I’ve been looking at the prices of a real tape delay for a long time now. At the top of my list has been the Roland 501, which had balanced inputs and outputs… pretty essential for low-noise interfacing into an analog system. Unfortunately, the prices for these rarely dip below $1,500 for anything other than a total basket case, which for my situation is completely impractical.
The other option is a plugin emulation of a tape echo. Universal Audio has a couple options… the Echoplex EP-34 and the Galaxy tape echo, which is an emulation of the Roland 201. A recent mix was screaming for a good delay unit, so I went ahead and ordered the Echoplex.
I know I’ve said it before, but I really like UA software products. They are not inexpensive, but every Universal Audio plugin that I’ve ever owned has survived three computer upgrades with no problems whatsoever.
Visually, the plugin looks just like an Echoplex, with a few additional controls- a panpot, and sync, tape tension, and wet toggles. A window that numerically displays the delay in ms was a luxury that engineers dreamed of back in the day, but nice addition for the software version.
I’d only used a real tape delay for a brief moment when I was much younger. I don’t remember much about it, except that it sounded REALLY cool. This plugin sounds about the same. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the emulation, but I can speak to the results. It’s a very nice addition for vocals if used sparingly. For mixing reggae, it’s essential… and should definitely be used un-sparingly.
I love it… a sample should be coming shortly.