Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

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somanytoys
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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by somanytoys » Wed May 29, 2019 9:12 am

sumlin wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 5:07 am

The main issue I've found though is that it needs a buffer after it if you're running it at the end of a pedal chain. I tried putting the buffer before and was going crazy working out what was knocking all my top end out and then I tried taking the BED out and it was fixed. I've tried switching between True Bypass and "trails" mode but it's still the same. That's a bit of a pain on a gigging pedalboard (why I bought it).

My 2p. Anyone else finding the buffer issue an issue?
If you haven't already, try checking the manual to see if there is an internal trim pot to adjust, that might be able to help with this. That seems to be a strange and unique issue to your pedal.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by somanytoys » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:18 pm

Thread rez. Finally got one of these, arrived today.

First impression, with an okay guitar thru a Yamaha THR10C: I love this thing.

No experience with a real EP3, or a DMM. If this thing is even just “close enough” to both, I get the hype for them.

I need to play it through a big amp.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by FiestaRed335 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:39 pm

Resurrecting an old one here. I have a BED. I love how it sounds, but after about a year and a half of ownership, I don't find it as user-friendly as I would have hoped.

On the EP-3 setting, the controls don't have much range. The "Record Level" is not really functional past about 2 o'clock without turning the Echo Volume almost all the way down; there isn't much range to work with here. Even with the Record Level set low, I rarely take the Echo Volume past 11 oclock. It makes it hard to dial in a sweet spot, particularly with longer repeats. The repeats do not fall under the dry signal like with an analog delay or my Catalinbread Echorec. When using longer delay times, I usually turn the Echo Sustain (repeats) down to one, to get them out of the way quickly.

The preamp/buffer sounds good to me. I will probably switch it to true bypass because A) The pedal is almost always ON and B) I like a clearer tone with my ES335.

As far as the other modes, the DMM mode sounds good, but it doesn't perfectly replicate the sound of a true BBD delay to my ears. I haven't run an expression pedal yet. The different delay modes and corresponding different settings are somewhat overwhelming for me. Admittedly, I don't like to constantly change settings on my pedals, I like to set and forget, particularly in a band setting.

I sold my Strymon El Capistan for the BED, but these two pedals are extremely different. Without having actually played an original EP-3, I'd say this is similar to the original in that it is more of an "ambience machine" than my perception of a typical delay pedal, particularly without tap tempo. I can dial in a variety of musical tones, but I almost exclusively use shorter delay times for chorus-y, slapback, and reverb effects. All of these sound beautiful, but I might try to reacquire an El Cap for a wider variety of tones with longer delay times. While I love the pedal, I am not sure it is worth the $$$, but would highly recommend it if one can find a deal on a used one.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by somanytoys » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:19 pm

I understand what you mean, it can get overpowering, quickly get out of control and also be somewhat limited in the abilities and its controls. Howard’s point of creating this pedal was to completely capture and exactly replicate the EP-3 and its controls - the good things and the shortcomings of an old, dated technology.

I think the Echorec is based on a more powerful old delay at least with multiple heads, and so it inherently does more. Or maybe it just has more capabilities built into it and better controls. I don't know, I don’t have one, but would like to get one someday, or at least play through one for a while. It seems really cool.

I bought my BED after having done a lot of research, and I knew all of this stuff going into it. I have a couple of other delay pedals that can do tap tempo and all kinds of great other things (Polymoons), and they’re very cool, but they’re just not this. That’s why I finally bought it, I figured having 2 Polymoons, I wasn’t going to be missing out on any of the modern abilities when buying the BED. Also, on the expression pedal, Howard did some YouTube videos with some nice tips on using one with it. I haven’t hooked my expression pedal up to it yet, but I need to watch those again and try it, I think it gives it a little more flexibility and control.

I don’t have a whole lot of delays anymore, and this really is more of a specialty pedal. I have it on a board with other more oldschool pedals. I bought an EP booster just for that preamp sound, so I like the preamp for this pedal always being on, but that’s just me and my setup.

Maybe if you get another el Cap that can do all of what you‘re used to being able to do with a powerful and good sounding delay, it’s possible that you will come to like this pedal more. Or maybe not, and it will actually make you decide to sell it - it is a pretty hefty investment. Either way, it’s all about what works for you and what you like.

But that is a good warning to other people that are used to more modern delays and what all they’re capable of, the limitations cab be disappointing. This is a rather expensive pedal, and it may not really be able to do what they’re looking to get from a delay.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by FiestaRed335 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:59 pm

somanytoys wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:19 pm
I understand what you mean, it can get overpowering, quickly get out of control and also be somewhat limited in the abilities and its controls. Howard’s point of creating this pedal was to completely capture and exactly replicate the EP-3 and its controls - the good things and the shortcomings of an old, dated technology.
I think you have summed it up quite nicely. And I think the controls on the pedal reflect this. I have heard some cliche-sounding statements about Tape Delay units that they are instruments in and of themselves. After owning the BED I think I understand this. I think I'll probably keep the BED for what it is, because it does that beautifully.


Regarding the CB Echorec, I really enjoy it. It is great for rhythmic delays, ambient washes, oscillating reverb, etc. There is one major mechanical drawback with this pedal, and it is that the 12 tape head settings are on a rotary knob without indentations. This makes it difficult to get a handle on the simulated "tape-head" settings, and knowing where you are. When I use settings 2-12, I tend to stumble on sounds more than tinkering with them, and I need to really sit down and memorize the 12 setting rhythms. Digging in on notes actually makes your dry signal stand out more and creates more of a wash, which is a neat sound. Like the BED, the knobs interact with each other at different settings, and there is no tap tempo. The pre-amp in this pedal also sounds wonderful. I have not yet run it in 18v mode. An indented tape-head knob would really help here. I have never tried the Dawner Boonar or a Strymon Volante, but the Echorec sound is fascinating to me, and entirely different than a tape delay.

Comparatively, the BED is much cleaner and more fundamental part of my tone.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by somanytoys » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:41 pm

It is a beautiful pedal, I really like it. That’s good that it works well for you. Are you still going to get an el Cap as well?

That seems weird about the Echorec, I think I’d be totally lost without the indentions, but that can be fun, too - just sucks not being able to replicate the sounds sometimes.

I had similar problems with another multi-head pedal, I think it may have been the Headrush, and that only had 4 heads. I can’t remember if that had individual floating heads. Or maybe I’m thinking of the Count to 5. I’ve come to understand how it works and how to control it a lot better, but it’s still just a big, cool bag of crazy. So much shit with so few knobs & switches.
It kind of reminds me of the Polymoon, which I have a good idea of what all it will do, but a pretty scant understanding of exactly how to use the controls without hitting the manual. So I just leave it on one setting that I really like. Even tho I have Meris’ 4 button preset switch. I’m an idiot sometimes.

I think I really need to try an Echorec pedal one day, since half-assing my way through complicated controls seems to be a fun thing for me.

But it is hard memorizing the various controls of all of the more complicated pedals. Remembering what the (unlabeled) alt function of each knob on all of the different Meris pedals I have isn’t happening. I wasn’t any good at the Enzo at all (it’s gone). That’s the only Meris pedal I’ve sold. It’s a cool pedal, just not for me.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by JVG » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:20 pm

I love the BED. It is something of a one-trick pony, but it is designed to be, and it does that trick extremely well. I don’t use all the settings - mine stays in the ‘standard’ first position pretty much all the time.

I have the Echorec and Boonar as well - obviously they are quite different beasts from the BED. I go back and forth between the Echorec and Boonar; my favourite changes from day to day. Kind of annoying, because i had intended to offload one of them! The Echorec has a fatter sound, while the Boonar is more trebly - horses for courses i guess.

Cheers!
J.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by somanytoys » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:58 pm

I don’t use the other settings much, either, it pretty much stays on 1 (EP-3).

I’ve never had a DMM so I have no basis for comparison on that, and the others seem pretty cool, I just haven’t messed with them much.

The headliner to me is definitely the EP-3.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by FiestaRed335 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:36 pm

somanytoys wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:41 pm
It is a beautiful pedal, I really like it. That’s good that it works well for you. Are you still going to get an el Cap as well?

I think I really need to try an Echorec pedal one day, since half-assing my way through complicated controls seems to be a fun thing for me.

But it is hard memorizing the various controls of all of the more complicated pedals. Remembering what the (unlabeled) alt function of each knob on all of the different Meris pedals I have isn’t happening. I wasn’t any good at the Enzo at all (it’s gone). That’s the only Meris pedal I’ve sold. It’s a cool pedal, just not for me.
Something about the high end of the El Cap sounded odd, but I did find it easy to dial in sounds. Seems to be a bit of a trade-off of tone vs function there.

I highly recommend trying an Echorec, and finding musical settings is very easy, so it can be a rewarding experience. I got mine used for about $110USD, very well worth it, even with my gripes. There really is something special, and maybe even inherently more musical about this type of delay sound that is different from digital, analog BBD, and tape delay styles.
JVG wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:20 pm
I love the BED. It is something of a one-trick pony, but it is designed to be, and it does that trick extremely well. I don’t use all the settings - mine stays in the ‘standard’ first position pretty much all the time.

I have the Echorec and Boonar as well - obviously they are quite different beasts from the BED. I go back and forth between the Echorec and Boonar; my favourite changes from day to day. Kind of annoying, because i had intended to offload one of them! The Echorec has a fatter sound, while the Boonar is more trebly - horses for courses i guess.

Cheers!
J.
Interesting about your usage of the BED, J. Sounds very similar to how I use it. I wonder how running at 18v will change the Echorec sound. Boonar looks easier to use than the Echorec.

For me, the user interface is a big thing with delay pedals. The Strymon Volante intrigues me for this reason, but I doubt it sounds as good as either the Catalinbread BED or Echorec pedals.

I spent a few hours with the BED tonight and dove into some new settings that I really like, all on the EP-3 setting. It really is the best pedal I have heard at this type of single tape head sound.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by JVG » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:28 pm

Going on a bit of a tangent here, but that’s ok ;) ......

I’m with you on the user interface. It’s critical. The BED does ok in this regard, although it didn’t have much choice considering it’s reason for existing! The font colour for the knob labels is hard to read though. I wish they had selected something that stood out better.

As for the multi head delays, i agree that the Boonar is a bit easier to manipulate, mainly due to it’s individual head buttons. My ideal, however, would be some kind of hybrid between that and the Echorec: essentially the Boonar interface but with the increased tonal range of the Echorec, and the option to switch on/off the Echorec preamp, which darkens the tone considerably (a good thing in some situations, bad in others).

I haven't tried the Volante. It looks interesting, but i really don’t need another delay!

By the way, I only just saw recently that Catalinbread has been bought out. It will be interesting to see how this changes the company.

Cheers.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by somanytoys » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:01 am

Yeah, the light blue on gray - that’s my only real bitch about the BED - I can’t see shit about what knob does what unless I were to memorize them.

I was going to (or maybe I already did) print a page out of the manual just to have a b&w version of the pedal’s face, to be able to see what the hell each knob is for.

My eyesight isn’t the best, and while the colors are attractive, they just aren’t very functional. Especially in lower light situations.

I guess if it was my only delay pedal, it wouldn’t be so much of a problem to memorize the knob order. But I have too many pedals and I’m too old for that much memorization of various shit. And there’s too much random crap floating around in my head already.
-David

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by FiestaRed335 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:52 pm

Had a day off today and spent a few hours with the BED. Before playing I looked online for EP-3 samples. While I can't compare the tones directly, I wanted some context for the use of a real EP-3 to get an idea of what the BED should and shouldn't be able to do. I got really cranked up to full volumes, playing along with tracks to really get an idea of the pedal in a mix. Before this in band settings, I had used the BED for my shorter delays and reverb sounds and switched to the Echorec for longer repeats and ambient stuff. Today, I focused on dialing in the BED on the fly (all on the first EP-3 setting). Understanding the constraints and interactions between knobs, this really is an easy to use pedal (at least on the first setting).

This really confirmed all that has been mentioned in this thread over the past view days.

I won't take this thread too much away from the Bell Epoch Deluxe, but I may begin looking into the Strymon Volante. It seems like the best option for sculpting rhythmic delays and soundscapes, stereo delays, tap tempo, etc. With the tape section supposedly based on a Space Echo, I don't see it overlapping with the BED too much. To reiterate what has already been said, understanding exactly what the BED does is critical to understanding the sounds that this pedal can do and the UI, because it is a bit of a niche pedal.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by somanytoys » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:45 pm

I agree, I think its strengths lie in the longer repeats, and it gives you more room to play around with other knobs and see how they interact. Howard did a bang up job on this, but I haven't had a pedal of his yet that wasn’t fantastic for what it was or supposed to be.

I use the Count to 5 for faster repeats (on setting 1), quantified. It gives more character on fast repeats than the BED.

That seems like it would be a good pedal to pair with the BED - shouldn’t overlap, brings other things into play and has the tap tempo & stuff you like. Seems like a great idea.

BTW, is the family selling the company now (or did)? I know there was a lot of sad crap that happened after the owner died, but I hadn’t heard that the family is selling or has sold it. It will be interesting to see what happens.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by FiestaRed335 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:25 pm

somanytoys wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:45 pm
I agree, I think its strengths lie in the longer repeats, and it gives you more room to play around with other knobs and see how they interact. Howard did a bang up job on this, but I haven't had a pedal of his yet that wasn’t fantastic for what it was or supposed to be.

I use the Count to 5 for faster repeats (on setting 1), quantified. It gives more character on fast repeats than the BED.

That seems like it would be a good pedal to pair with the BED - shouldn’t overlap, brings other things into play and has the tap tempo & stuff you like. Seems like a great idea.

BTW, is the family selling the company now (or did)? I know there was a lot of sad crap that happened after the owner died, but I hadn’t heard that the family is selling or has sold it. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Re: Catalinbread, I haven't seen much, but I haven't kept up much since Howard left CB, as I viewed him as the heart and soul (and brains) behind most of their pedals. I own the BED, Echorec, and Fuzzrite which he was responsible for, and with him gone they are not the same.

No offense to anyone at CB, but I'd be much more interested in what Howard Gee is up to these days. I follow him on instagram, and he sometimes posts videos of his breadboard creations. I really hope he can find himself in a good situation to put his designs to production again. It is a shame that he departed CB right after the BED came out; one can only hope he gets some royalties for his IP and all of the other pedals he designed while there. I saw internet speculation about an Echorec Deluxe similar to the BED... hopefully that can come to fruition someday.

EDIT: Apparently he started a new company KittycasterFX and has some forthcoming designs once we get past this COVID mess

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Re: Catalinbread belle epoch deluxe

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:49 pm

JVG wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:20 pm
I have the Echorec and Boonar as well - obviously they are quite different beasts from the BED. I go back and forth between the Echorec and Boonar; my favourite changes from day to day. Kind of annoying, because i had intended to offload one of them! The Echorec has a fatter sound, while the Boonar is more trebly - horses for courses i guess.
Years ago, I sold my CB Echorec (which I loved and used a lot) and bought a Boonar for the head buttons, and I hated it. The Boonar didn't sound NEAR as good as the CB Echorec to me. The playback head buttons were literally the only thing I liked about it, and it's more expensive than the Echorec. Plus, I've never gotten along with pedal orientations where the enclosure is sideways (like Z.Vex stuff too). I ended up selling the Boonar and bought another (used) Echorec.

FiestaRed335 wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:25 pm
No offense to anyone at CB, but I'd be much more interested in what Howard Gee is up to these days. I follow him on instagram, and he sometimes posts videos of his breadboard creations. I really hope he can find himself in a good situation to put his designs to production again. It is a shame that he departed CB right after the BED came out; one can only hope he gets some royalties for his IP and all of the other pedals he designed while there. I saw internet speculation about an Echorec Deluxe similar to the BED... hopefully that can come to fruition someday.

EDIT: Apparently he started a new company KittycasterFX and has some forthcoming designs once we get past this COVID mess
I feel the same. Howard WAS Catalinbread. I would kill to see an Echorec Deluxe someday. I love the way they designed the aesthetics of the Belle Epoch Deluxe as similar to the original BE, and was hoping for the same browns on an Echorec Deluxe, but with Howard gone, I doubt that would happen now. It's unfortunate sometimes, but a pedal's aesthetics are important to me, almost as much as the sound itself. I'm intrigued to see what Howard's got cooking up. Howard was/is an amazing pedal designer.
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