Building A Tape Echo In A Coke Can Tape Player That Doesn’t Really Work

Back in the 1990s, you could get a tape player shaped like a can of Coca Cola. [Simon the Magpie] scored one of these decks and decided to turn it into a tape echo effect instead. It didn’t work so well, but the concept is a compelling one. You can see the result in the video below.

The core of the effect is a tape loop, which [Simon] set up to loop around a pair of hacked-up cassette shells. This allows him to place one half of the loop in the Coca-Cola cassette player and the other half in a more conventional desktop tape deck. A 3D-printed bracket allows the two decks and the tape loop to be assembled into one complete unit.

The function is simple. The desktop tape deck records onto the loop, with the Coca-Cola unit then playing back that section of tape a short while later. Hey, presto — it’s a tape delay! It’s super lo-fi, though, and the tape loop is incredibly fragile.

There’s some charm in the warbly, weird sounds coming out of the Coca-Cola tape player. [Simon] turns this to his advantage and drops an incredibly catchy avant-garde pop hook with great results. It reminds us of some great DIY hardware we saw many years ago. We’ve been seeing a lot of tape echos lately, but we don’t know why.

6 thoughts on “Building A Tape Echo In A Coke Can Tape Player That Doesn’t Really Work

  1. Many years ago I had an Akai reel to reel tape deck that had a monitor loop. The sound would go on the tape at the record head and then play back a short time later through the playback head. I once cut a loop of tape for it that would just circulate and set it up with a microphone with playback through the stereo speakers. The deck could be set to different speeds so the delay could be varied a little. A friend’s kid, about 6 years old at the time, spent hours with it just chattering and making different noises to see what the echo would sound like. Lots of fun!

  2. This is a hilarious video. No disrespect at all but he looks and acts so much like Sergeant Oddball in the movie, ‘Kelly’s Heroes’. It all adds up to a very fun and creative presentation.

  3. With a reel deck years ago I made a tape loop with the tension to make it work. The supply side spindle has an empty reel and the take-up side has an arm made of a reel cut down that fits on the spindle with a roller on the end providing the tension when it’s in the play mode. The loop goes around both reels and the head set with no scraping or springs. This makes no mods to the deck the tape path is true and can be moved to an other deck.

    With a cut out cassette could an arm-hub tension work in a short loop? They made endless tapes for telephone answering machines, without tension I wonder how well they worked. The slip sheets help keep the tape in line.

    Without tension even with that tiny pressure pad you will get a lot of dropouts.

  4. Before RAM was cheap this is how echo was done. Not with a hacked up cassette thing, but with a purpose built tape loop delay.
    There was a time when 20 seconds of digital recording was prohibitively expensive.

    IIRC All the classic Floyd and Hendrix used this effect.
    Not so much Jimi, but some. Again IIRC Jimi recorded his first album by bouncing (while mixing down) between two 4 track machines and adding a track or two at a time.
    Stone knives and bear skins, yet still not equaled.
    Bet you could ‘improve’ Jimi by running the guitar work through autotune. He accidently bent those strings, we should fix it.

    1. One of the first electronics magazines I bought, featured a “bucket brigade” audio delay.
      December 1977, the ETI-450. Published by Electronics Today International.

      The delay line chip would probably be hard to find, these days.

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