What is it?
Ibanez DDL10 Delay II from Power series. Made in japan around mid 80’s.
Power series has way too many delays. What makes this fact even more sad is that these are all interesting designs. And most of them differ from others, so it’s a painful series to collect. To begin with, Delay II has delay time ranges from 19-113, 38-225, 75-450 and 150-900 milliseconds. This is in addition to standard mix/time/feedback controls (they are called D-Level, D-Time and Repeat here). Nice range indeed. As the first gut shot below shows, the processor is MC4101F, which we can find on other Ibanez delays of the era as well. This unit also features a clean parallel output, so the delay can be mixed in later in the path…
Ibanez isn’t the best known brand for their full on recycling of board designs as many other manufacturers. Of course there are exceptions here and there where same board design has been rotated throughout different series and re-branded designs along the way. I have not counted the total of Ibanez/Maxon designs in existence, but the number should be somewhere around well over 200. For the six delay pedals in Power series, which was produced for a brief time in mid 80’s, we are bound to find some recycling. I still am assuming that the recycling of board designs for Ibanez is a low percentage. At least if we compare that assumed number to DOD board designs, for example. This model shares the board with one of the DML (digital modulation delay) designs. Somehow i think the “DDL” sticker to indicate on which design this board was meant to be used, is sympathetic.
Once again i’m forced to leave this article somewhat a stub due to my limited knowledge of these massive digital designs. Nevertheless, i can’t find a lot of negative things from this pedal. Not from the inside, nor the outside. As the units are reaching vintage age, the price of a unit in good condition is something interesting to follow. All of these are well made units and will withstand years and years of more use. Even the design is complex, i still see a long life for these boxes. Definitely a prime example why Ibanez (ok, Maxon) pedals are appealing to me.
How does it sound?
Great. There’s no super cold metallic feel to the repeats in the same manner as most digital delays of the era have. Instead there is a certain analog feel to the sound. Ibanez has succeeded in this behavior in more than one or two pedals in their vast catalog of delay designs over the years. This unit is no exception. Well working controls with wide range of setting in addition to as natural digital delay sound as possible. There’s not much to add, but Great delay. The capital G is there for a reason.
7 thoughts on “Ibanez DDL10 Delay II”
The fact that they include a analog companding circuit (NE571) in there probably helps give the unit a more “analog” sound. It’ll add its own character which people would associate with analog delays where the companding was essential to keep the noise level reasonable. I’ve seen people use the same trick on recent PT2399 delay units – make them more “analog” by sticking a 570/571 in front of them. Beyond that, it’s down to the frequency response. Keep the filters low (3KHz? 5KHz? not much more) and it’ll have that muffled, dark analog delay sound.
Which i find quite interesting – especially with PT2399. As simple filtering would yield the same results and is quite common method. Take Brian Wampler’s Faux Tape Echo for an example.
Compander is quite essential tool to battle noise with long delay times on many BBD chips. But to use it on digital delay line is.. Well, interesting.
Companders were also used on the Digitech PDS delays. Not that unusual for early digital designs.
My guess is that the designer(s) were doing digital delay lines with the same methods as they did BBD delays. Which is again, interesting from the perspective of dedign history. Not familiar with noise figures of those digital chips though.
Depends on the converters used. No idea on this pedal, as it looks like the MC4101F is doing the conversion, the 4164 chips are DRAM.
I’ve had one of these for so long that I’m not even sure how long I’ve had it. When my friends and I started getting into electronic improvisation I pulled it out and threw it on an old Korg/Univox SR-120/Minipops drum machine. I liked the sound, but expected to replace it with something more “special.” That was almost six years ago. Since then, we’ve acquired 15 more delays, some quite expensive. The DDL10 has not been superseded. In fact, these days, it is the main delay on our Korg KR-55 drum machine, which is the beatbox we use for our more polished, pop-style recordings.
Aside from the quality of the sound it has two other features that make it ideal for use with drum machines. The first, is that the delay time subdivisions on the rotary knob correspond to musical subdivisions. This means that if I synchronize the delay to a beat (manually as there’s no tap tempo), turning the rotary knob will provide me with a set of four delay speeds, each of which has a nice musical relation with the beat. (this is not the case with the DML 10, which I also have, where the delay speeds are not determined by subdivisions of a tempo but by the generally rapid speeds typical of different popular delay based modulation a like flange, chorus, etc.) The second nice thing about it is the character of the glitches produced by rapidly shifting the D-Time/D-Mode knobs clockwise. These clunky sounds are more characterful and musical, at least to me, then the corresponding artifacts produced by any other delay that I am familiar with.
I was glad to see someone take a real look at this– Definitely one of my favorite effects.
I’ll agree. In fact most of Ibanez delays are quite good..