effects modulated by other pedals. And that’s a huge dividend, given
how watery combined chorus-and-delay signals can sound. In terms of
value, quality, and out-of-the ordinary sounds, the Malekko Ekko 616 is
a stand-out performer.
you want an excellent sounding bucket brigade analog delay pedal at a good price.
you need a sophisticated, programmable
digital delay or delay times longer than
Malekko Heavy Industry
EL CAPISTAN DTAPE ECHO
By Jordan Wagner
Since assimilating Damage Control Effects in 2009, Strymon has wasted
no time expanding its already excellent line of compact pedals. Units like
the fantastic blueSky Reverberator (see Strymon pedals review in PG July
2010) revealed Strymon’s prowess in crafting analog-inspired sounds using
DSP (digital signal processing) technology. And the El Capistan d Tape
Echo, which tackles the challenge of capturing the warm, chaotic irregularities and imperfections of tape delay that we love, is one of the most ambitious and clever applications of DSP we’ve seen in a stompbox.
Features Fit for a King
Like the rest of Strymon’s pedal line, the El Capistan comes packed with
parameter control options that will delight any serious tweaker. The
controls common to most delay pedals—Time, Repeats, and Mix—are
included. There’s also a Tape Age knob that adjusts the amount of
simulated degradation in the repeats, effectively emulating the sound
of tape heads rubbing against a worn out, scratched tape. The pedal’s
Wow & Flutter knob alters the amount of modulation.
188 PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2010
Two switches called Tape Head and Mode are located at the top of the
control layout. Tape Head changes the type of emulated tape head,
switching between Fixed head (vintage studio tape delays), Multi head
(akin to a Roland Space Echo or Watkins Copicat), and Single moveable heads (like a Maestro Echoplex). The mode switch assigns different
configurations to those head types: different head combinations on the
Multi, tap tempo rates for the Fixed head, and tape speed or Echoplex-style sound-on-sound settings on the Single head.
All of these options could leave any player dizzy with possibilities.
But Strymon didn’t stop there. Holding down the Bypass and Tap
footswitches changes the function of each knob, creating a whole
new menu of parameter controls, including low-end contour on delay
repeats, simulated tape-bias variations, an internal spring reverb, and
even simulated tape crinkle.
The El Capistan has stereo outputs, as well as a jack for an expression pedal,
so if you run a dual amp rig, or like to record huge stereo guitar tracks, or
want to change delay time on the fly with a pedal, you’re good to go.
Tone to Die For
I toyed with this overflowing box of time-warping possibilities using a
2008 Fender American Stratocaster and a Mesa/Boogie TransAtlantic
head with matching 1x12 cabinet, and A/B’d the pedal with an old
Roland RE- 201 Space Echo.
Flipping to the Strymon’s Multi head setting and selecting Mode A, I
played some light arpeggios and was pleasantly surprised at the unit’s
touch sensitivity. When I really dug into the strings with a full band
behind me, it was great to have the El Capistan feed off of my changing attack patterns, especially when I was laying back to create more
space for the band I was jamming with.
I wanted to see just how well the pedal stood up to the famed Space
Echo, so I hooked up a Morley A/B/Y switching box to toggle between
the two. The pedal’s feel, response, and overall tone were often every
bit as musical and organic as its venerable ancestor. In general, the