Space and Chorus Echoes: An Introduction
WRITTEN BY: Tony Miln
UPLOADED: 19th Jun 2017
We sell Space Echoes. We love Space Echoes. We sell quite a few Space Echoes, but that’s OK because we love them quite a lot. In fact, I’d be very surprised if there’s anywhere else in the world selling more serviced Roland tape echoes than Soundgas (not just serviced, but guaranteed – more on that later). Along the way, we’ve learned a few things, some of which I want to share here.
I fell in love with the sound of tape echoes a long time ago, and over the years filled my studio with as many examples as I could lay my hands on. Initially, we had no budget for such luxuries and our first real tape echo was a very intermittent Melos – they use a small Apollon cartridge and (to be kind) sound ‘characterful’ – when they work. I recall working on a dub mix for my friend Tim ‘Love’ Lee’s Peace Feast label and using the digital delay in our Studio Quad when the Melos died (or just sounded too ‘characterful’) – running the wet signal hot into a cassette recorder to get the sound I was after. Later we acquired our first Space Echo, which sounded terrible – probably hadn’t been serviced from new – it was swiftly replaced by a very clean RE-501 that gave many years’ service and was later joined by my second RE-501. I ran both up until very recently, having fallen for the sound of the amazing RE-201s serviced by Doctor Huw here at Soundgas.
Not all Space Echoes are equal.
A brief search online reveals that there are usually cheaper options if you want to buy a Roland tape echo than buying from Soundgas. Why are ours more expensive? Aside from the usual reasons – we are a real business, employing staff, paying rent/taxes etc, not just some guy in a shed (though that’s how I started out – so no offence to anyone quietly fuming in their shed). We put a lot into our echoes – heart and soul – plus a wealth of experience and knowledge gained over decades of working with these machines. When we say ‘serviced’, we mean thoroughly-overhauled, not just a squirt of switch cleaner and a new tape.
The Doctor will see you now
Are you experienced?
So we sell a lot of Space Echoes, so what? An immediate advantage to you when buying from a business selling as many as us is we are constantly refining our machines. We guarantee everything we sell (more on this later) so it costs us a great deal if something goes wrong with one of our echoes after worldwide shipping – but we’ve learned what to look for and our return rate is now almost zero percent. Over the years, we’ve seen just about every possible issue arise and have improved our service schedule to iron out preventable faults before they leave our hands. Huw’s experience keeping echoes performing at their best on the road and our extensive knowledge of the pitfalls of sourcing and sending gear all over the world – combined with our shared studio experience – means our machines not only work well on arrival with our customers, but they also sound great, and should continue working without issue for many years to come.
[insert gratuitous echo mountain shot here]
Our machines are not only generally in excellent cosmetic and physical shape (if we say ‘mint’, we mean factory fresh), but they come backed by our six month guarantee against mechanical failure (for non-smoking home/private studio use). Any problems* within that six month period, we’ll take care of it.
We are human, and vintage gear is full of surprises: things can and do go wrong no matter how much care we lavish on these machines. It’s how we deal with problems that I hope sets us apart – we aim to have your machine repaired and back to you with the minimum of fuss and inconvenience to you. This means you can get on with making music, rather than figuring out how to fix your tape echo.
Tape: The Never-ending Quest…
Link to tape post…………
A couple of years ago, a customer asked us if we had any replacement instructions in English for his Japanese machine – as a result we created our Soundgas replacement instructions. We also now have repro RE-201 tape replacement instruction stickers (courtesy of EchoFix) for those of you who don’t speak Japanese).
Tony Miln is the co-founder (& Head Gear Head) of Soundgas. See/hear him in action on Instagram.