The IK Multimedia Tape Echo is a faithful recreation of the highly sought after Echoplex EP3 tape delay. The original unit made its appearance in 1969 and was immediately adopted by musicians and guitar players as the standard for delay effects.
The principle behind it is a that of a traditional analog recording machine, where incoming signal is printed by a tape head onto magnetic 1/4” tape. A second tape head placed afterwards plays back the recorded signal creating the delay effect. Varying the distance between the two heads determines the delay time.
The IK Multimedia Tape Echo takes all of the analog “imperfections” of moderate headroom Class A electronics coupled with magnetic tape into account and puts them under user control, with the advantage of software flexibility and power: BPM syncable delay times, stereo operation for two independent delay lines, complete automation.
All of the electronics and tape behavior have been closely matched: from tape hiss, wear and wow and flutter to AC line hum (selectable among US and UE voltage); with these controls the Tape Echo can be used as a standard analog delay, when set accordingly, or pushed to the extremes, where the use of the Wow and Flutter, preamp gain and tape wear turn it into a wild effects generator.
The natural and organic delay trails will sit nicely in a mix giving a track its own 3D perspective, still making it blend nicely with the rest.
A classic use for this module is on vocals, where the added bonus of BPM syncable delay times can make for very warm and lush echoes.
Another of the staples of this kind of delay has been surf guitar, where its unmistakable signature “slap” turns an ordinary clean guitar track into a trademark sound.