ECHOPLEX MIDI SYNCING
Can the Echoplex sync to external midi clock? What kind of rhythmic meter can I use?
Yes, you can have some other device generate midi clock, and sync to that. You can set the length the loop will be in relation to the sequence tempo, so for instance you can make your loop equal 8 beats, 7 beats, 3 eighths, whatever. The echoplex, once it is synced, will stay locked to the sequencer and not drift. This works very well in the version 5.0 software. It worked ok in the old 3.2 software as well, but sometimes had some problems with long loops.
To do it:
Set the sync parameter to "in"
Make sure you have the echoplex in reset, and midi out from sequencer is in midi in of the 'plex. Make sure your sequencer is set to generate clocks.
Start the sequencer. It will send midi clocks, which the echoplex will happily monitor. If you look at the display, you will see a little dot flash at the sync interval. This interval is determined by the 8ths/beat parameter, which basically tells the echoplex how many 8th notes will be in the basic loop cycle.
Press record, the echoplex starts recording. (If you are using the quantize function, its a bit different. I'll explain below) You have to wait until after the clock starts to start record. Otherwise the echoplex doesn't know its supposed to be syncing to something.
Play stuff, press record again. The echoplex will continue recording until the loop is the appropriate length, end the recording automatically, and start looping.
Your loop should be in time with your sequence.
If you use the quantize function, which basically quantizes the timing of your echoplex actions, the echoplex will wait until the next sync interval to start its recording. This way your loops are not only the proper length, but the beginning point of the loop is right at the beginning of the measure in the sequence.
Hopefully that makes some sense. Play around with it, the practical experience will make it more obvious.
I use this technique for live type playing a lot, to sync my loops to drum machines. One thing that is fun to experiment with is to use 8ths/beat to set the meter of your loops to be different from the meter of the sequence. So you can get 3 verses 4, say. One thing I've had a lot of fun with is to take a two bar drum machine groove and record it into an echoplex that is synced to it, with the echoplex's 8ths/beat set to 15, for example. So I record 15 of the 16 eighths in the drum pattern, and loop that along with the original. With the loop shifting one eighth each time through, the simple little drum machine suddenly sounds remarkably creative!
Another thing to try is syncing multiple echoplexes together with different 8ths/beat, to get fripp-like multi loops going where the different loops are related by some ratio.
What about syncing something else to the Echoplex?
Using the echoplex to generate midi clocks and control a sequencer is also really fun. Basically, set things up the reverse of before. Sync=out, midi out of echoplex to midi in of sequencer.
Hit record, play your thing, hit record again. The echoplex will then generate midi clock and send a start-song message to the sequencer. The sequencer should then start, in time with the thing you just played. I also do this with drum machines and similar devices, so the rhythm pattern comes in at the tempo I just played!
I showed Neal Schon how to do this and he went into his studio and riffed away with his rhythm machine 8 hours a day, every day, for months. Its real fun to have the sequence kick in with you like that. Its just like having a real band, except they actually listen to the tempo you set and don't mind if you make them start over 300 times while you refine your guitar riffs, write songs, practice soloing, etc.