Cool multi-headed tape reverb unit my friend found. Anyone familiar with these? What sort of reuse can you imagine?

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works at Disney Research and writes for Make and Boing Boing. He is training for American Ninja Warrior. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

  • Cigar Box Guitars

    I use to have a COPICAT MkIII SOLID STATE 1970s. They had a great sound and we fun to hack by moving the playback heads. Check them out @

    Scotty –

  • Maker Dino

    That is an awesome find! Wow… I’d be in the studio with that thing pronto!

    As far as re-use, how about a automata driver that can get written on the fly?
    For instance, a short blip of sound a certain frequency gets picked up as it passes by one of the tape heads, then input to a micro controller and it in turn does some operation. A another blip of sound at a different frequency triggers a different event. It could be re-written on the fly by using a series of buttons which play notes from a tone generator or a keyboard. When the button is pushed, the sound gets recorded onto the loop and then gets picked up by one of the heads thus triggering the action.

    Looks like it has one record head over to the left and then four playback heads. So it’s kind of like 4 bits of data storage! :)

    It could be turned into a really cool interactive piece.

  • Brian McNett

    Tape REVERB units are rare. More common are tape echo units, which produce a different effect. Both types of effects overlap somewhat. Reverb with a longer delay becomes echo. I’m not familiar with this particular model, which appears to be specifically designed to connect to an organ. This would be fun to use more or less as-is, just figure out how to interface with it.


    Don’t you dare. There are some things that just don’t need, or shouldn’t be hacked! That is a beauty of a machine. Aside from cleaning it up and re-capping it will treat you damn well just as it is. The only appropriate mod I can think of is adding an infinite hold, if it doesn’t exist. I’m sure quite a bit can be accomplished by reverse-engineering that “control” port as well.

  • DiggidyDylan
  • John Park

    Point taken, we won’t be trying anything funny with it, just trying to figure out the control scheme. I’m dying to hear it in action.

  • Nate

    …that the schematics might be printed inside.

    If not there, perhaps on the web somewhere. If you could find ’em, you can probably figure out the controls.

  • GanadoRH

    These lost out when the bucket-brigade charge-coupled devices came into being and distributed about 1975. I recall getting an engineering sample of one of the CCD chips about then (Reticon SAD1024) and building a phlanger device that made audio sound like one had one’s finger on the tape player’s reel flange to slow down the audio. I kept having to take my earphones off to make sure I was really hearing the resulting audio correctly. It was that stunning.

    There’s a 1977 commercial example here
    available as a kit for $60 from PAIA.