DIY analog tape delay machine

Music Technology
DIY analog tape delay machine

From the Make: Flickr Pool:

V2 of my Tape Delay Machine uses two walkman type tape players. One is a Realistic Stereo Mate and the other is a Memorex XB.

Both players have a similar footprint, so I arranged them side by side and connected them together.

A single tape loop runs through two modified cassettes (each which have had one of their left or right sides removed).

The players themselves have had there walls (the two in the center, respectively) filed down, so the tape runs fluently.

The Realistic Stereo Mate has recording capability, where as the memorex does not.

This is purposeful, because the tape (which moves counter-clockwise) travels through the left player (Realistic) where it’s internal microphone records sound, and then travels to the Memorex which plays back the sound about 3 seconds later.

Walkman Analog Delay

2 thoughts on “DIY analog tape delay machine

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is great. My boss told me about a similar technique they used to use at NBC back before they invented the wheel. They had quad videotape machines that were each the size of a full-sized arcade game console, and used reel-to-reel video tapes. They would set two of those machines about 10 feet apart, and run one reel from the machine on the left, past the record head, skip the takeup reel, go halfway across the room, skip the playout reel on the other machine, go past the playback head, and into the takeup reel. It’s amazing the lengths they had to go to to get a couple of seconds of analog delay in the days before digital.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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