Tape Age, Crinkle, and Bias
Our goal with El Capistan was to offer the most authentic tape echo experience in a modern, compact form factor. A component of that was replicating the tonal effects that the tape medium itself can have on your signal depending on the age and condition of the tape itself, as well as taking into account the significant effect of the bias setting of the tape machine.
A dedicated Tape Age knob lets you decide whether you want the full bandwidth of brand new, glossy tape — or the warm top end of older well-used tape.
As a part of keeping things simple up-front, we added secondary functions for added control over the tape crinkle and tape machine bias.
The Tape Crinkle secondary function controls the amount and severity of tape irregularities, including friction, creases, splices and contaminants. Go from smooth and well-cared for tape, all the way to tape that’s been chewed and mangled. Just like the real thing, Tape Crinkle characteristics track accordingly to tape speed.
While not a characteristic of the tape itself, how much bias signal is added to the tape’s audio signal can make huge tonal differences. By adjusting the Tape Bias secondary function, you can get high-headroom, extra clean, crisp echoes at lower settings, or crunchy, saturated echoes with higher bias levels. Higher bias settings also limit the echo volume, which can be useful at very high Repeats settings when you want to create high feedback and self-oscillation effects while still keeping output level under control. For "optimal" bias, set the knob at approximately 9 o'clock.
Low End Contour
El Capistan’s Low End Contour secondary function gives you an extra layer of tonal control by shaping the low frequency content of the echo repeats.
At the far left of the control, you get extended low frequency bandwidth for full, deep repeats. As you turn the Low End Contour knob clockwise, low frequencies are gradually filtered from the repeats, giving you the ability to create extremely high-passed echoes at the far end of the knob’s range.
Sound On Sound
Just like one of our favorite moving head tape echo machines, El Capistan gives you a Sound on Sound mode, but with some cool new features.