A Tape Echo For Anyone

If you’ve ever looked into how artists from the 1960s made their music, you’ll learn about the many inventive ways in which the tape recorder enabled new effects. One of the simplest of those is the tape echo, as distinct from a reverb which introduces the many delayed echoes of a large auditorium, an echo provides a single delayed version of the original. It’s something [Mark Gutierez] shows us as he makes a tape echo from a cheap Walkman-style cassette player. It’s hardly the highest quality of its ilk, but it does the job.

The player in question sports the ubiquitous Chinese mechanism that’s the last still in production. It has a radio incorporated which he doesn’t use, but for all that it has only a permanent magnet erase head rather than one driven from the bias oscillator. He first puts another head in the space between the record head and the pinch roller, then further modifies the cassette so a loop can be pulled out of the side of it, moving all heads off-board. As you can see in the video below the break it’s in no way high-fidelity, but with a couple of Eurorack mixer kits added on it makes for an interesting effect.

If you can lay your hands on a reel-to-reel machine, you can make a more traditional echo machine.

Continue reading “A Tape Echo For Anyone”