Bleep Labs Delaydelus 2 review

A collaboration with LA beat scene veteran Daedelus, the updated Delaydelus is a modular-friendly sampler and delay with a creative approach.

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If you’re familiar with Daedelus’s music, you’ll probably have a rough idea what to expect from the Delaydelus. As a veteran of the LA beat scene, the California producer is a master of the kind of off-kilter approach that helped define the genre. That approach is very much in evidence in the Delaydelus, his own sampler and delay instrument created in conjunction with Texan brand Bleep Labs.

The Delaydelus is probably best seen as a sampler first and a delay second. It’s a 16-bit device capable of playing four stereo samples simultaneously, triggered either by two arcade-style buttons on the front of the unit or analogue gate/trigger inputs. Samples can be recorded directly into the unit or transferred via a microSD card slot. Audio can also be processed in real-time using the unit’s built-in digital delay circuit.

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The big change from the first generation model is that the unit has been updated with a bank of ten CV/gate patch points to make it compatible with Eurorack modular synths. The other patch points on the unit, which were previously connected via crocodile clips attached to small metal conductor posts, are now connected via banana plugs and sockets, which makes the whole affair a bit neater. It doesn’t necessarily have the feel of a particularly expensive, polished product – there’s a bit of a home-made feel to the unit – but what it lacks in slickness it more than makes up for in vibe and sound.

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The character of the unit’s sound engine is immediately obvious – not exactly lo-fi as such, but quickly pushed into gritty territory, particularly when pitching down samples. Samples can be triggered in one-shot mode (where the full sample plays every time you trigger it) or gated (the sample only plays for as long as you hold down the button). Samples or external signals can be run through the delay, which is again a simple and basic setup but with a nice character. The delay can also be synced to an external clock signal, for some interesting tempo-synced effects or modulation.

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The Eurorack compatibility makes the unit even more capable. A particularly fun feature is the way you can send a CV signal out based on the audio level of your sample, a bit like an envelope follower. This makes a really interesting modulation source, particularly if you trigger the sample via a clock signal, making it a kind of complex LFO for modulating other modules. We’d actually really like to see a Delaydelus module at some point, because it’d make so much sense as part of a Eurorack setup.

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Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a bunch of new hardware samplers and delays hit the market, all with different approaches. On the sampler side, recent releases like the Roland MC101 and MC707, Elektron Model:Samples, ALM Squid Salmple and 1010music Blackbox all offer radically different philosophies when it comes to playing sound. It’s fair to say that the Delaydelus does something else entirely. It’s a hugely creative little box with some unique features.

Greg Scarth
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