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Korg SDD-XXXX Delay Rack Unit History

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by Lavely, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Lavely

    Lavely Silver Supporting Member

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    Delving into rack delays...I see that Korg released an SDD-1000, SDD-2000 and SDD-3000. Then, they also have an SDD-1200 and SDD-3300. I'm wondering what the release dates were for each of these (really, which was first, which came later) and differences among them?

    SDD-3000 (1983) - 1023ms, special preamp, 9 programmable presets
    SDD-1000 (1984) - 1024ms at full frequency, 2048ms at half frequency - all knobs
    SDD-2000 (1985) - 1092ms at full frequency, 4368ms at reduced frequency - 64 programmable presets, MIDI, sampling

    SDD-1200 (DATE?) - 1024ms (doubles when delays in series), dual delay lines
    SDD-3300 (DATE?) - 500ms per line (triples when delays in series), three delay lines


    Second Topic:

    If I buy a separate pedal with the "magical SDD-3000 preamp" in it (looks like a few exist) and put this in front of any of the above, will I miss anything else about the SDD-3000? For example, the SDD-2000 looks like a more feature-heavy delay - will the preamp pedal and the SDD-2000 give me what the 3000 provides in terms of delays?

    EDIT - The answer, per the posts below, is NO! The 2000 has more differences than just the preamp.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  2. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

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    I've had a SDD-3000 & 2000; still have the 3000.
    The 3000 has more features to sculpt your delay sound (waveforms, filters...), and has those awesome famous input/output preamp sections. It is the one to have to me.
    I love my 3000, never really cared for the 2000 in comparison honestly. MIDI recall & sampling features are really the only added value of the later, and it doesn't compare to it's bigger brother otherwise IMHO.
    And there are options to remotely recall presets via MIDI on an old 3000 too, so didn't really bother keeping the 2000.

    I can't comment on the "preamp on a pedal + other delay" option as I've never compared it to the real thing.
    Key point to me beyond the "sound" itself is would it provide the same level of boost or I/O level (mis)matching possibilities? That is one of the keys of the old SDD3K magic to me, boosting the front end of and old tube amp with one is a thing of beauty.
     
  3. mike_lawyer

    mike_lawyer Member

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    I have owned both units before. The SDD-3000 has that sweet magic of the preamp and stellar modulation section. The SDD-2000 can be made to sound close, but the modulation section is different and it lacks the preamp.

    An SDD-3K pedal in front of a delay can get close, but it is not the same as the rack unit sound-wise. I tried doing that with a Strymon Timeline, and it is in the ballpark but not the same.

    The SDD-3000 pedal also can sound in the ballpark, but it is not the same as the rack unit. I have A/B'd them side by side, and the rack unit was the clear winner.
     
  4. Lavely

    Lavely Silver Supporting Member

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    In terms of Modulation, it looks like the only thing the 3000 does that the 2000 does not is allow you to select the Waveform of the Modulation from among (1) triangle wave, (2) square wave, (3) random wave or (4) envelope follower. Or, are you saying the Modulation itself, as an effect, sounds different in the 3000 than in the 2000?

    And, to @Anje point, the 3000 has HP & LP filters.

    Seems like better/different functionality, for sure.
     
  5. slowerhand

    slowerhand Supporting Member

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  6. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    I love the filters in the SDD-3000...I use them more than the much beloved 'preamp'.

    I just took a look at the block diagrams for the SDD-3k vs 2k, and here's a notable differences beyond the preamp/output amp:

    The SDD-2000 uses a compander, whereas SDD-3000 uses a high frequency emphasis. At least, according to the block diagram. On the circuit diagram of the 3k I couldn't really see it, as it looks like the volume control and feedback summing are done by the same op-amp, and it might also be set up as a high pass filter. The SDD-2000 schematic I have is fuzzy, but it looks like the compander chip also does the feedback summing. It's probably some kind of VCA with some pre-set functionality.

    I don't see filters in the feedback loop of the SDD-2000, other than low pass filters which I assume are for anti-aliasing/anti-imaging.

    I would imagine the difference between emphasis and companding would make some notable sonic differences between the units. Similar to the difference between Dolby, and dbx noise reduction.
     
  7. Lavely

    Lavely Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds like more than just the preamp is different...thanks @drfrankencopter for the detailed view!

    Probably best to hold out for a 3000. Now, I'm on the hunt for one!
     
  8. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts and observations on my sdd2000 mod!

    The SDD 2000 is my favorite rack delay, probably my favorite digital delay.

    The feature that tips the balance in its favor over the 3000 is tap tempo!!

    The 2000 has filters to reduce high end, too, you just engage the 4x mode. So, you get a darker sound, along with 4 seconds delay time. That also makes it a basic looper, you hit record, it waits for you to start playing, hit cancel, and it will either loop it, or you can trigger the recording with a footswitch, or midi note. It will also sync to midi time code.

    Also, the modulation section is superb. I don’t get how anyone could criticize the modulation. You can set delay times in .1 ms increments which opens up a lot of great flange settings which you can’t get on the 3000 with its courser 1 ms adjustment. With the triangle waveform, it’s got a bit more of a doeppler type effect. I use it with my pcm41 to do through zero flanging, and when the sdd2000 does the modulation, it really sounds like a Leslie, when the pcm41 does the modulation, it’s more of a straightforward flange. I don’t have any really good clips of the sdd2000 modulating, but if you check out this one, fast forward to 10:02-12:00, that’s the sdd2000 doing a flange setting. Everything else on that clip is the iStomp, not the korg.

    Now, on the compander, if you look at page 14 of the sdd3000 service manual, you will see instructions on how to adjust the sdd3000’s compander. It clearly does not have the more ubiquitous ne570 compander chip, so I’m not saying whether they sound different or the same. But I will say, I don’t like the compander in the sdd2000. One of my mods is to bypass the compander. That requires a corresponding increase in decoupling filtration of the digital 5vdc power supply, otherwise you get digital whine.

    I see the sdd2000 as a very high performance delay that needs a bit of help to achieve its potential. Just like the deluxe memory man, which is ok stock, but becomes truly magical when skillfully modified.

    Of course, if you require the sound of the sdd3000, by all means buy one.

    What I hear in the sdd2000, which is not present in any of my other delays, is this upper harmonic layer to the delays. I heard this quality the first time I plugged it in. If you listen to this clip, http://theinside.net/sdd2000/SDD2000 ME2.m4a from about 2:50 on, what the delay does after the chord stabs, there’s another layer of upper harmonics that emerges. That’s the magic of the delay that I find so unique. Does the sdd3000 have that quality, too, probably as it really is that unforgettable fire vibe.

    I run the sdd3000 style preamp into my pcm41, but it does not get that effect. That’s something inherent to the korg delays, I suspect.

    Let’s talk about the preamp a bit. First of all, the boost, is the output opamp, not the preamp. Any rack delay can do this trick. There is nothing magical or unique here. It should be noted, though, when you switch the sdd2000 to boost, it boosts all the outputs, direct, mix+, and mix- at once. The 3000 attenuator only impacts the front panel output, the other three are at +4 and the service manual provides instructions to make pads to those outputs.

    The preamp on the sdd3000 is a tl072, first stage is a buffer, impedance matcher, setting 500k when you switch it to -35 db for instrument level. The second stage is a voltage amplifier. The buffer is bypassed when set to -10, +4. This is a great setup for using in front of an amplifier. But keep in mind, these stages are not used to slam the input of the delay, it’s to maintain good signal to noise, to match levels and impedances. A lot of delays of the era have similar circuitry. The yamaha e1005, another of my favorites, has similar topology, except the buffer stage is a single transistor, which gives it a bit of a softer sound.

    The sdd2000, the output amplifier, where the boost is done, is pretty much the same as the 3000, except for having only 2 settings.

    But the front end of the sdd2000 is not as good for running in front of the amplifier. For some reason, the levels and impedances, are reversed. -35 is low impedance and -10 is high. I had a real problem trying to get my particular sdd2000 to work in front of the amp without external buffers, etc which I don’t like. That’s why I thought it would be interesting to try and put the sdd3000 preamp on the 2000 to get it to work in front of the amp.

    A stock 2000 will not work like the 3000 in front of an amp, so if that’s the basis of comparison, the 2000 will probably not be in the ballpark. If you want to use a stock 2000, I don’t think you’d need a whole SDD 3000 preamp pedal. You could use any opamp buffer in front to take the place of the 3000’s buffer stage. The 2000, has two opamp gain stages, so you’d still have a slightly longer signal path, but not as bad as using a whole redundant sdd3000 preamp pedal.

    I do think the sdd3000 preamp is a nice, solid design, it sounds good, dynamic, runs off a pretty massive, linear +/- 15 vdc supply, but I don’t really think it’s that unique. I find the delay sound itself to be the magic. The combination of the two does sound great, slamming the front end of the Vox style amp with the bright, harmonically rich, percussive delay.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  9. Lavely

    Lavely Silver Supporting Member

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  10. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    I'll second this! And would like to add some clarification that I wasn't trying to slight the SDD2K in any way....I've never heard one myself, so I have no basis. I was just theorizing on differences from looking at the block diagrams, and comparing against my SDD3K experience.

    I think it's pretty amazing how much the tech evolved between the 3K and 2K. Only a couple years after the 3K was released Korg had integrated their own custom LSI CPU and added MIDI.

    Personally, I wouldn't really call 4X mode on the SDD2K a selectable filter...semantics, I guess. In my mind, the steeper low pass is just a necessity to prevent aliasing. On the 3K you get selectable break points and (more importantly, IMO) a high pass filter so your repeats can get thinner. Depending on your taste in delay this may not matter enough to justify the price difference between a 3K and a 2K. I got my 3K for $125 from a pawn shop, so I never had to make this decision myself.

    Totally agree on the topology of the delays being pretty much common for the time period. And I too don't think the 3K preamp is 'magical'. I do like the delay though! I've got PCM-41 in my rack too, and the SDD offers a nice difference in flavour. Different modulation, and different filters.
     
  11. mike_lawyer

    mike_lawyer Member

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    I might pick up an SDD-2000 just to compare to A/B it with the 3000. I have owned both at different times, so I have not been able to compare them side-by-side.

    I have read about mods to create an SDD-3000 preamp on a 2000. Sometime I would like to try that mod.

    One thing I have read is that on the 2000, there is a bit of a processed sheen on the modulation and repeats. The thing about the 3000 is that the repeats and modulation sound very organic and faithful to the original tone.

    Korg really should have issued a rack SDD-3000X or something that basically was identical to a standard 3000, but had more presets and full MIDI support. To me, that would be the ultimate rack delay unit.
     
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  12. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    I have a 3000 and a 2000... And I have a separate preamp. The preamp is the magic for sure, and in front of the 2000 it sounds great.

    ...but the 3000 is something beautiful. So, get that :)
     
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  13. Lavely

    Lavely Silver Supporting Member

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    @Dashface - tell me, please - does the 2000 with the preamp in front of it sound a lot like the 3000? If so, why have you kept the 3000? Very curious!
     
  14. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    It sounds good, but it doesn’t sound like the 3000.

    I’ve kept both because I’m lazy. I actually have seven or eight rack delays at this point and the Korgs are not in my touring rig - so I could certainly sell them. I just don’t :)
     

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