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Roland SDE 3000 A in this age of plug-ins? Reverb/Delay Processors (HW)
Old 22nd March 2016
  #1
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The Listener's Avatar
Roland SDE 3000 A in this age of plug-ins?

So, I couldn't find much contemporary threads about this delay that is rather famous!

I never used it, but I used other "vintage" delays on occasion, tape delays, especially RE-201, which was somewhat quirky, great sounding, but very specific - "spacey vintage" and Yamaha E1010, which is great and can be weird and very "indie"...

I do a lot of acoustic music, also some new agey stuff lately and I'd like a fine and creamy delay, that sounds "natural", but can also be a bit "psychedelic"...

I know a lot of plug-ins that are very cool... Valhalla stuff and Replika... but I got this idea to get Roland SDE 3000 A - R.Carlos Nakai supposedly used it on his native american flute albums and I love that sound - very magic and natural sounding...

Soooo, in this age, with all those plug-ins - is Roland SDE 3000 A still worth wile getting?
Old 22nd March 2016
  #2
Gear Addict
 

If it were me I would have chosen the Roland. Why? because it sounds better than any plug.
If you want a 3D, magic, interesting, variable sound, hardware is your friend. And this applies to everything.
Old 22nd March 2016
  #3
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The Listener's Avatar
Thanks, but did you use it?
Old 22nd March 2016
  #4
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I've used it, I had one in my studio, but it does not really work as it should so its retired. i will buy one again when i find one in good shape.
I do have similar in SDE-1000, SDE 330 and other delays and prefers them more than plugins. I use them all the time.
You should try some of those delays and then decide if they are better than plugins. Only you know what you prefer.
Old 22nd March 2016
  #5
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druhms's Avatar
Get a Roland 3000...or two! It's a classic for a reason. Not "hi-fi" sounding, which is one of the reasons it fits so well in a mix. Another old school fav of mine is the Lexicon Prime Time. The Prime Time can easily get weird. The Roland is set it and forget it.
Keep in mind, both of these are mono, so if "creamy" requires stereo, then get 2 of them. Plenty of little tricks out there to make these things shine! Love em!
Good Luck!
JJ
Boogie Tracks Recording Studio Boogie Tracks
Old 22nd March 2016
  #6
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The Listener's Avatar
Thanks... Anyone compared with Replika?
Old 23rd March 2016
  #7
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The Listener's Avatar
Just bought one on ebay... let's wait and hear...
Old 23rd March 2016
  #8
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Hope you like it. Let us know what you think.
Old 24th March 2016
  #9
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
Someone asked to trade me for my lexicon pcm60, no can do.....
Old 25th March 2016
  #10
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ghostwriter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Just bought one on ebay...
Congrats.

I love my SDE 3000.

Last edited by ghostwriter; 25th March 2016 at 01:38 AM..
Old 25th March 2016
  #11
I have a Roland SDE-2500 in my rack. Also a Yamaha E1010 and a 90's Korg DL8000R. All 3 are great vintage delays (the Korg is a stereo unit) and way better than any plugin i have ever heard IMHO. The Korg is a monster sounding unit capable of a lot more than just delays as well.

I won't be selling them.

Keith.
Old 26th March 2016
  #12
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

I own a couple of SDE1000's. I think they're great. They actually sound a bit different from each other even with the same settings though.
Old 13th October 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
I own a Roland SDE-3000 and it's the only hardware delay unit that I have. It's a little hissy due to the fact that it's a 12 bit delay, but the sound is very warm and rich. In my opinion, it's the closest you'll ever get to a tape based delay in a digital form. The only other delay I use is Soundtoys Echoboy which is great and has a lot more features than the SDE-3000, but the character isn't there. SDE-3000s have a specific color to them that I haven't heard in other delay units. I frequently run my Minimoogs through my SDE-3000 and the sound is truly magical. I highly recommend you purchase one.
Old 11th May 2018
  #14
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eugtone's Avatar
Roland SDE 3000 frequency responses

I purchased a SDE 3000 recently because Vai was a massive fan and I'm chasing a Passion & Warfare tone. Also Clearmountain is a big fan, but he notes that 4 of his just recently all died the same week:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MixShmix View Post
Here’s a good one for you all. At Apogee’s 30th Anniversary party the other night we had a time-alignment problem with the audio that we were distributing throughout the building with video from the studio. I crudely fixed the problem with a pair of old, very reliable Roland SDE 3000 delays. Half way through the party they BOTH failed, apparently due to faulty bypass switches.

Now, the strange part is that a couple days ago I had two OTHER otherwise very reliable SDE 3000’s fail in the same way at my home studio, Mix This! Do you think the switches have an expiration date or perhaps the devices are somehow communicating with each other?

Very strange!
My unit doesn't send any output to the 'verb only' output, so it isn't super usable. I do love the sound of it, and I gotta have Vai's tone, at all costs!

Some questions for those of you who use/used SDEs:

1) Are all the SDE 3000s dying these days? People out there still having success?
2) These are really hot! I'm worried about running these for months and months on the project I'm doing and having them die.
3) Does the 3000A sound similar? Not a huge selection of 3000s currently on the market.

Something for those of us trying to get close without a real working SDE:

I don't know how to model the character of the 12-bit companding circuitry, or whatever else gives the unit its tone, but I've profiled the frequency response of the delay signal in the 3000 I have.

Here are my findings:

The time x 2 button rolls off some top end regardless of the filter switch being on/off. So you basically have 4 different filter settings, for the 4 combinations of on/off for the timex2 and filter switches. Attached is an image of the 4 profiles I saw on a long sample of white noise. I've also attached 44.1kHz mean-phase-transform IRs, so you can apply these curves to any plugin delay you like and try to get something similar. From the diagram on the top of the unit, it looks like the feedback loop is at the very end, so the filter will be applied successively for each loop - so someone would have to put these into Reaktor or something and add the modulation to really get a full clone (unless your DAW supports feedback loops using sends to itself).

The little bump at 10khz when the filter is on is also interesting. Not something you're likely to find built into a plugin like Echoboy. Maybe this is a little bit of the SDE's charm.

These tests were with output at 50, and modulation and feedback at 0.

I can run these IRs at higher sample rates if there is interest. Would appreciate any input on my questions above! Cheers!

(You can probably cut these IRs at 8000 samples at get a good result)
Attached Thumbnails
Roland SDE 3000 A in this age of plug-ins?-roland_sde_3000_frequency_profiles.jpg  
Attached Files

SDE_IR_filter_off.wav (129.2 KB, 1099 views)

SDE_IR_filter_timex2.wav (129.2 KB, 1095 views)

SDE_IR_off_off.wav (129.2 KB, 1094 views)

SDE_IR_off_timex2.wav (129.2 KB, 1111 views)

Old 12th May 2018
  #15
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eugtone's Avatar
Whoa, I should label my plots! The 10khz shelf with the little peak is from the Time x 2 button, not the filter button! The filter button applies the subtle changes in high frequencies and the low end curve. (The IRs are correctly labelled).
Old 12th May 2018
  #16
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eugtone's Avatar
That's quite interesting. The engineers decided that if you set up two SDEs at the same time, and hit the 2x button to make one the 2nd delay, the 2nd delay should have a 10khz low pass filter. Makes sense that the 2nd delay is darker, having travelled through more air (in theory), but the attenuation based on distance is much slower than that steep 10khz falloff.
Old 12th May 2018
  #17
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eugtone's Avatar
I had some success trying these filters as stereo emulations of dual SDE 3000s using simple delays in Reaper and some modulation and distortion plugins. I failed to identify the real SDE 3000 in a few blind tests (but I don't have the best monitoring setup and I'm not a real mix engineer).
Old 12th May 2018
  #18
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dfchandler's Avatar
 

The Time x 2 button cuts the sample rate in half.

Denny
Old 12th May 2018
  #19
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eugtone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfchandler View Post
The Time x 2 button cuts the sample rate in half.

Denny
Ah, right.
Old 13th May 2018
  #20
Gear Head
I still have one and use it on my guitar rig as well as in the studio.
It sounds great, haven't heard a plugin of this if there is one.
It's a bit old school in the layout and controls but really easy to understand and make do what you want.


Update: Oh yea, the front bypass switch and the rear level switch will likely need to be replaced (assuming some other method of cleaning doesnt fix it) as they get REALLY scratchy and occasionally pop out.

Last edited by Indian Hills; 2nd June 2018 at 11:38 PM.. Reason: Updated info
Old 15th May 2018
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by eugtone View Post
1) Are all the SDE 3000s dying these days? People out there still having success?
2) These are really hot! I'm worried about running these for months and months on the project I'm doing and having them die.
3) Does the 3000A sound similar? Not a huge selection of 3000s currently on the market.
1. My SDE-3000 is still alive and well. I turned mine on the other day and ran my Model D through it for a while and I have no issues with mine. I did take mine in to a reliable tech a couple of years ago and he checked everything out to make sure there were no issues. Mine even shows signs of extensive gigging an it still works like a charm.

2. I've heard the SDE-3000s get hot, but I've never racked mine and when I do use it I have it on a table so it's well ventilated. At best mine might get a little warm after being on for a couple of hours, but nothing I would consider to be alarming.

3. I have no idea about the difference in sound between a 3000 and a 3000A because I've never used an A unit.

What I want to know is what the hell that earth connector in the back means because the manual sucked at explaining it.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
Gear Head
 
crossroad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Just bought one on ebay... let's wait and hear...
Would love to hear what you think of the SDE-3000.

I used to have two units many years ago.
I bought a SDE-3000 two months ago and it's my favourite delay next to a Yamaha D5000 delay.
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