For many players, the idea of playing through a genuine tape echo device sits high upon their gear bucket list. But with lofty dreams often comes a prohibitive reality. In other words, even if you're going to get your mitts on an original Echoplex or Space Echo, the price tag is going to set you back more than a few pretty pennies. And even then, expect to shell out some hefty upkeep and restoration fees to keep it in tip top order. Enter: the T-Rex Replicator Analogue Tape Echo, bringing a genuine tape echo experience to the masses with a contemporary edge for the modern gigging musician.
Tape echo units are prized for their lush repeats that come layered with a natural depth to them, and the Replicator has this in spades. Mesmerising tape modulation is on offer, as well as a pleasing lo-fi roll-off of the high and low frequencies that you’ll find in a digital counterpart. From classic slapback echoes of the ‘50s to immersive psych effects, this will have you covered.
For lovers of '50s slapback—which is straight-up one of the most desirable guitar tones of all time—the Replicator will bring you as close as you can get to the original sound. While there's no shortage of digital tape echo effects on the market these days, there really isn't any substitute for the natural wow and flutter that genuine tape has. It has a depth and unpredictability that modern effects can come close to, admittedly, but never truly recreate. It's the type of sound that will fatten up your leads, round out your rhythm tone, and add an extremely subtle chorus effect to your tone—a sound so lush that it's worth the price of admission alone.
Tape is unpredictable, and that’s something that a digital recreation can never achieve. As tape wears thin, you’ll find more modulation introduced, as well as signal degradation in the echoes. Don’t worry—that’s what you want. Two expression inputs and tap tempo bring modern expectations to a vintage-inspired gem.
As far as build quality, this is a weighty and large unit, meaning you’ll have to make space for it on your board or run it as a standalone unit on top of your amp. Regardless, it’s built to last and comes with handy accessories to keep it in top condition.
There's nothing quite like playing through a genuine tape echo unit. While vintage puritans may shake their head at this contemporary iteration, the Replicator really does harness the best of both the present and the past. It's the sound you've heard on countless classic recordings. Hell, it's the sound you've heard in your head that you're yearning to recreate. The Replicator is your answer.
If you don’t want to spend days trawling through online auction sites for a tape echo that will no doubt need restoration before you can even get a note out of it, the Replicator is for you. Its price will prohibit some, but every guitarist should experience playing through a tape echo at least once in their life.
Hits and Misses
Lush tones that you could only get from a genuine tape delay
Price point isn’t for everyone