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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 play the pedal as an instrument unto itself, 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 Belle Epoch was designed to be run in front of your amp in the same way the Echoplex was designed to be run in front of your amp. They share almost identical input and output circuit topologies, including the passive unbuffered mixer circuit of the EP-3. However, we tuned it to have a lower output impedance than the EP-3 to not load down the output as much while still retaining the open non-buffered output interface. A buffer does just what the name implies - it isolates one circuit from the next and can create a "disconnected" feeling that is subtle but a player who relies on touch-sensitive dynamics in his rig will appreciate the difference of not having the buffer. Having said that, the Belle Epoch will perform great in almost any pedal stacking situation. But for the most authentic Echoplex-like experience, we recommend that you run it before any foundation overdrive type pedals and after fuzzes, treble boosters, and the like. For the most awesome experience, try playing it right in line before your cranked up tube amp.
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