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Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay: A Classic Effect Reinvented for Today

4.8 out of 5 stars

Ah, the Echoplex EP-3 – an old-school tape echo effect that is near and dear to the hearts of many guitarists. While these popular delay pedals sound great, the originals are also pretty outdated from a technology standpoint. That has made room for the modern Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay pedal, which very ingeniously packs everything a good Echoplex can offer into a single, reliable foot pedal – with no tape cartridges in sight!

Dunlop EP103Features

Vintage Echoplex units are basically cumbersome tape-based machines that are roughly the size of a VCR (remember those?) The EP103, on the other hand, is the size of a standard foot pedal, saving you a ton of space in your rig and conveniently fitting on your pedalboard.

While the digital vs. analog debate sizzles on, the EP103 combines the best of both worlds, featuring an all-analog dry path, so your base tone doesn’t get colored by signal processing. One great thing about how it simulates a true Echoplex is that you can ‘age’ the delay output to mimic tape saturation. It even emulates those distinct wow and flutter modulations that add to the character of the original units.

The EP103 takes things into the current age too, giving you tap tempo capability (with the optional MXR Tap Tempo footswitch), along with mono or stereo operation at the flick of a switch. One thing to note – this pedal cannot be powered by a battery, only by the included AC adapter. That makes us suggest a powered pedalboard, because who really wants to mess with batteries anyway?

ControlsDunlop EP103

Controlling the EP103 couldn’t be easier. There are only three knobs that give you access to all of the major functions. The Volume knob sets the level of the delay output while pressing the knob activates the Age mode (indicated by an LED). Once that mode is engaged, the same knob lets you control the overall tone of the delay.

The Sustain knob allows you to control the number of repeats on the delay signal, and the Delay knob lets you adjust the delay time from 40 to 750 milliseconds. Finally, mono to stereo output is controlled by a small slider switch on the bottom of the pedal.

Performance

Yes, the EP103 simulates an analog tape delay by using digital technology. You’d be hard-pressed to know that just by listening to it though. It feels warm and natural, and it's great fun to add to your sound. This pedal does an absolutely incredible job of duplicating the sonic character of a true Echoplex unit, especially when you use the Age mode to add a little vintage color.

One of the biggest upsides of an original Echoplex can also be seen as its Achilles’ heel – the fact that it’s a mechanical device. The tonal subtleties that a tape echo has by the nature of its design are what make it so desirable. That same functionality can be the bane of your existence, though – broken tapes, motor problems, you name it. You don’t need problems like that in the middle of a gig. With this modern EP103, you can forget about these grievances – it gives you all of the benefits of analog tape echo tones without any of the problems that come along.

Conclusion

For anybody that loves the sound that an old Echoplex unit can produce but doesn’t want the headaches associated with ancient technology, Dunlop’s EP103 Echoplex Delay is an absolute no-brainer. In fact, it’s up there with the some of the best delay pedals we have ever come across – highly recommended!

For more info about the Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay, click here.

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