an analog audio blog
A blog where I share hopefully useful information on audio gear.
I’m intrigued as to what leads you to have an interest in analogue tape. Are you maintaining machines for use in modern recording? Is there a big enough market for it?
Nice blog :)
Simon, thanks for writing the first comment ever. I’m happy you did as I noticed there wasn’t a proper about page here, this reply will do as a temporary about page now. I took the picture above to celebrate!
> I’m intrigued as to what leads you to have an interest in analogue tape.
First let me say that other topics, beyond tape, will be covered. I happened to be servicing my half track last week when starting this blog, so I had tape-related resources handy for early posts.
My broad interest in analogue comes from the need for a sense of balance and completeness, having producted digital audio tools as a profession. Analogue devices act as sources of inspiration to me, as they provide quite a different user experience when interacting and/or listening.
Beside generic motivations related to analogue technology, I’d like to add one thing specific to tape.
Personally, additional interest in tape machines relates to the way I (was trained to?) perceive artworks. That would be: main content in foreground, some form of substrate in background. The substrate being canvas for paintings, dusted and scratched film for movies, grainy film for B/W photo prints.
I tend to view the substrate as integral part of the artwork. It provides foundation and contrast to the foreground. It reveals itself by emitting artifacts (noise, glitches,..) and/or colouring the foreground (saturation, spectral alteration, …).
Analogue machines are beautiful sources of such partially unpredictable textures. The name of the blog is a little joke about this, in latin: “audio ex machina”, literally “I hear something from the machine”, in my intention doesn’t refer to signals normally reproduced by a sonic machine but rather to additional noises generated by the machine itself, be they expected or not.
> Are you maintaining machines for use in modern recording?
Yes, I do basic mantainance on some analog device (however the devices that I know inside out are the Echorecs, which are delays and technically are wire recorders, using metal instead of polymers as substrate) but that’s for my personal use (recording projects, measurements for developing prototypes related to digital projects). I don’t perform servicing as a business.
> Is there a big enough market for it?
Regarding tapes unfortunately I’m not in the position for answering, being a user. There’s surely an active market worldwide but maybe too sparse for running a large business. Otari still makes a deck, and another one is from Nagra (mono).
In France Pyral should start making tapes this year. There’s no much left regarding new products, however there’s plenty of second hand, top-quality devices on sale on the internet. The most important supply would be new tape, let’s see what happens in France.
Thank for now Simon, I’ll visit your cool blog often.
I am looking for help getting a schematic/ manual or both for my recently acquired Binson Echorec T6F-A
Can you please help?
Congratulations for your new Echorec! A section of this site will cover specifically the Binson Echorec soon. Meanwhile I’m sending you an email right now.
Would you mind resending more info to me? I think I found a tech to help me! I need a schematic
Material sent to you right now!
Binson Milan in 1982 built an echo called Electronic Echo EL20 based on MN3005 very similar to the model MONACOR EEM 3005. It is not clear if this machine is sold but there are prototypes available.
I have pictures, AD and schematics.
Yes Luigi, great info. I’ve seen pictures of one single EL20 at a repair shop earlier. At present it isn’t listed on the Echorec Bible as it isn’t an electro-mechanical unit, however the bible will be later expanded with other Echorec-related items, such as the Binson Tube Reverb and probably the EL20. Thanks.
Great to see your site! I have a T6F-A in Arizona. Can I also get that schematic/material you sent to Alldaylongrecords? Thx. This one is complete, dry signal comes through, magic eye works, but delay signal is not coming through….Thank you
Welcome Kevin, I’ve just sent you the schematic by email.
Thank you. I appreciate your help.
Thanks for posting and organizing all this amazing info on the Binsons.
I have wanted to see if I could get your opinion on a couple problems I have had with my Echorec. Keep up the great work!
Yes, feel free to post your questions here, you’re welcome.
Hi, wonderful site loaded with very useful information for us Echorec fanatics! I very much could use a copy of the T6F-A schematic for my restoration.
Check your mail, schematic sent right now. Thanks for visiting the Echorec Bible.
Hi, first of all I have to say this is awesome site! I bought a binson echorec p.e. 603 t-6 and I have to fix it becase it’s a very bad shape, anyway I need of the schematics for this model and I can’t really find it. May you help me please?
Excellent choice! Transistor or tube model?
sorry for my late. It’s a transistor model, I found the schematics but I’m still on work with my binson. Really it was in worst conditions. This morning for the first time I turned it on, the motor ran, the lights were on but I guess there is some cable in not the right place. Little by little it will be perfect.
Any recommendations for replacement Binson 2 tube sockets?
You’re looking for Noval B9A sockets. See if you can repair them (they are simple components) before considering replacement as non-original parts impact on the unit’s value. Always look for NOS (new old stock) parts first when deciding for replacement.
Hmm… my Binson’s sockets look like this http://imgur.com/41h3v My tech says he is having a hard time sourcing replacement sockets. He can’t troubleshoot because the sockets are corroded past the point of repair/cleaning. Should I try to find the ones pictured or get the one’s you suggested?
To me, they look like Noval, like the ones I suggested. Good news is that they are still produced today.
Note that Noval sockets come in two flavours: chassis and PCB mounting. On one of the Echorec2’s here (a T5E with point-to-point wiring) I have chassis-mounted Novals, with a couple of screws holding each socket. In your unit, which uses a PCB instead of point-to-point, you have the socket pins soldered directly to the printed circuit (PCB).
That being said, just do an Ebay or Google Image search for “noval pcb” and you’ll recognize the sockets you’re looking for. (if you type “noval chassis” instead, you’ll find the sockets used in the T5E, with holes for the two screws mentioned above).
The metal skirts (or collars) you see around your sockets are grounded and meant to hold in place optional aluminium caps. You can mount sockets without collars (so, no caps), but you’ll find also sockets with collars on sale. If you look closely the collars of your sockets, you’ll see a small bump: that’s for locking the cap in place. If you order Noval sockets with collars, be sure they have a similar bump, as some types include springs (or other methods) and you don’t want them.
Just BE SURE to order the version for PCB mounting, not for chassis mounting. Some versions are compatible with both chassis and PCB mounting, even with collars.
Online shops usually provide tech specs and drawings, check mechanical measures and verify by measuring your original sockets. If you’re unsure, show what you found online to your technician before ordering and let him decide.
In any case, take the original sockets when removed and keep them in a safe place for a possible future restoration (by you or another owner).
OK that makes more sense. the first image I stumbled upon was this: http://i15.ebayimg.com/06/i/08/7b/f1/4b_2.JPG and I was a little [lot] confused. Thanks for the La5YO explanation.
Understood. The pic you linked displays a chassis-mount Noval. Note also the small holes in the metal pins: those are for soldering cables. In your case (PCB-mount), pins don’t have holes as they fit into the printed circuit tracks, and there are no cables to be soldered.
On stock 2 Binson ECC83 sockets, 1 Binson ECC82 socket, original parts.
Hallo, i have a echo called “AMPLIFHON milano” and is certainly made in the factory of Binson. I have never found some info on the internet. I can’t post pictures here, if you want i can send the pctures to you. This one you miss in your collection.
Email sent, thanks Izy.
Superb discovery. Since today your Amplifon Mod. G7 has his own dedicated section in the Echorec Bible, as it deserves. Thanks for all the material provided, Izy.
Well there ya go…there´s a first for everything. Just “discovered” a Binson tubeamp.
Hi Jesper, Binson made combo tube amps, tube heads, rack power amps with tubes and also solid state, which one is yours?
And… did you complete that Echorec B1s restoration? Nice to see you come back.
Thanx for asking. Yep,the old Echorec is up and running and back with it´s owner. Turned out to be a bits work TBH but..yep.
Yeah. I was kind of surprised to see a Binson tube combo for sale on German e-bay recently. Caught my attention to say the least.
That aside i´ve been knee deep in old Klemts and Austrovoxes and what have you not lately. Lot´s of old -50´s and -60´s machines being brought out into the open again..
How contact you ?
Hello, when you sign for submitting a comment here, you have the option to provide your email address: if you want to be contacted then just say so in the text of your comment and you’ll receive a private message. I’m sending an email to you right now, thanks for visiting!
“I’m sending an email to you right now, thanks for visiting!”
We have nothing email from you.
Yes, unfortunately the email was bounced back by your server at amb*** (you have an antismap filter active). Either provide another email address with a different domain or just wait the opening the audioexmachina forum (it’s in the works, no opening date yet) so you can write there.
Also, I’m retrying to message you to the .fr extension (used .com earlier) but I’m quite sure you should provide a different email domain from a different provider as the filter will block me, please. Note, this is not a filter on your pc, is at your mail-server level.
Good Evening. So the shop continues to collect echo machines to fix. I am currently sitting on a “The Plex” echo made by Rock Hard Inc. The device is now working, I replaced the record/erase bias oscillator tube. However, my well trained nose detected heat and one of the voltage regulator transistors is getting a tad warm. I am in need of a schematic. Any ideas where I can get one? Not doing well with google and I cannot deliver this device in this state. Not until I am convinced its right.
Thanks in advance.
BTW I also have one of the original Ecco Fonics here, but the mechanicals are a complete disaster. Sloppy belt, sticky capstan and roller. Not good.
Apparently there are no schematics available. The unit dates around 2001. Here are some details about the maker:
Rock Hard Inc.
2898 S. Southwood Dr.
Warsaw, IN 46580
The company was known also as Playmaster and they were in business from 1998 to 2006.
Richard is now CEO at greystonepublishing
Hello, thanks for this wonderful webpage! Until you put all this together there has been an awful lack of information about all the different echorec models. i’m looking forward to the section on mixers as well. i’m an amp tech/builder for dipinto guitars here in Philadelphia and one of my specialties is vintage tape and magnetic echos. i have restored echorecs, echocords, echolettes, echoplexs, swissechos, copicats, space echos and lots of the cheaper solidstate units. i have 5 tube echos myself, but my echorecs are the best sounding of all of them. Unfortunately they are also by far the hardest to restore. If anyone is looking for a tech in the mid atlantic, has questions or wants to sell me spare parts, haha, you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome onboard Brandon. Your nick didn’t sound new to me. Google tells me we’ve been posting in an Echorec thread on the plexiboard at vintageamps some time ago. Do you still own that B2?
Yes, i do! It got a complete restoration. i of course replaced all the wiring, the filter caps and about half of the other components including one of the heads and the drum. Someone had painted it black years ago so it got stripped to bare metal and repainted in hammered gold. It sounds amazing and replaced my echocord super 62 as my favorite delay. Along the way someone brought a really rough guild t6fa into the shop. It’s up next for a total rebuild if i can source parts for it.
Hi, both my two transistor echorecs have distortion in the ripetions of the echo and I don’t know why, the heads are aligned, boh, which could be the problem? Second, how can I regular the bias in these machines?
A good way to approach a complex problem is to split it in smaller parts and investigate each separately. If you have an audio scope (a simple cable) and an amp, you may try to follow the signal from input torward the disc and further from the playback heads to the output.
Do this only if you know how and where to apply the audio scope to the internal circuits, otherwise you may damage the unit and/or hurt yourself.
Unfortunately this technique is much simpler (and dangerous) with point-to-point tube models.
Regarding the bias signal: transistor models usually have a 150pf variable capacitor (tube models have a 100pf v.cap).
In some rare case a trimmer replaces the variable cap. Be very very careful when operating on a variable cap that wasn’t mechanically actuated for decades as you may easily break the internal parts. You may want to use a waveform scope to view the bias signal. You can operate on bias also without the waveform scope, just by hearing how it affects the wet audio signal (you can’t hear the bias signal itself), but you need an acceptable quality audio signal to start this, which at this point is not your case.
thank you very much, how concerns the bias I supposed it was the 150pf cap but I thought it’s better ask before touching it. I would like to make something like the specialbinson, putting a pot for the bias. Thank you again. P.s. I have several pieces for binson echorec to sell if someone is interested…..
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