Epoch Boost (Echoplex EP-3 Preamp)
Epoch Boost (Echoplex EP-3 Preamp)
You’ve heard the rumors: Some of rock ‘n’ roll's greatest tones were achieved without pedals. Not so fast! While that may be technically true, some of guitar history's most venerable gods relied on an old tape echo unit to help achieve their legendary sounds; this unit is called a Maestro Echoplex EP-3. The driving question for many was whether it would live up to its legend and deliver a tone unrivaled by any other studio pedal out there today? For those who tried it in person at NAMM or got lucky enough (or unlucky) enough as I did one day when my boss left his door unlocked,) they found themselves captivated by what might just be the last great sound.
This preamp circuit was wired always-on, and so even those using it as an echo effect received significant tonal enhancements from the preamp. The EP-3 Preamplifier has been used by everyone from Eddie Van Halen to East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys in order for them to take their sound into previously unreachable heights. Now you can also enjoy its benefits with our Epoch Boost!
Around the shop, we call this pedal a "mastering" effect because it'll make your sound huge and put you in control of how much. It's like an EP-3 on steroids: The same circuitry from NOS Orange Drop capacitors to output mixer stages that act as rudimentary frequency selectors are all there! We've taken the liberty of kicking up its gain for some serious smashing - but don't worry, if you want more subtlety just turn down the volume knob (or even skip out entirely).
Because the "Early" EP-3 models total less than 500 units, it's very likely that most people have never experienced the sweep of this control, but here goes. Instead of being a standard volume control, the Preamp control pans between two different signal paths: the combination of the preamp and the mixer circuit, and something similar but different. The result is a volume control on the first half, and a rudimentary frequency enhancement on the second half. Anything above noon on the Preamp control will gently push different frequency bands, with the most perceived loudness halfway between 2 and 3 o'clock. Think of it as a pickup selector control or or a very unique EQ control.
While the Preamp knob and accompanying circuitry gives you the magic, the Boost control takes the versatility to the next level. When set all the way counterclockwise, the signal is at unity gain (plus wherever the Preamp knob is set); there is no boost happening. As you roll it up, the Boost control sets the gain level of the preamp, adding a ton of sparkle and volume which can shake hands with the most stubborn of amps. Set your amp right on the verge of breakup, set the Boost to taste and watch even the most sterile rig spring to life.
I wanted a nice underdrive that would at saturation and color without increase in db. I love this pedal because you can keep the boost at unity and tone shape using the preamp for this exact purpose. On the other hand with less preamp, this works to make a nice sparkly clean boost. Truly there are many options available for whatever needs arise.
Functions well to boost into my other overdrives or straight into the amp. For a minimal rig, this is my preferred drive. Hopefully they add a tone control on the upgrade.
Theres a reason this circuit is so well loved. This never leaves my pedalboard. Works really well for a pushing a dirty amp like a marshall plexi or silvertone. As long as you're happy with this being the voice of your guitar, you won't be unsatisfied.
I had been looking at and trying an insane number of boost/preamp options the past few months and I kept returning to the Epoch preamp/boost. I am glad I finally pulled the trigger on it , as it has given my base guitar tone the thickness and color that I had searched for. This thing is magic and really works well with amps and amp sims . Highly recommend.