Echoplex EDP

edp front

For many people, this is go-to device for creative looping. With the 7 footswitch buttons of the standard footpedal you can access a whole host of loop techniques and tricks. When the EDP was designed in the 1990’s it was thought that a stereo looper was not needed, as instruments tend to be mono, and effects could be placed after the looper in the signal chain to stereoize if required. Also back then the idea of running more than one loop at a time hadn’t got established… hence while you can have up to 16 Loops on the EDP you can only play one at a time.

So why is this device so revered when at first sight it may seem outdated? Simply because as well as being incredibly well thought out ergonomically it’s full of the kind of innovations that get live loopers inspired.

A full list of features isn’t possible in a review such as this, you’ll need to spend considerable time with the manual to get that, but here’s a selection to give a flavour (many of these features copied by other manufacturers at users request):

  • Record goes straight into Overdub. Instead of hitting Record at the end of recording hit Overdub, and you’re seamlessly adding another layer.
  • Multiply. Like an overdub, but you change the length of the loop. Typically the new layer is an exact multiple in length of the original. This makes it very quick to build up a complex arrangement without having meticulously play a simple backing rhythm for ages. Creatively you can also cut the loop length shorter, either to an exact division or to overdub a rhythmic part on top of sounds without definite rhythm.
  • LoopCopy. Like Multiply in it’s action, but result is stored in a different loop. Gives you the opportunity to do all sorts of modifications to your loop, then jump back to the original.
  • Replace. While the EDP perhaps isn’t the first device to allow you to drop in new audio to the loop, replacing the old, it’s certainly the first to present it in a way that allows easy creative usage. Replace can be configured to only happen while a switch is held down, or to neatly replaced a single beat of the loop. This allows rhythmic effects to be achieved.
  • Reverse. Again this is in no way unique to the EDP, but the EDP lets you reverse the way you want. Ending a recording by hitting Reverse instead of Record takes you straight into reverse playback. Or Reverse can be delayed by a process known as Quantise so it doesn’t happen till the end of the loop, allowing the looped audio to remain in time (synced) when you return to forward play.
  • Half Speed. This has the same flexibility as Reverse.
  • Sync. Keep in time with other loops and sequences. The EDP has three forms
  1. Midi Sync, in an out.
  2. Brother Sync. a proprietary method to sync 2 or more EDPs with the Master/Slave relationship being freely selected as yopu play.
  3. BeatSync. Keeps in time with an audio pulse, or just music with a strong beat. Also emits a pulse for syncing.
  • Midi Control. Using programmable midi foot controller gives you access to even more functions.

That’s just a sample of what’s possible, and also note that all this flexibility doesn’t make the EDP hard to use. It’s possible to start with the simplest loop functions and gradually add new techniques at your own pace. Eventually it becomes easy to play complex arrangements.

Sound quality is good, the looped sound being reproduced without a noticeable tonal loss. Background noise is noticeable in the studio, but not enough to be a real problem.

those 3 devices are very similar (a little insert by Matthias):The Oberheim Echoplex (1994-1999), Gibson Echoplex (2000-2002) and the black Gibson Echoplex Plus (2002-2007) only differ in the quality of some parts (the black is the best) and in that the black one passed CE test.
The
 LOOP delay (1992) is the root of this invention and did not have some functions like Reverse, Realign,,, does not save parameter settings and has separate 1/4″ sockets for each function. Unfortunately the BrotherSync is not compatible between LOOP delay and Echoplex and even Echoplexes of different batches may drift (the solution is the exchange crystals)

So, is the EDP going to be your looping device of choice? They can only be found second hand, and don’t come cheap, so certainly you’d be advised to check out what else is available before seeking one out. Not everyone gets on with the EDP and the lack of stereo and multiple loops certainly make it less attractive these days…but if you’re looking to create something new and unique with your music it might be just the thing.

Review by andy butler

Note: “This isn’t exactly an independant review, I’ve been involved to a small extent in the development of the EDP, however I was a user before that and this is my genuine appraisal of the work of Matthias Grob(inventor)” andy butler.

Original LOOP IV Feature List

EDP Plus LOOP IV User Manual (PDF), written by Kim Flint

EDP FAQ on Loopers-Delight  by Kim Flint, very complete and competent!

MIDI Commands Spreadsheet by Claude Voit, helpful to find all the hidden functions

The Echoplex Analysis Pages by Andre LaFosse – for very deep use!

Playing Hints by Matthias Grob. where it started… many work for any looper

Reverse Tricks by Kim Flint

Gibson / Oberheim Echoplex Footpedal Tutorial by Kim Flint

the creation story by the creator Matthias Grob

comparison of the the first and the second looping tool on the market, by Matthias

British Audio Service – the best place to get parts and have the EDP fixed

Service Docs (only needed to fix the machine)

Much more to come, but here are a couple of videos by Nick Robinson showing EDP techniques.

Quantised replace

Loop windowing

please comment and learn more on the forum

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