Warm, Highly Adjustable, Tape Echo Emulation Inspired By Two Classic Echoplex* Units.
Universal Audio's EP-34 Tape Echo plug-in gives guitar players and mix engineers the rich, warm tape delay effects of vintage Echoplex units, now on the UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins platform for Mac and PC. One need only listen to classic recordings from Jimmy Page, Brian May, Chick Corea, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson and Andy Summers to hear the Echoplex sound in action. Unlike other Echoplex emulations, the EP-34 is the first plug-in that targets specific behaviors of both the EP-3 and EP-4 Echoplexes.
The original Echoplex hardware boxes employed an infinite tape loop combined with a sliding record head, allowing the user to set the desired delay length. Of course, as an analog tape-based unit, there were many idiosyncrasies along the way — including distortion, wow and flutter, self-oscillation, squelch effects, and other vintage magic. The EP-34 plug-in emulates all of these attributes, with a record head slider that can be moved in real time and used in conjunction with an Echo Repeats control to create echo and pitch chaos. The distinct, musical input clipping of the original hardware is also captured via a Record Volume control, giving the EP-34 some subtle to not-so-subtle tonal coloring and distortion as desired. Recreating the infinite delay times afforded by a sliding record head — as well as capturing the desirable distortion of the hardware's preamp circuit — were difficult and DSP-intensive tasks, but the experts at UA sweated every last detail, ensuring that the EP-34 plug-in is verifiably the most accurate model for those who want the distinct, chaotic Echoplex sound, "warts and all."
Just like the original hardware, faster-than-tape-path speeds can be achieved with the EP-34 plug-in, leading to "sonic-boom/tape squeal" effects, self-chorusing due to speed variations, plus pinch roller wow and flutter. The Echo Volume control allows the blending of processed and unprocessed signal; however as with the original, even the dry signal is tonally affected by the plug-in. Finally, the original Echoplex's self-oscillation capabilities are present as well, including the "squelch" effect (an interruption in self-oscillation) achieved at extreme settings when processing low-frequency material.
The EP-34 includes the same metering and highly musical tone controls found on the EP-4, but removes its undesirable in-line noise reduction circuit that guitarists often disabled (original manufacturer Maestro removed this circuit soon after the product's release). A few EP-34 "extras" not found on the original hardware include modern conveniences like Tempo Sync, Input Select (allows for a cleaner sound [LO] or a dirtier sound [HI] ), Tension (for a snappy or sludgy response time), Echo Send, Wet Solo, Pan (wet signal only) and Power (plug-in bypass).
Taken together, these features make the EP-34 more than just a tape delay plug-in, but a warm and inspiring instrument that can be played by manipulating the controls as you go.
*Note: The EP-34 Tape Echo product is not affiliated with, sponsored, nor endorsed by any companies currently using the "Echoplex" name. The Echoplex name, as well as the EP-3 and EP-4 model names, are used solely to identify the classic effects emulated by Universal Audio's product.
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