Dreadbox Modular Delta Eurorack Delay Review
Dreadbox Delta Delay Delay Delay Delay.....
When someone mentions analogue synths you think of Japanese and American manufacturers like Roland, Korg and Moog, though more recently some unique european manufacturers have risen to the occasion and are starting to produce some of the most interesting and unique synthesizers available.
One such company that rose to attention recently was Greek boutique manufacturer Dreadbox; a small independant synthesizer manufacturer from Greece who gained global attention with the release of the EREBUS, a first of its kind. A complete analogue duophonic synthesizer with a semi modular architecture and a rich delay circuit with extensive modular capabilities....that didn't cost a fortune.
Dreadboxs' roots always lay into the modular vein, with every release they leaned more towards a full modular system; Murmux Semi modular, EREBUS, Hades, Modular Effects...well thanks to the synth gods (John and co.) we've got a complete modular system on our hands!
The module in question, Delta Delay
One of the cornerstone building blocks that made the EREBUS so interesting and fun to play with, was it's BBD emulated tape delay, revered by its users - this simple two control delay unit adds some real movement and diversity to any synth sound, plus you can modulate it and get some really intense, head spinning sounds out of it.
So the Delta Delay builds upon the benchmarks already set by Dreadboxs' Delta effects pedals, a very attractive 16HP module, encrusted with vintage styled knobs, dense with patch points and tastefully enamel coated to resist scrapes and scratches from mounting in a case.
At its core, the Delta module is a dual parallel lo-fi digital delay, two independant channels of delay effects that are both tied to a single time parameter. Patching points include;
- Audio input, accepts signals 5 volt peak to peak, hotter signals can be used to overdrive if desired.
- CV inputs x 2 for modulating the delay time
- Wet output x 2 saturated, full wet delay output
- Audio output, summed, blended master audio output
So right away, it's easy to see what this module is going to be good for. You have two delay stages which are inherently tied together, but provide enough offset and mix controls to make polyrhythms and groove based effects, simple to dial in and fun to manipulate.
This is the kind of module that begs to be played with and lends itself well to pretty much any kind of audio delay duties. The Delta has a 15ms to 500ms time range, so not the widest but plenty enough make a wide array of sounds and working with.
Enough talk, lets test it out.
In use, time to test.
So, onto testing the Delta; we'll stick with the holy trinity of test modules, Intellijel Atlantis, Audio Damage ADM06 and the Doepfer A-143-9 Quad LFO, this combo will provide us with a wide array of simple analogue waveforms, complex sequencing abilities and enough modulation to keep us busy for some time, well also throw in the rather incredible Mutable Instruments Edges for some panning and stereo field manipulation just for good measure.
So here's the patch, it got a bit messy;
- TipTop Circadian Rhythms passing 90BPM clock onto the ADM06
- Audio Damage ADM06 CV and Gate split into a Doepfer A-180-2
- CV signal split into the Atlantis, Ataraxic Translatron and the Mutable Edges
- Gate signal from ADM06 fed into the Studio Electronics shapers EG
- Shapers EG signal split into Atlantis, Ataraxic and Edges
- Atlantis, Ataraxic, Edges and a VCO signal from A-143-9 fed into the Frames mixer
- Frames summed mix fed into the DSI DSM01 Filter and DSM02 Character
- DSM02 Character into the Dreadbox Delta
- Delta into the TipTop MixZ
- MixZ to the Synthrotek MST output module
So we went right in and started triggering slow evolving gates into all of the synth voices in the system, we dialing in similarly formed triangle sounding waves on all four voices and set up some framing with Frames. We then started a slow cycle through the waveforms using the mixer functionality of Frames. This resulted in some subtle, slowly moving soundscape esque textures with some nice interpolation type sounds as the waves mixed, this patch really came alive when we dialed in some delay!
We simply set the Delta to a 90% wet mix with subtle feedback and a long release. This delay form, coupled with the slowly generating gates and scanning, panning mixing created a lush, deep sound wall, dense with texture and harmonics.
One modulation patch that worked nicely here was adding some high resonance from the Dave Smith Curtis Filter, blended into the signal patch at irregular intervals, it added another sound source to the overall sound and complimented the spacey nature of this patch perfectly.
So onto less, spacey sounds, we kept the same patch setup but this time we did some more linear 303 style sequencing and set up a kick drum patch using the BD808. As we all know, Atlantis is the king of techno and acid sounds and we all know that a bass bot loves a bit of delay.
Here, the Delta comes into its own. Plenty of short, snappy slap back sounds that provide plenty of variation when working in the seldom, repetitive nature of techno. Having minute control over small sections of the sound is really key, and there's plenty of tools here to build up and break down sections...create massive tails and even create odd register harmonics within the sound itself.
Delta really is a premium sound design tool with a massive scope of tonal variety. The modulation capabilites make for interesting pseudo tape, pitched effects and further extend the capabilities of this awesome little module.
Delta may be one of the less exciting modules in the dreadbox range, since you have impressive harmonics based oscillators, complex LFO's and a tonne of modulation tools, but it's certainly one of the most useful and sonically versatile of the bunch.
If you like vintage sounding delays, old school slap back, echo and even wide, open sound scapes - then this is a really superb tool for your modular system.
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By Tom Lewis