We've made some improvements!
El Capistan now includes a selectable TRS stereo input as well as non-click footswitches. Read more here.
Read the dTape™ technology white paper and learn how we studied and captured every tape echo nuance in El Capistan.
"One of the most ambitious and clever applications of DSP we've seen in a stompbox."
- Premier Guitar
Below are sound clips played by our resident Sound Designer, Pete Celi. Signal path: Damage Control Demonizer » El Capistan » PC audio interface.
A taste of everything. The first part uses the Single tape head, then Mode is changed from B to A at 0:15 and you can hear the machine double the tape speed. The second part changes machines to Fixed, adds more repeats and cranks up the Wow/Flutter/Crinkle for a dirtier sound. The Time knob is reduced to min starting at 0:42. The repeats are maxed at 0:49, and the Time knob is turned to max starting at 0:51.
Saturated wash. Single Head, Mode A with no Tape Crinkle, max Low Contour for a very high-passed repeat sound, ala magnetic drum units. High repeats generate a nicely saturated wash behind the guitar.
Dark and dirty. Fixed, Mode B. Maximum Delay Time results in slowest tape speed, resulting in the most exaggerated Wow/Flutter and Crinkle influence. This is a sick machine.
Dirty slap. Fixed, Mode A for a slapback on a distorted guitar. The natural warmth created by the slower tape speed allows the delay to sit in the mix nicely.
Power guitar. Single Mode A. Using the Tape Age knob, the bandwidth is reduced and a natural echo is created from the cranked power chords.
Wow & Flutter. The Single Head, Mode B machine. By varying the Wow & Flutter, and Tape Crinkle controls from minimum to maximum in four increments, the range of 'machine health' possibilities is highlighted.
Rasta. Fixed Head, Mode B. By adding a generous helping of Spring Reverb, we achieve a trippy reggae sound with regenerating repeats that continue to build as the rhythm continues.
Spaceship. Fixed Head, Mode A. A great machine for sci-fi, the short repeats and varying tape speed can create some classic spacey sounds. In this clip a single note is played, and El Capistan does the rest.
Rastaship. By overdubbing the rasta and spaceship clips, we get rastaship!
Baritone. Multi Head, Mode C. With minimum Tape Bias, a regenerative brightness occurs offsetting the high-end roll-off from the playback head aperture. This along with maximum Low End Contour removes low frequencies from the repeats. The baritone's sound remains coherent with high repeats as the notes descend into the lower register. The spring reverb is employed for maximum ambience.
Here are some sound clips played by Strymon's marketing guy Ethan Tufts (AKA indie artist State Shirt). Signal path: Damage Control Womanizer » El Capistan » Digi002 audio interface.
Worn out tape. Multi Head, Mode B. A good amount of Wow & Flutter along with a fair amount of Tape Crinkle. Tape Age is set at about 70% for a relatively worn out tape sound.
Magnetic drum wash. Multi Head, Mode C. Tape Age set to minimum for a new tape sound. Bias is set at 75% and Repeats are cranked to get some regenerating oscillation in the background. Low End Contour is set at max, rolling off all of the low end, giving more of a magnetic drum style.
In need of service. Fixed Head, Mode B. Wow & Flutter and Tape Crinkle are maxed, representing a very tired and sick tape echo machine. This one is in need of service!
Old tape. Fixed Head, Mode B. Tape Age is set at about 75%, indicative of older more worn out tape. Low End Contour is set at 75% as well, rolling off a lot of low end in the repeats. Wow & Flutter and Tape Crinkle are set at 50%.
Better days. Roland Juno 6 running into El Capistan. First short passage is in Bypass, then the pedal is engaged. Fixed Head, Mode B. Tape Age is set at about 75% for an older tape sound. Low End Contour is set at about half to roll off some low end. Tape Crinkle and Wow & Flutter are set at about 75% as well, for the sound of a tape machine that has seen better days.
Tape echo arpeggio. Roland Juno 6 running into El Capistan. First short passage is in Bypass, then the pedal is engaged. Single Head, Mode A. Tape Age, Wow & Flutter and Tape Crinkle are all set around half.
The signal path of these last two clips: El Capistan » Digi002 audio interface » Line 6 POD Farm plug-in using a Vox AC30 amp model.
Tape with drive. Fixed Head, Mode B. Running into an amp with a bit of drive and grit. Tape Age and Low End Contour are set at 75%. Wow & Flutter and Tape Crinkle are set at 50%. Repeats are cranked at the end to generate some runaway oscillation. Time knob is set to max, then to minimum, then to maximum again.
Dirty multi head. Multi Head, Mode B. Running into an amp with a touch of drive. Tape Age and Tape Crinkle set to 75%. A hint of Spring Reverb is added as well.
Download the user manual
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.
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!
Tape Adjustment and Tone Shaping
Tape Machines and Modes
El Capistan has three distinct tape machine types, each with three separate modes.
Features and Specs
Sound on Sound
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!
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.
Made in the USA
Features are subject to change without notice