The first question I asked myself as I plugged the Wamper Faux Tape Echo in for the first time was: why isn’t this pedal on more P&W boards? Brian Wampler is a respected builder and it’s not uncommon to see an Ego comp or one of his many gain pedals. But when I see a Tape delay it’s almost always the Strymon with a few Empress’s thrown in. What’s the deal? So there’s no way around it, as we review this pedal, it’s going to get compared to other pedals, and I think you’ll see that it more than holds it’s own.
What is tape delay? The first delay effects were created using magnetic tape in the studio to quickly repeat sounds. Units like the Echoplex, RE-201 and Binson recreated this in a portable form. The problem is that these mechanical units are large, often with reliability issues and prohibitively expensive. So modern Tape Delays are digital delays with vocings and features designed to emulate the sounds, response and quirks of these vintage units.
Tape delay is great for rhythmic sounds, especially for country/gospel and ambient sounds as seen by artists like Radiohead.
Sound: The FTE sounds good and holds its own when compared against dedicated Tape delays like the Empress or El Capistan and far surpasses the delays found on multi units like the TC Flashback.
When you engage the “Tape Reel” you get the modulation you’d expect to find in a mechanical tape unit but with full control only possible in a digital pedal. When you bypass the Tape Reel you get a fantastic analog sounding delay.
I was easily able to dial in a “U2” style delay for rhythmic parts on songs like “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)” and “O The Wonderful Cross” which isn’t easy to do on a pedal like the El Cap.
I also easily dialed in washed out/ambient sounds for slower songs like “This is the Air I Breathe,” “Oceans,” and countless others.
Features: One of my favorite things about the FTE is that all the controls are in front of you. There’s no hidden or secondary controls like on other pedals. It was easy to use and figure out. Sweet spots were not hard to find.
Tap Tempo lets you easily keep up with the rest of the band.
But the real secret weapon of this pedal is the “Tape Reel”. Engage it and you have full control over the modulation which allowed for sounds that were very usable and very atmospheric. Bypass the Tape Reel and you get a great analog delay sound, depending on your needs.
My only complaint on the features was I wish it had a “momentary switch” that allowed for self-oscillation, but truthfully, I almost never use that sound in church.
Value: The pedal sells for almost $100 than the El Capistan with almost al the features expect multi-head. Plus, because it’s MA draw is lower, you don’t need a special power supply to bring it to life.
How to use it at church: I could see a set list going like Song 1: FTE on with the Tape Reel bypassed for a great analog tone for my lead lines. Song 2: TR engaged for a more vintage sound. This would also add a little something for a player in a church that doesn’t allow a lot of overdrive or gain. Song 3: Tap in a very slow tempo for really washed out sounds to fill in the space on a slower song.
If you use delay, then you will find a lot to love about the Wampler Faux Tape Echo. I started by asking why I didn’t seem the FTE on more Praise and Worship pedalboards, and I still find myself asking the same question, and maybe you should too…