Those among our readers who suffer from “tape nostalgia” should take a look at the the Templo Devices REEL DEALuxe, a dirt box that emulates the color and saturation imparted to the tone by reel to reel machines of yesteryear (or rather, yestercentury!).

Tape still gets praised for its warmth and pleasant saturation, and this pedal recreates that sound without the need for an incredibly expensive 11,500 pounds machine (that’s the approximate weight of a Studer). Although this device is a recreation of the preamp section of the vintage Studer Revox, which was probably a lot smaller (there are many models).

You can set the level of saturation via the Gain knob and the output via the Level one, and then turn on a Vibrato fx acting as a wow and flutter generator, which can be activated through its own footswitch.

The Zenith and Offset knobs on the side control the shape of the vibrato, while the Tape Speed switch acts mostly as a filter, taming the bass frequencies in the lower positions.

The Limit switch applies a tape-style compression that muffles the high frequencies delivering a warmer tone.

Templo Devices REEL DEALuxe, Builder’s Notes

A pedal version of the preamp section from a vintage Revox reel-to-reel tape recorder, with our Model 33 Smooth vibrato built in to get some seriously wobbly tape sounds.

I have added a tone switch called “Tape speed” that either:

– allows full frequency
– cuts some bass to focus on the mids, or
– cuts more bass to make a treble booster effect.

The Limit switch introduces an optical compression of some of the higher frequencies to give a more squashed, muffled sound reminiscent of tape compression.

Additionally, there is an “overload” light that responds to the signal, and gets brighter the more distortion is introduced.