The Catalinbread Belle Epoch delay pedal is considered by many as the most authentic-sounding stompbox that can emulate the infamous Echoplex EP-3 tape delay. However, many people love the original EP-3 just as much for the sound of its preamp.
That's why Catalinbread has designed the Epoch Pre, a high-quality preamp and buffer pedal that gives you the unmistakable Echoplex tone in a compact enclosure.
The Epoch Pre features a trio of thoughtful controls, giving you arguably more flexibility than the original EP-3 units offered.
Balance essentially replicates the EP-3's mixer stage, and from zero to halfway this control affects the output of the pedal. Push it past noon and you'll thicken your sound for a more punchy vibe, tightening the low-end as you take it towards its max setting.
Bias also determines the character of the preamp sound, serving as a gain control. Turn it up high, and you'll attain a high-headroom push that remains focused and articulate, making everything sound bigger and lusher.
Boost is a pure output driver, giving your signal more volume and signal girth. As a 2-in-1 pedal, the boost circuit makes the Epoch Pre far more versatile for guitarists looking to simultaneously sweeten their tone and increase their volume for solos.
Buffer & Early/Later Switches
Another noteworthy feature of the Catalinbread Epoch Pre is its built-in switchable buffer. Accessible via the front panel, you can engage the buffer to retain the top-end clarity of your signal, even if you're running 100 feet of cabling! This buffer can also be left active even without the having the preamp circuit turned on, meaning that it can always be running in your pedalboard chain for maximum tonal clarity.
The Early/Later switch placed beneath the buffer button is also a very interesting feature, separating the Epoch Pre from its competition. Changing the voicing of the preamp, the Early mode delivers a tighter low-end with a slight upper mid-range boost, much like the very first EP-3s that were produced. The Later mode provides a warmer bass response with smooth, creamier highs.
To meet the demands of contemporary players that like to run multi-amp rigs, the Epoch Pre boasts dual outputs. This means that you can take advantage of all of the tonal sweetness offered by the Epoch Pre, to enhance the overall sound of your setup!
Here's what Catalinbread says about the Epoch Pre EP3:
Our Epoch Pre was modeled after the exact preamp circuit from the original EP-3, from the 22v power supply to the JFET preamp, to the circuit loading contributed by the echo function. Not only does it provide boost it acts like a mastering plug-in on the master fader - making your whole pedalboard sounds bigger, lusher, wider, the Epoch Pre can bundle all the frequencies without squishing them like a compressor!
- Exact EP-3 preamp replica
- Accepts standard 9v pedal power supply but converts it to 22v internally
- Epoch Pre has two outputs to drive different pedal chains or two amps
- Discrete silicon transistor buffer, high headroom