Have you checked out the T-RackS Space Delay?
Look, I know what some of you are thinking “Oh great, another freaking Delay… Big Whoop!” Hey, as long as the Delays sound this good and continue to sound better…Bring them on. Let’s go! Better sounding emulations can only help make your music sound BETTER!
A little History
The Roland Space Echo (RE-201), introduced in 1974, is a classic hardware piece that’s graced many records over the years. It’s a pretty straightforward unit that utilizes a small loop of tape to record an incoming signal; that signal is then passed through a few play heads and serenades our ears.
Many people fall in love with the Space Echo’s unpredictability, unique sound, and warmth it generates. It packs 12 modes, a complex tape-echo effect, with integrated spring reverb, and the ability to produce a variety of fx.
The Roland Echo was a staple for music producers like King Tubby and Lee Perry, who basically utilized it like an instrument. The Echo’s signature sound has graced multiple artists/bands’ recordings, including, Bob Marley, Radiohead, Lauryn Hill, and Pink Floyd.
T-RackS Space Delay: Great Sound & Flexibility
So for those of you who are looking to recreate this classic sound but don’t have the money to spend on Hardware, IK Multimedia’s Space Delay is a perfect choice.
In addition to having access to the classic tonal controls, adjustable Echo/reverb, and, of course, that classic depth, the plug-in offers a wide range of modern features.
Oh, and you’re getting this without having to sell your kidney.
Something to love about all IK Multimedia plugins is that they run in stand-alone mode within the T-RackS environment and within your DAW. They also offer great processing flexibility: M/S as well as L/R, and equip you with 4 Banks (ABCD) for an easy way to compare your settings.
T-RackS Space Delay Functionality & Controls
The input control adjusts both loudness and the amount of tape saturation introduced into the signal. The dry and wet function is the same as most units. This is the mix of the non-processed and processed signals; you can go fully dry, wet, or a combination of both.
Reset, as it says, brings everything back to default (clean slate).
The MODE knob allows you to select through different configurations with heads and reverb enabled or disabled and the very last, not numbered, being Reverb Only.
Here’s an example: Modes 1-4 enable Delay only plus a combination of heads (between 1 and 3). 5-11 enable the spring reverb + delay as well as head combinations.
Both Reverb and Delay are color-coded and have separate staging controls, allowing you to dial in each effect.
Reverb (Black): Bass, Treble, Volume, and Pan.
Delay (Red): Rate, Feedback, Volume, and Pan
HPF/LPF: Located on the bottom portion of the Delay are classic high pass and low pass filters that affect the incoming signal. Use them to shape your sound before it hits the virtual tape.
Ducking: Use the ducking feature to remedy reverb crowding and for creating cool echo effects that sit properly in the mix.
You can further manipulate and craft your sound with noise, tape age, fx feed, etc., to generate some cool sound vintage and lo-fi sounding effects; then, you have a sync option. The sync option allows you to sync to your DAW’s tempo or let it run freely.
Exclusive Space Delay Features (Not present in the RE-201)
Stereo Pan: Via the reverb, this is awesome
High & Low Pass Filtering: Allows filtering before hitting the delay process
Tape Head Panning: You have the ability to pan each head
Daw Sync: The ability to lock the unit to the DAW’s BPM
Noise: You have the option of enabling or disabling this feature
Listen To This Ear Candy
Space Delay Tips
You can use a space delay on a bus or as an insert effect. When using it as an insert effect, be sure to dial in your wet and dry knob accordingly, so you don’t wash out your mix with Reverb and delay.
Strings and Brass: There are a lot of instruments I like using the space delay on, but if I had to pick two, they would be Strings and Brass.
For starters, I recommend using Mode to 5; this way, you’re engaging a combination of Reverb, Delay, and head 1. Mode 11 is excellent, too, as it engages the other two tape heads (so all 3 in total).
Bass: Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Placing a space to lay on a bass Channel can get out of control if you aren’t managing the feedback, the wet and dry, and the frequencies. I like to put a little bit on with mode 11, so the base has some width and body but doesn’t get out of control.
Yes, there are other things you can use to freak out a bass, but I like to experiment, and I’ve had very good results utilizing the Space Delay in this manner.
Common Space Echo/Delay Questions
Is Space Echo a Tape Delay or Reverb?
The Space Delay emulates Roland’s RE-201 Space Echo, which is a tape delay mixed with spring reverb. This combination was very unique in its time.
Can You Use The Space Delay For Hip-hop
Yes, Space Delay can be used for any genre of music. Its limitations are up to the user. Try using it on synths, snares, and guitars.
So, Is the Space Delay Right For You?
The Reverb and Delay combination is what makes the Space Echo easily recognizable. It sounds great on just about everything you put it on, from string instruments to drums and percussions, but don’t discredit its ability to serve as a dedicated reverb and get things to sound massive.
Real tape machines do require some TLC and upkeep as parts tend to wear (naturally), which can be expensive, and good tape is getting harder to find these days, thus making good software emulations like the T-RackS Space Delay a gem.
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