The Bleak District Electric Rec Head is a charming, seemingly permanently sold-out take on cassette tape emulation by a small UK builder.
This compact pedal does all the things your old cassette tape did to your favorite music, but in this case applied to your tone: tape saturation, flutter, and lo-fi filtering.
Let’s see what the controls do:
Sensitivity controls the intensity of the wow and flutter modulation effect, which also responds to the dynamics of your playing.
Character sets the amount of lo-fi-ness applied to the tone, ranging from clean (when turned fully to the left) to saturated, wolly, and borderline filthy (at maximum settings). It simultaneously adjusts saturation and tone.
Tape Return is a dry/wet control, or a volume control if the Kill Dry switch is on, which – as you have guessed – makes the output 100% wet.
We added the Bleak District Electric Rec Head to our article about the best lo-fi guitar pedals.
Bleak District Electric Rec Head, Builder’s Notes
Lo-fi, cassette emulating, dynamic modulator
Get the wobbly, disjointed, decidedly un-hifi sound of recording to cassette. Without the need to record to cassette. Or record at all!
– Tape saturation and flutter emulating old cassette recorders.
– Dynamic (responds to input strength) wow/vibrato with adjustable sensitivity.
– Switch dry signal in or out for pure tape sim/vibrato or chorus effects.
– NEW – Character control simultaneously adjusts saturation and tone for a wide range of vibes.
– Top mounted jacks and power socket for 9v center negative (Boss type).
The dynamic wow/vibrato responds to your playing strength and can get fairly extreme if you want. Adjust the ‘Sensitivity’ control to dial in the intensity of it’s response, from subtle to almost complete tape stop!
Adjust the character control to give you anything from clean and jangly, to saturated and wooly tones. It changes the response of the tape saturation and tone circuits in one go, making it really easy to dial in the kind of cassette vibe you’re after.
‘Tape Return’ controls the amount of emulated signal going to the output. This is the overall volume of the effect if no dry signal is present.
Switch your dry signal in or out of the mix. With dry signal killed you get the pure tape emulation and dynamic vibrato. Switch the dry signal in and you open up a whole load of other, ‘wider’ tones. Double-tracking and chorus a plenty but with all the variation of the different character settings, and of course sensitive to what is being played.
If you’re interested in lowering your fidelity, look no further.