FLASHBACK: ’80s AMS DMX 15-80S Digital Delay

2995_AMS_DMX15Developed by AMS (Advance Music Systems), which was founded in 1979 by two Aerospace engineers in England, this unit was used extensively on records from the 1980s and is still widely used today. You can hear a good example of the sound of this reverb on the Martin Rushent-produced Human League track “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” from 1983.

HOW IT WAS USED

One of the main uses of this device was as a stereo widening effect on vocals. Here, essentially the unit is acting as a mono-to-stereo pitch-shifter/delay. On both the left and right channels, the signal is delayed different amounts between 5 and 30 milliseconds so one channel is a little ahead of the other, and then one side is pitch-shifted down a few hundredths of a semitone and the other is shifted upwards. The delayed left and right signals then appear hard left and hard right and the vocal will appear to be spread across the stereo image. The unit is also great for adding width on an entire mix.

MODERN EQUIVALENT

I have yet to hear any kind of plug-in emulation that really captures the sound of this box; it’s a classic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Greenham is a GRAMMY Award-winning mastering engineer, currently working in Los Angeles, CA at Infrasonic Sound. With over 20 years of experience, Greenham’s resume is vast – projects from Ice Cube, Omar Sosa, Mindless Behavior, Aesop Rock, Kimya Dawson, American Royalty, The Locust and Los Tigres del Norte (Best Norteño Album) just scratch the surface of his diverse clientele.

For more info, visit www.johngreenham.com.

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