I had gotten my first “tape echo” in the form of an Empress Tape delay; I loved it needless to say. But then I had the itch, so I traded it for a Moby Dick Tape delay pedal. That didn’t sooth it so I saved up for a while and eventually found the deal of a century, a mint condition Roland Space Echo 201 for $400. It included the covering case and brand new tape and everything. I was floored, but also didn’t really know how to maintain it. Here is a guide on how to maintain your echo as well as a recommended list of items to buy for your echo echo echo echo.
What do I need?
Here are some items that I personally use for my unit.
High quality Q tips– RamRodz 0.40/10mm Caliber Gun Cleaning Swabs (100 Quantity)
Why not regular Q tips? They shed easily and you don’t want that on your tape heads or capstans.
Head Cleaner– MG Chemicals 407C Audio/Video Head Liquid Cleaner
This is made just for your heads, you could always use lighter fluid/Isopropyl alcohol in place of it, but I find it best to use that exact chemical.
Rubber Renue– MG Chemicals 408A Rubber Renue
This is for your rubber roller to get all the dirt and residue off.
Isopropyl Alcohol– Swan Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%
This is for cleaning everything that isn’t the rubber roller, but I’ll go more into detail in the next section.
Extra Demagnetizer- Demagnetizer Wand
I have everything, now what?
Ok so you have all the essential items to clean and rejuvenate your unit. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty.
- Remove the tape from the heads and rollers; you don’t want it touching anything you’re cleaning.
- Clean: Time to bust out the alcohol, no not that kind. Dip your q-tip in the iso alcohol and clean the roller capstan (don’t let the alcohol touch the rubber roller) and the tape guide posts. Don’t be afraid to use more than 1 q-tip to clean everything. Use a fresh Q-tip to dry off the alcohol and residue.
- Clean: Now it’s time to clean your heads of all that residue and dirt! Dip your Q-tip into the head cleaner and scrub the heads clean of any residue and dirt. Don’t scrub too hard as to misalign the heads. Use a fresh Q-tip to dry off the head cleaner and residue.
- Clean: Last but certainly not least, it’s time to clean the rubber roller. Dip your Q-tip into the rubber renue and hold it against the roller. Start manually spinning it, you’ll see brown and black stuff come off, that’s normal. Use a fresh Q-tip to dry off the roller.
- Almost done: You can if you want to use some canned air to spray off any dust or particles.
- Extra: If you have a Demagnetizer wand you can just follow the instructions and wave the wand over the heads.
- Done: Now you can just go over everything lightly with a dry Q tip and wait 10 minutes for it to dry before putting the tape back in place.
Now this isn’t necessary but I highly recommend buying this pack and installing it to get better performance.
It’s a bit pricey but well worth it- RE-201 Full Service Kit with Green Felts and Green Roller for RE-201, 301, 101, 150 (http://tinyurl.com/zsvm2h7)
The green felt roller itself makes a world of a difference; you can buy that alone with the felts for cheaper, but might as well get the whole pack for that extra fresh tape.
Now that you know how to clean your space echo it’s recommended to clean it once a month to keep it fresh. You of course can clean it how often you want depending on where you’re using it. If you need it serviced you can contact Pete, he does a great job and he’s currently fixing up a 72’ Echoplex for me right now. He can be contacted on instagram at Echoplexrepair. If you don’t have instagram you can email me and I’ll get you his contact info.
Enough talking time to get to jamming!
Disclaimer: I’m not sponsored by any of the products here, these are just what I find works best.