Roland Space Echo RE-201
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The Roland RE-201, commonly known as the Space Echo, is an audio effects unit that produces delay and reverb effects. It was produced by the Roland Corporation from 1974 to 1990.
A tape echo device records incoming audio to a loop of magnetic tape, then replays the continuous loop over the playback head before it is erased again by new incoming audio. The first commercial echo unit was the EchoSonic which had its own amplification and a delicate tape mechanism that required frequent attention. The design was further perfected in the Echoplex with adjustable echo delay. It provided a reliable and much smaller, portable package that could be used with any amplifier.
In the late 1960s Ikutaro Kakehashi, later the founder of the Roland Corporation, built a tape echo using a short tape loop based on the design of the Echoplex and the EchoSonic; his Ace Tone EC-1 Echo Chamber was the first of a number of models. In 1973, then operating under the Roland brand, Kakehashi introduced the Roland Echo Chamber RE-100 and RE-200, the latter with an added spring reverb.
Kakehashi's breakthrough development came in 1974 with the RE-101 and RE-201 Space Echo units, which used the standard 1/4" tape of the open-reel variety, but made as one, continuous loop. It uses no reels of any kind; the tape is transported via a capstan drive. The tape loop is contained in a loose, constantly moving jumble in the tape chamber (also known as the tape tank) under a plastic panel which protects the tape and keeps it from getting tangled. The design resulted in lower levels of noise, wow, and flutter, and cut down on tape wear. Replacement tapes were sold as well, named RT-1L.
There are several control dials on the device that alter such aspects as tape speed, repeat pattern (an 11-position rotary switch), one instrument and two microphone inputs, a single analog backlit VU meter for all three inputs, wet/dry mix for both echo and reverb, and intensity (number of repeats), that can be adjusted to a user's liking; and bass/treble controls to EQ the sound of the repeats (not the dry signal), as well as dry and effected "Echo" output jacks with a switch for output setting (-10, -20, -35db levels.)
Used as a delay/echo, the Roland RE-201 is said to produce a potentially unpredictable delay that is warm and gritty sounding. It is also capable of producing a large variety of its own sound effects, even without an input signal (by turning the intensity control to maximum and allowing the unit to self-regenerate, or self-oscillate, while manipulating the tape speed and other controls).
In 2010 Roland's guitar effects company, Boss Corporation, introduced a digital modeling pedal of the space echo, the RE-20.
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Trusted musician and artist reviews for Roland Space Echo RE-201
Based on 6 Reviews and 53 Ratings
Mutivox Tape Echo kills, this guy is ok.
I started with tape echo with this guy-Then my tech turned me on to the Multivox. Now I've got 2 of those juuust in case one has issues on the road. The Roland just can't match up, but it still can be fun...provided you have the Multivox as well ideally.
Putting CLASS back into Classic
I can't really say anything about this beast that hasn't been said a million times already. The musical landscape of the 70's, 80's and 90's would have been completely different if the RE-201 hadn't existed. I recommend everyone to buy one if you have the chance.