Trails and Carryover


To set an ES loop to carryover, go to the Loop Structure page, select one loop with the ◄ and ► buttons, press enter – the loop number will be displayed inverted, and you will be set. Remember that you can only have carryover OR parallel paths within one ES-5 patch. Now, why would you want carryover?

Many guitar players love trails: You switch off a certain delay or reverb, but the wet signal doesn’t immediately stop, but rather trails off. Technically, this means switching off the send to the delay/reverb, but keeping the return active. Many delay/verb pedals come with a built-in “trails bypass” function; like, on the Strymon Timeline, you have a “Persist” parameter. Take a delay preset with long repeats, set Persist to On, play some notes, hit bypass on the Timeline – voilà trails. 

A more complex task is to keep trails when switching from one effect preset to another: A pedal needs two independent engines to accomodate one delay/verb sound trailing off, while a second one is switched active. Only few pedals have this; including Empress Reverb, Empress Echo System, Source Audio Ventris and Boss RV-500. Some can fake it – the Strymon Timeline’s “Spillover” function does this by sampling the delay trail and playing it back after switching to another delay preset; but IMHO this sounds really bad. So, unless your pedal has two engines, forget about trails between different presets.

However, with the ES-5, you could get trails from two different delays/reverbs; Like, you could have a delay pedal in loop #4 and a reverb pedal on loop #5. Now, you could build two ES-5 Patches – clean with reverb and lead with delay – and have the clean sound’s reverb trailing off when switching to the lead sound; and the lead delay trailing off when switching back to the clean sound. 

What else can the ES-5 carryover function do for you?

  • Within an ES-5 Patch, you can get carryover for delays/reverbs that don’t have built-in trails bypass functionality. Like, you could put an old analog delay in one ES-5 loop, set that loop to carryover, and then switch the delay of using Manual Mode to make it trail.
  • Also, you could use momentary Assigns to only send specific notes into your delay while you hold a certain ES-5 footswitch, then release that footswitch and the delay trail off.
  • You can get trails between ES-5 patches. Like, you have your lead sound on Patch 215, and after your solo, you want to switch back to Patch 214, but have your solo delay trail off. The “switch between clean with reverb and lead with delay, and have trails either way” scenario described above is a special case of this. It’s a bit tricky to make this really work; see below.
  • Easter egg functionality: You could use Carryover to alternate between some pedal and a volume boost or cut within one Patch. As explained above, in Patches with carryover, the mixer volume will only become active when the loop with carryover will be off. So, imagine that in loop #1 of your ES-5, you have a great wah which boosts your signal by about 3 dB when active. You could now set loop #1 to carryover, and the ES-5 mixer to +3 dB. Now, when you turn off loop #1 in this Patch, the +3 dB boost will kick in; effectively balancing out the gain difference between wah on vs. wah off. Downsides of this method include that you can only adjust the mixer in 3 dB steps (which is not finetuning-friendly), that you will still here the wah’s noise floor when its loop is bypasses (since carryover means: only the send is switched off, return stays active), and that you can’t compensate the pedal to unity gain, but only can compensate the pedal-in-bypass to deviate from unity gain in the same direction as the active pedal does.

Carryover Between ES-5 Patches

So, how do you make trails between ES-5 patches work, and what problems may get in the way? 

Here’s a basic concept: Whether or not you will get trails when switching Patches depends exclusively on the settings of your target Patch. So when you are on Patch 411 that has a long delay, and you want to go to Patch 412 and have that delay trail on: Don’t mind Patch 411, your solution is always in the settings of Patch 412 (your target Patch). 

Things are kinda easy as long as MIDI is out of the picture. Like, you have an old delay pedal in loop #4, and you are playing any Patch where that loop is active. Now, you want to go to Patch 412, and you want loop #4 to be off (no new sound sent to the delay), but you want the delays to trail on rather than to end immediately. Solution: Go to Patch 412, set loop #4 to carryover, switch loop #4 off, save. Now, switching from any Patch with an active loop #4 to Patch 412 will give you trails. 

Or, more complex: You have an overdrive in loop #3, a simple delay in #4 and a simple reverb in #5. You want to have a clean sound with reverb on Patch 421, and a overdriven sound on Patch 422. You want trails when switching in either direction. Settings for this: 

  • Patch 421: Loop #3 off, #4 off and carryover, #5 on
  • Patch 422: Loop #3 on, #4 on, #5 off and carryover 

Now, this will work, but ... assuming that your loop structure is I-1-2-3-4-5-O on both Patches, the sound of your delay trails will be slightly altered when switching from 422 to 421, since 421 will put reverb on top of the delay trails. To get unaltered trails in both directions of switching, the loop structure of Patch 421 needs to be changed to I-1-2-3-5-4-O.

Generally speaking, if you want the trails to sound unaltered when changing ES-5 Patches, the Target Patch needs to send the trails through exactly the same pedals as the original Patch. Or, easier: Put the loop producing the trails last in your signal chain.

Carryover Between Patches with MIDI Pedals

MIDI control can bring a new problem into the mix: The ES-5 can send MIDI program change (PC) and continuous controller (CC) messages to connected MIDI pedals. Typically, the ES-5 does this when changing Patches; to make sure each MIDI pedal is on the right preset and parameter settings for that Patch. Now, MIDI controlled delays and reverbs may stop trailing when they receive certain MIDI commands. Especially, changing presets will typically cut off trails, unless your MIDI delay/reverb is a dual-engine pedal. But also, sending CC commands that affect decay/repeats etc will have an impact on the trails.

Like, a Strymon Timeline will normally stop trailing when it receives a MIDI program change sending it to a different preset (unless the crappy-sounding “Spillover” mode is active). So, to make Timeline trails work between two ES-5 Patches, both need to send the same program change to the Timeline (or none at all). 

A Line 6 M5 will stop trailing when it receives ANY MIDI program change; even if it is the program change number of the currently active preset. So, if you e.g. have ES-5 Patch 411 putting your M5 on a long delay preset, and you want this delay to trail on when switching to Patch 412, then Patch 412 needs to not send any program change to the M5. 

Side note: Since both M5 and Timeline support trails bypass, it would be the better solution to set them to trails bypass, and bypass them via MIDI (for the Timeline: send CC#102 with value 0, for the M5: CC#11 with value 0) on Patch 412, keeping their loop ON – this way, you still have the ES-5 mixer for free disposal, whereas the mixer would be blocked when you put the M5 or Timeline loop in carryover. Still, the above notes about program changes stay valid.