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Producer Spotlight: Soundtoys EchoBoy Will Get You That Warm Smooth Echo You Have Been Looking For

EchoBoy embraces the high-end studio tape machine sounds to produce a warm, clean, smooth echo that you can put on a solo vocal at the front of a mix
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EchoBoy is more than just models of classic guitar pedal echo and delay units. To set it apart, EchoBoy embraces the high-end studio tape machine sounds to produce a warm, clean, smooth echo that you can put on a solo vocal at the front of a mix. Of course, it can also go the opposite direction and create massive lo-fi crushing echo sounds, perfect for guitar, drums, vocals, or anything that needs mojo. More than 30 echo styles featuring classic models as well as modern echo and delay effects have made EchoBoy a must-have plug-in for producers, mixers, remixers, sound designers, and artists.

The interface is familiar and friendly, with a “deep dive” capability that takes you through the looking glass, should you choose to go. EchoBoy can create rhythms that groove with true swing and shuffle, as well as rush and drag, so the delay will fit into, or out of, any pocket you pick. The sonic side and rhythmic side are separate, so you can find a rhythm and audition different delay sounds or find that perfect echo sound and play with different grooves. This design makes it an easy complement to any approach to mixing, writing, or sound design.

Delay has so many uses in mixing and production. From simple slapback doubling to long tape loop style delays. From chorusing/flanging to multi-tap rhythms. The extensive preset folder takes you on a tour of the wide range of sounds and uses possible with EchoBoy.

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  • Saturation with no delay: Using EchoBoy as a saturation tool is easy and yields a diverse set of new sounds. The “Analog” sound engine is, after all, based on some cool classic sounds such as multitrack tape machines.

Here’s how: Open EchoBoy, switch the default preset from “note” to “time.” Turn the time to 0. Turn “Saturation” up to about half, so you hear it. You can also turn up the “Input” knob or “Output” to get more mojo. In the tweak menu, you might try turning the “Width” to 0 as well. Or not. Then you can start your audio (Drums, bass, vocals, all are good sources) and step through the “Echo Styles.” Each one has a unique sound, and adjusting saturation delivers a broad palette of options too.

Note: Using the mix can result in phasing or chorusing. Many other elements in EchoBoy add delay to the signal path regardless of the time setting. Width, Diffusion, and Modulation in particular. So be aware, it’s a great color/saturation/vibe creator, but depending on many factors, it could cause chorus/phasing if you want to mix it back in with the dry. Of course, if you’re looking for chorus, then it’s perfect.

  • Chorus/Flange: EchoBoy can create possibly one of the richest, warmest choruses out there. It’s true. The easy way into this is to get in the Chorus & Modulation presets folder and pull up the CE-1 Chorus. It’s stunning. Scroll through that folder for a lot of other cool modulation presets. With EchoBoy’s diverse sonic palette available with the different “Styles,” creating warm analog-sounding chorus and flanging or clean clear digital versions is a breeze. In the Style Edit menu, experiment with different wave shapes, speeds, and depths to dial in your sound. Also, keep in mind the Wobble (modulation) is only active if one or both of the switches in the Wobble section are on, Output (OUT) and/or Feedback (FB).
  • Decay shaping: Decay shaping is how you get those cool darkening delays as they fade out. The tool to control this is in the Style Edit menu in the EQ section. From that menu, you’ll see that each band has its own Decay control. The best way to hear the effect is to choose the EchoBox preset from the Classics folder. Open the Style Edit menu and on the High EQ, turn the Decay knob full left. The decay gets darker. Turn it full right. The decay gets brighter. It’s adding or subtracting frequencies, per EQ band, in the feedback path so you can contour your feedback in almost limitless ways. Get creative and do some new things with longer feedback delays to get a new kind of sound in place of the classic darkening of a real tape echo. This trick is fantastic for looping style long tempo locked delays.
  • Warp and Bouncing Ball: The bouncing ball delay effect, made famous by Aphex Twin, is a unique effect that was also very difficult to achieve with the available hardware in the time period it was conceived. EchoBoy features simple controls to get this effect fast. Here’s how to set it up from the default preset. Choose the Rhythm Echo mode on the front panel. Press the Time button to switch off of Note mode. Press the Tweak button to open up that menu. You’ll see the Warp knob (note- This knob will show as Accent if you are still in Note mode. It’s only Warp in Time mode). Turn the Warp knob right or left and see how the taps begin to move. Set to taste. Bouncing ball. If you want to go a step further, turn the Shape knob which is set to “Decay,” to have your bouncing delay fade out. So many combinations with Warp and Shape. Experiment, explore, and enjoy. 

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