The Best Pedals In The World Today – Catalinbread Belle Epoch

Posted: March 15, 2017 in Guitar Pedals
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Catalinbread Belle Epoch

An impressive analogue recreation of the much-loved Echoplex EP-3 tape echo which captures the degradation, self-oscillation and musicality of the original.

Its preamp alone was enough to convince the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Brian May and Tom Verlaine to employ it for ‘always-on’ tonal colouration, and in the skilled hands of Jimmy Page, John Martyn, Neil Young, Andy Summers and a million other players, its echoes have added an extra dimension to the sound of rock ’n’ roll that guitarists will forever return to.

Part of the charm of the Echoplex derives from the well-documented ‘technical deficiencies’ of tape echo that have become part of what we unconsciously recognise and love about the effect – wows, flutters, the attack of notes, the stray drive artefacts, the dramatic self-oscillations and signal degradations which, together, summon up a magic that you’d think was too mechanical and analogue in nature to ever simulate in the digital realm.

So the hybrid analogue/digital Belle Epoch is a brave attempt to replicate these characteristics. From the authentic attack of the note to the beautiful modulation, to the convincing degradation of its repeats, it’s hard to believe such an authentic sound could come from something so compact… that weighs next-to-nothing and is noise-free. Aside from nailing slapback echo, the chewy drive of the Record Level is a powerful feature that interacts with the Mix to create a huge range of tones and textures.

The Mod feature also has a huge range, but is easy to set, allowing the pedal to create quirky little surprises – almost as if there’s something unexplained going on inside. Texan tonehound Eric Johnson believes this is the closest alternative to a real Echoplex EP-3 that money can currently buy – that is high praise indeed, and should be enough to convince you to
try one out without delay.

Key features
PRICE £161
DESCRIPTION US-made Digital Signal Processing (DSP) tape-echo pedal with Echo Sustain, Mod, Rec Level, Mix, Echo Delay, internal gain trimpot, true bypass/tails switching. Powered by 9v battery or adaptor


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