UtraTap for iOS from Eventide review

This test report has been machine translated from the German version. Please excuse the shortcomings. It would be nice if you could report serious mistakes to the author.

UltraTap is the second of three Eventide effect plugins released for iOS from the H9 series. Originally this delay algorithm is part of the DSP software in the H9 Stomp Box of Eventide. A PC version has been around for quite some time, now one for iOS, which is practically identical. The Reverb Blackhole has already been discussed on BuenasIdeas, in some details of operation this test report https://www.buenasideas.de/test/musikproduktion/plugins/effekte-und-tools/blackhole-reverb-ios-app-review/ is referred to, if you want to know more about it, because they are the same in all three plugins. 

Image Main GUI

As a delay, UltraTap has become a classic that has been used in numerous tracks and has a certain vintage charm. However, UltraTap is still a versatile and powerful tool from today’s point of view and a welcome addition to the iOS platform. Like its siblings, the app is available as standalone, AUv3 and Interapp Audio version.

Already included in the name is the tap as a defining element, because there are very roughly said two kinds of delays, tap-based and feedback-based. The feedback works principally within both types, a part of the signal is fed back into the signal and repeated. In the case of feedback parameterized delays, this is done via the strength of the feedback and a time parameter, in the case of tap delays via the number of taps (i.e. repetitions) that are repeated in a certain period of time. 

UltraTap offers up to 64 taps, which is in fact Ultra-plenty, with very short time values they become indistinguishable and you get a short continuous tone, where the number of repetitions actually determines the pitch and the delay effect almost becomes an oscillator. 

Interestingly enough, my favorite delay on the PC, Late Replies, offers only eight taps, but numerous possibilities to multiply them again and the possibility to put a separate effect chain on each tap, just like on the two crossover capable feedback channels, which makes this delay such a different beast than UltraTap, that you could compare a racehorse with a winged Pegasus just as well. At the time of the development of the UltraTap algorithm, such exotic features were of course out of the question. 

UltraTap offers with its 64 taps in combination with its other parameters delay effects that would not be possible with late replies either. 

Image knobs above

On the one hand UltraTap offers with its relatively few control elements a direct access to all possibilities, on the other hand some parameters work only in the combination in a certain way. 

The Mix slider determines the mixing ratio as usual, Length determines the time span in which all taps are triggered. Free running, based on seconds, the range is between 0 and 10 seconds, synchronized between 0 or one 1/32 and four bars. The large tap button in the upper right corner of the interface offers the option to tap in the tempo manually. 

Tap is used to set the number of taps that can range from 1 to 64. Because the first repetition does not fall on the one of the bar, but all are distributed on the set period behind it, the first repetition starts at 8 taps and a length of one bar one eighth after the beginning and the last tap falls on the end of the bar and you only hear it if the loop is longer than the bar with a set loop. With very short values for Length, the repetition and the triggering audio event practically coincide and cannot be heard. Unless you turn the next Pre-Delay knob, which shifts the use of the repetitions up to half a bar or one second backwards. If you now let many taps run in a very short period of time, you get an impulse with different pitch, which depends on the number of taps. 

In the upper row of knobs, Spread follows, which shifts the taps unevenly over the period. Negative values move the repetitions proportionally towards the beginning, so they run faster first and then slower than with an even distribution, thus creating the impression of a slowdown. Positive values have the opposite effect, the echoes accelerate towards the end. 

Taper fades in the echoes from quiet to loud or lets them fade away quietly. In combination with Spread the impression of the echo repetitions can change completely. The controls Slurm, Chop and Chop Speed are also used depending on the setting. 

First a video about the basic parameters Length, Taps, Spread and Taper with a drum loop, which only consists of one beat at the beginning and thus most clearly reflects the architecture of the tap delay effect. 

Video Tap adjustments

At the beginning of the lower row of knobs are the Tempo and Time Synchronization modes. Off, i.e. running freely from the DAW, with time-based values on the Length, Pre-Delay and Chop Speed controls. The other modes are note-based, with Sync in time with the DAW, with Manual you can set the BPM independently, Off and Manual react to the finger-tapping of the speed on the large round tap button at the top right. 

Image knobs below

Image knobs below

Width adjusts the stereo width of the taps, Tone filters out the high frequencies rotated to the left, Tone filters out the dark frequencies rotated to the right. Slurm smears the individual taps into each other and modulates them a bit so that they sound more alive, Slurm reduces the volume at extreme values. 

Chop is a multi-function controller. On the one hand it is a kind of tremolo that chops up the sound or modulates the volume before it is fed into the taps and it modulates through different LFO waveforms whose speed is adjusted with the next controller. Turned further, however, the knob switches to a swell mode that produces volume swells. However, in my opinion only with certain controller combinations of taps and taper, there are a few presets on the Artist presets that work with them, but this mode has often hardly any effect. 

Trigger cuts the delay hard for an adjustable amount of time after an impulse. 

Since these parameters are different on drums or continuous material, such as vocals, so here are two videos about the versatile Chop control. 

Slurm Chop Video

Echo Chop Video

As with the other two plugins, the ribbon with the discharge arc as slider is located at the bottom. It serves to automate the parameters of UltraTap and moves several sliders at once, it functions like a macro slider. In the test report of Blackhole you can find a video how to program it with the buttons right and left of the ribbon, if you want to know more about it you can watch it there, the functionality is exactly the same. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3XK27x-DM0 

With the big round buttons on the right the hotswitch provides an alternative A/B control setting for all parameters, which you can switch to with a fingertap. „Active“ is a bypass button that deactivates the plugin. 

During the test UltraTap crashed once so that Cubasis was dragged into the orc and several times the plugin simply stopped the service, parameter changes or preset changes changed that sometimes, but mostly the plugin had to be removed and restarted. A few presets did not work on complex sound sources at all or only with dropouts.

Presets

The same presets work slightly different on different instruments. The presets are divided into factory presets with different categories like delay, glitch and stutter, reverb etc. and artist presets from sound designers. These presets reflect the range of sound changes and echo cascades possible with UltraTap.

Presets on Drums

Presets Guitar

Presets Piano

Presets Keys

Conclusion

UltraTap offers a very wide range of delay effects, from simple bread and butter delays to exotic glitch effects and resonant reverbs. The up to 64 taps form a solid basis for all kinds of sound experiments and the internal automation with the ribbon provides interesting, flowing variations. This delay is an important addition to the iOS effects toolbox that you won’t want to do without anymore. 

UltraTap in the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/app/ultratap-delay/id1463784516

A review / test by Stefan Federspiel

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