Catalinbread Epoch Pre Preamp/Buffer
The preamp is an exacting replica of the EP-3 preamp, from the 22v power supply, to
the JFET preamp, to the circuit loading contributed by the echo function (we made a
filtering circuit that mimics the loading), to the mixer output circuit. The buffer also runs
off of 22v and is a discrete silicon transistor based buffer.
Purpose of the Epoch Pre:
While you could use it anyway you want to, our design intention is for the Epoch Pre to be the very last pedal in the chain. Not only does it provide boost, it acts like a mastering plug-in on the master fader – your whole pedalboard sounds bigger, lusher, wider. The Epoch Pre bundles all the frequencies without squishing them like a compressor. For moments where you’re looking for your part to standout in the mix, engage the Boost! Remember, the EP-3 was a three-pronged device, not only was it a delay but also a sonic enhancer and live performance tool. The design of the Epoch Pre was intended to feature its capabilities as a sonic enhancer. Folks with massive pedalboards will benefit from having this at the end of the chain. Then there’s the buffer. First, a bit of context – as you now know, the preamp’s volume control is the mixer circuit from the EP-3. This mixer circuit has a relatively high output impedance which is partly responsible for the warm sound usually associated with the EP-3. But if you’re running a long cable from the pedalboard to the amp, your signal can become too dull and lifeless with just the preamp. Activating the buffer gives your pedalboard a low-impedance, high-current feed to your amp so you could run 100’ cable and it would be fine. Back in the day, folks that used EP-3s typically had it on top of the amp so the cable to the amp was usually short so there wasn’t as much of a loading problem. We designed the pedal so you could have the buffer always engaged. Even if you’re not using the preamp, your pedalboard will still get that benefit. But really, we doubt anyone will turn this pedal off once they hear what it does for their pedalboard. Seriously! ALSO – Not only can you use the Epoch Pre as a sonic enhancer / boost, you can use it to turn DOWN the volume of your entire pedalboard without losing any tone or that cranked-up feel. Perfect for late night playing! Just run your pedalboard into it and turn the Balance control way down. You kind of have to experience it for yourself: retaining the feel and sound of all your cranked up pedals, just without the volume. If you’re in minimalist mode, you can use the Epoch Pre just between your guitar and amp and use it to boost and enhance your amp.