The EC-300 Echo Collection combines the capabilities and tones of a wide variety of delays and delay-based effects like flanging and chorusing, into a single plug-in. With so many features its easy to over look some of the great options of the EC-300, so this issue of Colin’s Corner takes a closer look.
The EC-300 covers the three primary technologies used to create echo effects – magnetic tape, digital delay, and analog delay. Each of these delay types have their own unique user interface, with common controls between each to modify standard delay parameters such as delay feedback, delay time, tempo control (sync to session, tap tempo, groove offset), stereo field controls (width, offset, feedback balance and feedback mix) balance, dynamics (compression or ducking), and single, dual, and ping-pong operation. These standard delay parameter values are retained as the user auditions the different delay types.
Where the EC-300 really shines is in its emulations of the classic delay types and the available user controls.
Character Where It Counts
Within the magnetic and analog delay types are additional character modes to emulate a wide variety of classic gear from their respective designs. Making the delay effect stand out from the mix has never been easier than with these character modes in the EC-300.
Not to be out done by the magnetic or analog delays, EC-300 digital delay type incorporates dozens of SIMs (Synthetic Impulse Models) from the highly acclaimed FutzBox plug-in to provide tones never before heard in any delay. Want to get the sound of echoes going through a fax machine, or a walkie-talkie, or a CB radio ? Its just a popup menu selection away with the EC-300. And the SIM can be applied post delay loop, or within the delay loop to process each feedback iteration of the delay through some gadget for an extremely pronounced tone. Feedback can occur !!! Thankfully there is a feedback reduction control right next to the SIM selection that is shown when the SIM is placed inside the delay loop.
Be it magnetic tape emulations, analog delay tones, or out of this world SIM sounds, the EC-300 Echo Collection plug-in delivers a staggering number of options.
An integral part of any professional echo effect is the use of subtle (or not so subtle) modulation to thicken the delay sound. Effects like flange and chorus are as popular as they ever were, and the EC-300 provides control over these kinds of sounds too.
The magnetic delay type, derived from tape based delay effects, allows the user to introduce wow and flutter modulation into the virtual tape spinning inside its algorithm. As the sound hits the tape, these modulation sources are altered, creating unique ‘modulation events’ that cause the echoes to appear natural, as if coming from a vast acoustic space. Very cool !!
The digital and analog delays use more conventional modulations – the user can choose the modulation rate, amount, waveform, and spread of modulation between left and right channels. Within the modulation waveform choices is a randomized waveform, which can be really useful in creating chorus like effects. The other modulation waveforms are cyclical, and are good for flange and chorus effects.
Saturation, Dynamics, and More
The EC-300 also incorporates distortion into the delay line, as characterized by the chosen delay type and delay character. A little bit of an edge to the delay tone is a great way to draw out the echoes as they play off the original input. Or going full speed into some serious saturation out be the ticket to a chart topping production !
A dynamics section allows the delay output to be mildly compressed so you can load up echoes without over-loading your mix. The same dynamics section can be switched to ducking operation so that the delay output is reduced when the original input signal is present. Each dynamics section in the magnetic, digital, and analog delay types is unique tuned for the era each delay time originated.
Stereo width and feedback balance controls further enhance the EC-300 sound by creating psycho-acoustic spatial effects within the stereo field. Not sure what that means ? No problem !! Just kick in some width and offset when operating the EC-300 on a stereo track and you’ll see (ok hear) what we’re talking about !
Start Your Own Echo Collection
The power and flexibility of the EC-300 brings plenty of options to audio engineers everywhere. It also comes with loads of presets from McDSP staff, as well as artists and engineers around the world. And once you get started with the EC-300, you’ll be creating your own custom collection of echo effects in no time !!