Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Echo Delay

by Catalinbread

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  • Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Echo Delay

    Faithful sonic recreation of the EP-3 tape echo. Yes, including the preamp.

    The Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Echo, has tape echo sounds so authentic you’d swear there was tape inside the pedal! Inspired by the Maestro Echoplex, EP-3 model, perhaps the most famous tape delay ever, the Belle Epoch features everything we love about the EP-3 in a small, maintenance free pedal format. We felt that a “tape echo” pedal was much more than just a standard digital delay with some “filtering” on the repeats. There are a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle traits of the Echoplex that needed to be implemented in order to be authentic. The preamp, the self-oscillation character, the ability to control the “record level” of the signal hitting “tape”, the wow and flutter, the way the repeats decay, the way the circuit interfaces with the amp and other pedals – all these things were important to get right. The original unit was used as a musical instrument unto itself and this is what we captured with the Belle Epoch.

     

    Mix: This control replicates the functionality of the Echo Volume control on the EP-3 and uses the same basic passive mixer circuit. Set at minimum to get dry only. Set at maximum to get wet only. You’ll nd that you’ll probably want to run the Mix control lower when running the Belle Epoch into an overdriven amp or a dirt pedal due to the fact that the signals will be compressed and therefore bringing up the level of the repeats.

    Tone/Record Level: This control sets how hard the “tape” or delay line is hit. It does not aect your dry signal and only aects the initial rst repeat. Turning the knob while repeats are playing will not aect them. In practice, you’ll want to use this control in conjunction with the Mix control to set your balance for the delayed sound vs. your dry signal. You may nd that you will end up presetting the Mix control (typically from 9:00 to noon) and controlling how present the repeats are with the Tone/Record Level knob.

    With the Tone/Record Level knob set low, the initial repeat will be very quiet, thin, and airy. When set high, the initial repeat will be very loud, thick, and slightly distorted. If you like the sound with the Tone/Record Level set high but want the repeats to be quieter, just back down the Mix knob. Conversely, if you like the airy, light tone of the knob set low, but want it louder in the mix, just turn the Mix control up. Use both of these controls together to get your sound and balance! Noon is a good starting point for the Tone/Record Level and then you can adjust it up or down to get what you’re looking for.

    Sway/Mod: This control sets the amount of random tape wow and futter eects in the echoes. At minimum, there is no wow and utter. For the most realistic tape warble, set this control fairly low - 9:00 to 10:00 is a good sweet spot. Of course, you can crank it up and get some serious pitch warble going! Also, with really short delay times you may want to set this control lower for the most realistic tape sound. With longer delay times you can get away with a lot more.

    Echo Sustain: This controls how much delay signal is fed back to the delay line to get multiple repeats. From minimum up to around noon you’ll get a xed number of repeats with a great decay curve. Above noon you start to get into innite oating repeats and then into self-oscillation.

    The Belle Epoch will generate self-oscillation tones by itself, without any guitar signal present at the input, when the knob is turned from around 2:00 on up. The Echoplex did this too and this was an important attribute for us to dial in!

    You’ll notice that up until the self-oscillation point the repeats get successively thinner as they decay. But from the self-oscillation point on up, the output from the pedal will be VERY loud. This is how the Echoplex behaved too and is part of its mojo! High settings of the Echo Sustain control are not for the faint of heart! As you get into your selfoscillation jam you can turn the Mix control down to keep things somewhat sane.

    Echo Delay: This controls the delay time, from about 80ms all the way up to 800ms. It was designed to be manipulated in real-time, as you are playing, to get the same sounds as an EP-3. You’ll notice, especially when the Echo Sustain is turned up a bit, that the echo sound “lags” a bit, much like how the Echoplex behaves when you move the slider back and forth. If this knob worked in a linear fashion like on a standard delay pedal, you’d miss that bit of authenticity in response!

    Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Echo Delay Features:

    • DC power input
    • Echo Sustain
    • Sway / Mod
    • Tone / Rec Lev
    • Mix
    • Echo Delay
    • Input Jack
    • Output Jack
    • Bypass Footswitch
    • Silkscreen Faceplate
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    Last Updated: March 27, 2018

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