Yamaha E1010 Analog Delay


Last Update 05-12-2019

The E1010 is a good sounding analog delay with a maximum delay to 300ms. This is my least favorite analog delay unit for sound quality, but I keep it around for a few reasons. First, it has a panel full of knobs. No menus to monkey with, turn any knob and you get immediate change. The unit is very easy to operate with its large knobs and is ideal for real time tweaking - unlike digital delays, analog delays do not interrupt the audio signal when the delay time is changed.  There are five latching buttons for selecting the delay range: 10, 75, 150, 225, and 300ms.  The DELAY control scales the selected range between 0.25X and 1X. As to be expected with an analog BBD delay, the upper frequency range degrades with longer delays (natural echo does the same thing).  On my unit, if I use any mix level between all direct or all effect, the tone of the original suffers terribly, the output level drops. I can get around this by using the direct out and all effect on the mix for live/studio mixing, but guitarists should be forewarned this is *not* a good unit for inline effects like stompboxes. As the E1010 is a BBD based delay unit, the fidelity isn't perfect (it is a 1970s design). This can be a fault or a feature depending on your perspective - natural echos aren't perfect either! I'm also not impressed with the fidelity of the original signal in the mid delay ranges (30ms, 75ms), but not sure if that's a malfunction in my particular unit. One fault of the E1010 design is that it does not cover the time domain between 10ms and 18.75ms - which is the range for chorus/flange effects! I never liked modulated delay effects like flanging because of the LFO - it's a sine waveform and the modulation is not smooth. You can hear the sweep slow down between the extremes of the waveform. While it has a certain effect at fast LFO rates, triangle waveform is much better for modulated chorus or flange effects.  It has been in our musical family for a long time; the first gigging band I played in had bought it in the early 1980s for the PA, then my brother used it for his guitar, then when he borrowed my wireless unit and lost it in luggage during air travel the E1010 became mine as compensation.

The effects out of this box are limited.  It's a good machine for echo, slap, and haas processing but modulated effects such as chorus and flanging do not sound good.  Part of this is due to the crucial missing gap in the delay range, and also due to the insufficient implementation of the LFO sweep control law (translated: the modulation is sinusoidal which isn't optimal for slow modulated delay effects).  This is not the highest fidelity delay unit in my arsenal, but imperfections can be a good thing as I find it useful for slightly distorting the delayed signal when using it for stereo haas processing.

The E1010 - and its little brother the E1005 - are the only BBD delay units I have seen that uses a chain of multiple BBD ICs.  Yamaha chose the MN3004 512 stage BBD for the 10ms range, while a quad of chained MN3005 4096 stage BBDs handles the other ranges.  The 75ms range uses a single MN3005, the 150ms delay range adds another MN3005, etc etc.  Anyone who has experimented with BBD devices knows that chaining multiple BBDs quickly increases the noise, as BBDs are hardly quiet and the noise accumulates from BBD to BBD by an order of a magnitude.  Yamaha remedied this in three ways: the delay time pushbuttons switch in different passive low pass filters, (-)24dB/oct active filters between the BBDs, and a NE570 compander compresses the audio before the delay system, then expands it by the same ratio at the end of the chain.  The expansion action increases high level signals while decreasing low level signals - namely the noise - so as to improve the signal-to-noise ratio to an acceptable level (note this does not ELIMINATE the noise).  The low pass filters decrease the high frequency response with increasing delay time - at 300ms the upper frequency limit is 2Khz.  Even at the shortest delay time range the upper frequency limit is 8Khz.  And that's in ADDITION to the (-)24dB/oct active low pass filters at the outputs of each MN3005!  This is typical of all analog BBD devices.  However thanks to the compandor amd the filters, the E1010 has better S/N ratio than most analog BBD delays.

Basic controls for MIX, FEEDBACK, FREQUENCY, and DEPTH should be familiar to delay enthusiasts.  Separate BASS (70hz +/-12dB) and TREBLE (7Khz +/-12dB) controls alter the tone of the direct signal before it enters the BBD chain, which is a useful tone modifier not seen on many BBD delays.  The INPUT control has enough gain range to handle miniscule guitar signals to hefty pro audio (+)4dBu levels.  The E1010 has front and rear panel jacks for input and output, while an optional direct output is available on the rear panel only.  The direct output proves useful for stereo haas processing, a typical set up routing unprocessed direct signal panned to extreme left with delayed signal (MIX fully 100% wet) panned to extreme right.

What is it good for? Simple slap delay or Haas effects for simple stereo enhancement. Knobs rule in my studio and I want to minimize menus wherever possible. I've been tempted to sell the E1010 on more than one occasion, and decided that there is no such thing as too many delays. It is my go-to box for imparting a subtle stereo image (Haas effect) on guitars.  That's pretty much it... no negative feedback (would had been ideal for extreme flange effects), no other modulation waveform, mono delay not stereo (modulated effects such as chorus really should be stereo).  This is a rudimentary delay unit - don't expect complex delay effects.

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