- 40 – 666 milliseconds of time covers all of your echo needs needs.
- Delay time modulation with full control over speed and depth.
- Self oscillating echo with regen knob turned past 3:00
- Trails when bypassed with the toggle on the front where it belongs.
Echobox – Modulated delay
History and details
Released in Spring of 2008, the original Echobox was a big deal for Subdecay. At the time few independent builders made a delay pedal. Even fewer made anything with an extensive feature set. Fine tuning and many prototypes were necessary. We unveiled a (not very pretty) prototype at NAMM in 2007. Despite the cosmetics it was definitely our big hit of the show.
The new v2 Echobox is not a reissue, but a continuation of our original aim. There are differences between the two pedals. We returned to many of the original influences of the 2008 version and applied what we’ve learned over the last eight years.
The heart of the echo effect remains the Princeton Technologies PT2399 IC. We did more experimenting this time around learning the chip’s quirks they don’t tell you about on the datasheet. Simply following the datasheet only gets you to ~330 milliseconds of uninteresting sounding delay. Without changes pushing the delay time further brings on non-harmonic distortion in the top end, and a constant undercurrent of bubbling noise that never goes away. With extended repeats the datasheet circuit goes into a high frequency ringing tone that loses musical relevance as it regenerates. Ick!!!
The original Echobox we made changes to the input and output filtering reducing the distortion. A slow closing noise gate hid the low end gurgling. We pushed the delay time to 800 milliseconds, although some of that distortion would come through with delay times over 500 milliseconds on higher notes. For the new Echobox we spent more time identifying PT2399’s sources of the imperfections rather than masking them.
The new echobox was spurred on after using a restored RE-201 and an EP-3 last year. After that I went back to our Anamnesis Echo pedal. I knew it was time to get back to work. While prototyping the original we were comparing it to many other delays especially the Maxon AD9, but after plugging in an old echobox my fresh ears found it voiced closer to the shop DM2.
The noise gate from the original echobox is gone in favor of more extensive and fine tuned filtering. Rather than going into the DM2 like high register sizzle of regeneration, extended repeats expand into a midrange atmosphere of echos retaining musicality far longer.
Removing the noise gate did require a modest reduction in total delay time. We list a 666 milliseconds maximum, although it’s actually just over 700 on most units. Delay time varies slightly from pedal to pedal due to part tolerances, but none will fall under the listed maximum.
There a loads of other minor changes, like scaling signal levels throughout the circuit to increase headroom and reduce noise. Changing the input circuit for a more transparent clean signal.
The new echobox is smaller, but on the surface the controls look similar. When going back to the original I did find the controls unrefined. The delay time knob had short delay times all bunched up early in the sweep. Turning up the modulation depth would affect the total delay time and went into full on pitch vertigo far too quickly. Crazy was easy, but subtle took time to get right. The controls feel far more balanced in the new Echobox.