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The OFFICIAL Echoplex EDP thread

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by MKS, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. Hi Steve,

    Hope you don't mind if we start up an EDP thread for those Q&A type issues that may crop up... ;)

    First, for anyone searching on this topic, I'm going to refer to Andre Le Fosse's Echoplex Analysis Pages , and referring to the various manuals and stuff at Looper's delight . At present I'm also refering to LoopIII software.

    I'm a little unclear about what Andre refers to as "Remultiplying" and how he achieves "Loop Windowing".

    Remultiplying (my guess):
    MoreLoops>1, Switchquant=ON
    Press Nextloop then use Multiply to select how many cycles to take forward into the next loop in the "lame duck" period (their words!). That way it sounds like you ought to be able to remultiply DOWN. I'm thinking this through analytically 'cos at present I'm at work... :D

    Loop Windowing (From Andre's site, and talking about LoopIII):
    Having Remultiplied DOWN, you hit UNDO to scroll through the "lost" sections still in memory.

    Am I right?

    It strikes me that the INSERT and MULTIPLY functions are the ones that need most study by an EDP newbie. They're very deep...
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    fascinating questions, Mike!

    I've not really experimented much with either of those techniques, but fortunately, Andre reads this 'ere board from time to time, so hopefully he'll drop by and explain further what he's up to!

    My useage of the EDP is generally pretty simple... I get complex sounds by combining processing, looping, looping into another box and then reprocessing it with the Kaoss pad (see other thread for explaination of that bit you asked about... :D )

    anyway, eagerly awaiting guest expert Andre's thoughts...

  3. Andre


    Nov 1, 2003
    Hello bass-playing people,

    MKS said,

    Think of it this way:

    1. If you multiply an initial loop, then each multiple of that loop is called a "cycle" in EDP-speak. Example: a two-second loop multiplied four times creates an 8-second loop, made up of four cycles (multiples of the original loop.)

    2. "Remultiplying" is the process of altering the number of cycles in the loop, after multiplying them out initially. So, the four-cycle loop in the example above could be shortened, by remultiplying it back down to one, two, or three cycles.

    (The loop length could also be increased, by remultiplying it out to a number of cycles greater than four. It could basically be any number of cycles you like - 16, 11, 39... so long as you have enough memory in your given loop.)

    3. "Windowing" in its most basic form involves remultiplying a loop down to a smaller number of cycles, and then using the "undo" button to scroll through material which was contained in the other cycles which you got rid of (by remultiplying down).

    Windowing might make more sense if you think of sheet music: say you've got a four-measure pattern, with a repeat sign at the end of the fourth bar (a loop!). Then say that you get rid of measures two through four, so that you're just repeating the first measure. That's remultiplying.

    And by hitting undo on the EDP after you remultiply, you're effectively dropping fragments of those other three measures back into the loop - hence the name "windowing."

    You're on the right basic track - when you copy a loop into another loop location, the EDP does treat it like you're multiplying. So as soon as loop copying begins, you can basically think of the process in the same way that I described remuliplying above.

    (The one caveat is that windowing won't be quite as effective in the copied loop, because when you copy a loop you effectively "wipe the memory" clean in the new loop. In other words, you get the audio content, but you can't undo back beyond whatever is in the loop when you make the copy.)

    They are indeed deep, but whether or not they're priority functions depends on what you're interested in accomplishing, both in a technical sense and in an aesthetic one.

    For instance, Matthias Grob (EDP inventor and Pillow Mountain recording artist!) uses feedback all the time - so much so that he dedicated 25% of the EDP's processing power just to regulating feedback, so that it'll sound smooth and musical. There are lots of ways to use feedback - fading an entire loop out is the most obvious and common way, but there's all sorts of more subtle ways to change the content or development in just one part of a loop, or to evolve the loop in different ways.

    I hardly ever use feedback, and Matthias never uses the replace function (which I use all the time). They're sort of polar opposites in terms of the sound they produce, and the differences between what Matthias and I (for example) gravitate towards are based on what kind of sounds we like to hear, and how we use the EDP to get those musical results.

    The best recommendation I can give for digging into the EDP is to work across the front panel function buttons from left to right. The interface isn't just an arbitrary collection of buttons - there's a very deep and carefully thought-out order to the controls, and each new function builds on concepts and principles that are introduced in previous ones, and which permeate the EDP as a whole. There's a load of stuff to be had with just record, overdub, and multiply that is utterly unique to the Echoplex...

    Anyway, I hope this helps clarify things... (And hi to Steve, Michael, Max, and any other familiar folks who might be reading....)

    --Andre LaFosse
  4. Hi Andre,

    Thanks for the advice... You are the EDP Zen master and I the learner. :D

    Wow. Erm... Lots for me to think about in that post. Looks like I need to go back to square one and look at the basic functions again - I'm kind of a "throw away the manual and press buttons until you find something cool" kind of learner to new kit, but I think I might approach this one differently

    I'll keep posting my learnings back to this thread.

    Thanks again for the advice.
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanks for the wisdom, 'Dre - I'm down with the rounded and unrounded remultiply thing, but having really used loop windowing much except by accident... :)

    Before I do my next solo CD, I'm going to have a couple of weeks of EDP madness, and get deep inside the architecture - I'm so comfortable now with the functions I use a lot, that it's time to swim a little deeper, even if I do get the bends when I come back up for air... :D

    respect to you and your inspiring noises

  6. Andre, Can I just clarify on your advice here? Do you mean that it's a good idea to work along each row of the interface from left to right? So that would mean getting to understand the different settings possible on the "Keys" row - RecordMode settings and their impact on the music before moving on to OverdubMode? Similarly with the "Loops" row?

    Sorry if this seems a really basic question but I'd just to be sure! :)

    BTW I'm digging the noises from the new Normalized CD! Must order soon!
  7. Andre


    Nov 1, 2003
    Eh Steve!

    If I were in your shoes, I'd spend at least one of those two weeks just on the top parameter row, digging into the possibilities of multiple loops. Based on what I've heard of your work, and what I understand your aesthetics to be, I think that'd be a prime way to expand your pallette... without changing the basic foundations of how you use loops (i.e. turning you into a glitcher or a Grobian feedback maven.)

    Of course the easiest way to navigate multiple loops is with a MIDI controller, so beware the slippery slope... :eek:

    'Nuff respec,

    --Andre LaFosse
  8. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    thanks Andre, I'm pretty on top of what I want to be able to do with the next loop thing already - that's been my project since recording the album with theo - managed to find the right degree of quantized switching etc. for what I wanted it to do... The MIDI control thing would be cool, but I'm not going to get any pedal board other than the one you've got... :D They are so cool, I just wish Digitech would hurry up and reissue it!!! And the Behringer one is just to big for me... don't want anything that won't fit in the back of the rack if needs be...

    but anyway, you're right, the next loop thing is what I'm working with, though the different insert combinations are also calling me... not so much for a glitch-fest, but more to see how they can feed into where I'm at anyway...

    It may, of course, end up that the next album is all really really basic stuff loopwise, and that I'm off in a whole other direction... who knows... :D

  9. Andre


    Nov 1, 2003
    Hi Michael,

    No problem, there are no bad questions (especially with the EDP.)

    First off, when I talk about learning the functions from left to right, I'm speaking about the basic seven controls, rather than any particular parameter row or column. The reasons I advocate this approach are:

    1) Dealing with a particular function in its myriad permutations will, by nature, expose you to a lot of parameters. Just dealing with record, for instance, will eventually lead you to parameters like recordmode and threshold.

    2) As you work from left to right with the seven basic functions, ideas that were introduced in earlier functions become expanded upon. For instance, overdub introduces the idea of using "alternate endings" - in this case, using overdub to end record, rather than a second press of record. Then when you get to multiply, the idea of alternate endings gets expanded greatly (using multiply as an alternate ending to functions, as well as using other functions to end multiply.) Multiply also introduces the idea of cycles, which gets expanded on in some Insert modes, and is the first place where Quantize parameters really come into play...

    One of the things most people find about the EDP is that the more they understand any one corner of the box, the more the whole thing starts to come into greater focus. It's a real testament to the design team's forethought that the unit is as elegantly and intuitively structured as it is...

    The last thing I should mention is that you don't NEED to approach the EDP in this sort of way, necessarily. If someone just wants to record a basic chord progression divided over two seperate loops, then I'm not going to insist that they learn lots of functions and parameters that don't interest them.

    But this sort of gets into the "give a man a fish" vs. "teach a man to fish" idea - a person can learn how to do certain things on the EDP as a series of button presses and function settings, without necessarily knowing a lot about the underlying concepts. But if they don't understand the basic principles that those functions are based on, it can be difficult to take that concept and really understand it intuitively. And they could miss out on possibilities they might not have thought of themselves, but could grow to love once they give it a try.

    It's sort of like Steve's discussion about arpeggios and scales in another thread here - the point of trying to internalize these sorts of EDP concepts isn't so much to have an instant recall for every conceivable function/parameter combination on earth. It's to understand these possibilities as musical concepts and gestures, rather than an arbitrary sequence of button presses, so that a person can learn the EDP as a dynamic performance instrument, rather than a static "effect."

    Anyway, sorry to be so long-winded - hopefully this helps.

    Thanks very much for doing so - I shipped your order this afternoon, and certainly hope you enjoy the discs!

    --Andre LaFosse
  10. Andre


    Nov 1, 2003
    It's a veritable orgy of EDP-speak today...!

    Well the Digitech itself is a little bit wider than a rackmount unit (and that's including the rack ears), so unless you've got an extremely wide (and deep) rack unit, it still probably wouldn't work in that regard!

    I've actually given a lot of thought to getting the Behringer anyway, both to have as a backup and for the fact that it has one additional function pedal than the Digitech does, so one could squeeze an extra bit of functionality out of each bank.

    That, plus the two dedicated continuous controller pedals, are quite an attractive deal in my book... it's certainly not the most stealthy design, but the functionality and price are hard to beat. (Especially if the alternative is hanging on Ebay for a used one that could sell for several times the cost of a new Behringer...)

    ...and all of these poor bass players are wondering what on Earth this guitar player is muttering about... :rolleyes:

  11. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    that's bad news about the digitech - maybe I could saw the end of it?? ;)

    well, I guess I'll just be sticking with the EFC-7 for now, though I really ought to get a couple of expression pedals for some Matthias-esque feedback experiments... :)

    Had a great gig last night - full on ambient squishiness for a contemplative church service. Much fun...

  12. Has anybody tried running two Echoplexes in stereo using their syncronization link? I'd like to run my whole rig in stereo and the Echoplex is forcing me to have most of it in mono. I'd like to be able to pan loop elements in the sound field so that it sounds more like multiple distinct instruments.

    - Dave
  13. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Dave,

    i know quite a few people who do this, seems to be very successful - the EDP has the option to 'brothersync' instead of MIDI, which is, I'm told, a lot more accurate. Sounds like it's worth getting the extra EDP... :)

  14. Thanks for the info. I'm keeping my eye open for a used one. I bought a new one for $800. I don't want to pay more than $600 for a second one though.

    I've been playing with a really good drummer who is great at playing with a click track. So, we plug the midi out from his drum machine into the Echoplex and it automatically syncs up with the drum machine. I can then quantize my buttons so that they only occur on the "one". It makes looping with a drummer effortless. When we tried it in the past, no matter how carefully I timed my loop, we got out of sync after a while. I think it may have been because he was probably playing to the click track at the time.

    - Dave
  15. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Well, I bought an EDP a couple of weeks ago, and am loving it. There's a lot of suff I've yet to get into (midi, all the sync stuff), but, overall, I find that learning to use it is pretty intuitive (and, obviously, there's War and Peace 2, er, the manual). It's helped me in my goal to be on the cutting edge of post-modern solo bass (think Michael Manring - all the skill and theory knowledge + Sigur Ros + Nine Inch Nails. And maybe a little GY!BE).*

    My only complaint at the moment is the implementation of the Insert button. I think it could easily be split into two buttons - Insert permutations under Insert, and reverse and half-speed under the new button, which would, of course, be dubbed the Zaniness button. At the moment, I'm leaning over pretty regularly to fiddle with parameters during songs. Maybe I need to build myself a Parameter foot controller.

    The EDP has made an enormous contribution to my solo playing. Go buy one.

    * This was meant with a little irony. While there really is no post-modern solo bass scene at the moment, I'm hardly at the cutting edge of anything. And my name really shouldn't be anywhere near those of the above mentioned musicians.

    Now I need a better reverb unit.
  16. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    sounds like you're having a great time with the EDP, Mr Johnson... There's much fun to be had in a 1U rack unit.. :)

    The insert function access thing is all sorted if you get a footpedal that can send the right info. Right now, about the only one available that does it is the Behringer FCB1010 or whatever it's called. that big one with the two expression pedals. The Digitech PMC10 seems to be the best one (it's what Sensei Andre uses)...

    talking of Andre, make sure you check out his EDP tutorial at www.altruistmusic.com and the MP3s (then buy the CDs) - Andre's take on EDPism is pretty spectacular, and his music's pretty damn fine too!

    For reverb, you can't beat lexicon - all their recent units are great. I've got an MPX-G2, but the entire MPX range are good VFM depending on how much flexibility you want, and the older LXP-1 and LXP-5 are worth digging into too, if you can find them used... Failing that, The VF-1 that Michael uses has some amazing sounds on it, including pretty neat 'verbs.

    Enjoy, and post links to MP3s here when you get stuff happening...


  17. CJ,

    I have a Lexicon MPX-200. The differences between the cheaper end of the line and the more expensive end seems to be down to how edit-able the parameters of the presets are. However most of the presets on this unit seems to be pretty useable, and at only £150 ~ $200 it seems like pretty good value for money. Bear in mind that a Boss Digital Reverb unit on its own costs about £100 locally.

    I'll be posting some experimental noises shortly, coupling my EDP with my DL4 to produce some bizarre sweeped effects. Stay tuned.