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Reverse Tricks
On the
Gibson / Oberheim Echoplex

by Kim Flint

Every now and then, somebody says: "I would love to see reverse in the EDP easier to access..."

Ah, it is easy to access Reverse on the Oberheim Echoplex! The Insert button is really more of a multi-purpose button. It can be set to do other stuff besides Insert, like Reverse! You set it's function with the "InsertMode" parameter. With it set to Reverse, you have instant reverse access by tapping the Insert button! Tap it with your foot, tap it on the front panel. It's instant and easy!

Real-Time loop Reverse is incredibly fun, one of my pet requests during the Echoplex development. Over the years I've come up with a few interesting ideas for how to use and abuse this feature. So without further ado, here are some of my all-time favorite reverse tricks on the Echoplex:

  • Going Both Ways. After recording a loop, reverse it and then overdub new stuff. Then you have forward and backwards stuff in the loop. Switch it forwards, switch it backwards, nobody will know if you are coming or going.

  • Reverse Scrubbing. "Sustain" a section of your loop by tapping reverse repeatedly over it. So you go back and forth over some little snippet of sound. It can be a shorter or longer snippet depending on how fast you tap reverse. Pause a moment for the loop to move to a new section, then do it some more. Nice way to improvise with the data in the loop!

  • Immediately reverse a loop after recording. You can actually end the recording of a loop with another function, to start that one immediately. This is really cool with reverse. So you tap Record, play something into the loop, Tap reverse and it immediately loops backwards! This is especially cool with sustained piano or guitar chords. While in record, hold the chord as it fades out, then tap reverse to have it rise back up to it's attack. It's a cool decrescendo-crescendo effect!

  • Just the reverse, ma'am.... turn mix all the way to loop. put feedback all the way down. Press record and play something, end with a Reverse tap. What you played only comes out in reverse, and just plays once. A great way to do live reverse effects, with arbitrarily long reversed phrases. The audience only hears the reversed bit, which makes it a little cooler. People will say you are ripping of Jimi and you will laugh with glee. You can also do this by having a loop recorded and leaving Overdub on, with feedback all the way down. It's a little easier, cause you just tap the reverse each time you play something, one button press instead of two. The feedback will erase most of it as it plays back in reverse, so you don't get all kinds of random stuff coming out from before, only what you just played. Sometimes little bits still get left in the loop somewhere with this method, and pop out later. It takes some practice to avoid that. That's why I like the record-reverse way better.

  • Quantized reversing. With quantize on, reverse only engages exactly at the end of the loop. This way you can have stuff play backwards while staying in time with other stuff going on. Reveresed and still in time and in rhythm is pretty cool....

  • That badass hip-hop reversed drum trick, except you'll do it Live! Have your sequencer play a drum loop, and send midi clock to the echoplex. (echoplex has sync=in, quantize=on). Start with the mix knob on direct. Record the drum loop into the echoplex, in sync, so both plex and sequencer are playing the same thing. Tap reverse on the plex, it will quantize, so the echoplex will have the drum loop playing backwards, but in time with the sequencer. Now! go nuts with that Mix knob! Use it like a crossfader on a dj mixer (or use the crossfade on a dj mixer if you have one), to selectively mix in backwards drum hits! It's important to listen to the rhythm, to do it in time rather than randomly. With quick flicks of the mix knob, you can easily replace a forward snare with a reveresed snare, have a few beats or measures backwards, etc. The kids will be real impressed.

  • Mid-Stream reversal. Tap reverse while in the middle of overdubbing something! Yes, the echoplex doesn't care, it keeps recording your overdubs while you go backwards and forwards. crazy.

  • End multiplies with reverse. Yes, just like the Record-reverse trick, you can do Multiply-Reverse. That'll keep 'em guessing. You're multiplying a loop while adding a long phrase over the top, then suddenly it's all going backwards. In the current software, it unfortunately forces an unrounded multiply when you do this, which means it takes away the cycle counts. (which doesn't effect the stuff recorded during the multiply, just the green multiple counter.) We figured out a way to optimize that bit of real-time code for the next software version, so in the future it will keep the cycles. Still very useful, even so!

  • Multiply a reversing loop. Just another handy idea, yep you can use the other functions while in reverse. The multiple counter even counts down!

  • and? who else wants to share their reversed trickery?

That ought to keep you busy!


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