The Strymon El Capistan is a lush stereo emulation of a vintage Tape Echo device, in a cleverly simple box. It offers three Tape modes emulating different reading head configurations (Fixed, Multi and Single) and three ways to slightly tweak each one of them.

Separate controls for Tape Age and Wow and Flutter. Sound on Sound mode allows you to use it as a looper.

The pedal has always had a semi-hidden spring reverb, accessible in V1 as a secondary function. V2 assigns this parameter its own knob.

The Time knob varies the tape speed while the playback head is fixed in position.

A – short delay with 1/16th note tap tempo
B – medium delay with dotted 1/8th tap tempo
C – long delay with 1/4 note tap tempo

We added the Strymon El Capistan V2 to our list of the Best Tape Delay Pedals and the Best Delay + Reverb Combos.

Check out the recent videos, more info about the pedal at the bottom of the post.

The below is V1, which lacks the Reverb knob, which can be however accessed this way:

Hold the BYPASS and TAP footswitches while the pedal is already powered up, and then turn the TIME knob to the desired position. Release both footswitches to save. By default, the spring reverb secondary level is set to zero.

Vintage Vibe Machine.
Plug in, play a note or chord, and you feel it: All the warm, saturated, distinctive qualities and subtle nuances of vintage tape echo combine to instantly create an unmistakable atmosphere.

Everything from classic slapback echoes to psychedelic space explorations have stunning richness and depth, responding to each note and knob turn in a musically inspiring way.

Turn up the repeats for organic delay feedback with just the right amount of grit. Dial in some spring reverb to further enhance the sense of space. Effortlessly create multi-layered ambient soundscapes with the tape-style sound on sound looper.

Transform your pedalboard into the inspiration machine it was meant to be.

Magnetic Monster.
When we decided to develop an effects pedal that delivers the sound and feel of our favorite tape echo machines, we knew we must relentlessly study and faithfully recreate every last nuance.

We spent months in the Strymon sound design labs with an intense focus on capturing the warm, saturated, distinctive qualities of tape echo machines. The result is our hand crafted dTape™ technology. Utilizing a ridiculously powerful SHARC DSP, every drop of processing power is harnessed.

Extensive control.
El Capistan provides three different tape machine types in one, each with three unique modes. With ten parameters to tweak, you get extensive control over tape quality, machine health and tone shaping.

Go from the sound of a pristine, studio-quality tape machine to the heavily fluctuating sound of a machine in need of service. Get the full bodied sound of fresh tape all the way to the gnarled qualities of worn out tape.

Because it’s DSP driven, you get a range of tape experiences unattainable with a traditional tape machine. All of this without the headaches of tape machine maintenance and repair!

Just like one of our favorite moving head tape echo machines, El Capistan gives you a Sound on Sound mode, but with some cool new features. When you enter the mode (Single Tape Head, Mode C), the machine is already recording, just like a traditional tape echo machine. We go several steps further by giving you instant tape splice and bulk erase functions. It’s like having a built-in tape-style looper!

Tape Machines and Modes

Time knob varies the tape speed while the playback head is fixed in position.

A – short delay with 1/16th note tap tempo
B – medium delay with dotted 1/8th tap tempo
C – long delay with 1/4 note tap tempo

Sound on Sound

To set the length of your tape, press Tap once to set your splice ‘in’ point, and press Tap again to set your splice ‘out’ point. All of the tone shaping knobs are active and affect your loop as it plays back and re-records. Press Tap a third time to completely erase the tape. You get 20 seconds of tape in slow speed, 10 seconds in fast speed. Check out our video demo below.