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Looper's Delight Review of Korg DL8000R

By Brian Thomson

The Korg DL8000R is basically a 2-in, 2-out delay, with hi/lo eq and two delay sections per channel (400ms pre-delay and 4800ms main delay).

Each main delay section has four taps, tap four being the "feedback tap". Each tap on each channel (plus direct signals) outputs to a mixer section, with pan and level control for each, then out in stereo. In addition, the feedback taps have feedback level (in dB) and hi/lo damping eq, and can be directed back to their own channel (normal) or the other channel (cross-delay).

For setting delay times, it operates in either a MS (millisecond) mode or a Tempo mode (bpm). In Tempo mode, the rhythmic facilities are very strong indeed, with the ability to sync to MIDI sync, or generate it according the delay tempo of the program. The tempo can also be picked up from input signal peaks (if you set the level threshold correctly). The times of all four taps per channel can be set using a "beat pattern" facility, and a multiplier/divider ratio applied to the tempo. Tempo is in quarter-notes, as you would expect, so with Tempo set to 120, a ratio of 1/4 gives you 1/16 notes at 120 = 125ms, while a ratio of 4 gives you a whole note (4/4) = 2000ms. The slowest tempo selectable from the panel is 50, and the longest ratio = 4, which works out to 4800ms per channel.

For example, the "ten second delay" is derived from left input -> left 400ms delay -> left 4800ms delay -> right 4800ms delay -> both outputs. Most other combinations are possible too. I enjoy playing with a 9600ms cross delay, with a very light decay and damping eq.

What confused me a little at first is the way varying delay times are handled. Unlike other loopers I've heard and read about, the internal operating speed is fixed at 48kHz, from inputs to outputs. This has its advantages, such as zero internal noise from conversions, but it means some "standard" looping effects are impossible. As an analogy, think of the DL8000R as two tape loops that run at a permanently fixed speed, each with a write head and four read heads. Each read head can be moved individually, but the loop speed never changes. When you change the delay time (statically or dynamically), you're moving the head(s) only. Whilst doing so, the frequency/speed of the output changes, but once you stop moving, the speed is back to normal again. You can't record at one speed and play back at another continously, as I've heard e.g. DTorn doing with his Lexicons.

Each head's delay time can be controlled dynamically, as can numerous other parameters such as levels and LFO, by LFO, MIDI or 1 foot-controller. With LFO controlling a simple short delay time, the result is a "warped record" effect that makes me seasick. The presets include various chorus and flange effects too. The foot controller I have (Bespeco) has quite short travel and makes it sensitive - a slight slip can send all 8 taps reeling and leave warped blips in the delay lines if you aren't careful.

I don't find it noisy at all, but maybe I got lucky. It has 48kHz convertors, with unbalanced connectors, and the eqs work well. A setting of 0dB feedback level results in genuine infinite delay with no loss at all - I've left it looping for hours this way. I don't think many were built, or maybe the serial no. on mine (0000240) is just a fluke. I haven't used it in earnest, but I would be happy to do so now I know its limitations.


  • good sync capabilities - great fun with sequencer / drum machine for dub effects
  • sound quality good IMHO
  • inexpensive compared to, well everything else
  • huge display - very visible, brightness controllable
  • "purist" delay - nearly everything is controllable


  • time / tempo display doesn't reflect changes resulting from real-time control.
  • fixed speed loop (as above)
  • delay time only 9600ms, not upgradeable
  • "line lump" PSU


Brian Thomson

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