RE-201 tape?

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tragedybysyntax
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RE-201 tape?

Post by tragedybysyntax » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:42 am

Hey there fellas... dumb question..... After seeing this ""

I was like... why isnt my tape echo sounding that clean? I see that the tape is just one length to exact size... and I've always had like 5 feet of slack in my 201.... anybody have any experience with the re-201? Also curious why it seems like the effected signal is weak... tons of dry signal but not enuff of the effect.
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haiku-ish
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Post by haiku-ish » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:57 am

my space echo is not clean too...
but demagnetizing, new tape, and head cleaning will help.

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Post by panda30y » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:10 am

My space echo is clean! 8_)

Haiku is right though. Demagnetizing, new tape, and clean the heads. Have you ever cleaned them?

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Post by tragedybysyntax » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:41 am

how do i.... clean the heads? and... how do I demagnetize?

What about tape loop length? does it matter how long it is or? In that youtube vid... that thing sounds fucking AWESOME! and the tape loop is like what... 18"? lol.
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Post by chromium » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:46 am

I bought a really funky (in a bad way) RE-301 on the cheap, and these were the steps I took to cleanup and demag the tape path (saved from an old post somewhere else):


1. Pop the cap off the rubber pinch roller, unscrew from the spindle, and remove the pinch roller. Clean the rubber part of the pinch roller with a bit of Windex. Wipe the old, dried up grease off the spindle and out of the inside of the roller, put a small blob of white lithium grease on the spindle shaft, and reinstall the pinch roller. Clean the two green felt pads with a damp cloth.

2. Take off the plexi tape bin cover, Remove the old tape loop, and clean everything else in the tape path - guides, heads, capstan, etc... with denatured alcohol and a swab. Just moisten the swab(s) - not soak it.

3. I have a tape head degausser tool, so I demagnitized the tape heads with it. It's easy to do, but you might not necessarily *have* to do this. It can help to reduce hiss, and improve the frequency response. Here's a little blurb/howto about demagnetizing your tape heads:
http://www.taperecorder.co.uk/demagnetizing.htm

4. I bought a new tape loop from these folks: http://www.201loop.com/ To install it, just unroll the new tape loop next to the unit, grab a portion of it, and feed it around the tape path - leaving the rest of the tape loop outside and adjacent to the unit. Turn the repeat rate all the way down, and fire it up - letting it pull the tape in. Guide it with your fingers, and it will coil up in the tape bin just like the tape you removed.

That's it! Just let the unit run and "burn in" the new tape for a while.




There's a good article here as well, for reference:

http://mixonline.com/recording/tracking ... tape_echo/


This basic cleaning helped mine a lot!

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Post by panda30y » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:51 am

You can use a q-tip with some alcohol on the heads for cleaning. Don't use it on the rubber rollers though!!! Also, how old is your tape? If it looks like it is start shedding I would immediately replace it, or at least bake the tape and you should be able to use it for a few more months.

To demagnetize you should get a tape head demagnetizer... i don't know where to get one... i usually just use someone else's. But that'll increase your fidelity for sure.

As far as tape length is concerned... it shouldn't matter how long the tape is.. it is all dependent on the heads and tape quality, but you do want to make sure that the aluminum tabs with the felt are not allowing for too much slack on the tape. I've never had to deal with cutting my own new tape for the machine as I still have 4 unopened original replacement cartridges that came with my system.

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Post by consumed » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:56 pm

make sure you use 99% alcohol when cleaning your heads
i think i used the same replacement tape as chromium (the canadian supplier)

replacing the tape made a *huge* difference in echo signal strength and bandwidth
try out the pa input on your machine instead of the instrument input--you can get 100% wet signal that way

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Post by sascha.victoria » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:01 pm

My Space Echos are fairly clean as I recently serviced them. My Korg Stage Echo is CLEAN. I think its because of the circuitry that is used. The Space Echo sounds cleanest when you run a line level signal into the "From P.A." jack but this only gives you the wet signal so you'll need a mixer do use it properly.

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Post by panda30y » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:10 pm

Also, Space Echos aren't known to be the cleanest tape echoes. My old professor was asking me why I wanted such a dirty tape echo when I bought one, but that's part of the charm.

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Post by tragedybysyntax » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:14 pm

anybody have advice on actually splicing the tape when making ur own loops? I seem to always hear the fucking splice.... lol. Going to try and make a small loop tonight and clean her up! :)
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Post by panda30y » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:24 pm

Do you cut on an angle or straight? You should be cutting it at an angle, just make sure your cuts are crisp and clean I guess... :despair:

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Post by haiku-ish » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:26 pm

cut @ 45°

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Re: RE-201 tape?

Post by chromium » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:21 pm

tragedybysyntax wrote:Also curious why it seems like the effected signal is weak... tons of dry signal but not enuff of the effect.
Missed this in my earlier post. Mine unit had a similar symptom to what you describe - very low output from the echo and the dry signal overpowered the effect. Also the feedback knob had hardly any effect, and it would not get anywhere near self-oscillation. If the servicing does not help, you might check the tape tensioner to make sure there is good contact between the tape and heads as it is being pulled across.

There is a felt tensioner pad located right at the output of the tape bin that serves to apply a resistance to the tape as it is being pulled out of the bin and across the heads. I made some slight adjustment to this mechanism to increase the amount of pressure/resistance applied to the tape by the felt pad, and the whole thing immediately sprang to life.

I thought I remember reading that the Space Echos would break into self-oscillation at around "6" on the intensity knob - so I used that as a guide when adjusting. I set the knob at 6, and just adjusted the tension until it started to regenerate. It was a Lee Perry ganja dub fest from that point onward

:rastanana:

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Re: RE-201 tape?

Post by dkcg » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:02 pm

chromium wrote:
tragedybysyntax wrote:Also curious why it seems like the effected signal is weak... tons of dry signal but not enuff of the effect.
Missed this in my earlier post. Mine unit had a similar symptom to what you describe - very low output from the echo and the dry signal overpowered the effect. Also the feedback knob had hardly any effect, and it would not get anywhere near self-oscillation. If the servicing does not help, you might check the tape tensioner to make sure there is good contact between the tape and heads as it is being pulled across.

There is a felt tensioner pad located right at the output of the tape bin that serves to apply a resistance to the tape as it is being pulled out of the bin and across the heads. I made some slight adjustment to this mechanism to increase the amount of pressure/resistance applied to the tape by the felt pad, and the whole thing immediately sprang to life.

I thought I remember reading that the Space Echos would break into self-oscillation at around "6" on the intensity knob - so I used that as a guide when adjusting. I set the knob at 6, and just adjusted the tension until it started to regenerate. It was a Lee Perry ganja dub fest from that point onward

:rastanana:
I dunno if it's 6 on mine, but mine starts to self oscillate at around noon on the strength dial in the setting I use most, I think the echo type setting was 7?

I think these things may be kinda picky about the signal levels going in. Too hot and I don't hear the echo very well. Works great with the Stilton and with any guitar level pedals. I think the tape in mine is about a year or two old. Bought it about a year ago, and the previous owner had it serviced as Futuremusic in LA.

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Post by b3nsf » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:39 pm

Off topic slightly :

anybody own a maestro echoplex? mine can't be turned passed 3 before it starts building up a mighty hiss, is this a de-magging situation?
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Post by Babaluma » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:04 pm

audio technica still make a tape cleaning kit which is widely available here in japan. you get head cleaning solution, pinch roller cleaning solution and some cotton buds. the solution is enough to last you a life time.

i still have about 2km of the correct self lubricated high output tape left, but no space echo :( if i ever find a korg stage echo at the right price i'll jump on it.

demagnetisers are kind of expensive, and can easily ruin hard drives, mics, speakers etc. if you are not very careful. maybe see if you can borrow one?

the thing about tape echos, and tape machines in general, is that they do require regular maintenance and tape replacement. i think it's worth it for the sound though.

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Post by dkcg » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:14 pm

How often should the tapes be replaced? Pretty much when it starts to sound bad or is there some sort of preventative maintenence replacing tape that helps the lifetime of the machine? The tape in mine is no more than 2 years old, I don't use it that often (maybe 50 hours since I got it). I love mine and would freak if it broke because I didn't do something.

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Post by Babaluma » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:24 pm

whe i had my re-201 a few years ago, i remember reading somewhere that every 50-60 hours of use was recommended for a tape change.

i just used to replace mine when it sounded "deader" than before, although that sound was nice too!

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Post by panda30y » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:51 pm

You should be able to hear the difference, if not, then you are probably still good. Just routine maintenance is always a good idea. Tapes will start shedding after awhile if they aren't properly maintained in a dry cool environment. If you notice this, immediately replace the tape or you can bake it to get some extra life out of it before it becomes useless again. If you notice this, which is more likely if you live in a warm environment, make sure you clean your tape heads because it can turn into a goo that would damage the heads. I'm not sure if they are salvageable from this or how easily you can find a replacement, so this is something to look for if you live in warm humid climates.

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Post by haiku-ish » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:09 am

I dunno if it's 6 on mine, but mine starts to self oscillate at around noon on the strength dial in the setting I use most, I think the echo type setting was 7?
there is a trim inside the space echo for chosing the oscillation point. i've set mine to 7.

there is a trim as well for the VU level /adjustement.

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Post by tragedybysyntax » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:43 am

oh shit... there is a trimmer? any idea what it's marked? I'm going to maintenance this hoe in a few hours and see what I can get out of her. Heads show some wear but fuck... it's over 30 years old.
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Post by haiku-ish » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:15 am

http://www.omegav.ntnu.no/~karlto/diy.html

you'll find everything you need at this address...

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Post by chromium » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:03 am

b3nsf wrote:Off topic slightly :

anybody own a maestro echoplex? mine can't be turned passed 3 before it starts building up a mighty hiss, is this a de-magging situation?
Hiss can be one of the symptoms signaling a need for head demag, so it might not hurt to try.

The head demagnetizer that I have is an old Archer/RatShack unit - sorta resembles this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Realistic-Radio-Sha ... |294%3A200

...and there are a bunch of other cheapie models out there for <$20.

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Post by consumed » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:11 am

i did some research and picked up the annis han-d-mag for demagnetizing
the thing scares me so much i keep it in a box outside in the garage

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Post by tragedybysyntax » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:48 pm

wanna get that hand-d mag as well. I hear it's the ultimate for this kind of thing despite it's 70 buck price tag.

SO!!! Got done with servicing my re-201..... One of the probs I found was the felt tensioner had no fucking tension and wasnt spinning the bearing at all. Which was giving more slack... prolly to much gap off the heads to make the effected sound!!!! Greased up the bearing and the pinch roller inside. That fucker was crusty to. SO... I let a new short tape (18" or so) run for almost an hour and it never came off the track with perfect tension. tape is dead nuts center of all the heads.

Only thing I see is when the splice comes around... it raises up on the heads just a hair but it doesnt change the tension. Should be okay? I'll fire this baby up when I get home to make shure she's back and better than when I got her a few years ago! :)
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