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Catalinbread Belle Epoch EP-3 Tape Echo Recreation Pedal

A faithful imitation of the Echoplex EP-3, the Belle Epoch mimics the mechanical irregularities, lo-fi tone and doppler effects of the original tape unit. Rate and review this product
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Catalinbread Belle Epoch
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Catalinbread Belle Epoch EP-3 Tape Echo

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 that was loved about the EP-3 in a small, maintenance free pedal format.

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 was captured with the Belle Epoch.

Hear the sprawling sonic landscapes the Belle Epoch and a few other pedals can create -- with no input:


Features:

- Preamp: Famous for making your guitar sound better even when the echoes are turned off.
- Quality of repeats: The Echoplex was not necessarily "hi-fi". As the echoes repeated, the signal got progressively degraded, losing low end and gaining a shiny, percussive top end with a bit of grit. The first repeat is strong and then it gets more and more diffused as it repeats. And in a well-tuned unit, you could dial in the repeats "Echo Sustain" so that it would float almost indefinitely, or cross the threshold to self-oscillation
- Record level: There's a control on the EP-3 that sets how hard the tape gets hit. While this control was ostensibly used to optimize signal-to-noise ratio, set low it would give light and airy repeats and set high it would saturate the tape hard and give an awesome fat and grungy repeat tone.
- Wow and flutter: The Belle Epoch's modulation control was designed to simulate the daily mechanical irregularities inherent in original Echoplex units. This would typically include bumpy capstan wheels, uneven tape tension, uneven motor speed, humidity, and actual ghosts?
- Head drag: The original unit had a unique quality that when moving the delay time slider it took a moment to catch up to the adjustment, creating a doppler like effect. The Belle Epoch reproduces this behavior while you turn the echo delay knob.

The Belle Epoch provides the spaced-out soundtrack for this black-and-white dreamscape:


zZounds is an authorized dealer of Catalinbread products.
- Power: Does not run on batteries. Must be powered with an external power supply. Designed for use with 9V - 18V DC 'center negative' power supplies.
Weight, Dimensions, and Manufacturer Part Numbers
Shipping Weight: 0.5 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 5 x 3 x 3 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): Belle Epoch
zZounds Expert Review
I am the type of player who loads up the front end of my amp with all my pedals. Multiple delays, modulation pedals, you name it -- all before the preamp section. The Belle Epoch has been slamming the front end of my tube combos and solid-state heads for some time now, and this ain't leaving my setup any time soon. Some folks like a real clean delay trail, and those folks will throw a time-based box in the effects loop. I'd say this one shines in the front end mainly because of its preamp boost that dirties up the front end oh-so-nicely, adding a thickness for slapback, double-track grit, all the way to super-long trails with ambient dirt in your repeats. Totally does the clickety-clacking tape oscillations and tape-warbley modulations for the noisy folks too! Are you really going to keep bringing your precious Echoplex on the road every night?

- Bert, zZounds Guitar Expert

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