The Empress Echosystem is really THAT good

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Jschoi, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Jschoi

    Jschoi Silver Supporting Member

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    I got the Empress Echosystem in the mail yesterday and found some time to play around with it. Initially, I was hesitant on it because I decided to sell my Timeline to give it a try. I wasn't sure if I would like the Echosystem over the Timeline, but I was willing to give it a shot because the Timeline can often sound too digital for my tastes.

    Plugged it in and gave each setting a whirl, and I was blown away by how good these delay settings sounded. Every setting is really tweakable and can go from digital sounding to really warm. The Dual Parallel delays add an entirely different taste to delays that I know I'll be diving into in the weeks to come.

    Initial thoughts:
    - The Whisky setting is really weird, but very musical. A lot of exploring to be had here.
    - Ambient setting is SO musical. I don't even know where to begin. Everything just sounded good.
    - Digital setting can be really digital, or really warm by just using the tone knob. THIS is what I feel was missing from the Timeline.
    - Tape setting is... well, it's Empress. Their Tape setting is stellar.

    I'll be digging in some more and will be providing more updates. Hopefully, this helps others find what their looking for. I'm a delay nut and I know there are many others like me.

    Jason
     
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  2. Rogan1990

    Rogan1990 Member

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    How does it work with presets? I've always been curious about Empress delays, especially the Tape Delay
     
  3. Jschoi

    Jschoi Silver Supporting Member

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    Ah, you bring up a good point... This was actually a little bit more difficult to understand. You have a lot of room to make it work the way you want it to work. It has Bank Presets, Scrolling Presets, and a Midi Option (you need to buy their midi port to make it work thought).

    I knew I wanted to use the Bank Presets, which lets you have two settings per bank. You can scroll up or down using the two right or two left buttons respectively.

    The scrolling preset mode lets you scroll up on the settings and down, but you only get one setting as you scroll up or down.

    I don't use midi. It gives me a headache and I always like tweaking on the fly.
     
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  4. Rogan1990

    Rogan1990 Member

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    Ya, I've never fallen into the Midi rabbit hole - not planning on it anytime soon. But 1-3 presets would be ideal if I'm buying an expensive Delay system.

    I've been on the edge for the past like 2 months; Empress or Source Audio... I know I'm going to get a nice Delay, but do I want the Nemesis, the Tape Delay, or now maybe the Echosystem?... I'm still leaning towards the Nemesis at this point I think, but I'm afraid it's a little too complex for me to get the use out of it that it deserves.
     
  5. IanJarrold

    IanJarrold Member

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    NB. If you use an external tap tempo control, you get 3 presets per bank! That's how I use it and love it that way!
     
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  6. rbrogan

    rbrogan Supporting Member

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    I've been using mine in scroll mode, but you guys have me tempted to try out bank mode. But, overall, I totally agree, it's every bit as good as everyone says it is. One of my favorite presets I've set up so far is the Drunk Ewok Ambient (which is like a big, multitap digital delay with diffusion) going into the Long Ambient delay set to max time (8 seconds). I have expression pedal mapped to repeats and mod depth for the Long Ambient delay, and as I roll it forward the depth increases and the feedback maxes out. The Drunk Ewok creates these awesome textural, ambient sounds that still have enough clarity to play a short chord progression with. With the mod set higher on the long ambient, you get this awesome loop that slowly becomes more lofi and warbly as time goes on, sort of like William Basinsky's Disintegration Tapes.

    Update it to the latest firmware and you get the new Echorec mode, which is fast becoming a favorite of mine. After having mine for nearly a year I feel like I'm just now scratching the surface on what you can do with it, it's pretty amazing.
     
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  7. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    I have had my echosystem for a few months and am still yet to use the dual delays, but I bought it knowing I would grow into it. Mostly I have used digital and analog, haven’t even had time to really dig into all the Algos yet.

    I did switch mine to bank quickly and setup an extra tap tempo switch. I am now using a disaster area micro clock for my tap tempo, works great for dialing in precise tap tempo bpms with the knob.

    So far my only quibble is slapback, there is only one mode I have found where the repeats goes low enough to get a good slapback sound, in general the taper of the repeat knob isn’t more aggressive than I would like on most modes. I would like to get able to dial in a single repeat on any mode.
     
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  8. BallaBalla

    BallaBalla Member

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    From the manual:
    "In Advanced Configuration you can select the number of
    presets you wish to use. The presets are represented by a
    series of five LEDs located just below the knobs. Press the scroll
    stompswitch to scroll through the presets. The preset LEDs will
    blink. When cycling through the presets, after every five
    presets, the preset LED colors will change to another color to
    indicate you're in the next bank and will start counting again
    from left to right."
    That means you can have up to 35 presets in scrolling mode and I think 15 in bank mode. Reverb and Echosystem are fantastic pedals. I have both since they were released and I'm still finding new sounds. The newest updates are great, too. Echorec mode and a basic looper. Have fun.
     
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  9. Jschoi

    Jschoi Silver Supporting Member

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    Just fiddled with this pedal again. I still cannot believe how good this pedal sounds.

    I did an A/B with the Strymon Dig for a dotted 8th shoot out, and the Dig definitely sounds more percussive. The Echosystem can still do this sound well, but the Dig definitely has something special about it.

    I'm now curious about the Empress Reverb. I'm definitely getting sucked into the Empress world of modulation after being in Strymon-land for years.
     
  10. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    Got a chance to update the firmware and dig in a bit more. Going to use a few Tape settings (new tape and echoplex) for a few songs this weekend.

    I also got to try Ambient and the new Echorec, both very cool. I am struggling a bit with running 2 delays at once with not getting a setting that sounds crazy. I did find a nice combo with Parallel mode and the Digital short stuff 1980 for one and ambient for the other.

    I was planning to use the Echosystem for the looper, but I found you must have the effect on for the looper to work, so I am now going to use the reverb for the looper as having reverb on all the time is less intrusive for me typically.
     
  11. Honch

    Honch Member

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    I just wonder if you can give me first hand information on this pedal. I have scrutinized the net, googled to the moon and back, but when everyone (internet magazines, paper magazines) reviews ANY digital delay pedal with presets, that costs some dough, they always forgets what I think is the most crucial and eternal question:

    1. Does it do overspill? I e called "trails" by some others?

    I can very well think that it keeps on the decays of long delays and reverbs, when pressing bypass in buffered mode, but it's when switching between presets, that's important. To me. Since this is a rather posh, high end, expensive machine, with DUAL engines, I thought that that one could take care of overspills quite well. Say you could use "overspill" in single mode only. So that one engine takes cares of the decaying delays from one preset, and it still rings and lingers on, when you switch to another preset that the second engine takes care of without interrupting or killing the first presets trails. Is this possible, even with future firmware updates?

    2. Tap tempo. Is it possible to get it to run in STRUM tempo, by setting the tap delays, strum patterns, by incoming audio signal instead, or program it to choose between the two?

    As far as I know, only T.C. Electronic, and the old DigiTech Timebender did this, and its immensely more accurate to nail tempo that way, than any foot-tapping. Since I've owned a TimeBender I wish that others would take on to it, because it's so much better. If these two points above can be ticked and checked in the boxes with the Empress Echosystem, it's a deal maker for me.

    It has too, the "long" delay of 8 seconds, where you can do "frippertronics" and lock it with a hold function, keeping your foot on the tap switch. However, I've read that it can take MIDI or control pedal inputs so you don't have to have your foot on there all of the time, you can release it and the HOLD/INFINITE repeat goes on and on without accepting new input. That was what wetted my appetite in the first place. And then letting all this inot the second engine with perhaps Delay+Reverb thing going on at the same time.
     
  12. Honch

    Honch Member

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    Question 3: Does it have any blue leds? Or is it multicolored? If any is blue led it's a deal braker for me. Move on alarm bell for me.
     
  13. fetchingEllie

    fetchingEllie Member

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    I really didn't like it. It changes your tone way too much. Turn it on and turn the mix all the way down, your guitar will sound thin and plastic'y
     
  14. Hofnarr

    Hofnarr Member

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    1. Yes, it does overspill (trails)

    2. No strum tempo
     
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  15. Hofnarr

    Hofnarr Member

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    The LEDs have a number of different colors, including blue.
     
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  16. Hofnarr

    Hofnarr Member

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    Out of curiosity, why is this a deal breaker for you?
     
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  17. oansun

    oansun Member

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  18. Honch

    Honch Member

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    1. I have had only bad experiences with blue leds along the road. That's why I sold my TimeBender. Mind you that I am not alone on this.

    2. It must be the only thing that is visible from the moon, apart from the China Wall.

    3. There's a reason something like this just have to emerge on the market, don't you think:

    https://www.musicradar.com/news/bli...s-leds-rockboard-has-the-solution-led-dampers

    [​IMG]

    My rant about it around here too, seems I am not alone.

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/blinded-by-your-pedal-leds.1999375/
    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/dear-pedal-companies.1232381/#post-22168682

    https://gunnar.com/do-environmentally-friendly-led-lights-cause-blindness/

    https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/fionamcmillan/2018/08/11/how-blue-light-damages-cells-in-your-eyes/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_blue_light_technology

    Especially the chapter about On Eye Health, regarding all blue LEDs, strong or weak. Here's a quote, quite technical detalied:

    "Concerns regarding blue LEDs are related to the difference between the photopic luminous flux and radiometric radiance. Blue LEDs, particularly those used in white LEDs, operate at around 450nm. The perception of the brightness of different frequencies of light is defined according to the CIE luminosity function. Photometry is concerned with the study of the perception of visible light. Radiometry is concerned with the measurement of energy. At the outer edges of the range of light perception, the amount of energy as light required to register as a perception increases. The peak efficiency of light perception is defined at 555nm, having a value of V(λ)=1. at 450nm, V(λ)=0.038 or to put it another way, it requires more than 26 times the radiometric energy to perceive the same luminous flux as green at 555nm. For comparison, UV-A at 380nm(V(λ)=0.000 039) requires 25 641 times the amount of radiometric energy to be perceived at the same intensity as green, three orders of magnitude greater than blue LEDs."

    "Although older adults absorb less blue light, possible eye damage from prolonged exposure may occur. The relative newness of blue light technology and its ubiquitous use in society creates questions for which there are no known answers yet."


    If they could just make it a laserbeam, they would. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  19. See3po

    See3po Member

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    It's a great pedal. Some of the engines could be dedicated pedals on their own. I would love to see Ambient and Whiskey as small dedicated pedals for example. Both are exceptional. For me, they feel limited in a big box format and would have more tweakability as a standalone pedal. I haven't bonded with the knobs or controls of the echosystem, but the sounds are great.

    Same is true for Ghost on the Reverb big box.

    I would buy these again as dedicated pedals.
     
  20. Hofnarr

    Hofnarr Member

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    All right, very interesting. Thanks.
     
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