Gear In-depth & Longer Blogs

Dynacord Echocord Studio: In Search Of The Magic Typewriter…

Nov 21 2018 0 Comments Tags: Dynacord, Echocord Studio, Gear History, repairs & mods, Tape / Disc Echo, tech talk

The Dynacord Echocord Studio: In Search Of The Magic Typewriter… Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. I'd heard whispered rumours of a Dynacord echo that with a flat spinning disc instead of tape, but as my searches yielded no further information, I put it down to being just another vintage gear tall tale. That was until a year or two later, when I happened upon what appeared to be a very stylish sixties typewriter, housed in a modest two tone carry case. Where a typewriter would ordinarily have a set of keys, this elegant machine had but a...

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Binson Echorec Varispeed Modification by Tony Miln

Nov 07 2018 0 Comments Tags: Binson Echorec, David Gilmour, Gear History, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, repairs & mods, Tape / Disc Echo, tech talk

Guide to Binson Echorec Varispeed Modifications Binson Echorecs were all manufactured with a fixed speed motor and Binson founder, Dr Bonfiglio Bini, together with his principal engineer, Scarano Gaetano, created something very special with their considerations for the fixed head spacings of the Binson Echorec. The four playback heads on an Echorec 2 offer delay times of approximately 75ms, 150ms, 225ms, and 300ms. Dr Bini chose these spacings to create musically-related delay times: if the longest delay tap is a quarter note, then head three is a dotted eighth note, head two is an eight note, and the first head...

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Soundgas Studio Services Update by Tony Miln

Oct 31 2018 0 Comments Tags: Sound Design, Soundgas Studio Services

Soundgas Studio Services Update: First Audio Demos Released, Limited Slots Now Available Our remote access studio service is getting closer to full launch, but the news is that we now have limited slots available each month - thanks to our engineer, Ben Hirst, and also to our fine beta testers who've sent us some amazing music to work on. The studio is very nearly complete - as a studio full of vintage gear ever can be - and we're super-excited about the range of material we've been asked to work on. This has included the studio's first paid session - processing some...

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Regeneration: Synths Beyond Sustainability by Tony Miln

Oct 24 2018 1 Comment Tags: Synthesizer, tech talk

Regeneration: Synths Beyond Sustainability by Tony Miln The recent climate change coverage in the media is a wake up call that we ignore at our peril (looking at you, President Trump). I've written about the importance of us educating and training new technicians to ensure the future of the classic instruments and gear that we all use and cherish, but is there also an environmental argument for doing so? Most modern synths, effects and amps are surely more energy efficient than their predecessors, but what is the cost of continuing to deplete precious resources by churning out an endless stream...

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New Premier Guitar Article: Modulation Nation by Tony Miln

Oct 17 2018 0 Comments Tags: Effects, Electric Mistress, Electro-Harmonix, Guitar Pedal, Mu-tron Bi-phase, Premier Guitar, Small Stone

NEW ARTICLE FOR PREMIER GUITAR MAGAZINE: Modulation Nation: Explore the History & Mystery of Chorus, Phasing & Flanging Effects Tony's latest article for America's finest guitar magazine, Premier Guitar, is out now. Attempting to condense the history, use, and notable examples of chorus, flanger and phaser effects, into a single magazine article is far from easy for someone who could fill a book writing solely about phaser pedals. However, this turned out to be a labour of love - in the process of researching the article, I remembered and learned a great deal, and put a few misremembered 'facts' to bed. ...

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Synthfest 2018 Report - Soundgas Bring The Noise

Oct 10 2018 1 Comment Tags: Synthesizer, Synthfest

Synthfest 2018 Report - Soundgas Bring The Noise This weekend we returned to Sheffield for Synthfest UK 2018 organised by Sound On Sound Magazine. While we’d agreed to bring a more sensible amount of gear than last year, there was still more than a Volvo estate full - even before we realised we’d missed out the Roland SH-5… More information below, but we managed to get out from behind the stand and film some highlights for our new IGTV channel - click on the stills to view (part three featuring the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble's performance of John Carpenter's Escape...

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EMS Synthi HiFli by Tony Miln

Oct 03 2018 1 Comment Tags: David Gilmour, EMS, Gear History, Guitar Pedal, Guitar Synth, Pink Floyd, Synthesizer, Synthi HiFli

The EMS Synthi HiFli by Tony Miln If you’re a guitar pedal nerd, then the EMS Synthi HiFli is the pinnacle of desirability: it is the stuff of legend; a rare and much-mythologised beast that is seldom-sighted - sporting many sliders with alluring names. In his book, ‘Analog Man’s Guide To Vintage Effects’, Tom Hughes officially anointed the HiFli king of kings - rarest of the rare - big chief amongst the hen’s teeth. In short, the EMS Synthi HiFli is the ultimate vintage guitar ‘pedal’; good examples are very few and far between. I set out many years ago now...

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How To Buy Vintage Gear Well (Part One) by Tony Miln

Sep 26 2018 0 Comments Tags: Binson Echorec, Eventide, Grampian 636, Harmonizer H910, Space Echo

How To Buy Vintage Gear Well (Part One) We all love a bargain; it seems nearly everybody knows someone else who got lucky and picked up a classic for next to nothing, though it never seems to happen to you or I (although, on reflection the price I paid for my first Grampian 636 now seems a steal, but at the time £70 was the going rate for one in need of work!). I remember the eagle-eyed guy who spotted a very early Marshall amp head sitting abandoned in a skip (dumpster US fans) full of garbage that, once restored,...

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The True Cost Of Vintage Gear (The Quest For Techs Part Two) by Tony Miln

Sep 19 2018 3 Comments Tags: Binson Echorec, John Leimseider, repairs & mods, Soundgas Service Dept, Synthesizer

Part two of our series about the people who can fix all this old gear, people who really KNOW it inside out. And it’s also about what can be done about the slow but steady loss of this deep knowledge and real, hands-on experience from the world of vintage audio. Are you a tech looking for work reading this? Or maybe you want to learn (and are local to us)? More info below, but we definitely want to hear from you! This weekend I Iearned that we lost John Leimseider - a lovely, warm and generous man and a true...

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Daphne Oram's 'Still Point' - BBC Proms 2018 by Tony Miln

Jul 24 2018 0 Comments Tags: bbc proms, daphne oram, delia derbyshire, dj, radiophonic workshop, shiva feshareki, Space Echo, Tape / Disc Echo

To describe Daphne Oram's Still Point as groundbreaking is akin to suggesting the Beatles sold the odd record. Composed for double orchestra, turntable manipulation and echo chambers with additional filtering - in 1948, when Oram was only 23. It predates the rise of the DJ as instrumentalist by three decades or more and is thought to be the first ever composition to feature real time electronic transformation of instrumental sounds.  IMPORTANT NOTE: You can listen to the entire Pioneers of Sound concert right now on the BBC iPlayer (if you are in the UK) - but this link will only work until mid-August!...

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Machines With Soul by Tony Miln

Jul 18 2018 0 Comments Tags: David Gilmour, EMS, Gear History, Guitar Synth, Pink Floyd, Synthesizer, Synthi

This blog is not a another guide to Synthi AKS, but rather it's about my experience encountering and using one of these remarkable instruments while "testing" the one shown above following a full restoration. This process gave me pause to consider what it is that makes some pieces of gear so completely captivating and endlessly inspiring. A longer video demo of my AKS experience features at the bottom of this post... (And just before we get into it, special mention to our remarkable in-house techs Doctor Huw and Chris for their tireless work to bring this beauty back to life, and also to Keith...

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A Fairlight, a Mellotron FX & a Robot Monkey Head by Dominic Sutton

Jul 11 2018 0 Comments Tags: Fairlight, Synthesizer

A couple of weeks ago, our intrepid explorer Gid ventured to Bradford to delve beneath the Science & Media Museum as part of workshop on 'Objects of Electronic Sound and Music'. At the museum they have begun, as of two years ago, a collection of music tech covering everything from recording to live performance and, although it’s still early days, they already have some very interesting pieces. When we heard what they were doing and were invited to see inside the stores, and to be part of working out what to do with it all, we definitely wanted to help. Thanks to museum...

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Which Binson Echorec? by Tony Miln

Jun 27 2018 0 Comments Tags: Binson Echorec, valve/tube tech

Looking to buy a Binson? At the time of writing many of the machines that feature in the image above, and in the demos below, are available on the site. You can see the Echorecs we have listed for sale here, but if you can't find what you need then please get in touch; most of the valve T7E and PE 603T machines sell on a pre-order basis and rarely make it to the site. Which Binson Echorec? By Tony Miln I’ve been a Binson head for approaching a quarter of a century now, and have owned and used many examples from all eras of production:...

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Tony's Guitar Synth Premier Guitar Article is Out!

Jun 20 2018 0 Comments Tags: Frogg Compu-Sound, Guitar Pedal, Guitar Synth, Ludwig Phase II, Maestro, Maestro USS-1, Premier Guitar, Synthi HiFli

The second of my articles for Premier Guitar has now been published. It's a slightly sideways look at the world of 70s guitar synths and goes in-depth into: the mighty Synthi HiFli (that's our own in the orange case in the image below), the Ludwig Phase II, Soundgas favourite the Maestro USS-1 (a multi-effects unit with Tom Oberheim designed circuitry), the Frogg Compu-Sound, and the unique-sounding Soviet Esko-100. And of course all manner of other peculiar and super-are units get a mention as well. It goes a little something like this: "As I started researching and writing this story, it slowly dawned on...

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That Pedal Show meet Soundgas Space Echoes & Binsons by Tony Miln

Jun 06 2018 0 Comments Tags: Binson Echorec, Roland tape echo, Space Echo, Tape / Disc Echo, That Pedal Show

When Dan from That Pedal Show called in at the Soundgas HQ to choose a Roland RE-201 Space Echo for their new Pedal Barn, it’s fair to say he was somewhat blown away by the Soundgas Studio. On that night’s show, he told Mick that when he dies, he wants to be stuffed and put on a chair in there with his Tele!This was Dan’s second visit; it’s always a pleasure to host someone who’s as passionate and animated about gear and sound as we are. The first time, he came to collect a Gurus Echosex 2º for a Binson...

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The Future of Vintage Gear (the Quest for Techs...) by Tony Miln

May 23 2018 3 Comments Tags: repairs & mods, Soundgas Service Dept

This is the story of the hunt for people who can fix all this old gear, people who really KNOW it inside out. And it’s also about what can be done about the slow but steady loss of this deep knowledge and real, hands-on experience from the world of vintage audio. And yes, it does also at least attempt to answer the question: “can you fix my….?” Are you a tech looking for work reading this? Or maybe you want to learn (and are local to us)? More info below, but we definitely want to hear from you! The Quest...

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