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Posted on Monday, February 04, 2002 - 05:05 pm:   

I'm looking to get a hardware tape echo simulator for dub production. I know a simulator will never sound *exactly* like a real tape echo, but I can't afford one, and would rather not deal with the hassle of repairs, etc. The two models that have caught my eye are the Akai Headrush and the Line 6 DL4. Anyone use these and can comment on their veracity? Any other models you can suggest? Thanks.

I'm sure this subject has been broached numerous times on this board, so I apologize for any redundancy.

Mike Zee
Posted on Monday, February 04, 2002 - 08:09 pm:   

hey, man, there couple more digital floor boxes, but akai-HRTES is the choice ... I think. well, digital delay is digital..., nothing you can do, I've used boos-DD pedal, which is usefull, but does not really do the same as tape does at all.

check some reviews from guys who had akai-HeadRush: AKAI HRTES reviews


/Mike Zee
zee dub lab

Posted on Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 04:31 pm:   

instead of using a simulator you could also
build your own tape delay. This may be cheaper
and you'll have a REAL tape delay.

You'll need these ingredients: (also see this picture)

  • a tape deck or reel to reel machine with read-after-write feature (r-a-w or repro, this means there are two separate heads for recording and playback - this way you can listen to what's on the tape already while recording)
  • any digital delay unit
  • one channel strip of your mixing desk

connect as follows (example):
  • auxiliary send 1 of your mixer goes to the recording input of the tape deck (set send level to zero)
  • put a tape in the deck, start recording and switch to read-after-write mode.
  • connect the monitor out of the tape deck to the input of the delay unit (set feedback amount to zero)
  • the output of the delay is connected to channel input 4 on your mixer (example).

Now everything is connected you can:
  • use the fader of channel 4 on your mixer to set the overall delay level
  • adjust the delay time on the digital delay unit
  • open auxiliary send pot 1 on any instrument's track to add tape delay to that channel
  • tweak aux send pot 1 on channel 4 to control the feedback amount
  • use the EQs on mixer channel 4 to shape the sound of your delays
  • if you are using a reel to reel tape stop the left reel with your hand and let it go to create some extra crazy delay wobbles..

The advantage of such a setting is that you have
more control over the delay sound via the mixer's EQs than on a SpaceEcho or similar unit.

For a start you can also do this without the
digital delay unit but then you will not be
able to set the delay time freely - you will
just have the ones resulting from the tape
speed settings available on your tape machine

peace & happy dubbing
the interruptor

Mike Zee
Posted on Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 06:24 pm:   

Hi, Daniel,
I was thinking of making some sort of monster-machine myself, i'v got some parts, still only ideas in my mind... thou,

thanks for this info, man,

the problem here, i wish to see the picture. angelfire service will not let you to view any images as deep-link, do you have any page-URL where this picture is, it has to be on angelfire server, so you also "check their banners as well" he he :(....



/Mike Zee

Mike Zee
Posted on Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 07:09 pm:   

nevermind, Daniel, i've managed to view the pic, it's a really 'nice'-drawing :)'....

btw, the trick is, if you can not see pic as deep link on some server, but you have FronPage (or FPExpress), you can go to "root directory" page, then click edit, then in HTML-view type in image tag with url-to-image you are trying to see, and then in preview-view you'll see the pic and can actually save it. Well, the thing is, that server lets you to load images into editor... blah blah, it has nothing to do with the subjec og the topic, ;)

later, guys,

/Mike Zee

Posted on Tuesday, February 05, 2002 - 11:31 pm:   

image link is now correct

Derek van Beever
Posted on Thursday, July 04, 2002 - 04:34 pm:   

Could you list a couple of cheep tape machines that have the r-a-w function.
much thanks

Posted on Friday, July 05, 2002 - 01:12 pm:   

i don't think it makes much sense to list machines with the r-a-w feature here since this market is just too big. i personally use a revox a77 reel to reel for this purpose, but most semi-pro and pro reel to reel machines as well as advanced consumer tape decks have this function. so just check all machines you come accross in second hand stores, pawn shops or whatever.

Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 04:55 pm:   

about the Line 6 echo Pro , a friend had it . and he said it was very bad at emulating tape echoes, which is what it is supposed to do. so he sold it and bought a stage echo instead !

Posted on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 11:41 pm:   

nice one for the info on making ypur own tape delay, pure joy.

When i made it with what i already owned, i only had a basic tape recorder (without R-A-W). I discoverd that this is all you need. Set the 'mix' of the delay unit to 100% and the Feedback to 1 (minimum). If you feed back the return channel back to the tape (delay setup), it works perfectly.


ps: im rubish at explaining things, if someone understands the point im making and wants to verify it properly, do so imediatly.

Frank Carvalho
Posted on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 10:25 am:   

It can't be done without R-A-W. You've got to have the signal on tape, and you've got to be able to read it afterwards to hear the echo. Otherwise it's certainly not the tape machine producing the echo. I have used a couple of different old reel-to-reel machines as tape echo. I started with an old Beocord 2000, which was great because it could run with an incredibly low speed making very long echoes. But the circuitry had basically given up, so it was ultra noisy and unstable. Then I've been using a ReVox A77 as mentioned above. That is by far the most stable machine. However, mine is modded to run at double speed, which is great for very short slap delays and room effects, but not so great for the long deep echoes. It is true that you are limited by the speeds of the machine itself. But reel-to-reel machines have on very big advantage over ordinary echo machines: They are stereo! By cross-channeling the feedback signal from channel 1 to channel 2 and vice versa, you get the coolest bounce echoes. And what's more, the input to the unit is also stereo. If you pan your signal from back and forth you will hear an incredibly complex echoed sound. Therefore the reel-to-reel machine is often the preferred choice.

munky lee
Posted on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 07:16 pm:   

hi dubheadz!
I have the line6 DL4, and it is marvellous! I love my DL4.
nematod, it is pretty strange that your friend don't like his echo pro, the echo pro is better than the DL4, and the DL4 is a really good emulation.
you can preset 3 different echos, and you have so many different emulation. the sound is really really good.
I will never buy a real echo tape. you often have to change the tape!


Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 04:25 am:   

nice one munky lee. Im waiting for sound controll to get a Line 6 in so that I can try it. but what im using at the moment (above) will do for now. Fair enoough its not a geniune tape echo created purly from a tape. But from what is affordable/accessable it does the job very well. For anyone else trying to get that sound from a small budget, it works O.K. I borrwed a roland space echo from a mate (RE201 - the terminology may be inacreate). however, from comparing it to my delay setup, I decided that it probably wouldn't be worth saving the cash to get something geuine. Pureists may beg to differ, but if i had the money to fork out on anolouge stuff i would not be shy to say the least.

With what I've got at the moment, you can still get that crunchy distortion from the tape as the delays build up. So anyone anyone in my position with a digital delay unit and a normal tape recorder - try it, Its better than both pieces of equipment stood apart from each other.

Posted on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 08:50 am:   

I have the danelectro tape echo sim : www.danelectro.com

Really sound great for dub, with delay time change in real time.


Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 07:12 am:   

That daneelectro tape echo pedal looks cool, its designed to look like an echoplex or something. but you won't get the real subtle things about tape echo that make it sound so "organic" without a real tape loop going around.

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 05:33 pm:   

the reinjection is the solution for the color of any
tape echo (ex:if you use aux 1, send carefully
aux 1 to the return and try to EQ the return:-3Db
at 250hz your delay will go to high frequency)
This technic is a classic ,just don t put your
trim too high and be carefull with larsen

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 06:34 pm:   

aleph: i am not sure whether i understood your technique. what do you mean by "send carefully aux 1 to the return"? do you actually mean "open aux send 1 on the mixer channel where the delay unit's output is connected"?


Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 06:44 pm:   

this is it daniel, it is dangerous but if you try
you will hear the classical tubby anr prince fari
delay ,but don t goes two fast ,and do it only whith monitors (for your hears)
you ve got to seach the right balance between the send and the trim off your return
if it works your feedback will be longer the effect name is "dukking"
don t put the echo feedback too high

Posted on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 06:57 pm:   

i ve forgot to tell you to put the dry wet balance
at your effect to all wet as possible it will be
more easy, the result are different when you
EQ your effect return (high damp low damp)
the result is terriffic (is it english(:-))

Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 07:25 pm:   

Oh man... i don't know this tricks.. i have try it before but always with my delay feedback on the unit to the less.. but if you let your unit normal and make what aleph say.... Parametric eq make little delayed d-amp or amp... if you amp the hi freq you get a phasing effect.


PS: c'est cool d'avoir un nouveau dubber francophone parmis nous! et merci bcp pour le truck.. je comprends pas pourquois j'ai pas esseyer avant.. lol!

Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 10:14 pm:   

moi non plus, avant d'avoir fait l'"erreur" de le

munky lee
Posted on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 11:40 am:   


juste pour big up les frenchy dubheads!!!!!


Posted on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 06:50 pm:   

ckeck out the excellent Hughes & Kettner Replex. Its a digital unit but with tubes. I got mine from www.gargantuansound.com

Posted on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 12:35 am:   

Digital with tubes? Sounds like an oxymoron. ;-)

Posted on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 09:26 am:   

And digital whithout tube doesn't sound:-)

Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 12:23 am:   

What aleph says is the only way to feedback your echo properly, bout the freq to boost depends on your echo unit.

I have nuff echo units (collect them) from 60`s tape echo with tubes to so called bucket echo to digital ones. The bucket echo is the only one i have that´s not possible to feedback through your desk... phase inverts totally.


Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 05:23 pm:   

and it can be dangerous on big sound system;-)
so i use aux pre/post fader switcher like that:
1:put your effect return fader at -5db
2:make a precice "reinjection balance" with aux in pre fad
You have just to switch in pre to have a longer
effect (before a big mute or drum break....)
u can t push your effect ret. aux to far 'cause u don't touch it!

Tone Scientist
Posted on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 05:55 am:   

I really like this thread...
I have a small collection of tape, analog, and
digital delays and I like them all for different
uses....Digital delays for short quick delays,
analog delays for long, dubbed out feedback delays. Tape delays are cool but they are kind
of a pain because most of them are already 30
years old and the tape is getting fragile.

As far as 2 track tape machines I'd like to
remind everyone of a couple of techniques that
date back to the musique concrete days. One is
tape loops which you make by splicing a length
of tape together. You can make a longer loop by
using a longer length of tape and using a jar
or mic stand to wrap it around. I'm sending you
a link that explains this better. The other technique is to cover the erase head with a piece
of paper, cardboard, or tape. This allows you to
layer sound on sound to create some interesting
textures. On a three head tape system you have a
record head, a playback head and an erase head.
You can also see this in the diagram of the link. Use your creativity and imagination
to apply these techniques to the dub style!!!


Tone Scientist

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 12:09 pm:   

Hey , id like to add to what tone scientist just said; while looking for endless tape loops , i was told that 8-track tape works in almost the same way , so you could have kilometres of tape inside if you felt like it :)
I eventually found the Sony RE-5 endless tape , and i believe there is a RE-4 model also , but i havent been able to try out the 8track spool yet.
The fact that the tape is no longer spinning constantly in a small loop , as on the copicats means that the sound quality is better , the tape doesnt wear down as much , and you wont get the tape coming apart at the splice.
This could be something to try out.

Morgan Lin
Posted on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 12:41 am:   


New to this board while searching for Sony RE-4 endless tape. I have one that is being used in my Hohner Tape Echo unit. I have quite a few of the 8-track tape cartridges. Has anyone tried respool the Sony RE-4 with new tapes? I am thinking of trying it out with the 8-track tapes as they were designed to run continuously. I have spliced some into 20 ft. loop to use it on my Korg Stage Echo and Multivox MX-312 units and the sound is very good. I have heard that the 8-track tapes are lubricated and thus increase tape life.

Morgan Lin

Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 10:14 am:   

Hohner make tape echo ???? i think they only do musical instrument... (like melodica)


Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2003 - 05:31 pm:   

Hi morgan ,
heres a site with info on 8-tracks:

check the section on repairs and how does an 8-track work for info , diagrams etc.

I havent had to respool the re-5 yet , but its only a matter of time...

Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2003 - 11:07 am:   

Joy joy,

i bought a Line 6 DL4 a couple of months ago and i'm very satisfied. First i had some trouble finding the right value for the knobs, but now i think i got it. POST-EQ is pretty important on this one. I use a mackie desk, sending Aux to the DL4, and on the return channel i turned the midfreq eq to maximum and lowered lowfreq to about 1/4. It gives me a echo sound with a punch.

Combined with my Ontari tape recorder i think i can get a pretty organic sound.

I haven't used it in any of my productions though...

One Love,

Posted on Thursday, April 24, 2003 - 03:54 pm:   

It looks very nice, and even more as rack:


Not expensive like TC´s delay II, just I
ask myself if it can do anything that a
cheap plug can´t do better :-)))

Anyway some real cool gear is emulated
roland space echo etc etc

I think the rack-version is on it´s way
to my seccond-hand observation-list


DJ Brandoa
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 07:44 am:   

Hey. My Buddy just got this effect pedal by Danelectro called "reel echo" which is a tape echo simulator. You can switch between solid state or tube sounds, plus all the expected stuff like delay time, feedback etc. But what's really cool is the "warble" control to simulate un-steady tape speeds. And it sounds friggin sweet!I find Danelectro makes wonderfully authentic sounding and cheep effects. You should check out their slap-back echo too, it's to die for!

Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 12:58 pm:   

Hey Interruptor,

I am now searching eBay for tape decks with the r-a-w function, I have found some with 3 heads - is that the same??

I am looking for a deck over a reel-to-reel as it would be much better + convenient for live use, as a deck can be put into a rack. Also, I plan to modify the deck with a speed control.

If you have any suggestions or models u know of that would be wicked,

Big up for this site!

Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 01:51 pm:   

elemental: the r-a-w function is only possible with 3 heads. in general i would think that every tape with three heads also has the r-a-w function (why else should the manufacturer install separate write and read heads?) but i would still ask the seller to make sure you actually get what you need.

Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 08:32 pm:   

Yo interruptor, nice 1 for the tip, I just got it working with a 3-head deck that was lying around - cant find our digital delay though :(

I've been comparing it to the logic tape delay, it sounds nothing like it! It maybe doesnt have the fidelity of a reel-to-reel but shit it sounds cool!! Especially tweaking the eq on the mixer ... wicked. :)

Thank you!

Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 08:01 pm:   

in theory it's possible to make a tape echo unit just with a mixer and a RAW tape deck. just need to make a cassette tape that loops. this isn't too hard if you're patient and have some fine tools (stuff you'll prolly have already if you edit tape concrete style, like tweezers, fine sissors/razorblades, tape). some cassette tapes even have screws holding them together for easy dis/assembly.

basically just make a loop with the tape already in the cassette and feed it through the front as usual. remove the excess tape (you can leave the spools in to keep things from getting hung up if you want). then reassemble the case. this should give you a cassette that has a loop on each side. if you use the right tape and get a good slice/edit you should have a nice loop going in your tape deck. i wouldn't worry about the tension too much cause the capsan will keep pulling it across the head.

thats as far as i got last night. but i'm hoping i'll be able the throw the cassette into a RAW tape deck and with a little clever signal routing through my mixer, make an echo unit. i'm planning on running a signal out from my mixer (prolly with my aux) into the deck then running the monitor output back into my aux return. might take some finiking but i figure i can get something going.

i'm guessing the quality on the cassette loop will make for some interesting results. hope this helps.

ps. this thread is awesome.


Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 05:38 pm:   

hi guys, great site! ive just got a korg stage echo se-300 and its a bit on the wobbly side..does anyone else have one of these so i can check whats up with mine..should the pinch roller have rubber on it..? and does anyone know a uk based servicer for the motor..its nearly working but not quite..jim

Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 08:43 pm:   

hello all
i could read this site all day!
I have a fostex r8 reel to reel and an old jhs digitec delay DX99RM (!). I can follow the connections from interruptor's post but despite reading the r8 manual cover to cover can't find a way to "switch to r.a.w mode". Can anyone help?

Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 12:49 pm:   

hi e,

the fostex r8 is a multitrack machine, made to record on one track while listening to the others (the typical way of recording a song instrument by instrument). this is only possible if there is just one shared head for recording AND playback.

read after write, on the other hand, is only possible on machines that have a separate head for recording and playback. you cannot record and playback on the same track on one single head.

Posted on Monday, March 07, 2005 - 01:05 pm:   

thanks for the info. i shall seek out a raw machine.

Steve Dallman
Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 04:13 pm:   

I also own the Hohner tape echo as well as a tube and SS Echoplex.

I've rewound the Sony endless tape a few times. As with the Echoplex tapes, lubricated tape is necessary, and 8 track tape works well. To rewind, pull the tape from the center of the cartridge until you get to the splice. cut the splice and splice your new tape to the end of tape coming off the outside of the tape spool.

Now pull the tape from the center until you get to the splice again. Cut the old tape off at the splice and splice together the ends of your new tape. This works with the Sony tape and Echoplex tapes.

I'm in the process of "improving" my Hohner Echo. I plan to add a compander to the echo path to improve performance, and I want to tweak the straight audio path to increase headroom. I will probably add a variable speed control.

Steve Dallman
Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 04:14 pm:   

Also, the Sony Endless Tape RE-4 was made for answering machines.

Posted on Sunday, May 01, 2005 - 11:40 am:   

Hi Iam allway's experimenting with Teac 3440's
putting on exstra rec. & playheads from other rec. i find on fly market's to get dubb kind echo's this works verry well one thing i dont know is how to get the ellectric motor to speed
and specially down I like this site
bey and thanks for now
Willem at Rotterdam

Posted on Sunday, June 05, 2005 - 12:47 am:   

hmmm, great and interesting stuff.
i love the internet.
found this place searching for technical info on tape playheads - i figure, if you can make one that goes all the way round, like a flattened sphere, and then spin THAT, you could just hold it up against the tape and do some scratchin;-

i have an old bbc akai stereo reel, i used to make loops and run em round bottles etc (tone scientist) but also crushing tape with yr hand is good... or just messing around with it, you can stretch it at precise points for eg, and lengthen a bass drum or something.
the only delay i ever made was a mic in the room with the reel playing back the RECORDED tape, just a one step but fun freaking out visitors


roller, buyer, tobacco supplier

Posted on Sunday, June 05, 2005 - 12:49 am:   

you could just vary the voltage

Keith Evans
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 08:14 pm:   

Please Help.

I am totally new to tape echos and just purchased a Hohner tape echo in great condition but with no tape or spindle. I was told that Quantegy 642 tape would work but I have no idea how long the loop needs to be or even the proper way to install/route it. I saw from your postings that a few of you guys own one. Can you help me out?

Thanks in advance,

Posted on Friday, November 25, 2005 - 11:55 pm:   

great read !!!! .. my dad has an old revox b77 . so guess what im gonna try out as soon as i get my hands on it .. i was looking for some tape echo .. hopefully ill be able to make one myself now .. thanks

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