Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by DetroitDonny, Feb 12, 2012.
WHAT IS A TAPE ECHO, ANYWAY? AND WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS AND A DELAY?
It really a giant tape deck :to create an echo it uses magnetic recording tape that has a head record the sound on the tape and a 2nd head replay the sound mili seconds latter . so it is an electro mechanical echo. unlike the digital or analog echos
It's a delay.
Back in the days of history there were two reasons to delay a musical signal. One was architectural: if you have speakers at the front of a big room and at the back, the ones at the back need to be delayed to sound at the same time as the sound arrives from the front ones. This was called a "delay line". Roughly the same era brought the use tape delay as a special effect to make, with Les Paul, Ray Butts and others.
Tape, analog delay lines and digital delay lines all delay a signal and then can remix it back with the original. They can have different features allowing multiple repeats, feedback, changes in pitch/tempo, tap tempo, CV control etc. But each implementation has its advantages and disadvantages:
I thought about going into detail about individual units but there's way too many. The big difference with tape is that there is a colored preamp, and there is mechanical things causing wow/flutter.
So, it's really a delay before they called them delays? Can u explain the difference soundwise? for example Strymon Timeline vs. the El Cap. thanks
Timeline has a Tape sound as well.
Tape tends to be darker, often more washed out, almost reverb like (sometimes it is emulated using a mild reverb on the repeats), it usually has a limited headroom and some warbly/modulated texture.
I like a really dark, washed out delay if I use one, so I usually go for an Echo, though I prefer more headroom than some echos.
I thought tape has a bass-cut sound.
echo & delay are fairly interchangable. sometimes echo adds a reverb effect to the delay to emulate that "bouncing back across a canyon" sound.
Well, there are a bunch of digital pedals out there now that attempt to emulate certain characteristics of tape delays -- the degradation of fidelity of the repeats (which was also a characteristic of bucket brigade analog delays), the occasional pitch warble of repeats from irregular tape motion (wow and flutter), etc. There were also other elements of specific popular tape delays -- like the preamp circuit and high output impedance of the 3rd gen Echoplex -- that certain pedals mimic.
Tape delays have a natural high pass and (a form of) modulation to the system, giving them a godly shimmery characteristic. However as the tape would get worn out, the highs would diminish giving a low pass effect, hence the confusion over the particularities of the effect, which companies exploited with analog pedals that were marketed as being tape echo emulations, even though they are low-pass only.
This is also why guitarists always stumble with contradictions when trying to compliment tape sounds, saying they are warm and bright (buzz words for bassy and trebly respectively).
Echo now adays implies a delay with an added reverb tail, although everyone slaps "tape echo" onto their products as a marketing gimmick.
But the big, (almost objectively) benefit of tape (and analog) delays over digital delays is that the repeats degrade and break apart into the background, instead of just getting quieter - which is why people always say tape decays more naturally than digital.
BUT THEY'RE HELLA EXPENSIVE
my experience of using tape delays is as follows:
- despite all banter about 'warble' etc. the sound of the repeats is bigger, more 'real' and puts any delay pedal I have heard in the shade
- features such as 'sound on sound' and tape delay reverb (both features in a roland space echo) sound amazing in comparison to pedal versions.
I'm sure that the pre-amps, the buffers etc in old echoplex units add a lot of 'colour' to the tone, and if you compare a pedal to a recording of a tape delay they do sound comparable. But in the actuality there is nothing like the quality of a real tape delay when put side to side.
^which tape units did you play and which pedals did you play? Just curious.
Have you tried an El Cap?
I've been thinking about getting a real tape delay, like a copicat. Just looking after a 50 year old unit bothers me a little
I haven't played any tape echos, just some delay units. I've heard great things about the Strymon units, and Eventide. But I see a lot of Eventide timefactors on ebay. also heard good stuff about Skreddy tape echo. anyway, thanks everyone for your input.
Has a pre-amp.. therefore drives the signal a bit.. records what you play on tape.. repeats the sound:
Much smaller, much easier to use, less likely to need repair.. is a digital emulation of tape delay:
Seems to be current TGP-favorite for delay.. probably has the dTape tape-delay-emulation function of the Capistan... one of the most versatile digital delays on the market:
Well, if you are going offtopic about echo sims instead of what a tape echo is, you might as well mention all the other ones as well apart from Strymon (something like 15 of them), which of course in classic TGP fashion found its way here as well...
Delay chasing is dangerous. Be careful. A lot TGPers say that it is far less time consuming than Fuzz-looking, yet most good-sounding delays cost 2-5 times as much as any other type of pedal.
But yeah...in case you wern't t/2()((!N.... 'tape echo' is 'tape delay'... which is sound played back from tape that it is recorded on.