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Ares Vintage Preamp

Based On
Echoplex EP-3 Preamp
Effect Type
Preamp, buffer
Build Difficulty
Project Summary
A pedal adaptation of the preamp section of the EP-3 Echoplex tape echo unit. It captures the sound of the EP-3 in bypass mode, favored by many guitarists for it “sweetening” effect on the tone.

Complete Kit

What's included?
PCB, finished enclosure, hardware,
and all electronic components.


In stock

Ares Vintage Preamp printed circuit board

PCB Only

What's included?
Just the PCB. Build instructions and parts list can be viewed or downloaded from this page.


In stock

Project overview

The Ares Vintage Preamp is a reproduction of the Echoplex EP-3 tape echo unit in bypass mode. The EP-3 was originally released in 1970 as a solid-state update to the previous tube-based versions. It became legendary not only for its tape delay effect, but also for the coloration that its preamp would add even with the echo turned off. It’s a pretty simple JFET gain stage, but it does something special with the phase response of the signal.

The Ares is more directly based on the ClinchFX EP-Pre, originally traced by Aion FX in 2015. It uses a charge pump to get 18 or 24v from a 9 or 12 volt source, which compares to the 20V supply of the original. There is also an output buffer added to the end so that it interacts more consistently with pedals that follow.

There were two versions of the EP-3: the early version which was brighter and the late version which was a little darker and fatter. The difference is a single capacitor that was added to the first JFET stage in the later version. The Ares has a toggle switch that allows you to switch between these two versions, as well as a third mode that thickens the tone even more.

Note that, like the original Echoplex preamp, there is very little overall gain available. With Volume at maximum, it only gets about 6dB above unity. Despite being called a preamp, this is not a boost pedal, but more of a tone enhancer or conditioner.

Demo Video

Check out RJ Ronquillo's demo of the Ares Vintage Preamp.
Watch on YouTube →