d16 Sigmund _ High Quality Flexible Delay Unit [Review]
Ste / ad.lib puts d16’s Inspiring new multi-delay unit through its paces..
When I saw the first pictures in the press and read about Sigmund I was so damn eager to get my hands on it. After making some of my favourite distortion units and one of the most analog sounding VST synths ever, d16 has announced a huge multi-channel delay unit!
My expectations were set to max, but let’s start with the conclusion; d16 have delivered again!
There’s a simple rule about d16 plugins and it’s what makes them so special.. Though each of their plugins only does one thing, they do that single thing as close to perfection as you can get! Fuck flexibility. It’s like buying a nice piece of hardware. When you buy an analog synth it’s not meant to sound like a Jupiter and a 303, or an Arp, Nord and Moog at the same time. This is exactly how it is with d16’s stuff. Sigmund will not become the only delay you need but it will certainly add an intense palette of analog coloured echoes to your music.
I like this idea of specialisation in plugins. Though Multi FX plugins are practical and potentially quite versatile, at the same time they are the most uninspiring thing I can imagine. There’s nothing worse than choosing from 5 mediocre sounding reverb algorithms which all sound the same. It’s a big turn off when you are a sound design enthusiast – isn’t it?
So let’s get on overview of what Sigmund is capable of:
Sigmund offers 4 completely independent delay channels. You can pan and mix those 4 channels to taste and you can enable / disable them separately. It is possible to copy and paste settings from one channel to the others and you can automate the mixer section of the unit which has huge potential if you start to imagine all the crazy stuff that could allow you to do.
The 4 channels offers what you expect from an analog modelled delay unit and even more. MS intervals and Midi Time-Synced intervals are self-explaining and simple to operate. In addition, you can offset the delay, which opens up the possibilities for even greater rhythmic variation. Then there is a full multimode filter, which offers the usual LP, HP, BP with frequency and resonance control and the simple, yet effective distortion unit with preamp, colour, feedback and gain for each delay.
You can also adjust the routing order to taste, which gives you a lot of space to do some freaked-out sounding echoes. The filter sounds great and the very long feedback you can achieve with the distortion gives you a dense almost space-echo like cloud of sounds when you turn the pots to the max. But with all these nice features, the real magic still begins when we start to look at modulation. There are 2 fully flexible LFOs which can be selected as modulation source in all of the former mentioned modules. You can modulate almost everything including the delay timing.
The fact that you got 4 delay channels sounds simple at first, but it gives you a lot of freedom to generate complex rhythm delays. It can certainly make everything sound crazy and chaotic when you start to mess around initially with Sigmund. It’s a beast which needs to be tamed to be of musical value, but once you’ve got a feel for the parameters you can create huge sound collages out of very simple inputs. The nicely programmed presets give you some good examples and inspiration for what you can do with Sigmund. It’s perfect on percussive and tonal sounds when you become familiar with all the subtle nuances it can achieve. The colours which are added by the filters and the distortion unit can beef up the smallest of clicks to huge effect sounds. The distortion actually sounds so warm and pristine that I found myself abusing Sigmund as multi-channel distortion unit at some points.
I used Sigmund on complex synth arpeggios, on simple chords, on drum busses, on the hihat channel,.. a simple monophic saw wave osc was turned into a great sounding hookline with ease. With the 4 channels, you can program patterns and with the soundshaping possiblities inside each channel you’ll be surprise how much variation you can get. I selected a simple offset of 3/16th on channel 1 and set the distortion and filter to make it low and rumbling. A high feedback 1/8th delay with a subtle amount of timing modulation on channel 2. A filtered hiss like noise with a lot of resonance on 1/4th echo on channel 3.. everything combined made the one note loop grow into a nice synth hook. When I was happy with the sound, I started to change the input signal by addind / deleting notes or tweaking synth parameters. I simply love it.
Sigmund is a very well designed, lovely sounding delay and a logical addition to d16s collection of analog modelled effects and instruments. Everything from the ease of use, to the sound, is amazing and I know that I’ll use it a lot in combination with Lush and the their Drum machines.
About the author – ad.lib