Bel BD-80 digital delay.

Otherwise known as the poor man's AMS. This is a digital delay from the 80s that I got really cheap after my Quadraverb died. I only really used the Quadraverb for delays since buying the Lexicon reverb so I thought I would like to get a nice high-end delay unit. I think it was pretty top stuff in the 80s, certainly the sound quality is first-class. In these days of multi-effects units and VST plug-ins it might seem like a waste of space to have a dedicated delay unit but.... well I use delay on every track and besides, this is so much more fun than the delay in your typical multi-effects unit.

The layout is nice and simple with a big LED display showing the delay time and buttons underneath for setting the time, dedicated knobs for feedback, input and output levels etc. Ease-of-use was obviously a priority in the design and no corners were cut, it's really a pleasure to use in exactly the way that multi-effects are a pain. Having a seperate control for everything is relaxing. You have switches for inverting the phase of the signal and a low pass filter for changing the tone of the echoes, and an oscillator to sweep the delay time allowing you to make beautiful flanging effects, rich chorus ar crazy dub echoes. The flanger is a killer, and even cooler is the CV input on the back that lets you control flanging or delay time from any CV source like the envelopes on a modular synth or a CV from a keyboard, so you can play tunes on the flanger and so on. You can even use it as a sampler with CV & gate control.

The delay goes up to 2 seconds in high bandwith mode or 4 seconds in low bandwidth mode and I bet you can't get the memory expansions any more!

Before I bought this I also bought an Eventide H911 Harmoniser, which was very cool in its own way (listen to "Clock Works" on Wave Function 5) but the delay time was too short for me.


These sounds are examples of the BD-80 processing various inputs in different ways.

BEL01 - K2000 playing TR-606 samples, BD-80 flanging the hihats.
BEL02 - K2000 playing TR-606 samples with reverb on the snare, BD-80 flanging the reverb return.
BEL03 - K2000 playing TR-606 samples, BD-80 provides an echo with delay time modulated by the LFO.
BEL04 - simple delay effect.
BEL05 - The Archers through a madly modulating delay.
BEL06 - a simple chord from the TX81Z going through the BD-80 with the K2000 playing TR-808 samples. The delay time is modulated by the CV output from the Doepfer A155 sequencer.