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Old 29th July 2005, 06:36 AM   #1
infobot is offline infobot  United States
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Default tape echo search

I'm new here, hope this topic isn't totally exhausted. Does anyone know anything about DIY tape echo or delay? Looked all over the internet, couldn't find much. Wish someone would come out with an affordable kit too.

PS I'd attempt one myself but I am too much an amateur. Think I'd rather have some instructions. The basic layout, sure. Some of the electronics are beyond my skill level, without plans or something.

any ideas?
thanks
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Old 30th July 2005, 04:56 AM   #2
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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I can't imagine someone producing such a kit. Nothing against tape echoes, I have used them for decades. But honestly, they are noisy, the tapes wear out or break, and are mechanical. You can make something with bucket brigade chips that essentially does the same thing for a lot less time effort and money.

Any tape deck with separate record and playback heads can be used to make tape delay. The signal from the playback head will always be delayed with respect to the source. Tape speed and head spacing determines the amount.

SOme units like the very popular Echoplex used a moving head assembly, so you could move it to the desired delay timing. Others just had several heads spaced along the tape, and you selected one or more of them with switches.

But they all worked the same way. A continuous loop of tape was pulled past a record head where the source material was recorded, then there was a playback head that picked the signal up a moment later. This delayed signal was fed out of the unit. Usually there was a mix control so yo could blend the dry signal and the delayed. But you could run it with delayed signal only coming out and do the mixing elsewhere in the sound system.

To make one is essentially to build a tape deck. It just happens to be somewhat customized for this one purpose. It needs a cointinuous tape. It needs a record and playback circuit and heads. It needs the mechanicals - the tape transport. That means motor and capstan, pinch roller, tape guides, head support, tape magazine of some sort, some sort of tape tension provider.

It would not be a simple project.
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Old 30th July 2005, 05:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enzo
I can't imagine someone producing such a kit. [...]
To make one is essentially to build a tape deck. [...]
It would not be a simple project.
Almost there. You could butcher a three head open reel deck to do the job, just take a variable length of tape between the record and playback heads to change the delay length. It's still not trivial mechanically, but far from building the entire deck yourself.

On the other hand, digital delays are way cheaper than a working second hand tape deck: zzounds.com sells a Behringer multi-effects unit (including tape echo simulation) for $100. Unless you want to spend a *lot* of time tweaking the DIY unit to make it work, you're better off with store-bought.


Francois.
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Old 30th July 2005, 06:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by DSP_Geek
...just take a variable length of tape between the record and playback heads to change the delay length...
We used to just pull out a loop from between the heads, and then out to a very heavy based upright mic stand. As you moved the stand further away you got a longer delay...
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Old 31st July 2005, 07:57 PM   #5
Nasse is offline Nasse  Finland
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What do you want, a simple echoplex thing or some european real multi head echo machine?

For simple slap back I would too recommend a solid state solution
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Old 5th August 2005, 07:44 PM   #6
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Default DIY tape delay

I totally disagree. A DIY tape-delay is about the coolest project you can tackle. Find an old Wollensak or Sony reel-to-reel tape unit and mount a seperate read or play head on a swivel-mount, complete with the tape guide posts. Use the output of the play head to go into your mixer/amp and feed a variable amount of it back to the second original head. If you are real lucky and find a Sony with the DC tape-transport/capstan motor, start playing with the capstan speed after you have run out of tape-length adjustment. Stevie (Guitar) Miller has one of my old 1966 units and it STILL works, although a bit noisier than you might want. I recommend this project as very worthwhile. Good luck finding one of those old Sonys. They are worth looking for.
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Old 25th August 2005, 04:07 PM   #7
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We used to just use a pair of Tascam reel-to-reel decks for this. It was fun.

Get a long blank tape, throw it on the feed reel of one deck, feed it through, feed it through the next deck, onto its take-up reel. Start the take-up (player) before the recorder.

Plug the effects send of your mixer into the recording deck. Plug the effects return into the output of the playback deck. Vary the effects send level to get the amplitude of echo you like, vary the distance between tape decks (and motor speed) to achieve the echo time you'd like.

For even MORE fun, don't plug the playback deck into the effects return, plug it into another input. Now instead of "Ya ya" you can do "ya ya yayayaya". Just be careful with your levels and EQ that you don't feedback your mixer. If you have a high freq shelf EQ, use it. Otherwise, keep an eye on your VU meters to make sure you're not pegging the mixer's amplifiers with supersonic feedback.

Incidentally, if you can find good tape decks and record both tracks in mono at 30fps, you can probably get a VERY reasonable noise floor, especially after expansion, compression, and EQing. Inter-deck alignment is important, too.

Wes
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Old 12th September 2007, 05:03 AM   #8
binky is offline binky  United States
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I have been messing around with echo tape decks for lots of years,its fun, it all started when i heard a sound effects show on kpfa in berkley,ca, i live in sacramento, I stared wondering what would happen if I put two tape heads and amps in the same tape deck, through out the years I have tried several things including the vsc amp that radio shack sold as a tape deck that took out the pauses in speech, what that did was when you loop it it decades up or down depending on how the vsc is set, note the vcs tape amp is put in the receive or playback part ,it would not work while recoring, the vsc part only works in playback, I have just constructed a stereo echo deck out of an old soundsign top deck it has an speed controller that i took out of another deck
that was for sight impared persons ,it is really neat to mess with once i git the tape heads aligned properly ,i am also working on what i call a zip deck ,when done i hope it to be able to go fowards and backwords at the same speed ,I have built alot of echo decks and thing that the challange and fun of learning over just getting some software to do this is a lot better,besides when i was doing this there was really no software in the early 80's
I hope i explained this ok ,sorry im so long winded here I just had lots to say ,cus i read some person saying why any would want to waist time , the answer is learning and its just fun!
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Old 9th August 2013, 01:08 AM   #9
binky2 is offline binky2  United States
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Default re post of my old post from 2007

Quote:
Originally Posted by Binky View Post
I have been messing around with echo tape decks for lots of years,its fun, it all started when i heard a sound effects show on kpfa in Berkley,ca, i live in Sacramento, I stared wondering what would happen if I put two tape heads and amps in the same tape deck, through out the years I have tried several things including the vsc amp that radio shack sold as a tape deck that took out the pauses in speech, what that did was when you loop it it decades up or down depending on how the vsc is set, note the vcs tape amp is put in the receive or playback part ,it would not work while recording, the vsc part only works in playback, I have just constructed a stereo echo deck out of an old Sounddesign top deck it has an speed controller that i took out of another deck
that was for sight impaired persons ,it is really neat to mess with once i git the tape heads aligned properly ,i am also working on what i call a zip deck ,when done i hope it to be able to go forwards and backwards at the same speed ,I have built alot of echo decks and thing that the challenge and fun of learning over just getting some software to do this is a lot better,besides when i was doing this there was really no software in the early 80's
I hope i explained this OK ,sorry I am so long winded here I just had lots to say ,because I read some person saying why any would want to waist time , the answer is learning and its just fun!
OK, this is Binky i am back had to make another account as the other one was made in 2007 , I did some corrections to the old post.
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Old 11th August 2013, 07:31 AM   #10
Tarzan is offline Tarzan  Belgium
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Try to find a second hand tape echo from Dynacord or Echolette.
The mechanical part is in a module form. That's the most difficult part and hence it's done in a very decent way.
The electronics can be build to taste and the casing to.
Such a project can be done with a high dgree of success.
If you start with the mechanical stuff; dissaster will follow...
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