A non-existing delay: Vestax DDG-1 & similar units
A friend working in a DJ equipment store in Berlin around 1997 recommended buying a preproduction delay unit by Vestax called DDG-1. Soon after I regretted i hadn’t already gotten two of them, as this one got to be a permanent companion right away. Unfortunately it never got into a full production then, CE certificate issues, i heard. A non-existing delay unit.
So here’s a Vestax DDG-1.
(image is from approx. 2006, looks much worse now)
This table unit has a unique combination of features in one unit, which i couldn’t find anywhere after.
- It’s relatively small
- It’s digital (probably 16bit/32KHz)
- It has a hold switch, to loop data in delay buffer.
- It has delay time modulation with depth and speed (approx. 0.05 Hz to 10Hz), capable of extreme sounds, working both in delay and hold mode. LFO waveform is roughly a sawtooth.
- It has 5 delay ranges, 2, 8, 32, 128 and 512 ms, all variable with a separate dial 0.5x – 2x. When you switch the range, old audio remains in buffer until overwritten. Good for interesting hold loops.
- Big silver delay time knob and LFO give you pitch control as clean as on a tape machine.
That delay fun sound like this:
That small loop starting to pitch there and going on with various alterations.
Since my unit is already more than 15 years old and has mechanically worn out extremely i had to look for replacement parts, which were impossible to obtain. The dials for instance are Japanese ALPS, 5-pin PCB…
So i looked around and found, that Vestax or predecessors Vesta Fire and Vesta Kozo had produced various alterations of this unit already:
A Vestax MDD-9 is mono, but has nice extra output and remote control options. Beware, it runs on 15V.
A Vesta Fire D-1x with additional LFO unit, stompbox-style. This one lacks the 2 ms range of the DDG-1. The hold function only works in 256-1024 mode – but the LFO unit has two switchable waveforms. My unit arrived with a broken LFO unit, i am still repairing. Unfortunately the D-1x has no option to listen to delay only. As a foot pedal it is yet great. It self-oscillates to a greater extent, than the DDG-1 and it’s overall sound is very analog. Recommended unit for compressed signal, input needs a good minimum level to escape the noise floor of the unit. Youtube video, not from me.
Also look for the Vestax DIG-400,
the Vesta Kozo DIG-411 (and 411B) rack unit includes a high cut filter on the feedback line
Finally the ideal variation, unfortunately without hold switch. Vesta Fire MDX.
Compliments to such variety, Vestax/Vesta Fire You might want to consider to get those legendary units back into production ;)
Thank you to the Looper’s Delight mailing list for helping research all those options.
If there’s anything similar i haven’t covered: Please comment. Thank you.