Answers to a few Epoch FAQs!

Back from NAMM! Answers to some of your Epoch FAQs!

We had a great NAMM show this year and we’re thrilled by all the excitement around our three new pedals! It was great meeting many of you and being able to show you the new creations in person!

But we’re back at the shop and have now turned our focus to getting the new models built, starting with the Formula No. 55, which will be available January 31. We’re shooting for the end of March for the Belle Epoch Deluxe but this one is a complex build so wish us luck! And finally the Epoch Pre we are slating for late April. I wish we could get them out to you sooner but rest assured we are doing our damnedest to get them ready for prime time!

I’d like to take the opportunity to answer a few questions that came up often.

 

 

FAQ #1: What is the current draw of the new pedals?

 

BEDLX: 200ma @ 9v (internal conversion to 22v)

 

EPRE: 90ma @ 9v (internal conversion to 22v)

 

Fn55: 5ma @ 9v, 10ma @ 18v

 

 


FAQ #2: Can I turn the “preamp” off on the Belle Epoch Deluxe?

 

No. That’s not a thing. All delay, reverb, and modulation pedals need a driver circuit in order to drive the wet/dry split and wet/dry mixer stages. If there is no driver circuit then you’re left with just the output of your guitar trying to drive the signal through resulting in severe impedance mismatching, lack of gain, lack of tone… in fact, the circuit might not even work without a driver. The “preamp” from the EP-3 serves as this front-end driver. Take a look at the block diagram below (this is the block diagram for the Belle Epoch Deluxe but if you replace the DDL block with record-head and playback-head you have the exact block diagram for a vintage EP-3!). Once you hear the tone of the new Belle Epoch Deluxe I think you might rethink your request to “turn off the preamp”.


 

FAQ #3: Is the preamp in the Belle Epoch Deluxe “early” spec or “later” spec?

 

I chose later spec for the ‘Deluxe as it sounds great and is the most “neutral” between early and later spec. Early spec has a tighter bass response and a boost in the upper mids which is great but might be too colored for most purposes in an echo pedal. Later spec has a broad, even frequency response with a warm, creamy tone that doesn’t feel dull in the treble.


FAQ #4: Are the preamps in the Belle Epoch Deluxe and Epoch Pre the same as the one in the original Belle Epoch?

 

No. The preamp in the original Belle Epoch is based loosely on the playback amplifier (a high gain two transistor circuit) of the EP-3. I chose that preamp because it had a great tone and response and was voltage scalable from 9v to 18v. But with the new Belle Epoch Deluxe and the Epoch Pre I was able to go with an EXACT reproduction of the EP-3 preamp circuit since I had a bigger enclosure to work with and could incorporate a voltage multiplier circuit to run the audio gain stages at the correct 22v as found in the EP-3.

The EP-3 JFET preamp requires rebiasing to run at voltages other than 22v but it really needs 22v for it to get the mojo. While both the original Belle preamp and the ‘Deluxe and Epoch Pre preamps sound great you will notice that the ‘Deluxe and Epoch Pre have incredible headroom to take the highest output pickups or dirt boxes without crunching out. The preamp in the ‘Deluxe has THE classic warm, creamy sound of the EP-3 but still retains detail, definition, and brightness. With the Epoch Pre, you’ll get your choice of Early or Later preamp voicings, perfect for driving your amp or as a “mastering plug-in” for your entire pedalboard when placed at the very end of your pedalboard chain.

 

 

 

Hope these FAQs are helpful. Let me know if you have other questions!

George Drakoulias, Joe Baressi and Howard at NAMM 2017. Howard showing a bit of Belle Epoch Deluxe.

 

Howard Gee

Chief Designer

Catalinbread Mechanisms of Music

 

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