Hailing from France, the Anasounds Tape Preamp is a simple 2-knob + 1 toggle device with a wide sonic range, inspired by the preamp stage found in vintage tape echoes like the Echoplex, which imparted a particularly pleasing color to the signal, even when the echo effect was off.
The pedal can be used as a “colored” boost, but it can overdrive at higher Louder knob settings, while the Dynamic knob, which varies the power supply voltage of the circuit from 3v to 27v, allows it to offer an even wider palette of saturated sounds ranging from broken velcro-like console preamp tones to natural and open crunches.
The 3-way Bass toggle switch does what the name implies: , delivering three different bass cut options, off in the top position, and progressively less bassy in the lower two.
For a pedal this simple, it’s all about the sound, and you can hear that in the video below.
Anasounds Tape Preamp, Builder’s Notes
The Tape Preamp is a summary of the preamps found in some legendary tape echoes. These preamps, known for their use without the echo part by many musicians to push the input of their amp, allows to bring a unique coloration with a particular texture.
For more possibilities, we decided to redesign the circuit in order to offer more features and textures, while keeping the spirit of the original circuit. The Tape Preamp can be used as a simple colored boost, or as an overdrive. It can also go from broken velcro-like console preamp tones to natural and open crunches thanks to the adjustable dynamic range.
The pedal also works well with clean delays, adding a lo-fi and filtered voicing to the repeats that evokes old delay technologies.
The Tape Preamp has 3 simple settings, but they offer a wide range of textures.
Acts on both the volume and the gain of the preamp. At minimum, a subtle colored tone, at maximum, a rich and thick saturation, with a volume boost.
Varies the power supply voltage of the circuit, and shifts the bias of the JFET. At the minimum, a 3V voltage and unadjusted bias, for a velcro preamp reminding old broken vintage consoles. At the maximum, 27V headroom and a perfectly calibrated bias, for an open and dynamic preamp, which will respond to the attack.
A bass cut, for a thick and dirty preamp, or a more punchy and clear sound.
• Up, the voicing of the original preamp, with thick and dirty bass.
• Down, less bass for a more balanced tone.
• In the middle, a bass cut, for more precision and presence.
The Tape Preamp is a preamp designed to drive the input of an amplifier, so it is preferable to place it at the end of the drive chain, to shape the signal before going to the amp. It can also be placed before amp in a box pedals that are used as amps. When placed before a delay, it reproduces the classic internal chain of a tape echo, bringing warmth and a slight degradation of the repeats.
As always, there are no strict rules, the best thing to do is to experiment with different chainings and find your ideal configuration.
Dynamic set to maximum for optimal headroom, and Bass switch in the middle for bass cut and more precision. Louder is adjusted according to the desired output level and the kind of guitar used.
Dynamic at 1/4 for a compressed sound and an unbalanced bias, and Bass switch up for dirty lows. Louder is adjusted according to the output level of the guitar.
Dynamic at 2/3 for a dynamic sound with subtle compression, Bass switch down for a rich, nicely balanced sound in the mix, and Louder at noon for a light saturation.