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RE/P Files: Techniques To Create Echo Effects From Basic Four Track

Methods for enriching sounds and harmonies

By Brian Ingoldsby November 21, 2012

By using basic four track equipment, three very desirable and unusual variations of echo effects can be created.

Duplication of these effects using other methods requires the use of additional tracks, more equipment and more time.

The first effect, which is called (Signal Trace “A” in the diagram below) is a thing we call “angle echo.”

This effect will produce a repeated signal, and is used to enhance any background, vocal or percussive effect. It is extremely useful for enriching vocals, strings, hand clappings and the like.

The initial signal, either from a microphone or from a line input, is fed to an assigned console position, and is allocated to an open channel. In the diagram, the signal is assigned to Position 1, Channel 1.

The signal is passed out of the console to a mult, one of which process to a four track recorder which is operating in the “record/reproduce” mode.

In the recorder, the signal is passed though four tape tracks, effecting the delay and the multiplication of the signal.

The time of the delay can easily be controlled at this point by using a variable speed oscillator to control tempo to beat.

click to enlarge

Having passed though the four track machine, the signal is taken back into the console on another position (Position 2 in our illustration), and assigned to the same channel (Number 1) as the main input signal.

When being brought back into the console from the last channel of the tape machine, the signal should be brought into a desired mix (at the Position 2 slider) to prevent signal overload at this point.

From Position 1, Channel 1, the signal passes back to the mult and on to an available channel of the master recorder.

The second variation (Signal Trace “B”) of this set-up involves bringing the signal back into the console on Position 2, but now, assigning it to another open channel, in this case Number 2, for monitoring by the performer. This enables the performer to play harmony with himself.

The third variation (Signal Trace “C”) enables the one performer to play three part harmony (with himself) by simply coming off of the 3rd recorder track into Position 3, Channel 3, and then on to the master recorder.

In effect, the one string performer, say, can sound like three string sections doing three part harmony.

At the time this article was published, Brian Ingoldsby worked with MCA Studios (formerly DECCA) in Universal City, CA.

Editor’s Note: This is a series of articles from Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine, which began publishing in 1970 under the direction of Publisher/Editor Martin Gallay. After a great run, RE/P ceased publishing in the early 1990s, yet its content is still much revered in the professional audio community. RE/P also published the first issues of Live Sound International magazine as a quarterly supplement, beginning in the late 1980s, and LSI has grown to a monthly publication that continues to thrive to this day.

Take the PSW Photo Gallery Tour of audio equipment ads appearing in RE/P magazine, circa 1970

Our sincere thanks to Mark Gander of JBL Professional for his considerable support on this archive project.

Please send all questions and comments to ProSoundWeb Editor .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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