Empress Echosystem Analog and Tape sounds?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by A-Mags, May 26, 2020.

  1. A-Mags

    A-Mags Supporting Member

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    Hi all!

    Looking to see if you can share your experiences specifically with the analog and tape modes on the Echosystem. Is there a pedal that does the BBD and echo better with longer delay times or is the Echosystem the king?

    Thanks!
     
  2. thatguyoverthere

    thatguyoverthere Member

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    I love my Echosystem, but admittedly I haven't compared it directly with others besides a L6 Echo Park (which also is phenomenal for what it is), and a Timeline a LONG time ago so my memory is fuzzy. Normally you'll find me in tape or analog modes, and I like both of them a lot and preferred their character over the Strymon polish. I tend to prefer the RE201 preset over the EP3. Being able to set two engines in parallel/series gives it huge potential too.
     
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  3. webs

    webs Supporting Member

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    They're good. They're really good. I'd like to have a Nemesis and DD500 and Timeline all at the same time to do a proper side-by-side comparison, but my suspicion and experience is that the modern big-box delays are all going to sound fantastic especially on bread-and-butter algorithms like tape or BBD. The one that fits you best is likely to come down to the interface and, if you have strong preferences, the idiosyncrasies (intentional and unintentional) of each. But that's a different conversation.

    Strictly sonically, I don't think there's anything superior to the tape delays on the Empress that doesn't include a motor and a capstan. The Belle Epoch or its Deluxe variant are right up there, but a lot of that flavor is the preamp which is its own consideration, and can be added with an external pedal. The only gripe I have with any of the Empress tape modes is on the 'old tape' mode the tape saturation is not variable and at higher mix settings can feel like it's riding on top of the note a bit too prominently. It would be nice to be able to dial in just a little bit of the old tape warmth, but currently the two options are none and lots, at least outside of the Echoplex and Space Echo modes.
    BBD wise, there's almost always some signature feel to the way a specific real analog unit oscillates, but the Echosystem does a good job. It doesn't get super dark with the tone all the way down like a Tonal Recall can but it'll happily do a DM-2 or a DMM. The Tonal Recall's settings above 10-11 o'clock on the tone control can be duplicated quite successfully so mine hasn't seen a lot of use besides for ultra-murky repeats or goofy modulation types.

    The pedals that I previously have on my board (simultaneously) that were kicked off by the Echosystem: Belle Epoch, DD-7, DM-2W, Echorec, Montavillian. Each of those dedicated delays does something that the Echosystem can't replicate exactly, but mostly it's just a bit different and not better or worse.

    I hate to suggest YouTube, but it'll at least give an idea if you're not able to try the pedal. That Pedal Show has done quite a few tape delay episodes recently, including the old Empress tape delay, which was the one they picked as their favorite among tape pedals. They mention too that the interface is just as important as the sound among the best-of-the-best, and again at this price point both sound and user experience are a lot more about preference than any objective quality.
     
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  4. A-Mags

    A-Mags Supporting Member

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    Great points. Good to know about the saturation! I assumed that it would be able to be dialed in, knowing that it isn’t gave me a surprise.

    Also, I’ve watched about as many videos on the Empress as I can and read all the comments but this Forum is great for hands on experience. I’ve seen many a demo videos edited for audio.

    also what’s the longest usable delay time on the tape and analog modes? Can’t seem to find that info.

    thank you!
     
  5. webs

    webs Supporting Member

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    Sure! The Echoplex and Space Echo modes have saturation/input drive controls, so there are tape options available with variable saturation, just not the more neutral basic ones. Similar to the method below, you can run a tape algorithm into another algorithm like a BBD to add variable saturation.

    The delay time depends on which method you use to set it, to make the knob control usable. There's a breakdown here as well as a method for getting up to 8 seconds of delay with any of the modes.
    https://support.empresseffects.com/...are-echosystem-s-minimum-maximum-delay-times-
     
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  6. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    @webs do you have any recommendations of modes to blend in parallel? Most of the time I am just doing one delay at a time.
     
  7. webs

    webs Supporting Member

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    Sure! Often you can get away with the weirder stuff in parallel and at a lower mix. Because the two lines don't interact it's less prone to the runaway or disruptive craziness that can happen in series. Even just a standard slapback is often a nice addition, or a quieter and darker delay synced to a dotted quarter (or some other syncopated subdivision, or a single-feedback multi pattern) of your main delay. It's also a good place for a less prominent use of the Lo-Fi modes or multi/filter. Wilder ones I like include green reverse, set to short delay time and medium feedback with pitch shifted up (I think there's a factory preset like this?), red ambient mode for some ghosties, and my favorite recently, red Stutter w/delay time at 9 o'clock, mix 10, feedback 2, tone 3, thing1 9 and thing2 9. Does a great grainy flourish and skitter that reminds me of the synth treatments on Shadows Collide With People which has some fantastic delay/verb manipulations on it. I think Regret is the track it sounds like.


    In case anyone didn't catch the switch from series to parallel discussion: my earlier post was about blending in series where you can effectively stack the features of two algorithms together by setting the second one in series with the minimum delay time. In that scenario the second delay is sort of just a 'filter' that the first goes through, so you can do things like use the multi setting for an unusual rhythm, and then set the second delay to add a stronger flavor like filter or modulation. The sonic result is a single delay, but with two "effects" which is how you can get for example the 8-second tape delay, or a multi-tap Space Echo or even Echoplex. You can also get really lovely, odd combinations like Drunk Ewok or Delay+Reverb into the dual octaves (green Whisky with thing1 all the way down and thing2 all the way up), actually anything into that dual pitch set to +/- octaves is really beautiful.
     
  8. homeunit

    homeunit Supporting Member

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    Thinking of swapping out the volante for one of these, any recommendations before I do the swap?
     
  9. homeunit

    homeunit Supporting Member

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    Anyone, about to do the deed this week.

    I've watched all the echosystem vids, all of them, and it sounds wonderful. I think for me it's a no brainer after the research. The sound of Empress is in a league all on its own. I've owned the tape delay, just got their phaser and they have a super high quality sound to the units. Must be all our good Canadian beer.
     
  10. diego.fresh

    diego.fresh Member

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    Don’t look back

    it’s amazing. Complex simplicity
     

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