Deep Dive into the Effects of the POD HD Multi-Effects Processors: Tube and Tape Echo
Thanks for joining me once again as we travel through the effects of the POD HD multi-effects processors. If you read my blog last week, you learned about the Analog Echo delay model in the POD HD series and some useful ways it can be used. Today, we’ll learn a little about the Tube Echo and Tape Echo models on the POD HD series of multi-effects processors.
The Maestro® EP-1 is regarded by many as one of the most famous delay devices of all time. It’s been used by countless guitarists including Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Jimmy Page, and Joe Walsh.
The very first Echoplex EP-1 was made in the late 1950’s by a company from Cleveland, Ohio called Market Electronics. It was invented by engineer Mike Battle who recently passed away in 2008. However, it wasn’t until a company called Harris-Teller of Chicago began manufacturing the Echoplex that the device really took off. Marketed under a brand known as Maestro, the Echoplex began its rise to what many consider the greatest delay effect unit ever created.
The first Maestro® Echoplex EP-1 and EP-2 devices were of tube design but were shortly followed by the EP-3 solid state version. Line 6’s Tape Echo effect is modeled after* the Echoplex EP-3 while the Tube Echo is modeled after* the EP-1.
The Echoplex is not an effect pedal rather it’s a device that runs and records tape heads in a loop at different speeds much like I talked about in my Intro to Delay blog a couple of weeks ago. Both the Tube Echo and Tape Echo models have a nice warm, slightly overdriven delay sound to it. Creating great slap back delays is easy with either of these models and the WOW/Flutter parameter on the Tube Echo is especially fun to play around with at higher settings.
The Maestro® EP-1 had 4 parameters:
- Instrument/Mic Volume (Mix)**
- Echo Repeats (Feedback)
- Echo Volume (Mix)**
- Delay Time Slider (Time)
**The POD MIX setting combines the Instrument/Mic Volume and Echo Volume parameters. This was actually implemented the same way in the Echoplex EP-2 model.
The Maestro® EP-3 had 3 main parameters:
- Echo Volume (Mix)
- Echo Sustain (Feedback)
- Echo Delay (Time)
It’s important to keep in mind that the Line 6 versions of these two great effects were inspired by* the originals. So, much like the Analog Echo model in the POD HD multi-effects processor, which has a couple more parameters to tweak than the actual Boss® DM-2 delay pedal, the Tube and Tape Echo effects offer some more parameter versatility as well.
You may have also noticed that Line 6 offers an effect variation to both of these delay models. I am of course talking about the “Studio” or “Dry Thru” Tube and Tape Echo models. These effects are exactly the same as the original Tube and Tape Echo delay models with one small exception; we modeled the dry thru signal path of these classic delays. This was done to give the user the ability to dial out any tonal character and coloration the original Tube and Tape Echo models added to the audio signal when the Mix parameter was set to 0%. A very handy feature!
I’ve dialed in a few tones using both the Tube Echo and Tape Echo effect and as always, you can download all of my tones to date here: Line6MillersTones
For this tone I wanted to see how close I could get to the classic Jimmy Page sound on Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. If you know the main lick, play it and let me know what you think. I dialed this in using a dual humbucker guitar with the guitar in the bridge position. I went directly into the guitar input on my Pod HD 500 multi-effects processer and set the output mode to Studio Direct. This is a dual tone which I panned 50% hard left and right from the mixer block in the POD. I went with the Super O amp model on the POD which is based on* the Supro®S6616. Jimmy Page confirmed that he used a Supro in the studio on most of the Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II albums but he never said which one. I think this little amp sounds pretty close though. I went with the Tape Echo model here as it’s well known that Jimmy used the EP-3 quite a bit live. Time is set to 160ms, Feedback to 20%, Bass 48%, Treble 50%, and Mix at 20%.
This is pretty much the same exact tone as my TapeEchoLuv tone, accept I tweaked the drive parameter a bit on Amp 2 bringing it down to 11% and instead of using the Tape Echo model, I went with the Tube Echo delay. The Tube Echo has an added Wow/Flutter parameter that literally represents analog tape flutter or “frequency wobble” as a result of the tape working its way through the reels. Really cool! It also has a Drive parameter that will add a bit more bite to your tone as you raise it. Time is set to 160ms, Feedback to 20%, Wow/Flutter to 25%, Drive to 10% and mix to 20%.
I know I already created a slap back delay type tone in my last blog but the Tube Echo model is really the perfect delay to use for this. Both Chet Atkins and Les Paul’s tones became synonymous with this slap back sound. I’m using the Blackface Dbl Nrm amp model for this with the Drive parameter turned all of the way down. I made some minor adjustments to the amp’s EQ but for the most part I left everything else alone. The Time on the delay is set fairly low to 100ms. Feedback is at 25%, Wow/FLT is set to 30%, Drive is at 0%, and I’ve got the Mix set to 35%.
OK. Enough of all this traditional usage stuff. Let’s have some fun with the Tube Echo model. For this tone I wanted something a little unusual. It may not be a sound many of you can use regularly but I think it could make for a good effect in a small part of a song…maybe an intro for example. The trick to this tone is to hang out on the high E and the B strings. Experiment with letting notes sustain around the 12th fret. The effect should sound sparkly and a bit wobbly due to the Wow/FLT being set so high. I find that letting the notes sustain for as long as possible really make this tone shine. I’m using the PhD Motorway amp model based on* the DrZ® Route 66 amp. The Drive is set fairly high to 67% but you can tweak to taste. I’ve got the Time parameter on the Tube Echo delay model set to 260ms. The Feedback is up pretty high at 75%. I really crank the Wow/FLT parameter on this patch for that extra “wobble”. It’s set to 65%. Drive is set to 0% and Mix is way up at 75%. Have fun with this one.
Next week we’ll dive into a delay effect model that was inspired by* a pedal built by another legendary effects company. I’m talking about the Analog w/Mod delay model based on* the Electro Harmonix® Deluxe Memory Man. Thanks for reading. Until next week!
*All product names used in this webpage are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Line 6. These trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose tones and sounds were studied during Line 6’s sound model development.