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Frequently Asked
Gibson/Oberheim Echoplex Questions

Page 1 - General Questions

Echoplex FAQ Contents | Page 1 | Page 2
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Questions about Echoplex Software Upgrades

What is the latest software version for the Echoplex?

The latest version is the long awaited LoopIV, recently released in June 2002 by Aurisis Research. It is currently released as version 1.1, so the full name of it is LoopIVv1.1. You can tell if you have LoopIV because "LoopIV" will scroll across the display when you power up. LoopIV was five years in the making and offers a whole bunch of exciting new features.

Where can I get more information about LoopIV?

Go to the Aurisis Research website. There you will find feature lists, downloadable manuals, sound clips, ordering information, etc.

Where can I buy LoopIV?

LoopIV upgrades are only available direct from Aurisis Research. Gibson is not selling the upgrades to existing Echoplex users, instead sending people to Aurisis to order it. Gibson is rumored to be preparing to sell a version of the Echoplex with LoopIV built into it.

Where can I get more information about the LoopIII v5.0 upgrade?

LoopIIIv5.0 was the previous software version for the Echoplex. It was released in 1997. Looper's Delight has a whole page for the release notes from Aurisis Research, the company that developed the Echoplex for Gibson/Oberheim:

III Version 5.0 Info and Release Notes

I have an older version, how do I get the LoopIII v5.0 upgrade?

The LoopIIIv5.0 upgrade is no longer for sale. Only LoopIV is available as an upgrade now.

If I have an older version, can I go directly to LoopIV?

Yes, there is no need to get any other version first. You can upgrade any Echoplex directly to LoopIV.

Is the upgrade easy to install?

Yes. Installation instructions should come with it. It consists of two EPROM chips. You remove the existing EPROMs from their sockets and install the new ones in their place. Hold the parameter button down while powering up the first time to reinitialize the parameters for the new software.  You'll know you 've got it right when you turn it on and see "Loop 4" scrolling across the screen.

I installed the new upgrade and it doesn't work! What's wrong?

Most likely, you didn't follow the instruction telling you to reinitialize the parameters the first time you power up with the new software. Hold the parameter button down while powering up, until it reaches the reset state. This takes about 7 seconds. Everything should be fine then. The new software needs to reset the parameters before it can work right. If you turn it on with the parameters from the old software, it will come up hosed after the Loop 4 display finishes. There won't be any permanent damage, it just won't work until you do the parameter reset at power up.

How do I know which version I have?

The version is displayed at startup. LoopIV will scroll "LOOP 4" across the display several times in different directions. Units made after July, 1997 shipped with LoopIIIv5.0. You can tell the LoopIIIv5.0 version because it has "LOOP 3"  scroll across the front 3 times at startup, and then shows the version 5.0. Earlier versions simply showed the version briefly at startup, either LD3.3.2 or LD3.3.0.

What is the history of software upgrades for the Gibson/Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro?

For almost the first 3 years of production between 1994 and 1997, the Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro shipped with LoopIII v3.2, the looping technology from Aurisis Research. (Actually, about the first 60 units shipped with LoopIII v3.0, in October 1994. The 3.0 version had some bad bugs and was quickly replaced.)  LoopIII v3.x had revolutionary new looping features, but also had some infamous problems which people frequently complained about. In July, 1997, Aurisis Research released LoopIII v5.0, which fixed all of the known problems and much more, adding new features and numerous enhancements to improve playability. Gibson/Oberheim integrated this new version into the Echoplex Digital Pro, and upgrades were sold to existing users by both Gibson and Aurisis. All new Echoplexes sold since July 1997 have LoopIII v5.0. In June 2002, Aurisis released the long-awaited LoopIV. This is a whole new generation of Echoplex features and represents a huge upgrade. LoopIV is currently only available as an upgrade directly from Aurisis Research. It is rumored that Gibson is planning a new Echoplex hardware with LoopIV built in.

Why is it called LoopIV or LoopIII? and what happened to LoopIII v4.0?

Loop is the trademarked name of the software based looping technology from Aurisis Research. It was conceived and developed by looping pioneer Matthias Grob, who is one of the founders of Aurisis. LoopIV is the fourth generation of Loop, representing more than 10 years of development for looping instruments. The first two generations, Loop I and Loop II were licensed to Paradis in Switzerland and sold as the Paradis LoopDelay. The LoopIII generation represented a major development effort, and the results were licensed by Gibson for use in the Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro. The initial versions were LoopIIIv3.0 and LoopIIIv3.2. The version LoopIII v5.0 was available from 1997 on. LoopIII v4.0 was only used internally, but never released. Now Aurisis has released the next generation of Loop, LoopIV.

LoopIIIv3.2 was supposedly buggy. How do I know the LoopIIIv5.0 or LoopIV versions aren't just as bad?

A lot of things changed behind the scenes between the old versions and the newer ones, generally for the better. Among them was a much higher commitment to software quality as a core value of Aurisis Research, the company developing Loop. LoopIIIv5.0 was beta tested extensively before release, until nobody could find anymore bugs. Same with LoopIV. LoopIIIv5.0 shipped for 5 years, and I believe only one bug was ever found in it. LoopIV has only been available for a few months, but so far there have not been any problems.

Echoplex FAQ Contents | Page 1 | Page 2
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SIMMs, memory, etc.

How much memory does the Gibson/Oberheim Echoplex come with?

The echoplex now ships with the full 16MB installed, for 198 seconds of loop time. It originally came with 1MB installed, for 12.3 seconds, but that has been changed. Since it ships with the full memory there is no reason to do memory upgrades anymore.

Can the Oberheim Echoplex's memory be expanded? What is the maximum?

Yes, it can be expanded to a maximum of 16MB, for 198 seconds of loop time. This requires four 4MB SIMMs. This only matters for you if you have an old version from when they shipped it with 1MB or 4MB total.

What type of memory does the Echoplex use?

The Echoplex uses ordinary 30 pin SIMMs. It can use any type. Parity, non-parity, 2 chips, 3chips, 8 chips, 9 chips, PC, Mac, any speed. It all works. These simms are available from any company that sells computer memory, and as of this writing are typically priced between $10 and $20. If you have some old computers lying around, you might already have the right kind.

How come it can't be expanded beyond 16MB?

That's a limit of the processor in the Echoplex. But 200 seconds ain't bad! At the time the Echoplex came out this was an unheard of quantity of sampling memory for a device like this. It's still considerably higher than most devices, and still the most for devices offering cd-quality audio. At the time the echoplex first shipped, 4MB simms cost over $200 each, making a fully expanded Echoplex quite an extravagance! Now it's cheap and everybody's doing it.

Echoplex FAQ Contents | Page 1 | Page 2
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Please also check the Looper's Delight Echoplex Footpedal Tutorial for all kinds of additional footpedal info.

What pedals work for the feedback jack on the Echoplex?

Basically, the feedback jack needs a variable resistor across it, which can easily be done with a passive volume pedal. Just connect a 1/4' mono cable between the feedback jack on the plex and the "output" jack of the pedal. Active pedals (the kind that use batteries) won't work this way. 

With the boss pedals, you have to use the FV-50L, which is the line level one. Don't use the H version, which is the high impedance one for guitars. The H will actually work in a pinch, but all the feedback control will be concentrated in a very small range of the pedal. 

A Roland EV-5 expression pedal plugged directly in the echoplex feedback jack actually does work as well. Its a little awkward, since it operates backwards. Feedback all the way up is with the pedal all the way back. Maybe better than buying another pedal, though, if you already have an EV-5. 

If you have an EV-5, are you using it for midi continous controllers? You can also use those to control feedback. In the midi row of the Parameters, there is one for setting the controller number for the feedback. (There's also one for volume) You could then send midi controllers to each echoplex for feedback.

How do I use a pedal to control feedback on stereo units?

With a stereo setup, you use the normal feedback pedal (or knob) on the master, and have the master send continous controllers to the slave for its feedback. Since you already have them connected with midi for stereo, this is pretty easy. Fewer cables on the floor, too. This is the preferred way, since both the pedal and the feedback knob are controlling both units. If you are still using the old version 3.2 software, you should be aware that the slave unit sometimes gets the feedback set wrong by the master when using continuous controllers, causing it's loop to fade. This is fixed on the new 5.0 version. 

The boss pedal is stereo, so you could connect the right output to one echoplex and left to the other. That's one simple option for stereo. 

If you are able to use midi continuous controllers, you can send controllers to each echoplex unit. You can set them to respond to the same controller or have them operate independently. 

I never tried using a Y adapter to split one pedal to different Echoplexes. You would need a higher value pot to make it work. Probably 50K. Or you could make some sort of buffer circuit. That's probably not a good way to do it.

How do I make my own feedback pedal/controller for the Echoplex?

If you feel compelled to make your own pedal, use a 20K or greater pot. Linear is better, but log works too. The value and taper just change the feel of how the pedal controls the feedback. The circuit is very simple, with the tip of a 1/4" jack connected to the wiper, and the sleeve (ground) connected to the bottom end of the pot. Here's a bad ascii drawing:

 mono 1/4" cable
 from feedback jack                               o  this end of the pot
 (not stereo)                                     |  is left unconnected
------               tip connects to             <
      |_________       wiper of pot               >
      |_________||=> -------------------- o----> <
------|                                           >   20k-50k ohm
           |                                     <    pot
           |                                      >
           |                                     <
           |                                     |
           |____________________________________ o

  ground (sleeve) connects
  to bottom end of the pot.

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