Space Echo RE-201 Questions

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Colorblind
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Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Colorblind » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:21 am

Hey all,

I'm reluctant to start a new thread on a topic that's likely been beat to death here, but I've got a couple questions I haven't found definitive answers for. I recently acquired an RE-201 for a decent price, by today's standards. Never owned a tape delay before. It didn't come with a tape, so I made a loop from some NOS Scotch 150 (image attached). I used plain old clear packing tape for the splice, but have since read that anything other than splicing tape may have a tendency to "ooze" and create problems along the tape path over time. I've also read that using tape from old 8-track carts is ideal because they are lubricated, but according the box, the Scotch 150 is also lubricated, and to my knowledge doesn't suffer from sticky shed the way many others do. So, my questions are:

1. Is Scotch 150 a suitable tape for these machines, or should I look into something else?
2. Is using standard packing tape as splicing tape likely to cause damage to the unit? If so, what brand/thickness of splicing tape would be ideal?

Side note: When I first installed the tape,the repeats were very quiet, even after cleaning everything with isopropyl. I then used some Brasso to gently clean the heads, and that worked like a charm. Now if I can just figure out how to get the VU meter working...

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kslight
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by kslight » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:36 pm

You can use blank 8 track tapes (I’ve had good luck finding NOS ones at thrift stores) and splice using a Gibson Girl.

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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Burnt Ernie » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:11 pm

+1 on the 8 track tape. It's thinner than standard 1/4" tape,and it's a smoother texture. I modified my echoplexes a long time ago to use 8 track cartridges. I removed all but 2 minutes of tape,spliced it,voila! I only did that because replacements were unavailable,and 8 tracks cost 99 cents.
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Colorblind
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Colorblind » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:42 am

Thanks for the replies. I swapped out the Scotch loop for one made from an 8-track tape I found at a thrift store. The tape looks to be in good shape, but the repeats aren't nearly as strong as they are with the Scotch 150. The result of a difference in tape thickness maybe? Anyway, I'm going to order some loops from Shane @ Echofix and see how they sound. I asked him about splicing tape as well. They use a custom made splicing tape, but typically they don't sell it.

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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by joninc » Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:34 am

shane is a good guy and I have bought lots of parts from him and he's been immensely helpful to me.

I Love my 201 and use it ALL THE TIME for tracking - but - it has also been the biggest pain in the butt to keep running well and techs often don't really know how to fix these as there are so many variables and moving parts. They stopped making these like 50 years ago so they are all old enough at this point to need new parts and repairs if they been even moderately used.

Mine used to have the most pristine, clear bell-like repeats and at some point it started to wobble a bit (slight pitch bend on repeats) and i spent a lot of time and $ trying to get it back to it's former glory. It's never been quite that good again and I've had to just accept that as part of the deal. It's probably 90% as good - which is still great - it was just hard to let go of the knowledge of how amazing it once was. I still use it a ton and consider it an instrument in my studio - like a tele or a juno.

I've tried lots of tape formulations and sellers online - with varying degrees of success. The pots on the inside affect the response a lot as well and are worth investigating and tweaking a bit too. The tension pulling the tape over the heads is absolutely critical too - I couldn't believe how much that affected the sound of things. The rubber wheel also needs to be in really good shape. I've replaced all these parts and have spares around too fo the next time something goes wrong. It has been running well for a year or 2 and I haven't changed the tapes or anything in at least that long or more.

It's kind of like owning a Volkswagen - you gotta be willing to get under the hood if you're gonna own one!

ps - I also LOVE the OUTER SPACE plugin - it sounds really super darn close (way closer than echoboy) and I use it all the time in mixing.
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Burnt Ernie » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:00 pm

on echoplexes and space echos the little felt covered tension arms are important.
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Burnt Ernie » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:00 pm

on echoplexes and space echos the little felt covered tension arms are important.
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Burnt Ernie » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:03 pm

+1 on The Outer Space. I grabbed that,and the Aphex "Type B" little bit ago. You'd be surprised how many FOH systems had an Aphex B,Or BBE 822 strapped across their mains 88-2000.
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Burnt Ernie » Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:03 pm

+1 on The Outer Space. I grabbed that,and the Aphex "Type B" little bit ago. You'd be surprised how many FOH systems had an Aphex B,Or BBE 822 strapped across their mains 88-2000.
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Colorblind
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Colorblind » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:48 am

Good advice here, thanks. I received the tape loops and new felts from Echofix, and did some quick A/B tests. The new felt for the tension arm is much thinner than what was on there originally, and I couldn't adjust the arm enough to keep constant tension on the tape. This resulted in fewer (and inconsistent) repeats, so I ended up just putting the old felt back on there.

Then I installed the new tape loop, which also resulted in fewer repeats than the Scotch 150, but the repeats are much cleaner / less warble. I can probably do some further adjusting of the pinch roller and/or tension arm to try and get some more repeats out of it, but turning up the intensity knob seems to accomplish the same thing. Part of me prefers the more lo-fi warbly sound of the Scotch 150, but I'm not sure I want to risk damaging the unit by using it.

I was also able to fix the stuck VU meter by removing it and slightly bending the "L" bracket at the bottom of the meter housing.

I do love the Outer Space plug as well, but whatever version I have is a CPU hog, and I like knobs and stuff.

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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by Burnt Ernie » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:18 pm

In my experience with tape echoes,one needs to send signal through while monitoring at the same time,while bending the felt/brass arm to get the right pressure on the tape,so it stays on the heads as completely as possible. A couple hours tweaking on them can deliver great results! Have Fun!
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MoreSpaceEcho
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:18 pm

joninc wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:34 am
it has also been the biggest pain in the butt to keep running well
Have to admit my 201 gave up the ghost ages ago and is now just an overpriced hipster accessory.

I love Outer Space too, sounds great and much more convenient.

I should probably change my name, but MoreSpaceEchoPlugins just doesn't have the same ring.

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trodden
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by trodden » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:09 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:18 pm
joninc wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:34 am
it has also been the biggest pain in the butt to keep running well
Have to admit my 201 gave up the ghost ages ago and is now just an overpriced hipster accessory.

I love Outer Space too, sounds great and much more convenient.

I should probably change my name, but MoreSpaceEchoPlugins just doesn't have the same ring.
You fucking poser.

(also has a 201 that quit working over a year ago and still needs to be fixed and now is noticing that the Outer Space will work on my daw)

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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:56 am

trodden wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:09 am
You fucking poser.
:D

NoMoreSpaceEcho?

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trodden
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Re: Space Echo RE-201 Questions

Post by trodden » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:06 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:56 am
trodden wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:09 am
You fucking poser.
:D

NoMoreSpaceEcho?
It was the Space Echo finally dying that made Pete and I quit doing mix revisions on the last record. "Welp, I guess we're done.. that last mix is the keeper.. "

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