Roland RE 201 without enough echo

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Upsetting The Upsetter
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Roland RE 201 without enough echo

Post by Upsetting The Upsetter » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:35 am

Hi,

I'd like to have some help for the following trouble i experience with my RE 201 tape echo.

I'm trying to get a special effect with this machine (it may have a name but i don't know it) : the moment where the signal becomes a kind of self fed feedback loop. You can hear this kind of effects in Dub music for instance.

The problem is that no matter how far i push the volumes (input and output), reverb, and the repeat intensity and echo values, there is not enough feeback to create the effect i'm looking for (the maximum i get is around 4 repetitions)

When i bought it some months ago, i sent it to my local tech (not a tape specialist though) and he said everything looked fine, and actually it is fine for a "normal use" : no input or output problems, not too much noise, good reverb and nice echo (as long as you don't want your echo to grow until it's noise). Also i'm using brand new tapes from My Tape Echo site.

I'm suspecting a used head somewhere but being absolutely ignorant, i wish someone can share an advice

Thanks !

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Post by Zacharia Matilda » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:37 am

There are a couple of things I can think of. As the tape is feeding in across the heads it is fed through a path that has 2 pads on either side. If there is not enough pressure being exerted on the tape by these 2 pads the tape will not feed across the heads with enough tension, and that has created the same problem for me that you are having. I hope I am explaining this so it makes enough sense.

Also...tape health might be the issue. Is the tape you are usuing in reasonable shape? It might be worth it to replace it.

Good luck. Maybe someone else will chime in with more advice.
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Post by The Scum » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:27 am

I've got a RE150 that develops similar symptoms, and solutions match what ZM recommends.

First, new tape is better than old tape. Following the advice of others here, I use old 8-track cartridges. Still struggling to make a splice that will pass through the system cleanly. Quantegy splicing tape is too stiff...scotch tape wasn't much better.

Second, check the health of the pads and tensioners. When I change tapes, it seems like the back tension arm gets bent a little, and i have to gently bend it back. You can check if this is the problem by gently pushing on the back tensioner with your finger. For strong regenration, you need the tape to sit snugly on the heads.
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Upsetting The Upsetter
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Post by Upsetting The Upsetter » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:36 pm

Thanks for these advices.

The tension level clearly makes sense and though my current tape only has less than 2 hours of use, i'll try with a new one and will keep you posted.

Thansk again
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EasyGo
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Post by EasyGo » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:32 pm

The sound you are looking for involves sending the source into a channel on a mixer and then out to the Space Echo. Then sending the Space Echo output back into the mixer, routing it back into the Space Echo and back into the mixer and .... well you get the idea. Increasing the level going into the Space Echo will bring about that crazy runaway feedback sound and analog tape degradation sound you are craving. I'm having trouble finding a good link to illustrate the exact signal flow, but I understand why you can't get that Tubbys style echo with just the Space Echo.

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Post by EasyGo » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:40 pm

This is kind of a long-winded thread, but it seems to cover the same question you are asking:

http://www.interruptor.ch/Php5/dubboard ... .php?t=772

Pretty much like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aDxXDUxiaI

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Post by The Scum » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:28 pm

Actually, there's no need for funny routing.

My 150 will do the War Of The Worlds noise all on it's own.

You do, however, have to be in "repeat" mode...1, 2 or 3 on a 150, 1, 2, 3, 4 on a 201.
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Upsetting The Upsetter
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Post by Upsetting The Upsetter » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:51 am

Thanks Easy Go, that's the kind of effect i'm looking for.

However i assume, as Scum points, that the Re-201 should be able to produce more echo than it does now (at least at full throttle)...

I'll also try feeding a loop through the mixer, i'm sure it's useful anyway

Thanks !
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Post by EasyGo » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:26 am

In the early days of dub, Tubby and others had only regular reel to reel decks that could produce only a single echo regeneration, hence the need for the feedback loop. I believe Lee Perry was the first to incorporate an RE-201. (nice screen name BTW),

I've never really messed with an actual Roland Space Echo though; I'd be interested in hearing what you come up with.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:57 am

It's pretty easy to get a self-oscillating loop going on a reel-to-reel, provided there is sel-sync. Used to do it all the time.

GJ

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Post by Darlington Pair » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:17 am

There is a trim pot inside labeled "intensity" it will send you into self oscillation... if: your tape is still good, your heads are cleaned and aligned, there is enough pressure from the felt pads, the bias is set correctly, the recording current is high enough, the mode selector switch is clean, and the echo/normal switch is clean.

The service manual is just a google search away, but all the trim pots are labeled on the boards

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Post by Upsetting The Upsetter » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:10 am

Hi,

Sorry for the late reply, it took some time before i could test everything.

Thanks for your advices

The result is that the effect is possible through the routing described earlier, though the self feeding noisy loop is developping very fastly : the signal becomes noise instantanly instead of prgressively.

On the other hand, when the heads are fed with more tension (i simply forced the tape around the tip of a jack cable placed between the left sided flet pad and the first head) and the echo + intensity pots are well opened, the self oscillation is happening just as i wished it would.

Now my question is : how to create more tension on the tape ? It seems the only way is to apply more pressure on the left hand felt pad (left when you're looking at the heads path), wich causes a little decrease of speed and probably (maybe you'll tell me i'm wrong) an harmful type of tape wear...

Again your advices are welcome

Thanks !
What was "Kind of Blue" recorded with ? Two microphones ?

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Post by Darlington Pair » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:45 pm

Upsetting The Upsetter wrote:Hi,

Sorry for the late reply, it took some time before i could test everything.

Thanks for your advices

The result is that the effect is possible through the routing described earlier, though the self feeding noisy loop is developping very fastly : the signal becomes noise instantanly instead of prgressively.

On the other hand, when the heads are fed with more tension (i simply forced the tape around the tip of a jack cable placed between the left sided flet pad and the first head) and the echo + intensity pots are well opened, the self oscillation is happening just as i wished it would.

Now my question is : how to create more tension on the tape ? It seems the only way is to apply more pressure on the left hand felt pad (left when you're looking at the heads path), wich causes a little decrease of speed and probably (maybe you'll tell me i'm wrong) an harmful type of tape wear...

Again your advices are welcome

Thanks !
Replacing the felt would help if it has become compressed. You can also move the tape guides a bit to increase pressure across the heads. New tape might help a lot. The service manual is readily available on the interwebs and explains in detail how to make mechanical adjustments better than I can in a post.

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Post by runrunrun » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:24 pm

if you plan on using this a lot / for a long time, just get it overhauled. I sent my re-201 to http://www.orbitelectronix.com/ a few years ago and it's been solid ever since. these are classic units and will hold their value so it's worth the investment in my opinion.

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Post by chris harris » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:52 pm

EasyGo wrote:I've never really messed with an actual Roland Space Echo though;

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