's a great video comparing them, the guy claims the XO sonically contains a lot of positive aspects you'd typically have to the big box modded to achieve. At the end of the day you'll be safe with any of them.

 

speedyone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,497
Can't make a link for you since I am typing on a Kindle, but go to analogman.com and scroll down to his ehx or dmm faq section. All you need to know is there. I have owned three different versions-- a 1990s reissue, a 1980s one, and a new 1100 tap tempo. The best sounding one to me was the 1990s reissue. The tap tempo was too clear, not as warm as the other two. The 1980s one was really noisy. All units should be calibrated to sound their best.

I have found they will all sound different as they "drift out of spec" over time.

Despite what some will say, NOTHING sounds like a dmm...not a TC FLashback, not a Line6 Echo Park, Not the dmm sim in a multifx pedal.
 

Coldacre

Senior Member
Messages
9,839
I've had a few (big box, XO) and settled on the TT1100. the big box didn't have enough delay time before aliasing noise crept in around 350-400ms. the tap tempo 1100 sounds incredible. there's clarity around the repeats, yet they still degrade like a good MN3005 should. the modulation is second to none.... and you get 800ms before there's any aliasing noise. way more usable than any of the others. more features etc.

worth hunting down!
 

V-man

Member
Messages
2,743
FYI - Later day Big Box DMMS actually had TB before they were replaced by the XO models. Expect to pay at least $300 whether you are buying an XO or a used big-box DMM. Howard Davis can calibrate the DMM and so can Analogman. I have one of the last of the big Box DMMs and sent mine to Analogman to caliberate AND add the gain mod. He can also install TB (which mine didn't need).

It was my first delay and I have been spoiled. I have a CC as well, which is a good pedal, but the differences are pronounced. There is nothing like a DMM.
 

Suttykins

Member
Messages
398
The XOs are more consistent from unit to unit in my experience. Also, using surface mounted components makes them more reliable but less serviceable as mentioned above.

I currently have a '04 big box and a newer XO and they sound almost identical. The XO is a little tighter and less compressed in the repeats. The XO has also developed a popping switch which, for the life of me I can't figure out how to fix, however this is the only case of this I've experienced or heard about with the XOs.

After owning many DMMs of all vintages and chasing the MN3005 dragon for a while, I've come to the conclusion that regardless of chips, some units sound like ass and some sound out of this world good.

If I were to do it all again, I would just get an XO and stick with it. As I say, way more consistent and therefore less of a gamble.

I do love my big box though. After all the trouble I went through to land on it and how astonishingly good it sounds, it's the first thing I would grab in a fire over any guitar or amp.
 

hydroquebec

Member
Messages
2,055
The XO sounds fantastic, but build quality is deemed less serviceable than the earlier big box counterparts.

From my understanding, the best way to go is to grab a big box for the best price you can find, and then send it to Howard Davis (the creator of the DMM) for calibration (and even refinishing if you want.) I have a friend who currently has his out to Davis and I'll report back.

I don't have experience with the tap tempo versions.
Howard does great work. He was kind enough to allow me to drop my pedal off at his lab in Brooklyn and turned the pedal around really quickly. Having the original designer work on my pedal was the coolest thing ever and it sounds exactly the way I wanted it to. Dude is a total bad ass.
 

tapehead

Member
Messages
2,774
The percussive first repeat and decay/release of the repeats combined with the modulation is where the DMM makes its money...and nothing else I've tried nails it, aside for an actual Echoplex which gets close but has its own character, due the fact the DMM is emulating the tape echo...while the EP actually is one.

Can't make a link for you since I am typing on a Kindle, but go to analogman.com and scroll down to his ehx or dmm faq section. All you need to know is there. I have owned three different versions-- a 1990s reissue, a 1980s one, and a new 1100 tap tempo. The best sounding one to me was the 1990s reissue. The tap tempo was too clear, not as warm as the other two. The 1980s one was really noisy. All units should be calibrated to sound their best.

I have found they will all sound different as they "drift out of spec" over time.

Despite what some will say, NOTHING sounds like a dmm...not a TC FLashback, not a Line6 Echo Park, Not the dmm sim in a multifx pedal.
+1.
The 70s/80s big box versions are each like their own pot of stew inside, with various types and combinations of caps that act as seasoning. So drifting occurs, and varies in the differing components. The power transformer also influences the sound...and noise floor.

By comparison the reissue and especially the XO use a standardized formula re: component selection. The sound of those are much more consistent than the the variation heard between vintage units.

People who say "there's no difference between the old and new" as if it's fact, probably have not owned or played multiple units from all eras....or they're simply unable to hear the difference. But very real differences do exist both physically and sonically, period. Sometimes they're in-your-face, but mostly they're subtle variations on the same theme.

Some are noticeably chirpier|edgier|noisier|livelier|roomier|lofi..ier than others. Finding the one that works for you is out there, somewhere...
 

tremolo3

Member
Messages
4,781
Having tested old Big Box, newer Big Box and XO's... they all sounded the same to me.
If you don't want to spend $500 in an 80s version, get the cheapest DMM you can find, if money is not a problem get the cheapest DMM you can find too.
 
Messages
186
The percussive first repeat and decay/release of the repeats combined with the modulation is where the DMM makes its money...and nothing else I've tried nails it, aside for an actual Echoplex which gets close but has its own character, due the fact the DMM is emulating the tape echo...while the EP actually is one.



+1.
The 70s/80s big box versions are each like their own pot of stew inside, with various types and combinations of caps that act as seasoning. So drifting occurs, and varies in the differing components. The power transformer also influences the sound...and noise floor.

By comparison the reissue and especially the XO use a standardized formula re: component selection. The sound of those are much more consistent than the the variation heard between vintage units.

People who say "there's no difference between the old and new" as if it's fact, probably have not owned or played multiple units from all eras....or they're simply unable to hear the difference. But very real differences do exist both physically and sonically, period. Sometimes they're in-your-face, but mostly they're subtle variations on the same theme.

Some are noticeably chirpier|edgier|noisier|livelier|roomier|lofi..ier than others. Finding the one that works for you is out there, somewhere...
I totally agree with this statement. I've had a handful of DMMs from different eras. Each one has its own unique character. Subtle, but noticeable enough to me.
 

Vibrolucky

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,083
I collect vintage DMM's and can tell you (without a doubt) they are all a little different. To me, the allure of the vintage EH effects has always been that they are a little clunky and quirky - and knowing that their build quality back then (soldering, components, switches, consistency, etc) are inferior by todays standards. But thats also what makes them unique. Of the six (6) 'Box-box' DMM's I have:

2x early/mid 80's (two-prong power attached)
2x mid 90's (three-prong power attached)
2x early 2000's (detachable wall-wart power)

I can tell you that to MY ears, and style (Love the early U2 sound), the best sounding of my six is the mid 90's (3-prong attached plug) DMM. It is not true bypass, but is the best sounding of the vintage bunch. It has the 3005 Panasonic chips.

The 80's DMM's I've messed with and owned are a little noisier, but have more of the lo-fi thing going on that a lot of people really like.

I have a couple of the new ones 550 Tap tempo, and the XO series as well...They are every bit as good as the best of my vintage ones.

I buy vintage DMM's whenever I run across them and A/B them to my other ones, so I'm always buying or selling one that I prefer over another.

Bottom line, there are subtile differences in the vintage units - but unless you know what to listen for (or have others to compare to) you probably might not notice that much unless you get a really bad one (I've had a couple of those too). That was before I knew that Howard Davis could fix them!
 

Belmont

Member
Messages
3,465
I have two early original DMM. I haven't used them in years as they became too unreliable, I love the way they sound though.
I'm not precious about my repeats, I use a Boss DD-7 and DD-2 which are bullet proof and sound amazing.
 

alamere

Member
Messages
1,559
I collect vintage DMM's and can tell you (without a doubt) they are all a little different. To me, the allure of the vintage EH effects has always been that they are a little clunky and quirky - and knowing that their build quality back then (soldering, components, switches, consistency, etc) are inferior by todays standards. But thats also what makes them unique. Of the six (6) 'Box-box' DMM's I have:

2x early/mid 80's (two-prong power attached)
2x mid 90's (three-prong power attached)
2x early 2000's (detachable wall-wart power)

I can tell you that to MY ears, and style (Love the early U2 sound), the best sounding of my six is the mid 90's (3-prong attached plug) DMM. It is not true bypass, but is the best sounding of the vintage bunch. It has the 3005 Panasonic chips.

The 80's DMM's I've messed with and owned are a little noisier, but have more of the lo-fi thing going on that a lot of people really like.

I have a couple of the new ones 550 Tap tempo, and the XO series as well...They are every bit as good as the best of my vintage ones.

I buy vintage DMM's whenever I run across them and A/B them to my other ones, so I'm always buying or selling one that I prefer over another.

Bottom line, there are subtile differences in the vintage units - but unless you know what to listen for (or have others to compare to) you probably might not notice that much unless you get a really bad one (I've had a couple of those too). That was before I knew that Howard Davis could fix them!


GREAT post.... kudos to you for that! :)
 




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