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
 
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.
 
Enzo said:
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.
 
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.
 
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
 

binky

Member
2007-09-12 4:59 am
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!
 

binky2

Member
2013-08-09 1:54 am
re post of my old post from 2007

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.
 

Tarzan

Member
2004-05-23 6:54 pm
Genk
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...
 

binky2

Member
2013-08-09 1:54 am
This is an update on this project from 2007. I have now built a loop type echo device and a tape deck echo. The tape echo is Stereo, I used an amp from a Walkman type unit. the main tape deck is a Sound design tape deck . both amps are stereo, I had to figure out how to mount the second tape head where the erase head was. This creates a problem of no erase head. I get around this by doing a fast erase on another tape recorder. the loop was harder. I had to figure out how to make the tape
go around with out stopping or variance.I am using reel to reel tape on this project . The tape loop has two tape recorder amps from old mono tape units. . it is built in a old cracker box turned inside out. if any one would like to see these units they can be seen on happycatmedia on Youtube. I have other ideas but have too many interests right now. both projects were fun and challenging to build. They got completed in 2009 I believe. I use them from sound effects stuff. I have been building these things since 1982.


binky aka soundman
 

binky2

Member
2013-08-09 1:54 am
Slinding head tape loop

I own a HH sliding head tape echo. It's an unusual bit of kit, weird trippy sounds and a very unique vibe. hardly something i would call handy or portable though.
I am now changing the loop echo unit again. I have made the heads movable, also it will have speed control, so I should get, a range of slap back echo to about 3 or 4 seconds echo. have not tested yet, just got the tape heads so they slide and are in azimuth to each other and stay in azimuth to each other . my unit is not portable it is land locked on my desk the wires tucked under things. I had to take the top section off. to be able to work on it on a separate desk with a test amp and power.
keep up the great work , check you tube (happycatmedia) as I will post this as soon as I can get it going.
 

binky2

Member
2013-08-09 1:54 am
Reply: WEM copycat

Well would be nice. It is probably out of our price range though. We are a bare bones studio and I am on a fix income, and I like to build things any way , I really am not one of those just buy something to work kinda people. I have been building things since the 1980's started at age of 21 ,I am now 52 , It is fun rewarding and sometimes frustrating and challenging at the same time.

The sound man (happycatmedia)