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Catalinbread Belle Epoch

TieDyedDevil
September 3rd, 2013, 02:25 PM
Well, it's finally here... If you've been following Catalinbread, you know that they've been working on the Belle Epoch - their Echoplex pedal - for quite a while now. There have been lots of photos, lots of commentary and a lone SoundCloud demo.

https://soundcloud.com/catalinbread/betestlong

I have a thing for old-school echo devices, probably because they were all way beyond my financial means as a young guitarist in the late `60s and early `70s. I rocked a Silvertone amp and a Kent guitar back then... :lol:

Catalinbread is a Portland company. I live in Portland. So when Catalinbread announced a Belle Epoch release party, I RSVP'd pronto!

Mrs. TDD and I arrived for the final hour-and-a-half of the party. There was a good-sized crowd for a Sunday afternoon; lots of guitar enthusiasts, many of the Catalinbread people (including Boris, the guy who programmed the Belle Epoch's DSP) and a contingent from Pro Guitar Shop. There was a small pile of Belle Epochs available for purchase during the event.

When we arrived, PGS Andy (you know, the guy who does the demos that make you want to buy all the pedals... :wink:) was putting the Belle Epoch through its paces, playing a Strat and a Bassman. As always, Andy knew just how to highlight the strengths of the pedal: some nice ambient chord progressions, some early James Gang riffs, some Zeppelin... all things that kind of defined the sound of the Echoplex. I half expected Andy to launch into Neil Young's Dead Man theme at some point... :cool:

When Andy finished putting the Belle Epoch through its paces, I took a turn. I spent about fifteen minutes playing and grinning, finished my beer and whipped out my credit card... :lol:

http://instagram.com/p/dvYvwuve8C/

The Belle Epoch... yes, it sounds just like an Echoplex. A real Echoplex; not one of the half-baked sims that get passed off as "tape delay". How can you tell the difference...? How about:

1) They captured the sound of the EP preamp. Even with the echoes turned all the way down, the preamp adds a nice bit of warmth and fullness to the guitar sound. I've read that, like the Catalinbread Echorec, there's an internal switch to select either true-bypass or always active mode; the latter allows echoes to trail off naturally after you disengage the pedal, and keeps the preamp in the chain all the time. My Belle Epoch came out of the box in true-bypass mode.

2) If you've ever heard a real Echoplex with a less-than-perfect tape, you'd notice that there's a periodicity to the wobble, but also a lot of randomness. Lesser emulations punt and add a bit of perfectly-regular modulation to the speed. Slightly better emulations combine a low-frequency wobble ("wow") and a higher-frequency wobble ("flutter") which is a nice try, but really more of a tape-recorder thing. A real Echoplex is a finicky beast with lots of random sticks and slips to the tape motion. Catalinbread got this right.

3) The "record level" control is an essential part of the Echoplex sound. Turn it up and you can saturate the tape and even overdrive the recording preamp, adding a nice touch-sensitive grit to the echoes while leaving the direct sound clean. Catalinbread got this right, too.

4) Another characteristic behavior of the Echoplex (and other tape echo units) is that the echoes change character slightly each time they're recycled through the feedback loop. There's not only a progressive loss of low-end energy in the echoes (which is great because there's more "room" for your guitar sound even if you crank up the mix and repeats), but there's also some tape distortion that creeps in to give the repeats a nice warmth. This is all spot-on in the Belle Epoch.

6) The playback head on an Echoplex is mounted on a slider. To change the delay time, you move the head. Because the head is moving relative to the already-moving tape, the speed at which you move the head creates some very specific sounds. When you move the head slowly, there's a slight pitch modulation. When you move the head quickly, you get a higher-pitched modulation. Most emulations punt on this: some don't even bother with the modulation; some attempt it; some create a horrible "digital zipper" noise while you're changing the delay time. Catalinbread seems to take great pride in having nailed the behavior of the real Echoplex; listen to their SoundCloud demo and you'll hear what I mean... :lol:

The mix range goes from completely dry all the way to completely wet. Near the upper end of that range you can have the echo be louder than the dry guitar. Cool for Jimmy Page fans...

Of course the Belle Epoch can do runaway feedback. What's really cool, though, is to set the feedback just below the point where it runs away and turn the record level control up a bit. When you play louder, the repeats swell and get denser. When you play softer, the repeats mellow out. When you stop, the repeats gradually fade to nothing. I don't know whether this is an Echoplex thing or something specific to the Belle Epoch. Regardless, it's very cool. It's one of those things that elevates the Belle Epoch to more of an "instrument" rather than just an "effect".

Bottom line: I highly recommend the Belle Epoch to anyone who really appreciates the idiosyncracies of old-school tape delays. I play every such effect I can get my hands on; the Belle Epoch - with its careful attention to nuance and detail - redefines this category.

JesterR
September 3rd, 2013, 02:39 PM
Thanks for review! Ordered one. And new catalinbread Formula 5F6. It would be interesting to compare it with my El Cap. They sure would be pretty different, since El Cap does not into all that preamp and overdriven repeats, but still it would be interesting. But I am expecting, that Belle Epoch would be nice for my slapback, Neil Young tone and some psych experiments.

TieDyedDevil
September 3rd, 2013, 02:40 PM
This just up:

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purpletele
September 3rd, 2013, 03:09 PM
The new PGS vids really does sound A LOT like the EP-3 I had for a while, at least in character. That sound, without the cost and cleaning and tape messing up or wearing out is giving me some gas. I use a good bit of delay so it wouldn't be a useless purchase. My only current delay too is a Mallekko 616 Lo-Fi. I think they would compliment each other well, the EP-3 sure did.

The only thing it seems to be missing is the "awful things I forgot I recorded" knob.

ruger9
September 3rd, 2013, 03:56 PM
Catalinbread just put 2 demos on their youtube channel. However, they are working intermittently.... I finally got to see the tele one. Sounds reeeeeeeeeealy good. I won't buy one until I've read some reviews here, I've been the guinea pig on more than a couple "new delays"...

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TieDyedDevil
September 7th, 2013, 03:18 PM
Here are two live improvised trio recordings from this past week. The Belle Epoch is on the guitar in both tracks. It's subtle on the first track, and very pronounced on the second.

https://soundcloud.com/davidlamkins/lcw-jam-tricycle-20130905
https://soundcloud.com/davidlamkins/lcw-sandstone-varykino

The more pronounced, patterned echo that you hear on certain short passages of the first track is the Echorec.

[These'll be up only for a few weeks. I'll eventually delete them to make room for other recordings.]

Rich_S
September 7th, 2013, 03:50 PM
I just saw Andy's demo yesterday and was very impressed. Lots of great ambient sounds in that box. WANT (but I'll just have to be happy with my DD-7 for now.)

Lowbassnotes
September 7th, 2013, 04:06 PM
Very impressive. Gonna have to try one out when I get a chance, looks like a blast for laying down some crazy experimental tracks. Price is reasonable too.

TieDyedDevil
September 7th, 2013, 04:56 PM
Another PGS Andy demo:

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Snufkinoob
September 7th, 2013, 08:56 PM
Cool, review, thanks. Seems like everyone (by "everyone" I mean TGP) is saying pretty much the same things... and all good.

I've really been getting into delay recently, and have no need for bells and whistles. I've never liked modulation on delay, don't even really need beyond 400ms and actually prefer digital to analog, but want something with a little 'texture' to the tone, so this seems perfect for me. I love that it has a genuinely tape-like modulation to it, and not just vibrato/chorus, which I really don't like. Plus it's great to see C'bread applying their "amp-in-a-box" approach to a different kind of pedal. Digital modelling but with the warmth and tone of a dirt pedal due to the preamp and such.

While it's being hyped, I'm genuinely impressed and interested, and despite the price buying new I'm really, really tempted to buy one when they land over here in the UK, as I'm pretty much done with pedals and just need to settle on a delay. (At least that's how I'm justifying it to myself!) I might even go to my local store and try it out in person next to my Deep Blue Delay to see which one I prefer.

TieDyedDevil
September 7th, 2013, 11:00 PM
If you're going to get "just one" delay pedal and have the opportunity to try before you buy, consider both the Belle Epoch and the Echorec. Each has its own very distinctive vibe.

Paul in Colorado
September 7th, 2013, 11:45 PM
Geeze, I'm going to need a delay and keep hearing all the good stuff about this pedal. There's a few other pedals on the list before I can get this one, but it sounds like just what the tone doctor ordered. Thanks for the review!

It's my understanding that "Belle Epoch" means "Beautiful Pig" in Italian. Why did they pick that as the name?

vjf1968
September 8th, 2013, 02:47 AM
Geeze, I'm going to need a delay and keep hearing all the good stuff about this pedal. There's a few other pedals on the list before I can get this one, but it sounds like just what the tone doctor ordered. Thanks for the review!

It's my understanding that "Belle Epoch" means "Beautiful Pig" in Italian. Why did they pick that as the name?

It's actually French for "beautiful era".

Sherpa
September 8th, 2013, 03:30 AM
Well, close enough to "Belle Époque" to sound French, at least... ;)

José
September 9th, 2013, 05:53 AM
It's actually French for "beautiful era".

No, that's the two decades in France before the First World War.

1300 E Valencia
September 9th, 2013, 01:03 PM
No, that's the two decades in France before the First World War.

Wow, I didn't know they had Echo-Plexes in France in 1890.

chesire
September 10th, 2013, 03:18 PM
Catalinabread is really producing great stuff right now. I have really loved my Wampler FTE but both the Belle and the Echorec are lurking in my periphery. I've only got one slot for a delay available so it has to be diverse and I've worried that both pedals are too specific to one set of sounds, albeit really amazing ones.

vjf1968
September 11th, 2013, 07:36 AM
Just pulled the trigger on the Belle Epoch. I'll wait and see if it makes me put my MXR CC up on Craig's List.

Yossi
September 11th, 2013, 09:32 AM
I've had the MXR Carbon Copy for quite a while and find it to be a worthy pedal. After reading about the Strymon Timeline, I decided to get that. It was an awesome pedal that has every imaginable and some beyond imagination delays, with pre-sets and tons of features. It proved to be too much for me in complication and needs, so I sold it.

I was very close to pulling the trigger on the Fulltone Tape Echo for an authentic delay but it has such a massive footprint, price tag and maintenance required that I got talked into getting a T-Rex Replica. That's a very good sounding delay.

But, it didn't stop. I wound up getting the Catlainbread EchoRec and that is an outstanding delay. I will also get the Belle Epoch.

I have a board at the office and one at home, and I'm putting together a mini for when I go out to jam. If I sell one it would be the Carbon Copy.

I like the simplicity of the delays that replaced the Timeline.

juanjosebh
September 11th, 2013, 11:14 AM
Guys, I have a Mad Prof Deep Blue Delay.

The guy who traded it with me wants it back so I told him if he buys a CB belle epoch ill trade it for the MP. What do you guys think? I mainly use delay to add some depth and warmth, ambience kind of sounds.

Do you think it will be a good only delay? I'm still on the fence.

Snufkinoob
September 12th, 2013, 01:48 PM
Guys, I have a Mad Prof Deep Blue Delay.

The guy who traded it with me wants it back so I told him if he buys a CB belle epoch ill trade it for the MP. What do you guys think? I mainly use delay to add some depth and warmth, ambience kind of sounds.

Do you think it will be a good only delay? I'm still on the fence.

Ha.

If you can hold out a short while I current have a DBD, and I'll be comparing it to what I've just got in the post today.... :cool:

juanjosebh
September 12th, 2013, 03:46 PM
Ha.

If you can hold out a short while I current have a DBD, and I'll be comparing it to what I've just got in the post today.... :cool:

Awesome!! Let me know he they fare

Snufkinoob
September 12th, 2013, 04:49 PM
Right.... I've just sat for a while comparing the Deep Blue Delay and Belly Pork side by side.

Firstly, I'm honestly not sure which one to keep as they both have different attributes, and are fundamentally different types of delays so I think it's best to point that out first rather than go all TGP "OMG TOAN!" on this comparison. The DBD offers a 'companderless' delay and the BE is a digital emulation of tape delay.

If you're familiar with the "belton brick" used in reverb pedals compared to digital emulation, I think that's a really similar comparison. The DBD offers a physical, "mechanical" (for want of a better word) approach to getting a 'tape' sound in the way that a belton brick reverb offers a physical approach to getting a 'spring' sound, with it's touch of pre-delay, bright tone and kind of slightly 'bouncy' decay. The DBD offers full tape-like bandwidth (apparently), is fairly bright, but neither are tape or spring emulation, but just physically sounds kind of similar and so are marketed as such. Hope that makes sense.



Repeats
DBD: Has a nice bright, strong first repeat, and a really fast decay that quiets down quickly too, and I'm finding it works better with what I'm playing.

BE: Has a variable strength, and a quick decay but the volume decrease between the first and following repeats melds together much more unless the tone/rec is dialled up and the mix down, so there's versatility, but due to the slower speed, it can't be adjusted to be like the DBD


Decay
DBD: Okay, not great. Gets really hissy on longer times, and this only goes up to 400ms. :neutral: Also, it can easily overwhelm what you're playing if you're doing a lot of noodling about.

BE: Much better. Nice with no noise, but some subtle texture with much better note-definition. It's a little bit finicky to dial in. I find it's either really short, medium, or with just a touch, starts to oscillate, and this is only at about 1 o' clock.


Volume
DBD: I thought this was quite loud, it gets over unity, but...

BE: I can match the BE with the tone/rec at about 10 o' clock, so there's plenty more headroom. However, bare in mind my BE's default pre-amp volume is a touch high. Still, I think even dialled back to unity, it'll get louder than the DBD.




Modulation/Sway: Really nice and useable, and this is coming from someone who never uses modulated delays, I've really never seen the appeal. It gets extreme quite easily, but even when it's overt it's like warbling tape rather than pseudo-chorus/vibe.

Pre-amp: I've no idea! I've not played about with it that much, and don't have a tiny-enough screwdriver to tweak the trimpot. The way mine came, it looks like it's in buffered mode, but there's no trails, so I have no idea. :confused: There's a bump in volume when I press it, but any tone-colouration is really subtle (I'm using a Strat) as I'm not hearing an obvious change, but it might be better to tell when I can dial in the volume exactly to unity.

In general, it's a really great tape modeller. The way the decay changes and...decays really sounds like you're manipulating, and listening to an actual tape unit. I've never used a tape machine so can't comment how accurate it actually sounds, but it does feel like you're doing something, which is a nice touch. And the overall tone, even without modulation is pretty clean and bright, but soft.

Plus there's a mix and level, which I think is what's been missing from 90% (maybe 100%??) of compact delays, so that adds a lot of versatility. I'm a bit disappointed there's nothing really going on with the rec/level in terms of tape 'punch', it just sounds like a straight level control, but maybe using it at 18v brings that out more?




tl;dr: The DBD is more of a 'niche' delay, suited for short delay times and more mellow playing, where that fast decay shines. The BE is for more general usage, long, short whatever style and/or specifically to emulate a tape unit to a high standard.

JesterR
September 12th, 2013, 04:58 PM
Great review. But I should say, that DBD is nothing about physical approach. Just regular pt2399, as tons of other delays, from boutique ones to cheap Chinese pseudo-analog. Many great delays on this chip, but it just can not sound even close to what DSP delay do. It's just can not.

TieDyedDevil
September 12th, 2013, 11:38 PM
I'm assuming that these comments apply to the Belle Epoch. If not, my apologies...


[...]
Pre-amp: I've no idea! I've not played about with it that much, and don't have a tiny-enough screwdriver to tweak the trimpot. The way mine came, it looks like it's in buffered mode, but there's no trails, so I have no idea. :confused: There's a bump in volume when I press it, but any tone-colouration is really subtle (I'm using a Strat) as I'm not hearing an obvious change, but it might be better to tell when I can dial in the volume exactly to unity.

[...] Plus there's a mix and level, which I think is what's been missing from 90% (maybe 100%??) of compact delays, so that adds a lot of versatility. I'm a bit disappointed there's nothing really going on with the rec/level in terms of tape 'punch', it just sounds like a straight level control [...]

I haven't opened my Belle Epoch. IIUC, they're all shipped in true-bypass mode. That would explain why you hear no trails.

I hear a very slight volume bump when I engage the BE. The guitar sounds a bit thicker, too, but that might be from driving the amp slightly hotter.

As far as your comment regarding rec level: It's really surprising that you don't hear anything except a level bump as you turn up the rec level. Have you tried turning it further clockwise? I get a very definite kind of "saturated tape" sound - only on the echoes, of course - as I wind up the rec level.

Snufkinoob
September 13th, 2013, 11:15 AM
Great review. But I should say, that DBD is nothing about physical approach. Just regular pt2399, as tons of other delays, from boutique ones to cheap Chinese pseudo-analog. Many great delays on this chip, but it just can not sound even close to what DSP delay do. It's just can not.

Oh, yeah, I'm just not very good at explaining it. It's a very "raw" sound by default is what I was trying to get at, the way a belton reverb no matter what pedal utilises it, always has a touch of predelay, the same fundamental decay sound etc, if you see what I mean.

So in theory every pt2399 based delay will probably sound fundamentally the same, with that strong first repeat and fast decay, etc. I'm guessing....?


I'm assuming that these comments apply to the Belle Epoch. If not, my apologies...



I haven't opened my Belle Epoch. IIUC, they're all shipped in true-bypass mode. That would explain why you hear no trails.

I hear a very slight volume bump when I engage the BE. The guitar sounds a bit thicker, too, but that might be from driving the amp slightly hotter.

As far as your comment regarding rec level: It's really surprising that you don't hear anything except a level bump as you turn up the rec level. Have you tried turning it further clockwise? I get a very definite kind of "saturated tape" sound - only on the echoes, of course - as I wind up the rec level.

Oh, yeah that's the BE, the DBD doesn't have a preamp, etc.

I'm sure mine is in buffer mode, as the switch inside looks to be to the left, under where it says buffered, but I might be wrong. :confused:

I'm going to have a proper play about with it tonight so you're probably right about that tape sound. I was thinking it would be more prominent on the initial repeat, not just the echoes, and I wasn't really listening, or testing how dynamic it sounds.

JesterR
September 13th, 2013, 05:28 PM
Oh, yeah, I'm just not very good at explaining it. It's a very "raw" sound by default is what I was trying to get at, the way a belton reverb no matter what pedal utilises it, always has a touch of predelay, the same fundamental decay sound etc, if you see what I mean.

So in theory every pt2399 based delay will probably sound fundamentally the same, with that strong first repeat and fast decay, etc. I'm guessing....?


Well, actually, you right about raw sound and overall feel. My basic idea is:
DSP can goes to more authentic replication of overall process of tape delay, because you can do virtually anything with your signal. And tape delay tends to sound very close to actual sound of guitar on first repeat.
pt is closer to analog delay philosophy. chip just delays your signal. like bbd, but just a little more hi-fi and formal it's digital. All other things in delay tends to bi analog. I think that's why builders love it. You do not need to build software algorithm, like in DSP, and just do different scheme, like you do in analog pedal.
So, my basic idea: I love both types of delays. Especially catalinbread Montaviallian echo, totally unique delay tone, nothing sounds like it. But if we talking about replicate tape tone, pt delays can do close bright sound, but it can not get that kind of precise copy of signal, which tape delay requires. chip just can not do it, like BBD chip can not do it.

Snufkinoob
September 13th, 2013, 05:39 PM
Yeah, that's a way more clear description that mine. :lol: The DBD is a 'pure' delay, whereas the BE is a digital modeller.



Still undecided on the Belle Epoch, as great as it is. It's just the decay is a either too little, or just right, but decays in a way I'm not used to, then goes into oscillation mode really easily.

Still haven't really noticed that tape noise with the rec/tone dialled up either. There's a tiny, subtle "something", I think, but it still just sounds like it's getting louder. Still a totally useful feature though. In combination with the mix there are plenty of combinations of basic tones. Even if this wasn't a tape modeller delay, having both controls on a compact delay is great.

I discovered that the bypass/buffer switch just looked like it was all the way to left, (buffered) but wasn't! Dialled the preamp down to unity. Quite nice touch of warmth and tames the harsher highs on my Strat, but it's not blown me away.

Great pedal, just maybe not for me.... maybe... I have until Wednesday when my return policy runs out to decide. :shock:

JesterR
September 13th, 2013, 05:47 PM
I am still waiting mine, and I hope, that I would like it. Long way to Russia, and I expect to get it in October. But I'll compare it with El Cap.
After your review I am a little scared, that it would sound too "processed". But, well, everybody has his own taste, fingers and musical approach. So, maybe this pedal it just not for you, but I hope, that I would be happy with it.

MilwMark
September 13th, 2013, 05:53 PM
Yeah, that's a way more clear description that mine. :lol: The DBD is a 'pure' delay, whereas the BE is a digital modeller.



Still undecided on the Belle Epoch, as great as it is. It's just the decay is a either too little, or just right, but decays in a way I'm not used to, then goes into oscillation mode really easily.

Still haven't really noticed that tape noise with the rec/tone dialled up either. There's a tiny, subtle "something", I think, but it still just sounds like it's getting louder. Still a totally useful feature though. In combination with the mix there are plenty of combinations of basic tones. Even if this wasn't a tape modeller delay, having both controls on a compact delay is great.

I discovered that the bypass/buffer switch just looked like it was all the way to left, (buffered) but wasn't! Dialled the preamp down to unity. Quite nice touch of warmth and tames the harsher highs on my Strat, but it's not blown me away.

Great pedal, just maybe not for me.... maybe... I have until Wednesday when my return policy runs out to decide. :shock:

I am still waiting mine, and I hope, that I would like it. Long way to Russia, and I expect to get it in October. But I'll compare it with El Cap.
After your review I am a little scared, that it would sound too "processed". But, well, everybody has his own taste, fingers and musical approach. So, maybe this pedal it just not for you, but I hope, that I would be happy with it.

I would guess if you like the Monti, you'll like the BE. I had the Monti, and the Ecorech, and ALMOST loved both. But returned them both just as the return period expired. Found I like my sound more raw, for lack of a better word. Both were really close though. Then I just got old analog delays (Ibanez ADL) when I realized I never set the delay time past 10 o'clock on my long delays (AD999, Ecorech) while I was testing them out.

vjf1968
September 13th, 2013, 06:30 PM
Well mine came today and I was just trying out through my DRRI with a Strat, Gretsch 6120/59 and Hallmark 60's Custom. I think I may have a perfect replacement for my Carbon Copy. Only thing is now I have to reprogram my M9 for just modulation and some delays the Belle Epoch cannot do, like reverse delays and auto swell.

The Echo Sustain knob you have to be careful with because if you go near one o'clock it starts to self oscillate.

I set mine to "trails", it just make more sense to let the delays die out.

I think the major bonus is you can run the pedal at 18 volts to get more headroom.

Snufkinoob
September 16th, 2013, 10:22 AM
I am still waiting mine, and I hope, that I would like it. Long way to Russia, and I expect to get it in October. But I'll compare it with El Cap.
After your review I am a little scared, that it would sound too "processed". But, well, everybody has his own taste, fingers and musical approach. So, maybe this pedal it just not for you, but I hope, that I would be happy with it.

I've never heard the El Cap in person, just online demos and clips, and it'd be interesting to know how the Belle compares.

I'm not sure if the Belle might sound "processed" in comparison.

It's got a nice, smooth sound to the decay, pleasantly clean, but the way it decays it might sound a little "artificial" since it's mimicking the way a physical tape travels across the playback heads. You can hear it "following a route". However I guess that's what an actual echoplex decay would sound like, so if that's what people want, then it should be fine.

The general tone is nice though. Smooth, or punchy depending how you set the mix and tone/level. There's no obvious character like the Deep Blue or similar delays that are digital, but have an almost analog-style decay, but it's not what some people call "sterile". Just like a clean tape might sound like I suppose.

I've played around with it a bit more, and it's really growing on me in favour of the DBD. I think the DBD is more for people who have a subtle delay that's always on, or can be useful for punchy slapback. I do like the decay a little more, but it's such a minor thing once I've sat down and played the little things I'm writing at the moment that use delay. The Belle just sounds a touch cleaner with the combination of mix, decay and perhaps the pre-amp doing it's thing. Not by a huge amount, I'm not going to say it "blows other delays away" :lol: but it's just right. I still feel it's fairly expensive for my use, but I think it'll be worth it.

For me, I just wish there was some way of speeding up, or even slowing down the way it decays, within it's set amount, if that makes sense. Apparently there is a hidden feature, and I wish it was that, but probably not. A very minor thing though.

BigDaddyLH
September 16th, 2013, 10:37 AM
I'll just leave this here (sexy echoplexy content)

AcRPkckjNas

telefan62
September 17th, 2013, 10:59 AM
Are you guys all using your Belle Epochs before dirt pedals as the CB docs suggest? (And the way a lot of those classic EP3 tones were created, running into a cranked amp...) I just got mine and have been playing with it both before dirt and after, subbing it for my Carbon Copy at the end of my chain. Not yet sold on placement.

Love the way it sounds on its own, but I'm finding that integrating it to my board is not quite as plug and play as I'd hoped. I think it might be better suited for kicking on for leads than for being always-on. Need to play with it a bit more tonight...

Sent from my iPad using TDPRI

JesterR
September 17th, 2013, 11:42 AM
I have El cap before dirt pedal on my first board, I have TC Electronic Vintage delay before dirt on the other board, so I suggest I would use Belle Epoch in the same way (instead of TC Electronic). But I do this not because catalinbread demo, I just like it best.

But I saw Youtube demo with BE after dirt. Looks like it depends on your taste.

vjf1968
September 17th, 2013, 12:47 PM
Are you guys all using your Belle Epochs before dirt pedals as the CB docs suggest? (And the way a lot of those classic EP3 tones were created, running into a cranked amp...) I just got mine and have been playing with it both before dirt and after, subbing it for my Carbon Copy at the end of my chain. Not yet sold on placement.

Love the way it sounds on its own, but I'm finding that integrating it to my board is not quite as plug and play as I'd hoped. I think it might be better suited for kicking on for leads than for being always-on. Need to play with it a bit more tonight...

Sent from my iPad using TDPRI

I prefer it last in the chain but before my M9. I didn't find that hard to incorporate it into my board.

TieDyedDevil
September 17th, 2013, 08:03 PM
Are you guys all using your Belle Epochs before dirt pedals as the CB docs suggest?

Yes and no...

It's ahead of the amp, which is dialed in to get a little gritty if I hit it hard (and the BE preamp seems to help that along, a bit...), but I have an Xotic BB Plus ahead of the BE.

sagaci
September 17th, 2013, 09:43 PM
Looking forward to this coming in the mail. Have a CB Echorec in the same shipment and a Mad Professor Royal Blue overdrive.

Fun times ahead.

telefan62
September 17th, 2013, 10:51 PM
Yes and no...

It's ahead of the amp, which is dialed in to get a little gritty if I hit it hard (and the BE preamp seems to help that along, a bit...), but I have an Xotic BB Plus ahead of the BE.

Oh, cool - my experiment for tonight is the BE with my BB clone on either side of it.

joeh77
December 12th, 2013, 12:18 PM
Just bringing this thread back a little as there is a 15% off deal until 12/17 on CB stuff. I have a DMM that's on my stay at home board, it takes up a bit of space, as you all know! So, I am looking for a smaller delay and was considering the Montavillian. Now I'm starting to wonder about the Belle. Not sure if anyone around here carries both pedals to test. I know the Monty is not based on any vintage echo, while the BE is meant to reproduce an Echoplex, which I have no past experience with. What's the thought process when trying to decide between the two?

Thanks,
Joe

MilwMark
December 12th, 2013, 12:52 PM
I prefer it last in the chain but before my M9. I didn't find that hard to incorporate it into my board.

How do you like the BE preamp with your DRRI? On my SFDR I generally use an OD (Klone) to shave just a bit of ice-pick (highs) and mud/flub (lows) while preserving the best traits of the DR. I really love my "big" rig (4 pedals total, including tuner and volume pedal) but times when I just use a Fender backline, it would be nice to have a pedal that does something similar (preamp) but also has delay to stomp on! Thanks.

I'd also be curious if anyone has compared the BE and Echorec preamps and could describe their similarities and differences (whether through a SF/BF Fender or just in general).

Jimmy Dean
December 13th, 2013, 03:06 PM
Got the Belle Epoch 3 weeks ago. I just love the tone, it's so addictive. I have it paired with the Callisto, what a combination.

MilwMark
December 13th, 2013, 03:30 PM
Got the Belle Epoch 3 weeks ago. I just love the tone, it's so addictive. I have it paired with the Callisto, what a combination.

Does yours generate a noticeable to loud white noise/hiss when either or both of the Mix and Record Level knobs are above 10 o'clock, and the preamp trim pot set as low (CW, in this case) as it goes? Mine does. Hoping its a defect, not inherent in the circuit.

vjf1968
December 13th, 2013, 03:50 PM
How do you like the BE preamp with your DRRI? On my SFDR I generally use an OD (Klone) to shave just a bit of ice-pick (highs) and mud/flub (lows) while preserving the best traits of the DR. I really love my "big" rig (4 pedals total, including tuner and volume pedal) but times when I just use a Fender backline, it would be nice to have a pedal that does something similar (preamp) but also has delay to stomp on! Thanks.

I'd also be curious if anyone has compared the BE and Echorec preamps and could describe their similarities and differences (whether through a SF/BF Fender or just in general).

It works just fine but I find myself not really using the REC LEV knob that much past 11:00. I also have a Xotic EP Booster on my board as well for leads.

What I really like is when you set the ECHO SUSTAIN to around 1:30. Right where it almost goes into self-oscillation. The echos sustain but fall behind the dry signal creating a cool ambient effect.

I do recommend that you keep the pedal true bypass and not in "tails" mode because the ECHO SUSTAIN knob is still active even if the pedal is engaged. Found that out the hard way at a gig when my foot accidentally hit the knob and the self-oscillation occurred nearly deafening the audience.

vjf1968
December 13th, 2013, 03:52 PM
Does yours generate a noticeable to loud white noise/hiss when either or both of the Mix and Record Level knobs are above 10 o'clock, and the preamp trim pot set as low (CW, in this case) as it goes? Mine does. Hoping its a defect, not inherent in the circuit.

Never noticed that. Are you running the pedal at 9 volts or 18 volts? Remember that MIX and REC LEV kind of do the same thing to a degree so when you boost the RECORD LEVEL turn down the MIX

MilwMark
December 13th, 2013, 04:18 PM
Never noticed that. Are you running the pedal at 9 volts or 18 volts? Remember that MIX and REC LEV kind of do the same thing to a degree so when you boost the RECORD LEVEL turn down the MIX

9v. I always find 18v to seem louder in my rig (on any pedal with that option). I know what you mean. They kind of do and kind of don't do the same thing. The sweet spot for me fo most things was Mix about 9/10 o'clock and RL noon-2 o'clock. At that setting, very, very noticeable (loud) hiss.

A customer service note - I checked with Catalinbread on this and they said is it NOT representative. Just to prove it, they are going to send me a new unit, along with a prepaid return label for mine. What a great way to put a smile on a customer's face (rather than asking me to pay shipping and/or requiring me to send my unit in to them first). Cudos to Catalinbread for a great approach.

Jimmy Dean
December 13th, 2013, 05:12 PM
Does yours generate a noticeable to loud white noise/hiss when either or both of the Mix and Record Level knobs are above 10 o'clock, and the preamp trim pot set as low (CW, in this case) as it goes? Mine does. Hoping its a defect, not inherent in the circuit.

I usually keep the mix & rec levels set at 9:00. Yesterday I was fooling with it & had the levels set around 3:00 & didn't notice any unwanted noise. Check your cables.

MilwMark
December 13th, 2013, 06:22 PM
I usually keep the mix & rec levels set at 9:00. Yesterday I was fooling with it & had the levels set around 3:00 & didn't notice any unwanted noise. Check your cables.

Cables are good. And power supply. Subbed in my Ibanez ADLa just to be sure.

Mike Eskimo
December 14th, 2013, 03:34 PM
No hum - bad cable it turns out. I do want an Echorec actually...

xtrajerry
December 14th, 2013, 06:29 PM
you might want to check out the Echorec too..

Fuzzbot71
January 8th, 2014, 08:35 PM
Has anyone tried the self-ocillation without even plugging in a guitar?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRob8ZnmjMo

vjf1968
January 9th, 2014, 08:31 AM
Has anyone tried the self-ocillation without even plugging in a guitar?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRob8ZnmjMo

Actually you can do that without engaging the switch. If the pedal's internal switch is set to "trails". Found that out the hard way at a gig.

Tee1
January 30th, 2014, 03:32 PM
Just took delivery of one and when you engage the pedal, it produces a hiss/white noise even with the mix at only 10 o'clock! This has to be a fault.

It's a real shame as the effect is real nice, but the hiss/noise makes it unusable. It's gotta go back. I'm thinking i should i have gone for the El Capistan.

telefan62
January 30th, 2014, 08:40 PM
ANY pedal manufacturer can ship a bad unit; it happens. Just return it for another one. It'd be a shame if you missed out on a great pedal (I love my BE) just because you got a broken one.

Jimmy Dean
January 31st, 2014, 10:23 AM
Just took delivery of one and when you engage the pedal, it produces a hiss/white noise even with the mix at only 10 o'clock! This has to be a fault.

It's a real shame as the effect is real nice, but the hiss/noise makes it unusable. It's gotta go back. I'm thinking i should i have gone for the El Capistan.

Haven't had any problems with mine, however I just got a Pariedolia with some noise problems. I was running a 1spot daisy chain for power. The problem was my Jamman Express, even in bypass mode. I isolated the Jamman & got a T-rex FuelTank Jr. & my hiss went away.

Tee1
January 31st, 2014, 12:47 PM
Haven't had any problems with mine, however I just got a Pariedolia with some noise problems. I was running a 1spot daisy chain for power. The problem was my Jamman Express, even in bypass mode. I isolated the Jamman & got a T-rex FuelTank Jr. & my hiss went away.

I performed extensive testing with a fuel tank Jr and also a Boss 9v supply with the BE as the only pedal infront of the amp.
Anyway, i am getting a replacement unit and sending this one back. Really hoping this one works fine.

tapedelay
March 5th, 2014, 10:05 PM
Hey all,

thought I'd share this over here for anyone interested.


rYFLcaRyfj4

kromanomo
March 5th, 2014, 10:55 PM
Hey all,

thought I'd share this over here for anyone interested.


rYFLcaRyfj4

Awesome reveiw. Now I really don't know which one to get - BE or ElCap.

Paul in Colorado
March 6th, 2014, 03:27 PM
Hey all,

thought I'd share this over here for anyone interested.


rYFLcaRyfj4

Nice job. I like the cats, too.

ruger9
March 6th, 2014, 05:43 PM
alright Alright ALRIGHT!!!! Jeesh!!!! I'll buy one....

(nice demo)

RubyRae
March 7th, 2014, 12:01 AM
I love Catalinbread effects. Truly great stuff, and look forward to getting the belle epoch along with the new topunga reverb.

What I am so surprised about is how processed and generic the el cap sounds. I have heard people mention this, and heard others rave about it's pure tone. I think (along with my tc alter ego) they sound like crap when you really get down to it.

Time for me to revamp my entire board actually. Too bad it will cost me the price of a new amp...eventually I will get it right. It's funny how often I find myself asking where the hell do so many of these guys come up with all this cash for endless primo gear...

telerocker1988
March 7th, 2014, 12:08 AM
It sounds killer, same with the new Topanga. Looking forward to trying both.

Great demo!

tapedelay
March 7th, 2014, 02:29 AM
Thanks for digging it and the kind words, guys.

B.

ruger9
March 18th, 2014, 09:33 PM
hmm... interesting... reminds me quite a bit of the Skreddy Echo (who I also thought got the Echoplex vibe very right)- I tend to like more analog-y, and dark, repeats... I love my AD-999, Echo Shifter, and even analog and tape models on my Flashback (that I have re-programmed for darker repeats)... when I had the El Cap, I always had it set for maximum low end on the repeats... which is more DMM-like than tape-like, but...

Anyway... even tho the BE's repeats are brighter than what I like, I will say this:

- the Record Level control is great; love the idea of a knob being able to add grit.
- the repeats have that great "blend into the background/don't get in the way" quality

The modulation can get a little crazy, and depending on other settings, pretty quickly. Not sure how I feel about the modulation yet (but I've always been a DMM guy where modulation was concerned)

The preamp ROCKS. Love it. It does "darken" the tone... a touch... but there's more to it than that... it also subtlety changes the FEEL a tad... hard to describe...

Will I keep it? IDK. Only got it yesterday. Will live with it awhile and see. If there were a "dark" version, where the repeats would not only get dirtier but ALSO DARKER- like my AD999- it would probably kick all the others off my board.

...which is why I'm also going to check out the Supa-Puss, if friggin' Dunlop ever friggin' gets their friggin' QC in line and actually friggin' releases the V.2 of this friggin' thing... it's re-release has been pushed back THREE TIMES, now not due until August 2014.... friggin' A.....

MilwMark
March 18th, 2014, 10:43 PM
hmm... interesting... reminds me quite a bit of the Skreddy Echo (who I also thought got the Echoplex vibe very right)- I tend to like more analog-y, and dark, repeats... I love my AD-999, Echo Shifter, and even analog and tape models on my Flashback (that I have re-programmed for darker repeats)... when I had the El Cap, I always had it set for maximum low end on the repeats... which is more DMM-like than tape-like, but... Anyway... even tho the BE's repeats are brighter than what I like, I will say this: - the Record Level control is great; love the idea of a knob being able to add grit. - the repeats have that great "blend into the background/don't get in the way" quality The modulation can get a little crazy, and depending on other settings, pretty quickly. Not sure how I feel about the modulation yet (but I've always been a DMM guy where modulation was concerned) The preamp ROCKS. Love it. It does "darken" the tone... a touch... but there's more to it than that... it also subtlety changes the FEEL a tad... hard to describe... Will I keep it? IDK. Only got it yesterday. Will live with it awhile and see. If there were a "dark" version, where the repeats would not only get dirtier but ALSO DARKER- like my AD999- it would probably kick all the others off my board. ...which is why I'm also going to check out the Supa-Puss, if friggin' Dunlop ever friggin' gets their friggin' QC in line and actually friggin' releases the V.2 of this friggin' thing... it's re-release has been pushed back THREE TIMES, now not due until August 2014.... friggin' A.....

Just recently entered the DMM realm myself. Amazing. Not to sidetrack. But why don't more delays have the ability to raise overall level, as a common use for delay is on leads?

ruger9
March 19th, 2014, 06:25 AM
Just recently entered the DMM realm myself.

uh-oh. You'll never be the same again. :lol:

I have yet to find a delay, with a preamp, that FEELS like the DMM does. Alot of great analog modulated delays out there, and also digital-modeling analog/tape delays, but nothing has ever done what the DMM preamp does, whatever that is. It's hard to quantify.

The Belle Epoch comes closest. Only in the preamp tho- the repeats and modulation are nothing like the DMM. :sad:

MilwMark
March 19th, 2014, 07:06 AM
uh-oh. You'll never be the same again. :lol:

I have yet to find a delay, with a preamp, that FEELS like the DMM does. Alot of great analog modulated delays out there, and also digital-modeling analog/tape delays, but nothing has ever done what the DMM preamp does, whatever that is. It's hard to quantify.

The Belle Epoch comes closest. Only in the preamp tho- the repeats and modulation are nothing like the DMM. :sad:

Yeah. It's an instrument. Not a pedal. Responsive like an amp in a lot of ways. Lot of similarities to the EP-2 and the RE-150 I owned but with way less footprint, noise, hassle. Costs (a little) less too.

Back to regularly scheduled programming. I had a BE and loved the tone, preamp and feel. In my rig it introduced high-pitched white hiss. Not "noise" like regular guitar/amp stuff (which doesn't bother me - can't hear it when we get going) - actually added white hiss to the equation. Had to let it go but still tempted to try another one (CB was good enough to send me 2 and then decided it was a quirk of my rig).

ruger9
March 19th, 2014, 07:22 AM
Yeah. It's an instrument. Not a pedal. Responsive like an amp in a lot of ways. Lot of similarities to the EP-2 and the RE-150 I owned but with way less footprint, noise, hassle. Costs (a little) less too.

Back to regularly scheduled programming. I had a BE and loved the tone, preamp and feel. In my rig it introduced high-pitched white hiss. Not "noise" like regular guitar/amp stuff (which doesn't bother me - can't hear it when we get going) - actually added white hiss to the equation. Had to let it go but still tempted to try another one (CB was good enough to send me 2 and then decided it was a quirk of my rig).

That's interesting, on both points:

I haven't heard any complaints of noise with the BE, unless something was wrong with the pedal... a few people got theirs replaced under warranty. I am amazed at how QUIET it is... especially on the repeats, so many delays these days have this white noise "shhhhhhh" on the repeats, which comes from pushing those PT2399 chips too far.

Did you know the DMM was the first pedal to attempt to simulate tape echo, without the tape? All these years later, and it's still one of the best.

MilwMark
March 19th, 2014, 11:09 AM
Did you know the DMM was the first pedal to attempt to simulate tape echo, without the tape? All these years later, and it's still one of the best.

I did not. But now that you mention, I can hear that. The first repeat is actually quite clear - like tape. Almost as clear as a digital delay, but not quite that pristene. And mine doesn't really do the bucket brigade degradation thing like my Ibanez ADL (which I also love and is more practical for my gigging needs, honestly). Unless I really raise the level on the DEM preamp or run it's delays really long. Again, kind of like the BE actually - can have great fidelity on the repeats if you want - just like well-maintained tape echo units.

chester.burnett
May 21st, 2014, 01:03 PM
Still undecided on the Belle Epoch, as great as it is. It's just the decay is a either too little, or just right, but decays in a way I'm not used to, then goes into oscillation mode really easily

I agree after side by side tests with my tape EP3. For delay with 0 to medium amount of regen it sounds good and it does have a crunchy boost (more than my EP3 - perhaps modeled on the preamp on the earlier serial # units) but the regens get pretty harsh in runaway mode.

here's some vid/audio i have posted (Tele->Goodsell combo):

EP3 Tape Delay vs Catalinbread Belle Epoch & Blackbox Quicksilver Digital Delay - YouTube