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Frequently Asked
Gibson/Oberheim Echoplex Questions

Page 2 - Parameter Questions

Echoplex FAQ Contents | Page 1 | Page 2
| Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9


Does the LoopCopy parameter work yet? What does it do?

The previous Echoplex upgrade, LoopIII v5.0, implemented the LoopCopy feature. The versions before that, LoopIIIv3.2 and LoopIIIv3.0 did not have it. LoopIV of course has this also. Here is info about this parameter from the LoopIIIv5.0 upgrade release notes:

    Loop Sound Copy

    The long absent loop copy function arrives! This function allows the user to easily and intuitively copy his current loop into the next loop, during performance. When NextLoop is pressed to jump to a reset loop, the copy process begins. While copying, the loop continues to play, so the performance is seamless. Even better, during the copy, overdubs can be made on the new version! And just like the Multiply function, the new loop can be made to have as many multiples of the original as will fit in memory. With two button presses, you can take a one bar rhythm in loop 1 and turn it into a sixteen bar vamp in loop 2 with a melody recorded over the top!

    Loop Time Copy

    This function is very similar to the sound copy, but just copies the length. And, in the same fashion, you can overdub during the copy and create multiples of the original length. Keep your loops in a tight groove!

If you are still using LoopIIIv3.2:

I pressed the LoopCopy parameter and nothing happened. I'm using LoopIIIv3.2.

The parameter itself does nothing in the v3.2 software. What happened there was, the ship date was looming, the front panels were already done, and the LoopCopy parameter had not been implemented because we hadn't yet agreed on what it was supposed to do. So we left if for a future upgrade. LoopIIIv5.0 has it.

Other methods of Loop copying with any version:

Are there other ways to do a LoopCopy? Can I do LoopCopies selectively, without having to turn the LoopCopy parameter on all the time?

Loop copying is still quite possible even without the LoopCopy parameter! Its done with what we call "cross functions," where ending one function with a different button press gives you a special function. In the case of copying audio it's the Next-Multiply combination when SwitchQuant is on. You can also copy the loop's time base without audio by using Next-Insert. You do it like this:

    Set up multiple loops with the MoreLoops parameter.

    Turn SwitchQuant on.

    Record a loop in Loop 1.

    At some point before the end of the loop, press NextLoop.

    You will see the "ooo" display, which means the function is being quantized to the end of the current cycle time. In the manual, Warren calls this the "Lame Duck Period." If you do nothing more, the echoplex will switch to Loop 2 when it reaches the end of the current cycle of Loop 1. We are going to do something though, since we have several special funcitons available during this waiting period, one of which is LoopCopy. So:

    While the "ooo" display is on, press Multiply.

    Now when you reach the end of Loop 1, the echoplex will jump to Loop 2 and begin copying the audio from Loop 1. You will essentially be in the multiply function, with Loop 1's audio being multiplied in Loop 2.

    While the loop is copying, overdub is essentially on, so any playing you do is added to the loop. (just like in multiply)

    Repetitions of Loop 1 will continue to be added to Loop 2 until you end the function. (also like multiply)

    End the copy by pressing multiply at some point before the end of the last repetition you want.

    The Echoplex will round off to the end of the cycle and begin looping the copied audio and any overdubs you made. (again, just like multiply)

This seems a bit complicated when written out, but its actually pretty easy and intuitive to use. I use it all the time, and its one of my favorite Echoplex functions. I can record 1 bar of music in loop 1, Press Next-Multiply to start copying it in loop 2, overdub a melody while 4 repetitions of the loop are copied, and end with another press of multiply, all in just 3 button presses! You can also choose the loop to copy to by pressing NextLoop several times before pressing multiply. So to copy Loop 1 to Loop 4, I would press Next-Next-Next-Multiply. And it all happens seemlessly to an observer, so it's very usable in musical situations. Give it a try!

This is actually explained in the manual. Its non-intuitively located in the description of the SwitchQuant parameter.

In the newer upgrades, the mythical LoopCopy parameter has finally become real. Its function is similar to AutoRecord, where the Echoplex automatically copies the loop when you switch to a reset loop. The parameter values are "off", "sound", and "time". Its quite useful in some situations, although I actually prefer the old way most of the time.

Echoplex FAQ Contents | Page 1 | Page 2
| Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9

Sample Dump

Does the Oberheim Echoplex support MIDI Sample Dump?

Yes it does. If you are very patient, you could use that as a means to save your loops to a computer or or device with midi and mass storage capabilities. (samplers, sequencers, etc.)

Is MIDI Sample Dump a good way to save my loops?

No. Midi Sample Dump is unbearably slow, on any device. "Open-Loop" sample dump (no midi return for handshaking) takes about 70 times longer to finish then the length of the sample. "Closed-Loop" sample dump is about 50 times longer. This might be ok for the short samples used in a typical sampler, but very few people have the patience to do this with the longer samples used in looping. People seem to want it until they discover how inconvenient it is, then they start saving their loops by recording direct to DAT or hard disk. If you have it on hard disk, you can even use an audio sequencer program to play it back and control the echoplex to record it in real time, which is much more convenient as a way to back up and restore loops.

So why is it even available in the Echoplex?

Reviewers of other looping products complained about the lack this feature, so it was included in the Echoplex development. Be careful what you wish for.

If one was going to do a sample dump anyway and wanted to use something other than a computer with hard drive, what would you recommend? Would an Alesis Data Disk work? I know that a floppy will only hold 1.44 Meg. If the memory being dumped exceded 1.44 meg, what would happen? Would the Echoplex stop the dump and wait for another floppy to be inserted? Is the Echoplex capable of splitting the dump into multiple parts?

I'm not very familiar with the Alesis data disk. 1.44MB is obviously not a great deal of time, so that would be a problem. As far as being able to use multiple floppies, that is more up to the Alesis than the echoplex. It has to be able to tell the echoplex to pause while the disk is being changed. I don't think the Sample Dump Standard defines any thing like "multiple parts" so this would be a bit of a kludge no matter what.

First of all the Alesis would have to be able to use the "Closed Loop" or handshaking aspect of the Sample Dump standard. From the user's perspective, that means you have two midi cables connected, Midi Out of the plex to Midi In of the Alesis, and Midi Out of the Alesis to Midi In of the plex. What actually goes on then is the echoplex sends a packet of sample data out and waits for an acknowledgement to come back from the Alesis before sending the next packet. The Alesis would then have to know that it is running out of space, pause before sending an acknowledge for a packet, tell the user to change the disk, then send the acknowledge to start the plex again. If the Echoplex has sent a packet a packet and not received an acknowledgement, it should just sit there and wait for it. The echoplex is smart enough to know if it is in "closed loop" or not. If not, it just sends continuously until it reaches the end of the memory.

Loading it back would have to be a similar thing, where the Alesis would pause the data transmission while the user changes the disk, then starts it up correctly. So it is really up to whether the Alesis can manage this. Most likely it doesn't.

For portability, a better option would be to use a sampler with expanded memory, or with a hard drive. If you are trying to save money, buy a used PC for $50.

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