View Poll Results: What do you think about tape echo machines?

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  • They're great and highly recommended, despite the cost.

    3 50.00%
  • They're nice but grossly overpriced. Get a 3 head open reel machine w/pitch control instead.

    3 50.00%
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Thread: Just some random thoughts on tape echo machines...

  1. #1
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    Question Just some random thoughts on tape echo machines...

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    Well, you know the ones, dedicated solely to tape echo, with several heads, endless tape loop and ability to tweak as desired. I'm sure they're cool sounding but don't you think they're grossly overpriced? What's even more troublesome is that hardly any of the sellers put up any photos of the heads. I'm surprised that any of them still have any life left, considering how they work. People blindly buy them like hot-cakes and never even assume this oft talked about point. How many of these machines have worn out heads, no high frequencies whatsoever as a result and still are praised for their "warm" tone. For one Roland space echo you could potentially buy 2 or 3 proper open reel machines with 3 heads and pitch control and do your own echo. Am I not reading this correctly or is everyone nuts?

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    They actually sound better than anything else

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    I have a Tascam 34b that I've dedicated to loops + effects, and it's my "Tape Echo Machine To End All Tape Echo Machines"

    I think tape echo machines are great for instrumentalists, but for the home studio it's redundant and expensive, aside from being just another piece of aging equipment needing maintenance.
    Don't let schooling interfere with your education - Mark Twain

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    Never had the $$$ for the echo's but I am working on using my Otari b3 and think it's cool. I think of it this way, if I just bought a tape echo that's all I can ever do with it, on the other hand if I buy a 3 head reel I can use it as a loop machine, echo machine, or a regular tape machine. I would think the reel to reel idea is a better value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
    They actually sound better than anything else
    OK, granted, when you have life left on the heads but how do you account for seemingly hundreds if not thousands of hours of use on the units, which can actually move tape across the heads relentlessly fast, sometimes faster than an open reel deck. Why are people seemingly not interested in that aspect of operation? Those are high use machines, from what I've gathered, and if my math is right, the heads, on a good chunk of those machines are either heavily worn or beat to death. I mean, it's pretty much standard to ask about or inspect heads on a high speed tape machine, open reel but it seems that's not the case at all for those tape echo units. I've observed that people completely overlook this aspect and buy up those machines with seemingly no reason or sense. Would you buy a 1 motor tape machine for $500, with unknown history of use and no photos of heads or ability to inspect them? Isn't the machine worthless if the heads are shot or worn far from new? I kinda liken those things to the crazy prices Maxell tape goes for. You can get better, new tape for less. Seems crazy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lo.fi.love View Post

    I think tape echo machines are great for instrumentalists, but for the home studio it's redundant and expensive, aside from being just another piece of aging equipment needing maintenance.
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgeaspen View Post
    I think of it this way, if I just bought a tape echo that's all I can ever do with it, on the other hand if I buy a 3 head reel I can use it as a loop machine, echo machine, or a regular tape machine. I would think the reel to reel idea is a better value.
    Yes, that's my take on it too.

    A tape echo box would obviously be best for someone on the road or to quickly plug something in, like maybe in a band or live concert, for convenience sake but other than that it's perplexing why someone would opt for it.

    My biggest gripe still is the notion that people don't get the fact that the heads ware quite fast on those units and that people blindly buy them out, for crazy prices.

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    Here's a thought and I'm not sure if this'll go anywhere but if you have some sound clips that you want to post, of whatever the machine is (be it an open reel, dedicated echo box or whatever else you've got....), it'd be cool to have a listen.

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    Alrighty,...
    You brought me outta the woodwork, cjacek...

    I had a hard time voting (still didn't) cuz, I would vote for both.

    But "I" am one of those few that does ask about the heads, and motor promptly. That is the first question I ask when thinking about a purchase.
    I ask the seller to send me close up pictures of the units heads, along with
    how many owners, how much usage, etc.

    I totally agree the prices these days are outrageous!
    What I think is,..being the fact that most of the sellers are Japanese,
    and live close to the original Roland company,..They were able to hoard these machines, lock them away, and keep them in a near mint state..
    They know these machines are very well sought after by people in other countries, and can command an over-ridiculous-price for a 20 somethin' year old out of production machine.
    Well, when the other sellers see this,..even if their tape echo isn't close to being in mint condition,...they think they can command the same price tag as the Japanese...which in my opinion,...is OUTRAGEOUS!
    I've purchased all my tape echos quite some time ago, before this little phenomenon started,..in which I am proud to announce.

    I am an electronic artist, an acoustic drummer, and a lover all that is analog.
    I love the flavor these machines add to my synths, drums, vocals, & samples...and when I have someone over for a jam session, such as a guitarist,..(especially one that plays blues) they always want to plug into one of my very well cared for tape echos.
    Each one that I own has its "own" sound,..Even the ones that I have doubles of.
    I am a tape echo coniseur. It is an expensive hobby / addiction that I have, I have to admit.
    If the machines are used properly, and maintained properly...
    They will work flawlessly, without severe maintenance.
    I haven't had one problem with any of my echo units, for 20 + years that I've been collecting them,..until recently a couple months back, when some severe humidity struck, and I had taken my dehumidifier over to my practice spot for a a week to record on location,..and when I got home the one day, and fired up one of my units...the tape shed all over the unit. There was nothing wrong with the unit itself,...just the tape.

    I refuse to pay the outrageous prices the people on ebay are expecting.
    Most of the units I've purchased were originally bought by me new, back in the day,...and the others I've purchased, were "one owner" units that I was able to inspect upon arrival.
    I am VERY analytic of the gear I purchase...
    and the same way, when selling a piece to a fellow buyer.

    But yeah,..You are correct about the outrageous price tags.
    I would much rather build my own custom unit, if I didn't already own what I already have. Most, if not all my machines,..will definitely outlive me.
    ...and I donot have any children to pass 'em on to. Not even a nephew, or neice. So,..maybe I'll pass 'em on to a close friend, that I believe is worthy enough, to keep 'em in the state they are in now.
    I'm not planning on croaking anytime soon though!

    Excellent thread!

    I'm sure I'll be back
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails roland-sre-555-chorus-echo-2010-003-jpg   roland-sre-555-chorus-echo-2010-012-jpg  


    "The bottom line is your ears...if it sounds good the way you are doing it then don't let me, or anybody tell you you are doing it "wrong". - sweetbeats

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    VESSEL2020: I'm glad I was able to pull you out of the woodwork 'cause you make a bloody good case. I appreciate your input. Sorry if it seemed as if I dumped on the machines or people who owned them but, I guess, the issue is just plain being mad about how seemingly senseless a lot of buyers buy and in turn artificially escalate the prices. Don't get me wrong, mint units are worth the price but those are few vs the worn out door-stops that command high prices. No distinction seems to be made which is sad.

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    I'd very much like to know how you'd plan to get a multi-tap echo out of a 3-head deck.

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