Ninja Tune Zen Delay (collab with ericasynths)

Erica Acidbox 3 is sounding pretty good here: Analog Heat MKII vs Acidbox III vs Saturn vs Goliath. ANALOG vs VIRTUAL saturation CONTEST! - YouTube


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Today I tried the zen delay against Valhalla Delay / Little echoboy + Goodhertz LoHi filter with a midi controller.

The zen’s filter is great.
it reminds me the tests I made with the analog heat or the SP-16 master filter. it seems there is something about great analog filters that I can’t reproduce with my VSTs. LoHi seem ok, I also tried sound toys filterfreak, but none of them are tasty as the analogs I mentioned.
There is something deep and 3d, I wonder if this could be due to the fact that they are stereo, with tiny difference with the L/R filters specs bringing interest to the sound? I don’t know.

The decay knob behavior seem optimized for performance on the zen delay, the range does not feel the same when I tweak decay time of my VSTs.

feedback is different, much more controllable.

a lot of fun!

(EDIT) : actually with

  • echoboy Jr set to clean
  • Goodhertz LoHi filters properly tuned,
  • adapting the sensitivity of my midi controller knobs.

I get really close to the Zen tone delay behavior, appart the fact that the feedback is more controlled on the ZD.

LoHi sounds great, I has 6-7ms of processing latency though


You’re doing right by the brand and the public to help people choose what’s right for them.
It’s not good for either party if someone buys the “wrong” gear.
It could sour a musician towards the whole brand.
Just because someone doesn’t like the ZD doesn’t mean they won’t like the bassline, for example. But if they have a bad experience with one, they might never try the other.
Hopefully not getting locked into the wrong gear helps people keep an open mind about the whole product line.
Plus, the last thing a company needs is an “expensive customer” who can’t be made happy.

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I shouldn’t have doubted you, or @Fin25

Using @tr909’s Heat MK1 for all of one hour and I love it.
The first three circuits are so ideal for master output processing, and I love being able to make presets with them that I can bounce back and forth between, for comparisons.
Now, I wonder when the shop will have MK2s back in stock :thinking:

Sadly, might kill my desire for a Zen Delay down the road, as the Heat sorts out the whole stereo filter side of the equation.


3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Sell me on the Analog Heat

I’ve been playing with it on my drum buss lately.

Fucking savage.


More on the Zen delay. I’ve been trying to sync it to a clock.

it works, though once it is hooked up, no way to apply offsets to get the groove right. i felt the delay was rushing sometimes when some feedback cycles started to accumulate. this is not that great…i must admit i am very demanding with timing. could be totally ok for others

IMHO better to sync it manually, not as immediate but you can get the perfect timing.

and as always with delays, i wish i could apply swing…

My unit can be a little whinny, even with nothing plugged in.
I sometimes have a little HF noise that i can filter out when i close the LPF.
this is not hugely anoying but it’s here. not sure if this is always here, i have to test again…
Anyone having the issue?

In your virtual setup, it seems not possible to fully replicate the Zen as the analog filter is within the delay’s feedback loop in the Zen.

In the Bitwig DAW, you can put the filter inside the feedback loop - or any other VST such as a saturator or distortion. I am not sure how to relicate this in other DAWs - at least not so easily.

In order to control the feedback, place a limiter after the filter/distortion and you are ready to go mental. The Zen has such a limiter, which is why it is so controlled even when you crank up filter resonance.

Have fun,



I love this thing.

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thanks i was not aware that the filter was inside the feedback loop :sweat_smile:
I tried several configurations on my computer with different midi controllers and plugin signal paths. this was a lot of fun and I came really close to the sonic results of the zen delay.

but in the end, as always I came to the conclusion that having a hardware interface specifically designed for the usage is so great!

I like that zen delay :slight_smile:

I remember I played with this at SB2019 and it was very cool for playing with timing on the fly…

Also I think the price is just right comparing it with ZD
Quite rare but worth a try.


I am not that sure, the diagram in the manual actually says otherwise. On the other side, if you crank up the filter resonance, the feedback goes wild, which indicates that the filter works within the loop.

I am currently experimenting with filters and saturation inside a delay’s feedback loops and all kind of weird and wonderful things happen.

I decided against the Zen as it does not provide dotted 8th in the synced setting. The box and its knob interface itself is one of the most beautifuls you can buy. I am a bit sad that I send it back, but maybe they will fix that at some point.



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haha great ! Wonderfull but dangerous, watch your ears!! :smiley: :wink:

for me the box made me realize I don’t want synced delay anymore!
I like to dial in approximate values to get “that groove” sit just right :slight_smile:

^ ^ Zen Delay signal path ^ ^

v v Eventide Rose signal path v v

would be great if the Rose had high pass and band pass in addition to low pass.
would be great if Zen Delay had reverse delay option.




here’s a tipp: Fabfilters Timeless 2 has its excellent filters inside the delay line. You can create the drive by raising the input level - it even can do M/S processing. Timeless 2 also has a switch that prevents the resonance from going crazy when there is no input signal any more. This probably comes very close to the setup of the Zen, at 1/6th of the price.

Will miss those knobs anyway…



sounds great, really curious to hear how does a band pass filter sounds in the feedback loop. similar to the delay produced by the tape I guess?
this zen delay made me realize how much I love delays !!! :smiley:
so much fun!

sadly though, my zen delay is going back to the store. the BP and HP filters are whinny at some high pitched frequencies, particularly annoying when the resonance is increased.
this is not really a problem when the delay is used on the whole mix as the problem gets completely masked, but otherwise when applied on specific elements in the context of mixing this is noticeable…
Erika synth told me that all units are like that, I guess ithe product was made with DJing in mind…
i hate to return it because it is such a cool product!

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Just tried updating the firmware on mine a dozen times. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get it to work. Now it isn’t functioning properly period, and it was working just fine an hour ago before I tried. Very frustrating. I love this delay so much, I hope I can figure it out.

Edit: After trying a million things, I tried doing it straight from my computer using chrome and streaming the update from their website. That did it. Hope this helps anyone!

did you get the update to work, what’s new?.. really interested in this pedal