Tape Delay - Obsolete?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Captain_Phildo, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. Captain_Phildo

    Captain_Phildo Member

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    Greetings all.

    2015/16 looked quite promising in terms of tape delay offerings. The highly anticipated Fulltone SSTE finally surfaced, originally advertised as a more affordable and compact model than the TTE. The T-Rex Replicator Delay surprised many when it was first announced and looked to be something special.

    However, the dream seems to have dissipated as both products have ultimately flattered to deceive. The supposedly cheaper SSTE has skyrocketed in terms of its price and it has had some serious performance issues. The T-Rex Replicator sounds, by all accounts, rather weak and murky. The reliability of these products has come into question already. After all, surely that is what a modern tape delay should offer to set it apart from its vintage peers.

    So, my question to you all (especially to the tape delay enthusiasts) is this: Is there any justifiable reason, in the modern effects world, to own a tape delay? If so, what are the reasons? Is the sound really worth the added money and hassle? Have modern digital or analog delays managed to equal (or even surpass) these mighty machines? Is there an audible difference in recordings, live shows etc?

    I would be thrilled to hear some of your thoughts.
     
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  2. soli528

    soli528 Silver Supporting Member

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    Not really any cheaper than the ones you mentioned, but it has a pretty unique feature set, and uses plain ol' cassette tapes:
    http://spacecasetapeecho.com/
    there are a couple spots left in the next batch, apparently; scheduled to ship in August.
     
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  3. seiko

    seiko Member

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    There's more new tape echoes on the market than there have been for years.

    I mean there's 3, or 4 right?

    There was either none, or 1, or 2 for like 20 years.
     
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  4. seiko

    seiko Member

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    But yeah, in the correct use of the word, tape echoes are definitely obsolete technology.
     
  5. Leetut

    Leetut Member

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  6. Serenity

    Serenity Member

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    Have you actually tried either of them yourself?
     
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  7. Chandyland

    Chandyland Member

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    I prefer the words "antiquated" and "archaic." Much better.

    But yeah it's almost to the point of like an old plate reverb. Fun to use in the studio, but probably shouldn't really be on tour anymore.
     
  8. seiko

    seiko Member

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    Yeah I've owned an EP3 and a Roland Space Echo. Both were totally vibey when working but broke a lot.

    The combo of the CB Belle Epoch and Digitech Obscura do it for me.
     
  9. ThinPaperWings

    ThinPaperWings Member

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    For those who have owned and played one, and become so enamored that they are disappointed by everything else, real tape delays will always have value. For most players, they will become obsolete or become studio only luxuries. That's my take.
     
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  10. Katzenkönig

    Katzenkönig Member

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    Same here, very nice combo!
     
  11. deadlands

    deadlands Member

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    I still see bands touring with old Echoplexes and Space Echos. :dunno

    In a world where everyone has a pedal that emulates an old tape echo, I'd hardly say the originals are antiquated or obsolete.
     
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  12. Texas_Blues

    Texas_Blues Member

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    I just bought a mint 1972 black metal Echoplex EP3 that was found and serviced by Pete Echoplex. I was contemplating the Fulltone one but heard they weren't really worth it since you can get an Echoplex that's been serviced to be uber reliable for the same price.

    I also have a Space Echo in mint condition that I scored for $400. I would say they're far from obsolete.


    The modern iterations of the tape delays that use actual tapes seem to use cheap parts and cut corners as opposed to the old school echoplex's you can get refurbished and have running like a tank.
     
  13. Captain_Phildo

    Captain_Phildo Member

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    Neither. I have heard that the SSTE sounds quite spectacular, but based on the original premise that it would be cheaper and more reliable, it has quite clearly missed the mark by some margin. As for the Replicator, the reviews seem to suggest it doesn't sound particularly good.
     
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  14. vatore3rd

    vatore3rd Gold Supporting Member

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    EP + DMM = close enough for me
     
  15. Texas_Blues

    Texas_Blues Member

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    They would seem to agree.
     
  16. Captain_Phildo

    Captain_Phildo Member

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    I should mention that I have never actually played through a tape echo of any kind. I listen to a lot of bands and guitarists who do use them though and I am very keen on buying one, which is why I would love to hear other people's experiences. Is it really worth it anymore, given the options available nowadays?
     
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  17. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    Its only obsolete to someone who doesn't have use for 1, doesn't know how to use 1, or doesn't want to bother with tape, and a modern simulation is good enough.

    I use the Kyle Chase secret Preamp, and a MOOG MF104M for my Tape Echo Simulations. The SP also runs on 22v like the original.
     
  18. Texas_Blues

    Texas_Blues Member

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    I've owned the Belle Epoch, Empress Tape Delay, and Hungry Robot tape delay.

    I now own a Space Echo 201 and a EP3.

    I'd say they get close but they can't really beat the magic of an actual tape unit. Depends on how much you're looking to spend. You can get a completely refurbished unit for $1000-1200 from Pete and it'll run like a tank. You could gamble on a used on by sight and get a broken one. It also depends on how much you use delay. I love delay it's the main part of my sound so I don't mind spending on it, as opposed to say chorus where I just buy something that works.

    I bought a ep3 off reverb and it came broken, I returned it and just bought one from Pete. His instagram is echoplexrepair.
     
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  19. ryderuveze

    ryderuveze Supporting Member

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    Yes, tape echoes are obsolete technology just like vacuum tubes...there's a reason why both are sought after and used.
     
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  20. bleu

    bleu Member

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    It's a personal decision. BB analogs definitely don't sound like tape; not saying they are worse but tape (1/4", at least) is definitely higher fidelity than BB chips. Good digital emulations can get awfully close. I still love using my Space Echo but I don't know if I'll ever get another, and it certainly isn't practical to use onstage.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016

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