SDD-3000 Digital Delay review by Korg

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  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9 (2 votes)
Korg: SDD-3000 Digital Delay
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Price paid: C$ 450

Purchased from: LA Music

Ease of Use — 10
What makes the Korg SDD-3000 standout from the other delay pedals in the market are the SDD-3000 modeled pre-amp, programmability, dual amping and other cool features. At first it seems like too much pedal but it didn't take long to feel comfortable. The SDD-3000 pedal includes one of the most unique features of the original rack mount is the pre-amp. Using both input level and gain controls you can over-drive the guitar into some delicious overtones before the first note hits your guitar amp.

The input is switchable between 30dBm, -10dBm, +4dBm which helps to keep the pedal in sync with your guitar, keyboard or other gear. It also lets you get a hot sound right off the bat. Once the input is set just dial in the pre-amp to get the distortion on the delays you like. This was one of the secrets of the original SDD-3000. You can use the pre-amp in two bypass modes ignore the delay or mod the delays only. Personally, I didn't bother since the delays are delicious and didn't want to use the pedal without them.

The Korg pedal has almost unlimited mods on the delay effects including delay time, wave form, waveform, feedback, modulation intensity and frequency. In fact, there are so many possible settings figuring them all out is daunting. Thankfully the pedal comes with 80 presets that you can try out, which I did. I ran through all 80 - which is 40 presets in Bank A and B. I did that several times until I settled on the presets that I liked - about 6. Then I was able to tweak them and save my own variations.

The nice part about the pedal is you can develop your personal settings in practice, save them and recall instantly during performance or in the studio. As you might imagine, my first few weeks with the SDD-3000 was intense. Play, try, listen, tweak and play again - rinse, shampoo, lather and rinse over and over. I'm not sure my wife appreciated it but hey, she married a musician. One of the small but cool features are 6 different and tunable cutoff filters that shape how the delay tails sound, but not the guitar. To get an idea of how Daniel Lanois runs the Korg, his gear and two amps, check out this Rig Rundown for Premiere Guitar starting at about 9 minutes. Lanois explains how he sets the input level on the pre-amp to get better dirt, the two amp setup, and the various settings on the SDD-3000 itself.

The only downside to the pedal is Korg's manual is very limited. To get a better idea of the theory behind the pedal, since I didn't own the original, I downloaded the original SDD-3000_owners_manual which helped, including the preset explanations. I was looking for a new delay pedal for years and almost made the jump on a great analog only pedal in the $300 range. I didn't think I wanted just the SDD-3000 sound - kind of '80s right - but this pedal answered all my needs and then some. Awesome at about $400 street price. You can load stuff with MIDI but I didn't bother. I use a Korg wah-wah pedal on it but it will accept most pedals. That's another cool effect.

Sound — 10
This is the new digital version of Edge's SDD-3000 rack unit only better since it's programmable, drives two amps and has the original SDD-3000 sound plus 7 other delay styles. Korg has obliged fans by recreating the Korg SDD-3000 Programmable Digital Delay Pedal in a large foot pedal that faithfully re-creates the airy rack-mount while adding other popular delay effects like Analog, Tape, Kosmic, Reverse, Pitch, Panning and something simply called Modern. The delay settings range from 1ms to 4,000ms. I can't personal imagine why a guitarist would need 4,000ms but it's there. 

What makes the Korg SDD-3000 standout from the other delay pedals in the market are the SDD-3000 modeled pre-amp, programmability, dual amping and other cool features. At first it seems like too much pedal but it didn't take long to feel comfortable. The SDD-3000 pedal includes one of the most unique features of the original rack mount is the pre-amp. Using both input level and gain controls you can over-drive the guitar into some delicious overtones before the first note hits your guitar amp. 

I didn't think I would like the dual amp feature but in the end it became my standard setup. While not essential, it sounds awesome to drive two amps at the same time. I drive Marshall and Fender pawn shop tubes amps hot and then AB switch a Fender Eric Clapton Vibro Champ for the dry or reverb amp. With 2 or 3 amps being driven it's like guitar heaven.

Two amps are required to get the Panning and Pitch delays perfect. Of course, Kosmic sounds out of this world with two amps, at least in practice since that's not a delay I have a use for... yet.

Reliability & Durability — 10
The pedal is in a rugged metal case with cords off the back and a metal foot bar to protect the knobs and switches. The cord can be locked into place. Since you can save all the presets ahead of time I give it a 10 for stage durability. I would not want to be tweaking the setup much during a live performance. That's what the 80 programmable presets do. The memory is non-volatile so nothing is lost on power down except anything you didn't save. 

The Korg SDD-3000 is a very solid pedal and built with quality construction. Korg makes great gear and I have tons of their stuff that won't quit. When I got the pedal I dug into my trunk for other Korg pedals to try for the control and they all worked. Durable - sure but its digital so don't slop beer on it.

Overall Impression — 10
I play classic rock, blues and acoustic music spending more time in the studio these days. I was looking for studio quality sound that would record well and gear that didn't introduce hum and noise. I've been playing guitar for 50 years but only played professional for about 10 years. I own a Tele, Strat, Gibson ES-335, Godin MIDI guitar, Martin D-35, 000-28VS and Gibson J-200 with Fender VibroChamp, Marshall 35 watt tube and Fender Vaporizer amps plus Korg keyboard and Yamaha drum amp and a ton of other gear.  

I was replacing my Boss DD3 which is a)noisy and b)limited in delay styles. I looked at tons of delay pedals in stores and with friends. I was leaning towards just a really good analog pedal before I read about the SDD-3000. The Analog delay on the Korg is very good, perhaps not the buttery smooth delay in a dedicated analog pedal around $300 but that's all you get. With this I have everything I need and the sound is very good to excellent. I actually didn't think I would use the Edge delay but it sounds awesome. Replace in a heart beat. What else would I get?

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