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ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working

 
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Mike Zee



Joined: 20 Mar 2001
Posts: 766
Location: NY, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:23 am    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

Hi guys,
so I actually have got my hands on this idea...if you remember while ago, I had that idea to try to build tape-delay based on cheap parts of used cassette deck(s).
Well, the idea is(was) maybe a sort of primitive, but practicly isn't so simple. But at least I have found some free time to start working on it. I wish I had more time to play with toys..hah hah
OK, so ... so far I'm on , let's say, experimental stage... And, man, this was actually a tough thing from 'craftmenship' point, but I've managed to make the damn thing running.
Here's a small thumb:
zdl CTD-105 test
Here are links to larger images:
ZDL CTD-105 tape drive test
ZDL CTD-105 two cassettes tape

As you can see the idea is about running the tape from tape-drive 1 (cassette 1) to tape drive 2 (cassette 2), where the drive 1 is recording and drive 2 is reading (playback). This is the base.
Again, it took me some sweat to make the thing actually running through. So the cassette 2 (where the reading head is) is actually the driving 'tray', the cassette 1 (writing head) is mechanicly passive (I took the pinch roller out), the tape is going through it - from left reel of cassette 1 to cassette 2 then through writing head, then to cassette 1 through reading head to right reel. I can fast forward and rewind the tape as well.
I was thinking making loop instead, but the tape is so freaking thin and soft, it's not like reel-to-reel...very hard to deal with.
I also placed another play-head in the position of erase head in the cassette 2 mechanism, but I am thinking now that it's not may be a good idea, 'cos it is really hard to place it well in that location. I may try later to place another head maybe in between the cassettes , but this all will depends on how I will be designing the whole thing later. For now it mast pass all basic tastes first...
Alright , guys, you've got the picture , I guess.
What this may be good for??? hah hah ha... so far, I have no answer, untill I get to actually puting together electronics. But the good news is that I can widely control the tape speed by changing viltage for the motor... The motors are 12VDC, so I could run it from about 4V through 12V ...and speed goes from full stop through something like double speed of normal cassette deck playback speed.
ok, I'll drop update, when I next time get back to this ... I'm not sure when...when ever I get free time to play with it.
Any crazy idea or comments welcome :)
/respects,
/Mike Zee aka Dr. ZEE
ZEE DUB LAB

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interruptor



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:14 am    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

looks great mike do you have an idea what delay time you will get between the two heads? to me it looks like it will be much longer than the usual length for musical applications. seems as if you're gonna be dubbing for giant extraterrestrial beings now. for us human people you will have to play the dubs at 4-times normal speed. (same as when listening to whale songs).. just joking.. anyway good luck with the electronics!
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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 4:01 pm    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

Heh heh... Daniel, lol... You see the whole project is like a toy at this stage. The biggest thing to pass... to see if it will work somewhat stable when actually recording/playing back ..and listen to how it sounds, so then at least I can say if it may be useful as a "production tool" ... but if it works well in general, then I can apply aome fantasy on it ..hah! I was thinking of (maybe!) incorporating couple of digital effects blocks into it (let's say to take couple of cheap guitar pedals and get the 'stuff' out of it... so I have something like reverb, phaser and digi delay blocks... host all these stuff in one box with bunch of switches and knobs, so I can route the tape-delay signal/feed back signal through extra treatment if desired)... So I get that ugly looking 'mad effect unit' On the other hand, It may be even better idea to have this machine as delay only box, but with all ins/and/outs/inserts available on the front, so I can patch in some extra stuff externally.
And then - yes, the main feature of this machine is LONGER analog tape delay.
What's the delay time?
I can't be accurate, 'cos no audio yet...so I can only tell 'visually' ;-)
Now, you see, as I can 'independently' power up the motor for the tape drive, so I have independent control of tape speed. When I power it with 12V DC the tape runs pretty fast, as I've said about double normal speed. I think I can actually run it even faster, but I get nervious putting higher voltage, than it is marked on the motors (12 DC)... I don't know if I can burn the motor ...
So when it runs on 12V , as I can see, when lead tape joint point moves - I'd say, it takes 1 second or somewhat less, than a second from head to head... The lowest volage I've tried (so the tape still moves) was about 3V DC...and with this speed it takes about 4 seconds from head to head. So I guess I can get somewhat from 1 to 4 seconds delay time...hah hah - KILLER unit! LOL
OK, Daniel, thanks for checkin' it out...
The electronics is a tough field, man.... I am using parts from sony dual cassette deck. I have another similar sony but single cassette deck,I think I can use rec/or playback block from it, but it is a real puzzle here, because of the design of the decks, which is not as it used to be with older electronics, where you can separate about everything... so I have to figure out how to get what I need in still working order...
will be back sometime later
this maybe a long time in progress project...simply because I don't have much time on my hands. but will be updating as it goes..
/respects,
/Mike Zee aka Dr ZEE

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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 7:30 am    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

geeeeee, guys, this is so freakin' idiotic..rofl, but it's kinda' works..very silly and potentially pretty mad thing.
so I've managed to ges the basic audio path by incorporation another decks's electronics.
I've got pretty cool result...but there's way to go still to the point of usefulness.
Here are couple pics of the latest 'audio test':
ZDL CTD-150 audio-test 1
ZDL CTD-150 audio-test 2
So what I'm doing here is: I use one tape-deck's electronics to feed the record head (the right passive cassette) and I use another tape deck's electronics to take the signal from reading/playback head (the right active cassette/ tape drive). The cool part of it is that I also get LED metters - one pair for input signal and the one pair for 'echo' signal... not much use, but it's cool :)
So I'm just playing some CD, getting audio from CD-player... it goes to record-deck IN ...to record head... I've connected Left out from recording deck's output to left Channel of amp/speaker - so can hear/monitor the source on the left, and I've connected Right out from Play-Back Deck's to Right channel of amp/speaker so I can hear the tape (echo signal) on the right. The result is preaty freaky...
I also had to redesign the cassttes tape path/little roller's position. My first design didn't work well...the tape was really hard going... so now it's much better, but the repetition sound is really strange comparing to original source.... I am not sure why, maybe the tape already got freaked out while I was running it back and forward, or maybe the whole mechanism is simply unstable in this test model... I gues both...
anyway... I'll try maybe to record something next time. I have not got to feedback stage yet...so I am just getting simple repetition/single delay.
well, the good news is that at least it works in general, so when I get next time 'inspiration' and some free hour or two... maybe I'll get something out of this.
There's bunch of all sorts of issues here ..bunch of little things, which are boring to blah abot, but I have to deal with it..
okey,
i'l'B'back :)
/Mike Z aka Dr ZEE

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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

okey ..;-0
after killing my last few weekends and what ever time i could squiz... I gues I can say that I can now sort of 'officially release' this machine ...
I must say that I had couple moments when I was about grab all the pieces and dump'em into trash container. First I had a real hard time with the transport when trying to host it into what ever box. Then I've got some ugly situation with electronics...when I could not figure out where the hell all the noise comes from.... there's allot ot take care there when messing with "original designed gear" :)...
okey..I can go on and on complaining there...but at the end I have ended up with this thing, which now I have to call as "system" ..LOL, so it's officially now: ZDL CTD-105 Analog Cassette Tape delay system :)
It is a two boxes/units machine, which hard-wire connected. One box is a tape drive - Tape Transport Unit, and the other is the box where all the electronics and controls are hosted, so I called it Control Unit.
I've used the single deck's box for all electronics and double deck's box, which was cut in half and 'resized' to fit and host two cassette transports, placed one next to the other.
I've moved all the electronics from double-deck to the other box, and also the control panel was placed in the location where the single deck's transport was originally located.
Now, instead of typing all the descriptions, I simply going to post links to the photos I've made and you'll get pretty good idea about it.
So here it is.
Small thumb:
ZDL CTD-105
*********
Larger impages links:
ZDL CTD-105 Main Image
ZDL CTD-105 Front View and Controls
ZDL CTD-105 Cassette Transport Control and Double Cassette design
ZDL CTD-105 Transport Unit Inside
ZDL CTD-105 Control Unit Image 1
ZDL CTD-105 Control Unit Image 2
ZDL CTD-105 Both Units Inside Connected
ZDL CTD-105 In Studio setup with EQ unit to control feedback signal
ZDL CTD-105 At Work in Studio
***********
There's still some work for me to experiment and especially in the area of actuall cassettes design. I am thinking to make some better crafted double cassettes, which are actually hard connected. I also am thinking to really improve the guide rollers etc....
Important part here was when I've added the front cover for the cassettes trays. This cover actually has special pins indide which hold cassttes in place.
********
I have very little time trying to test the actual sound of the effect, because I mostly was working on overall design etc... just to make everything in general working okey.
Now I actually have tried it in action, and I must say that it is not so bad.... but really it's a some sort very specific effect.... the sound of the delays are very strange and freaked out ..lol This device may work really well on short vocals in dub ...will create all sorts of unpredictable ghosty voices.
I also have not put newer tape...the one I was testing with is the same cassette I started working with...so after all the drive testes it is already preatty freaked out ...
Also in addition to using it as delay unit it can be used to simply get some strange sounds from recorded on cassette material - I can swip speed from 0 through double normal speed in real time, also can audition FF and tape rewind at vary speed.
******
One of the issue I was (and am) facing was feedback nightmares.... there sure must be a ghost in this machine ...:) ... well, what I've found, that I have to have eq on the way of feedback, and depending on the material going through - adjust it... to avoide puiding up unwanted noises. There are good noises and there are bad noises...so when trying to create those long going echos ...having EQ on feedback line have became A MUST... as you can see on the photo.
******
Here I have a short crappy sequence ...just at least to give you soundbite of it. In this downtempo piece, I simply send the acordion-synth like lead instrument to the machine and sweep around down the send/feedback groups on my mixer, plus adjusting eq a bit.... this example just demontrates the idea of creating longer going on delays where the sound is mutating over the time from each repetition to the next and morphing actually into some sort of strange sounds/noise ... especially listen to the very end of this sample-track. The mp3 is about 2 min long:
To download: download effect test 01
To stream: stream play effect test 01

alright, guys...
I don't have any more soundbites for now.... maybe later I'll make something more interesting, but at least you get a bite...
will be back

respects,
/Mike Zee aka Dr ZEE
ZEE DUB LAB

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interruptor



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:35 pm    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

incredible work mike.. thanks for documenting it all here! in this time where everybody is raving about plugins one forgets easily how much knowledge and work is needed to get something involving actual mechanics and analog electronics running.

i think most of the freakiness in your sound comes from the tape flutter created by your selfbuilt mechanics. can you also get shorter delay times or is this the minimum already? i feel the sound easily qualifies for great dub music. (can't judge about hiss and humm, on my small pc speaker though)
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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:26 pm    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

Hi, Daniel, thanks
*********
yeah..well... there are soooooooo many issues here..hah, I could write if not a book, but at least long article on this thing ;-()
The transport here is the freakiest part...also as I've said, the tape is all f*kt up over my testing and obuse.
This isn't shortest delay time, I'd say I can get with max speed less than sec ... I was playing around, and actually found it very useful with shorter delay and not much feedback for creating things like synth bass loops/grooves, especially if eq and pan echos ... you get the whole variety of groves with mutated repetitions. When I get a chance next time I'll try to record some more vary sounds, maybe some voce/vocals etc...
The other 'ghosty' area here is the tape speed when I switch to speed control. I am using here so called Pulse Width Modulator ciruit... had to construct it from a kit... no big deal, but it does not really work well as stable transport speed control for record player... it's great for toys, electric tools or what have you... but it is very unstable (or at least the cheap kit i have here) ... it works, but you like never know... it actually does reacts on heat ..and I'd say it has mind on its own and pretty damn moody... so that's why I say, if there are ghosts in gear ...there is one in this box for sure :)
So all this variables and inperfections are going to effect the sounds.
The real area for experimenting, as I can tell, is the feedback 'line'. Inserting EQ, gate, filter, compressor or what have you plus adjusting parameters in real time - all these tratments will mutate the sound over the time.
So overall it has potentials. The level of 'unpredictablity' of such machine is all the way up high ..lol. It's fun to play with, but pretty hard to use if you have specific desires in your production. Well, you know, we've got computers... hah hah, so nowdays everything wild and uncontrollable can be 'caged' in digital domain and then be 'forced to obey the master' :)

be back
respects
/Mike Zee aka Dr ZEE

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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 4:31 pm    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

ok, a lil update here.
I have put larger roll of tape now into cassette...so now it's max lenght as 15mins or so (if played at reagular cassette deck speed)...so it gives me somewhat around 7-10 mins or so running time for the most ..or longer if running slower. With these extra guide rollers , I can't put longer tape in, also lager roll of tape is harder for the motor to pull through both cassettes/heads, plus the tape gets extra streatch etc.... bunch of litle issues here.
Important thing I've done also, I have actually connected both cassettes now with special cut of clear plastic plate, so now both cassettes are like one piece, so I guess, I can call it 'cartridge' now :), it is much more stable transport now.
Here's the photo of cassettes, cover and the unit's front: ZDL CTD-105 Transport unit Cassettes and cassettes cover
Here's also the cover detailed photo, which as I've said actually plays important cassette holding role: ZDL CTD-15 Cassette Cover Holder
**********
ok,
here are couple more photos of the unit:

ZDL CTD-15 System Perspective View
ZDL CTD-15 Cassette Transport Unit
***********
Now I've made few soundbites last night.
You can stream 128kbps stereo mp3 playlist of all the files I have so far by clicking on this link:
Stream Play - ZDL CTD-105 Sound Samples
To download smoe indifidual samples here are links to mp3 files:
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Mellow E Piano and synth
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Mean Synth Bass
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - E Piano Stabs
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Synth Bass Echos
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Synth Bass Riff 01
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Synth Bass Riff 02
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Synth Bass Riff 03
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Synth Bells Piano and Strings 01
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Synth Bells Piano and Strings 02
ZDL CTD-105 Sound Sample - Synth Lead Move
********
there some vary settings, but for the most I wish to demonstrate the way tape changes the echos from source sound and each previous input signal and also how it creates sort of buidups on background. These 'buildups' are made of the "distorted mirror sounds" of the original source. These sounds create some unique atmosphere, which naturally blends with the original sound.
Another interesting fact and useful for many situations is that if you overload the input, you endup in much more forgiving situation (comparing to digital recording/processing)...so you can mess with feedback... cool for things like creating synth loops, bass grooves etc... (you can get very heavy or massive sound from some simple dry source).
*********
I have not play with vocals/voices your.... just synth here.... will do as soon as I get a chance.

/respects,
/Mike Zee aka Dr ZEE

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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:51 am    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

I forgot to mention here, if anybody interested in 'dc motor speed control' issue, here are links to get some general info:
Speed Controllers Intro Theory etc
You can get a kit, which I use for the machine and also read some info there's pdf file available there: DC motor speed controller kit
CK1400 pdf file is here
**********
/Mike Zee aka Dr ZEE

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jsdspif



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 8:43 pm    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

this whole topic blows me away . That stuff sounded cool. This is meant as a compliment , alot of the sounds remind me of some of the movies you would see at a drive in theatre in the 70's . This guy must have a super high I.Q.
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IRISH MOSS



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:12 pm    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

If I had any patience I would try this.....Jah know I wanted to and thought about it. You are a nut Mike! Wicked. I'd love to hear what this thing sounds like. I'm very impressed. Big up.
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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 12:30 am    Post subject: ZDL CTD-105 cassette tape-delay 'project' - working Reply with quote

IRISH MOSS , the sound samples I've posted links here to are still available to d-load. The only thing is, that I have not done anything in dub-production for the last three four month or so. I am still bussy setting up my acoustic drum kit, was practicing drumming allot lately, but have not recorded anything yet, I also still have to get more appropriate microphones to record drums not to mention that the whole drums recording/micing placement etc is a pretty hard task...so I don't know when I get to actually producing anything. Good news that I actually have now drums and it's pretty much all set and I'm happy with what I can do with my drum set up. Well, maybe to get couple of extra better nicer carshes and ride (they are not cheap :( ). Btw, here's my drum kit: http://www.mzentertainment.com/studio_pearl_forum.html, not the best photos there, but basically it's a Perl Forum Standard drum-set, plus extra no-name drum kit, which gives me extra set of toms , so I can tune them differently and use different heads for special sounds, and I have second bass drum, also different tuning and head).
So, well, maybe some time soon I get into recording something. Shure drum microphones are on the way :)

The sound samples I've posted here for demonstration of this delay unit are simply playing some digital synth patches (they are from Roland JV-1080).... so nothing specific to dub music, but you can guess how it may be usefull for dub tracks production. I just play something there and send signal from mixer to Tape Delay machine, then take output of the delay, patch into mixer's channel, then take direct out of that channel and patch it into another channel, punch that channel to group (group out), send it back to the delay unit's input (so this is feedback loop), I also insert graphic eq into feedback loop, so I can tweak feedback sound on the fly.

anyhow,
later, guys
and respects,
/Mike Zee aka Dr ZEE

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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hard to believe, this post is like 3 years old, time is getting too fast Surprised
*********8

ok, the reason I reply here is just to let you, guys know, that a few days ago I've took time and made some quick digital video clips of this unit in action, just for somebody who would care to wish to see that thing in "action".
I have to tell you, this is the freakiest "piece of gear" I've made...lol Very Happy Shocked Cool Surprised

anyhow,
first here's the link to the page where you can download (or stream) video clips.
http://www.mzentertainment.com/studio_workshop_zdlctd105_audio_samples.html
this is the same page where I've posted mp3 clips in the past. The video links there on the bottom of the list.
These clips are windows media kind. I think most players can play those, and Windows Media Player of course. If you have slower connection, then it's better to d-load file first, which will take time, of course, the clips files are about 10MB.
*********
The set-up there the same pretty much as described for audio clips, but I am using different pre-amp/vu-meter unit for feed-back control.
In the first clip I just "play" (heh heh, sort of "play" that is Laughing ) guitar, and mess with tape speed here and there.
In the second clip I've took the tape-cover off and made close-up clip so you can see the cassette-cartidge upclose, you actually can hear the cassette transport sound too, and I do not play instrument there, but it is just "playing back" what was recorded on tape during the first take, while I am again messing with tape speed from max to full stop and back.
Well it's kind of fun to play with.
That "system" is really hard to control in any way. Which may be a cool thing, in a sense. you never know what you get - Drums

ok, later, guys,
hope you all doing allright and all that,

/respects

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interruptor



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mike!

Thanks for the links..

That machine indeed creates uniquely flavoured echoes which suit your "call and response" type bluesy playing. Even the "vibrato" created by tape flutter fits in well. The echo sound seems somewhat metallic. But that may be just the impact of your camera microphone.
In the last third of the first video your guitar can be seen mirrored in the frontplate of the echo unit.

cheers
Daniel
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Mike Zee



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi , Daniel Very Happy
Thanks for taking time checking it out Smile
Yeah, the sound (audio) of the video clips is being picked up by built in little mic, and this is just a regular hundred-something dollar Sony Digital photo camera that also can capture couple minutes video clips. Actually the sound is not that bad as you may expect from that camera.
So it is picking the sound that comes from monitor-speaker, I turned it up rather loud, but of course the sound of the video should not be used for judging the sound of anything.
But regardlessly, you are kind of right, that the sound of echos from that cassette tape delay "system" is maybe "metallic", but you can use any word to describe it - "plastic" , ir just plain "freaky" will do too Laughing Freakiness is the MAIN feature of that machine ...heh heh
You can affect the sound by EQing in the feedback path and of course on the mixer's channel and what ever else you may think of , but the cassette mechanism and all the rest of that machine - huh, it does its thing, you know Smile

I have some audio-samples made with exact the same set-up, but using AMPEX reel-to-reel machine instead of this cassette machine, there's a big difference, but of course. Ampex 1260 is a three head tube machine, pretty cool one Smile , also in this set up with ampex I have no way to control (adjust) echo timing (speed), I only can switch tape speed of the machine between 3-1/4 and 7.5 ips, and at slow speed you get clearly echos, but at 7.5 it's pretty short, it's cool for something like fast guitar picking playing. (of course, there's another option - inserting a digital delay "unit" in the feedback path can be used for controling echos timing)
Here's the page with some samples with AMPEX machine:
http://www.mzentertainment.com/studio_workshop_ampex_950_1260_delay.html

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