|Few of the Oberheim Echoplex users know that their loop delays have an ancestor.
In the early nineties, really long loops still couldn't be done without tapes or expensive modifications to high-end delay units. Multiply, Insert, and Undo functions were Looping Science Fiction, and existed only in the head of Matthias Grob, a Swiss musician and electronics engineer. Matthias thought that having such functions would be cool, so he invented the Loop Delay.
In cooperation with Eric Obermuhlner and the Swiss company Paradis (otherwise known for their exotic instrument design), the Loop Delay was built and sold about 100 times (now a collector's item!). In the beginning, nobody in the music business had the faintest idea what a "Loop Delay" could do, and its revolutionary new possibilities were hard to describe, so the Loop Delay carried a short description on the front panel:
LD1 DIGITAL DELAY / RAM RECORDER / OSTINATOR
(Of course, nobody knew what an "Ostinator" was either.)
Eventually, Matthias found a new partner in Gibson Guitar. In cooperation with Gibson's short-lived G-WIZ Labs, he took the Loop Delay several steps further, and it turned into the Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro which is still the most sophisticated dedicated looper of all. Matthias has since partnered with ex-gwizzers Kim Flint and Eric Obermuhlner as Aurisis Research, to continue developing the Loop concept.
The Loop Delay, its internal workings, logic, philosophy, and user interface were basically similar to the Echoplex, but with some major differences:
- The programmable parameter matrix known from the Echoplex didn't exist. There were some parameters but they couldn't be controlled and stored as easily.
- The Loop Delay had no output volume control.
- No 9 independent loops but only one.
- While the Echoplex comes with one standard cable, the footpedal of the Loop Delay came with a bundle of cables, one for each function.
- less MIDI and Sync functions
- no Reverse, no sound triggered Record, no redefinition of the loop start point
Nonetheless, the Loop Delay is a wonderful device and I have spent many wonderful hours with it - thanks for inventing this Matthias!
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