Thanks to everyone who took the time to listen to the samples from my three eTap2HW-based EchoTapper variants and cast a vote in my poll on which sound they preferred.
There was a very clear preference for Track ‘C’ which polled 55% of the votes, in second place was Track ‘B’ which polled 30% and coming well up the rear was Track ‘A’ with a mere 15%.
Now it’s time to reveal the details of the ‘competitors’…
- Track ‘A’ was the unit with the valve preamp (15%)
- Track ‘B’ was the unit with the unmodified FET preamp (30%)
- Track ‘C’ was the unit with a modified FET preamp with optimized bias (55%)
Which really makes me wonder about all the fuss and hullabaloo on some of the Shadows forums regarding how ‘good’ the valve preamp-based units sound. My personal opinion is that the valve preamp sounds too ‘mellow’ with not enough bite to get the sound of the early Shadows recordings. It does sound nice but comes nowhere near ‘that sound’ but maybe with some modifications to the circuit it could get closer – we shall see.
Incidentally, I also prefer the sound of the modified FET preamp, it gives more gain and punch though Piet’s original FET design is also excellent and the results of individual units can vary depending on the wide manufacturing spread of the specs for individual FETs.
The original sound samples are still available here if you’d like to audition them (again).