Get the epic echo stylings of The Edge and con­tem­po­raries in your DAW with the lat­est clas­sic ef­fect for UAD-2 and Apollo sys­tems

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Pro­duced by Uni­ver­sal Au­dio in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Korg, SDD-3000 Dig­i­tal De­lay is a UADpow­ered em­u­la­tion of the lat­ter’s clas­sic 80s rack­mount (reborn as a stomp­box in 2014) de­lay unit. The orig­i­nal was largely re­spon­si­ble for one of the most recog­nis­able gui­tar sounds in the his­tory of rock – the soar­ing, sta­dium-fill­ing echoes of U2‘s The Edge – and sub­se­quently found favour with U2 pro­ducer Daniel Lanois and elec­tronic mu­sic leg­end Wil­liam Or­bit, amongst oth­ers. With its com­bi­na­tion of ana­logue JRC op-amps (as used in many dis­tor­tion ped­als of the day) and crunchy 13-bit con­vert­ers, it’s one of the most in­stantly iden­ti­fi­able de­lays ever made.

Uni­ver­sal Au­dio’s plugin (VST/AU/AAX/RTAS) re­make of the SDD-3000 aims to ac­cu­rately model ev­ery aspect of the real thing (mi­nus the CV and footswitch in­puts), while adding bet­ter stereo com­pat­i­bil­ity and, of course, tempo sync.

Drive it over

At the start of the sig­nal flow, the At­ten­u­a­tor switch sets the in­put level gain com­pen­sa­tion to +4dB, -10dB or -30dB, while -20dB, -10dB and +4dB op­tions of­fer level ad­just­ment at the out­put. At -30dB, the mod­elled preamp ap­plies won­der­fully gritty sat­u­ra­tion as the Level knob is turned clockwise. It’s also avail­able as a Uni­son plugin for UAD Apollo users, em­u­lated within the in­ter­face it­self for zero-la­tency track­ing through it.

Like the real SDD-3000, the De­lay Time (in­cre­men­tally ad­justed with the Up and Down but­tons, or en­tered di­rectly) ranges from 1 to 1023ms. Un­like the hard­ware, though, the plugin can also sync to host, with a menu of­fer­ing all the usual reg­u­lar, dot­ted and triplet di­vi­sions from 1/2 to 1/64, as well as 5/16 and 5/32.

The Feed­back cir­cuit in­cludes Low- and High­pass fil­ters for sim­ple fre­quency shap­ing, each with three fixed cut­off fre­quen­cies. High Feed­back set­tings quickly de­gen­er­ate to a glo­ri­ously filthy wash, and we’d have re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated en­hance­ment of the fil­ters be­yond the orig­i­nal spec to take in a wider range of cut­offs – or even an up­grade to con­tin­u­ous knobs for real-time play. Sac­ri­lege, we know…

The Hold but­ton re­peats the full 1023ms buf­fer con­tin­u­ously when en­gaged – use­ful for tex­tu­ral and loop­ing ef­fects. Again, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of sweep­able fil­ters would have made a hugely ben­e­fi­cial im­prove­ment here.

In the Mod­u­la­tion sec­tion, the De­lay time can be mod­u­lated by an in­ter­nal LFO or en­ve­lope fol­lower, for cho­rus­ing, flang­ing and other pitch­ing ef­fects. Tri­an­gle, square and ran­dom LFO wave­shapes are on­board, and the LFO fre­quency tops out at a nippy-enough 15Hz.

De­lay­ing tac­tics

Uni­ver­sal Au­dio’s vir­tual SDD-3000 truly nails the func­tional specifics of the orig­i­nal hard­ware – for bet­ter and worse. We can’t help but wish the com­pany had taken a few more lib­er­ties with re­gard to mod­ernising it, most notably those fixed fil­ter fre­quen­cies – UA added tempo sync and true stereo, after all.

That said, what mat­ters most here are the sound, mu­si­cal­ity and easy work­flow, all of which have been cap­tured per­fectly, mak­ing SDD-3000 an­other wor­thy ad­di­tion to the UAD Pow­ered Plug­ins ros­ter, par­tic­u­larly for retro­minded gui­tarists and pro­duc­ers.

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