SSL Native X-Echo: Can SSL improve upon the classic tape delay?
SSL expands the Native plug-in series with X-Echo, a vintage tape delay emulation. X-Echo stands out from the crowd with console-style saturation, waveform visualization, built-in de-essing and a diffusion control that turns the delays into a rich reverb tail.
SSL Native X-Echo
There’s certainly no shortage of tape delay plug-ins and SSL’s new Native X-Echo plug-in faces strong competition. But the new plug-in adds a couple of twists to the classic tape delay and combines it with some tried-and-true SSL wizardry, so it’s going to be an interesting new option for anyone looking for an advanced tape delay.
The most striking visual element is the waveform visualization. Each of the four taps (or playback heads) gets its own waveform view, so you can see exactly what’s going on and how the repeats line up against the timing of your track. The four taps sync to the song tempo if desired and are arranged at intervals of the main head (3/4, 1/2 and 1/4).
SSL says that Native X-Echo models all the classic characteristics of early tape delays from the 60s and 70s, including the looping EQ, soft clipping, tape hiss and self-oscillation. There’s also a wow and flutter control that emulates the effect of the mechanical components and friction of the tape. Freeze and Kill switches help to build the popular riser and drop effects.
The Saturation knob lets you dial in the desired amount of console-style saturation. There’s also a built-in de-esser, which helps to control the sibilant frequencies that tape delays tend to exaggerate. However, the Diffusion knob is probably the most interesting control. SSL says that it features a brand new reverb design and blends the delay taps into a rich, diffuse reverb tail, which can be adjusted further using the Width control.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to tape delays, but Native X-Echo brings some fresh ideas to the table. If you’re looking for a vintage delay with modern visualization, this one should be on your list.
Price and availability
SSL Native X-Echo is available for an introductory price until November 25, 2021. You can get it from Thomann* for €139. The regular price will be USD 199.
The plug-in runs on macOS 10.12 or higher and Windows 7 or higher (64 bit). It’s available in VST, VST3, AU and AAX formats. You’ll need an iLok account for activation.
More information about SSL Native X-Echo
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