Tape Echo is one of the most loved effects in the world thanks to its vintage tone and ability to to absolutely insane when pushed. The Belle Epoch by Catalinbread captures the essence of the legendary EP-3 tape delay in a small compact pedal including a replica of the preamp system that made that system so popular.
The Echo Effects
Catalinbread have spent many hours trying to get the exact sound of the EP-3 into this little pedal including all the little modulation nuances that you only get with a real tape echo. This is handled by two controls the 'Mod' knob and the 'Rec Lev' knob. When turned down the mod control doesn't effect your signal leaving you with the cleanest tape sound ever heard. When turned up however you start to get some heavily randomized modulation that has little to no pattern much like the original tape.
The 'Rec Lev' or Record Level control lets you set how hard you are hitting the tape. Original designed as a control to optimize signal to noise ratio on the Belle Epoch you can use it to control how clean you want the signal to be. Turned up this control starts to saturate just like the tape would giving you a grungy rock delay that works amazing in the front of an amp.
Controlling the echo you have your normal selection of Mix, Delay and Sustain which sets how loud, and how often you want the delay to hit. With a range of 80-800ms this pedal modulates more the longer delay time you have set to give you that authentic tone and wide range of sonic options.
Here's what Catalinbread say about the Belle Epoch
Faithful sonic recreation of the EP-3 tape echo. Yes, including the preamp.
"The Catalinbread Belle Epoch is the closest thing to a real EP-3 that I've ever played." - Eric Johnson
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.