TipTop Audio has released the ZVERB, ECHOZ and Z5000 DSP effect modules in a compact 8HP form. They share the same front panel layout but each has its own bag of tricks running on the internal DSP.
First of all we have “The Reverbs Collection” which contains 24 all-new algorithms ranging from your regular workhorse reverbs to more complex, evolving and shifting textures that bring in delay and pitch as well. They are grouped into decades, which is a nice idea, and accessed by the three buttons at the top. You then have control over the Time and Fidelity plus a filter and modulation control. Fidelity is quite interesting and comes from the Z-DSP module. It uses an analog VCO to clock the DSP chip which gives it a more organic, less perfect sound. You can use it to push the effects into interesting places.
The ECHOZ Collection has 24 different types of delay effect. It covers all sorts of possibilities and angles on how delays have been done over the years. The banks are split between Tape based effects, Digital delays and then Pitch based delays. The Tape bank has some nice saturation and adds in some modulation such as chorus and tape head wobble. Digital is as clean and spot on as you’d imagine. The Pitch bank is a collection of pitch-shifting delays with interval structures and shimmering. That analog clock-driven DSP gives extra warmth and the ability to push the effects about the place. But because of this analog clock it can’t have a clock/sync input to sync the delay time.
This is the reintroduction and complete reworking of the Z5000 that was originally released in 2008. It has 24 new algorithms that take the best of the reverbs, delays, modulation, harmonisation and pitch modulated effects. Some programs contain combined effects. Of course the analog clock-driven DSP is there it give it character.
DSP for your rack
These are great little modules. Often effect modules can be big and expensive and so something in 8HP with this much power is very welcome. I guess the question is always going to be whether you go for the specific module and have more options or the Z5000 to have the versatility. The main downsides are the lack of stereo input (you’d get this on the Z-DSP) and that the delays can’t be clocked and there’s no tap tempo. But at $199 they are very attractively priced and I also like the choice of front panel as their green and yellow colour scheme is not for everyone.