Outer Space is a faithful emulation plugin of a famous vintage tape echo made in the early seventies.
As per the original unit, Outer Space features a tape echo section with three playback heads and two spring reverb tanks.
AudioThing have modelled three different tape frequency responses and saturations, along with all the analog imperfections of tape recording/playback. They have also modelled the ballistic response of the delay rate (repeat rate) which can create eerie pitch shifts (due to the Doppler effect), one of the classic tape echo-based sound effects.
Outer Space is a plug-in that recreates the famous Roland RE-201 Space Echo which used a number of independent tape heads to record and delay audio signals....and then some. It includes all the original features using the Mode Selector, ranging from single tape head delays to three-head delays with or without spring reverb, plus a separate setting for spring reverb alone for that authentic boinging beloved of King Tubby et al.
On top of this it allows you to select different tape tapes (from the original, to a more modern type, to a worn out tape for realistic wobbles and imperfections). There's also a Wow/Flutter control to dial in more analogue inconsistencies which acts as a ducking control with certain tape settings. You can set the decay to short or long as well as choosing dark or light for the overall dub effect.
A key element that the original Space Echoes had was known as the “dub switch” - here reproduced as the Send switch. This allows you to send audio into the unit in a musical way – in other words you can click it into send on the beat, wind up the Intensity to create more feedback on the delay, and then click the signal out so your original signal goes back to dry while the echoes continue.
Other nice additions are the Wet Only switch which just gives you the effected signal and a stereo switch which widens the delays across the stereo picture. It has the usual Bass and Treble EQ controls which can affect the delay or the overall sound, as well as separate volume controls for Reverb and Echo. You can add the obligatory original type of tape and unit noise and also play with the Envelope switch to make the noise a static background element or tell the unit to follow the transients of the input signal.
Each tape head can be independently set to the usual gradations 1/1, 1/1T,1/1D etc. in Sync mode or individually in milliseconds. This vastly expands on the original unit – plus you can pan and alter the volume for each head individually.
Also added are a HQ selector in case you want to go more lo-fi, a limiter (handy when you are giving the feedback some and want to watch your overall output), mono and stereo selectors, an oversampling selector in case CPU is an issue and a Pre-amp switch which seems to boost the signal.
All the parameters can be automated which means you can get some serious dub stylings going on. The sound quality is great, very true to the original – in fact having used the old Roland units for years I do prefer this because it's easier to control and has a far greater range and subtlety when you need it. It opens at a decent size to deal with the onscreen controls, especially if you are using two monitors. It's also very easy and intuitive to use.
A quick run through the pre-sets also confirms the enormous range of this device, a huge variety of highly authentic-sounding echoes, ping pong delays, twanging reverbs
...in short : dub heaven.
Value For Money
There must be a growing demand for this type of analogue repro as there seem to be more and more plug-ins coming out every week which give you the best of the old and the new. I would say it's aimed at anyone who wants to add a bit of analogue realism and warmth to their productions as well as all dub-heads who aren't too proud to forgo the real thing (and an original Space Echo will set you back upwards of GBP1800 these days). So for 69 euros I don't think you can go wrong.
Excellent device, highly realistic, very versatile and easy to use.
What Do You Think ?
If you are not ready to buy this yet grab the demo and see what you think and then let us know in the comments section.
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