I just picked up an Echoplex effects pedal. A what? OK, I know, something only hard core music geeks have heard of. I will give a quick explanation, but I won’t blame you if you skip down to the video ;)
(start of technical part…)
An “echo” (AKA, “delay”) is just what the name implies – you put in a sound and you get a repeat of the sound. You hear it all of the time in “modern” music (post-1950s) without hearing it. In the late 60s and 70s a lot of artists pushed it so you did hear it – it became part of their sound (Pink Floyd) or was used on special occasions (the weird synth solo in the Styx song “Come Sail Away” starting about 3:15 in).
Simplistically, there are three main types of “echo”/”delay” units used in rock music – analog (usually bucket brigade), digital and tape. Each has pluses and minus. Analog has a warm and dark sound. On the down side, it doesn’t handle high end very well – as you move up the keyboard, you get less and less effect (a “just for fun” video I did with analog). Digital is super flexible but is often seen as cold and too exact. Tape is what the big rock bands of the 60s and 70s used. It uses magnetic/recording tape, like grandma used to use in her cassette player, or, if you are over 40, what you used for “mix tapes”. The tape is very short and in a loop. It gets recorded and then plays back over and over again. (A little more than that, but you get the idea). It was also quirky and the tape often caused problems. And it was relatively expensive.
Today, digital technology has been able to recreate the sound of the old tape delays and has come pretty close, even including an element of randomness.
So that is what my new “toy” is, an effects pedal made mostly for guitarists that does a great job of recreating one specific tape delay/echo, the Dunlop Echoplex, the echo unit used by Steve Miller.
(end of technical part ;) )
So I received this yesterday and started to play around with it, plugging my (Korg) Arp Odyssey into it (see my review and demo of (K)Arp Odyssey here). I was having a blast with it – a great piece of equipment. Yes, it can be used in a subtle way, which I often do with the analog delay, but I threw that out the window for testing and went all out for major effects.
After playing for a while, I tried to record it on my phone. To get it so the phone actually recorded the sounds I was making and not the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard, all you could see was my backside, so I did an effect on the video that I hope fits the mood ;) Also, the phone did not pick up the deep, rich sound. At the end I brought in the analog echo and it sounded like a string bass coming in, but the phone dropped the lowest harmonics. This was slightly influenced by Frippertronics.
Don’t take this too seriously – I was just having fun and improvising.
(If you don’t see the video below, please click here)
I hope you enjoyed this musical madness….