Wish Tom Scholtz/ Barry Goudreau echo with UFO take offs and dive bombs

Discussion in 'Axe-Fx II Wish List' started by Rexgtr, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Rexgtr

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    I hear this effect throughout Boston and Barry Goudreau's solo & RTZ albums.

    Basically they used an Echoplex with a foot controlled motor that speeds up and slows down the echo time, feedback is added for extreme effect when pedal is used. So a delay with expression pedal assigned to delay time and feedback.

    I made a similar effect years ago with a boss multi effect GT pedal board. (close but no cigar) :D
     
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  2. tgorycki

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    I've been wanting to try duplicating this with the Axe-Fx II. I would imagine you could get pretty close if you just take the elements Scholtz used for his Hyperspace pedal, which was centered around an Echoplex with a 10-band MXR EQ pedal in the feedback loop to degenerate the signal. He also used a modified wah type rocker pedal to adjust the delay time on the Echoplex on the fly. One of these days I'll get around to tinkering around with it!
     
  3. sprint

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    Waaay back in the early ultra dayz someone here did a great patch for that effect - damned if I can remember who or where that patch might be now.
     
  4. javajunkie

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    You have an echoplex type delay with those parameters in the Axe-fx already. Assign a pedal to the motor parameter (or delay time) of a tape delay, you can have it increase the master feedback at the same time.
     
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  5. steadystate

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    The hyperspace pedal effect depends on the use of a tape delay with a sliding record head. An important aspect of controlling the effect requires moving the record head in the direction of the tape travel, but faster than the tape speed. This allows you to "dump" the current contents of an existing loop and immediately start another dive bomb from new input. No non-tape device I know of can accomplish this.

    As tgorycki wrote, Scholz placed an MXR 10 band eq in the feedback loop to overcome the inherent frequency bumps in the Echoplex's response that would otherwise quickly dominate the feedback loop, even with no input signal (an effect you can hear on episodes of Star Trek and other sci fi from the 60s). With the eq in place, you can determine where the bump will be, and produce the 'space ship' sounds by having the filter bump dominate the guitar signal, especially when the delay time is short and the feedback is high. Increase the delay time and you have your spacey divebomb. Although a digital delay has a flat response, a filter such as this is still needed in the feedback loop if you want the same effects.

    Scholz uses a Dunlop-style footpedal to control several functions. The delay time is controlled by a mechanical linkage from the pedal to the slide handle on the record head (no motor speed variation is involved as far as I know). The pedal itself is mounted on a rotating base that pivots on an axis perpendicular to the floor, while the Echoplex is stationary. So he actually rotates the entire pedal with the heel as the axis of rotation to slide the head. I have a picture of it that shows just how simple (and elegant) the design is. The remaining functions are still a mystery, but the treadle and toe switch are most probably used to control feedback, input signal level, or to engage the eq.

    I've used several delay units to make the effect, including an Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man, an Eventide Orville, and the Axe FX Ultra. You can get a usable effect, but it isn't quite the same. Much of the control is compromised. I also bought an Echoplex a while back, wired in an MXR 10 band eq, and had a working prototype. But maintaining the unit and finding tape proved to make it not worth the effort. If you use a stock Echoplex in this manner, you will tear it apart after a while. Scholz said that he replaced many of the components with much heavier duty versions. I can see why.

    To really get the effect of the HSP in a digital unit, it would have to be specifically designed for that purpose; most noteably a memory dump feature when decreasing the delay time faster than a certain rate. When you start to consider the physics of a tape delay with a sliding record head, things get complicated.
     
  6. tgorycki

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    I've always wondered how Scholz could control all those parameters simultaneously. The rotating base makes perfect sense for controlling the delay time while the rocker pedal controls the feedback. Thanks for explaining the science behind this effect. It explains why folks can't get their digital delays to accurately emulate a similar effect.
     
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  7. steadystate

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    Here is the best picture of the HSP I have seen. The mechanical linkage is clearly shown.
     

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  8. tgorycki

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    Scholz is a freakin' mad scientist to even conceptualize the idea for this contraption! I guess when you get an engineering degree from MIT, it comes with the territory.
     
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  9. Rex

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    Excellent breakdown, steadystate!

    I'm not sure, though, why it couldn't be done with the Axe's built-in tape delay. You have control over tape speed and head position. If you have to get creative with feedback, you can do that outside the Delay block, and feed it backwards.

    If you've got to have independent, two-axis foot control of two sets of parameters with one foot, you could pick up something like Fender's Fuzz-Wah pedal and convert it to an expression controller.
     
  10. steadystate

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    You can get some similar effects with the Axe FX, but not all. And the ones you can get are difficult to control. I haven't used the II's tape delay, but it still has limitations, especially the issue of dumping existing material in the loop. And the way the audio is affected with a tape delay when you slide the record head is very unique. You can get huge pitch changes, among other things.

    I have to use a Gordius Little Giant with lots of custom command strings to use my Ultra in this manner (using lots of blocks external to the delay). And still, there are so many limitations. I have to use switches to perform automated "pedal moves" rather than just use the footpedal in real time, since the digital method is so finicky and limited. With an Echoplex, it is effortless. This is a case where old school is still the only way if you want no compromise. It is a VERY niche effect though. I wouldn't expect any modern designer to take the time and effort to replicate it digitally.
     
  11. Rex

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    I haven't experimented to see whether the "dumping" occurs, but the Axe II's tape delay does the whole pitch shift thing when you move the heads or mess with motor speed. (You get two playback heads, with variable spacing ratio.) Stuff like the delay-induced "dive bomb" at the end of Eruption can be pulled off without much effort.
     
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  12. steadystate

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    You could get climbs and dives, but you cannot dive, then dump that audio and immediately start a new dive from a short delay. Like I said, you can get some usable effects, but not all.

    With an Echoplex, you can have a half-second loop of a constant pitched tone (record head at max distance from the play head), then slam the record head into the play head and have the loop length reduced to about 50 ms with no change in pitch. This is a big part of the HSP effect. With a non-tape delay, you are going to raise the pitch of the existing loop and be stuck with it when you decrease the delay, no matter what.

    With an Echoplex, as the record head approaches the speed of the tape, the relative speed of the record head to the tape decreases and the pitch of the recorded audio at the play head gets higher and higher (up to the upper frequency limit of the device when trying to cram larger amounts of time onto smaller amounts of tape). When the record head and tape reach equal speed (that is, the record head is stationary relative to the tape), recording stops taking place. If the record head travels faster than the tape, you are actually recording audio backwards on the tape. This doesn't matter though, because the record head deletes this backwards audio and rerecords over it when the tape passes.

    So you can climb, dive, and restart any climb or dive anywhere at any time. Echoplexes are supremely cool.
     
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  13. Rex

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    Ahh...so it's the record head that moves, not the playback head. I missed that. Sounds like an item for the wish list.
     
  14. #14 steadystate, Aug 6, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
    steadystate

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    Yep. That makes a world of difference. All the rules change when the record head moves instead of the play head. Most electronic delays simulate a moving play head.

    Universal Audio claims to make a plug in that accurately replicates a sliding record head:

    http://www.uaudio.com/store/delay-modulation/ep-34.html

    but it is a studio only plug-in that requires special expensive hardware. It says you can achieve "faster-than-tape-path speed" effects, but that is no guarantee. I'm not interested in every nuance of the Echoplex. Just the basic behavior when changing the head position in both directions and at all speeds.
     
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  15. Rex

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    I think that could be modeled. It's still delay between record and playback head, with special behavior beyond a certain rate of change of record head position.
     
  16. steadystate

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    It apparently can be modeled:

    EP-34 Tape Echo plug-in for UAD-2 - YouTube

    I'm not sure if a sliding record head can be modeled in real time without a large buffer (with a huge latency). It seems that the rate and time at which data is being written into it is changing. This seems far more complicated than emulating a sliding play head. Thinking about it makes my brain hurt.

    The video implies that the rate of change of delay time is limited by the "tension" switch. The video demonstrates increasing the delay at a rapid rate, but not decreasing it at a rapid rate, so one of the most important aspects is not demonstrated. Also, I don't see how you can insert a filter in the feedback loop with this plug in.

    For lovers of the HSP, this is most definitely a wish list item, if even possible.
     
  17. #17 PacoCasanovas, Aug 8, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
    PacoCasanovas

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    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100561953/bolin-dl-1st-test.mp3 - just my first test - it's all in there - in the axefx II - just work it out! I'll continue on my tweaking regarding this sound and post a patch at axe-change when I'm done.....





    as you might know, I'm a huge fan of Tommy Bolin - the one and only master of echoplex, he was the inventor of this effect!

    Listen here: Standing In the Rain - The James Gang - YouTube or billy cobham and tommy bolin spectrum, quadrant 4.wmv - YouTube
     
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  18. steadystate

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    I like your clip. But these aren't full blown HSP effects. The II is more capable than the Ultra for sure, and I would love to try my hand at configuring the HSP with it, but I don't believe "it's all in there". Based on your clip, I think I could get a good result using tricks with my Gordius. Once Axe Edit is a reality, I'll look into it. I could configure the Gordius with a Dunlop pedal to send a command when the momentary toe switch is pressed to kill feedback just long enough to kill the loop.

    Interesting. When you sweep the delay time to minimum, you get a comb filter. Did you decrease the feedback at the minimum delay setting? Or does it happen automatically to prevent horrible high pitched oscillation?

    Try this using external control, such as a pedal, for the delay time. First, set the limits of the delay time to 500 ms and 50 ms (using whichever parameter works best for modulating the delay time). Play a single steady note with the delay set around half a second. Set the reneneration up and stop the input note. So now you have a fairly smooth 500 ms loop of a single note. Then sweep the delay as fast as you can (using whichever parameter works best) so that the delay is about 50 ms.

    With an Echoplex, the pitch will stay the same, but the last 450 ms of the loop will disappear, leaving you with a 50 ms loop of the same pitch. Theoretically anyway. There are always warts with the unit.

    I don't believe there is any "one and only master of the Echoplex".
     
  19. #19 Joust, Aug 8, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
    Joust

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    Chet Atkins was using the echoplex while Tommy Bolin was still in diapers ,so if there is an echoplex master its Chet Atkins bar none
     
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  20. PacoCasanovas

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    Sure...but Tommy was the first one who used it for more than just an effect - he create a new instrument with it! Before it was just an echo.....and yeah, Chet used it too....but just as an echo! Sorry Chet..... ;)
     

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