For most software packages, system updates aren't necessarily things to get too excited about but all that changes if you're a UAD-2 card owner, as these moments always announce the arrival of a new plug-in to add to UAD's impressive list of titles.
The latest classic boxes to have been modelled are EchoPlex's revered EP-3 and EP-4 tape echo units, which appear here as a single hybrid plug-in entitled EP-34.
Tap tap tap
The control set for the EP-34 is fairly straightforward. Most prominent is the echo time slider, which moves between short and long values. Echoes can either be provided in milliseconds or as sync'd to tempo 'quantise' values.
For those unfamiliar with tape-based echo units, the idea is that there are two heads, one for playback and one for record, with the loop caused by the fact that the record head is active to recapture the loop each time the tape goes round.
This is reflected here with three separate dials on the left hand side to control the amount of feedback generated from each tap (the Repeats dial), the Volume of each tap and the Recording Dial, which controls the gain at the Record head stage.
By boosting the latter, you can push incoming signals into distortion, with an LED graph reflecting this to the right. For us, this is where this plug-in really comes alive as the range of warm, saturated tones is vast.
Want to bring guitar delays to life? Want to make that vintage Rhodes sound yet more vintage? Looking to add colour to a dry vocal? It can all be done here with either subtle or dominant settings and you can really fill your mix out with just this control.
To the right, you can shape the tone of your repeats with separate bass and treble dials, to help you create authentic dub delays that can be panned left or right over on the far-right of the GUI.
The Tension switch on the left toggles between Hi and Lo settings to control the slew rate, which controls the behaviour of pitch-shifting effects. This is enormous fun, with the mangled results often surprising and creative.
If you needed proof that all delay plug-ins are not equal, the EP-34 is happy to provide it. This one is warm, sumptuous and hugely flexible and is capable of going way beyond mere echo with a sound which can be pushed close to and then into distortion, if you so desire.
It provides yet another UAD hit and another reason why resisting the allure of this plug-in collection is so difficult.