Around the late ’70′s-early ’80′s the Binson company built units for Guild and Sound City; both very big names of the time. Don’t quote me on the dates. According my history books Oliver Cromwell lived next door to Nova Scotia.
There was a very considerable difference between the gear with ‘Echorec’ marked on it and those we’ve just mentioned. The Guild and Sound City versions were transistor machines and Binson’s usual designs were all valve. The ‘Echomaster’ was Sound City’s incarnation,and that’s what this is.
Although this model is so different from the usual Echorec models, in some ways they are exactly the same. With many of the same problems. The idea behind any mechanical analogue echo, is that the signal (sound) is recorded via a record head, onto a moving medium; might be a tape loop or a cassette loop of some sort. This sound on the tape then passes across playback heads and this means that the sound will be played back later and at different times from the original sound. There are a variety of ways these repeat echos are processed afterwards, but that is basically the arrangement.
The Binson is different. The recording medium is a steel disc which revolves past the heads, and has a recording surface on the edge. Not many designs use this. Schaller did one, and that’s the only other that I know of. The idea is still the same as the tape, though.
So that’s a very approximate overview. Should you be so fortunate as to acquire one of these brilliant pieces of coolness (coolity?) from your neighbour who has kept it under a sack of spuds for a half century you should be very cautious about switching it on. Best done with a long stick from behind a wall of sandbags.
The coloured cables are the reasons why. They are the originals and the insulation often rots away, so you get bare copper exposed. I don’t know what the insulation was made from, but it could be a rubber-based material and that would perish, so it makes sense. The high voltage stuff is also made of the same materials. The pic shows the job part-way through. The black screened cables have replaced some of the original wiring, but it was all replaced in due course.
You have to do (or at least visually check) this wiring BEFORE YOU SWITCH IT ON. Or make sure you get your solicitor to check that your fire insurance is up to date. That means the signal cables and the mains/ HT wiring. It’s a time-consuming job before you’ve even thought about whether it works or not.
I’m going to continue with the procedure for setting up the heads and disk on the next blog. Otherwise these things start to look like an unexpurgated big letter version of ‘War and Peace’ and nobody will read it. So what’s new?
Time for tea.