Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

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EricK
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Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by EricK » Thu May 15, 2014 5:00 pm

Hear a side-by-side comparison of two classic tape delays treating a Micromoog:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz0ICtXISXE
Image

Chorus Comparison of the Roland DC-50 and RE-301 with a Synthesizers.com oscillator (simulated beat frequency effect):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5VgnbuXF50
Image

MTI Tubes preamp with a Hohner D6 Clavinet (distortion):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dxRr_-k_uY
Image
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Mr Arkadin
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by Mr Arkadin » Sat May 17, 2014 8:11 am

Nice to see another DC-50 owner. Not much info about these on the interwebz. Do you have a manual? I realise there's not much to it, but I've been after a copy. I have wondered about opening it up and adjusting some trimmers, although I like the simplicity of one knob. I really like the Hall effect for dub madness. Even with no input you get a whacky sound at max intensity.

Here's mine above my RE-501:

Image
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EricK
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by EricK » Sat May 17, 2014 1:20 pm

We're SOL on the manual or ANY info.

I didn't even know these existed until last year I was doing an ebay search for the 201 and I saw that. Knowing I was going to get a Space Echo I got that purely for aesthetic purposes, but frankly it is such an excellent unit I am very happy I "discovered" it.

Mine was purchased from a Japanese Ebay seller (I'm still skeptical of their legitimacy) but it arrived smelling like pipe tobacco. I had to get a transformer to operate it. The 301 is from Echofix.
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Mr Arkadin
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by Mr Arkadin » Sun May 18, 2014 6:52 am

Mine was from the UK. Like you I had never seen one before, can't remember how it came up. I bought mine years ago from eBay, thankfully a UK/European one so voltage is correct for me. It was only £60. A couple of months later I saw one go for £200.

Here's the odd thing. It looked mint and unused. There was no plug on it and the wire ends had solder on the copper wire as you'd expect direct from the factory and the solder didn't look squashed from ever being in a plug. The knobs even had that protective film still on the inner disc of the knobs. Sadly even though it looks like it might have been a found stock item it didn't have the manual or box.

I think this box would be ripe for modification - there must be some trim pots in there.
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EricK
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by EricK » Sun May 18, 2014 11:42 am

Wow! Yours does look very mint! I'd love to keep mine atop the 301, but something about opening the lid is just nice (that's where he installed the motor kill switch).


The only information I ever found about it was in regards to where it fit in the timeline, such as a very brief history of Roland. There was some user based info on a forum somewhere with a lot of people still thinking it was digital. There is also a Japanese sales literature that I found during an image search which I included below.

Some of the people on the forums talked about adjusting the trimmers, but there's no telling what they do. One could only imagine it controls the self-oscillation of the hall echo.

If you watched the Chorus Comparison video, you will see that the DC-50 seemed to be faster and more intense, like a 90º sweep whereas the 301 had more of a 45º sweep. I don't know if Shane (Echofix) dialed down the chorus to a more musically manageable, guitar-friendly level. He also didn't have any info on the DC-50 and after I got the unit, I never could get back in touch with the Japanese seller.

Edit:
I took it apart again today and took some pictures in addition to the ones below snapped last year. It contains four trimmers, 2 MN3001 chips, a NEC C1458 op amp, as well as two TA7136p op amps.




Image

Image

Image

Image



Image




Roland DC-50= ¥49,500/$239.34 (1978);¥73,990/$728.80 (today)
$239.34 (1978) = $898.20 (today)

Roland RE-301= ¥120,000/$501.38 (1978); ¥179,369.60/$1,766.79 (today)
$501.38 (1978) =1,881.58 (today)









Roland 1978 Catalog (Japanese) Vol. 3
http://brochures.yokochou.com/keyboard- ... index.html
http://brochures.yokochou.com/keyboard- ... /p3940.pdf
http://brochures.yokochou.com/keyboard- ... /p4142.pdf
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latigid on
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by latigid on » Mon May 19, 2014 2:41 am

Probably a good time to change those caps, especially on the PSU!

Mr Arkadin
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by Mr Arkadin » Mon May 19, 2014 7:14 am

I'm trying to think how Roland could call this a Digital Chorus - maybe because it has chips? That hardly makes it digital. I guess from the Space:1999-style font they thought digital was all futuristic and a buzz-word. Certainly Roland would eventually go all-digital.

I have an RE-3 which is called a Digital Space Echo, that one actually is digital and is really rather good. Nothing like a tape Space Echo of course, but its own unique flavour with some great glitchy stepping effects when twisting the knobs too fast as it only has '80s digital resolution on the pots. Not lots of info about that on the internet either, although I do at least have the real manual. Another one of my bargains at £125 from eBay.
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EricK
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by EricK » Mon May 19, 2014 7:37 pm

Some forums indicate that Digital was a sales pitch, but if MN3001s inside have ANY digital aspect whatsoever, maybe that is the anchor which justifies the moniker.
latigid on wrote:Probably a good time to change those caps, especially on the PSU!
Yeah, that job won't fall to me lest I burn holes in the PCB with my lack of skills.
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nicholas d. kent
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by nicholas d. kent » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:35 am

Cool demos!

I think that while tape echos tend to be grouped together, I personally think it's best to think of tape echos in 2 categories, ones with a single sliding playback head and ones with multiple fixed heads. Obviously there are a lot of features and extras that are different from machine to machine. Nice to see one of each category side by side.

I bought a used DC-50 from the USA. It's definitely newer than 1971-1972 mentioned in the video. Roland didn't exist in 1971. While the BBD was invented in 1969, I doubt the chip used was out and used in music gear at that early date. I think it's established the better documented Boss CE-1 dates from 1976 and have seen the DC-50 dated to 1976 also, which sounds correct though with Roland often releasing in Japan a season before and it not being that well documented. There was some debate really early on since BBD technology, while definitely far from 100% digital technology, does essentially have a sample rate, the signal is turned into so many discrete values per second and delayed, but the samples involved are not converted to binary numbers and back.

I'd absolutely love to get a service manual for the DC-50 and would certainly be curious about the manual, though I'd suspect the latter would not reveal that much. The service manual would surely document the trimmers inside. It is a real minus the chorus rate on it (as well as the space echos) is fixed, one should be able to modify the LFO going to the clock for different speeds but I wouldn't want to mess with a vintage piece like this unless at least I was sure I knew what I was doing.

The hall time is also quite limited in use because it's fixed. I'd presume that would be changed by changing the rate the BBD clock runs at.

Clearly of the same general vintage as the Boss CE-1 chorus, the CE-1 having user adjustable parameters beyond "intensity" really increases options and character. I've been annoyed since I first started looking into vintage Roland that such nice sounding fx units are so often fixed to one setting.

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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by thealien666 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:58 pm

EricK wrote: It contains four trimmers, 2 MN3001 chips, a NEC C1458 op amp, as well as two TA7136p op amps.
So, what exactly is digital in a DC-50 (aside maybe from the clock driving the MN3001 :roll: ) ?
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EricK
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by EricK » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:48 pm

thealien666 wrote:
EricK wrote: It contains four trimmers, 2 MN3001 chips, a NEC C1458 op amp, as well as two TA7136p op amps.
So, what exactly is digital in a DC-50 (aside maybe from the clock driving the MN3001 :roll: ) ?

I think the consensus is that the "Digital" was just a sales pitch, and maybe the clock of the 3001 was the only justification they needed for it heh.



Nicholas,
Thanks!
Yeah I need to make an annotation to correct the date, I think you are right about 76. Still it seems they were probably gone shortly thereafter. Would be nice to verify that indeed.

And despite the lack of maintenance on the Echoplex, I think its decay sounds better.
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Mr Arkadin
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by Mr Arkadin » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:16 am

I know, zombie thread, but...

After many years Googling I have finally found the service manual. Grab it while you can DC-50 lovers.

https://ia801500.us.archive.org/22/item ... _notes.pdf
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EricK
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by EricK » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:46 am

You need to collect a reward for this! I had all but given up hope and was about to send mine off to a friend for servicing. Seriously you have done a great favor by finding this. Thanks very much for posting it.


My favorite thing to do with the DC-50 is to be present when splitting the Voyager's audio.

Take the Left out of the Voyager, send that to the DC-50 with echo and run that to a channel on the board panned left.
Take the Right output of the Voyager, send that to the re-301 with chorus and delay.
Take the first output of the 301 (chorus) and send that to the board.
Take the second output of the 301 (reverb) and send that to the board panned right.

What this does is creates a thick Voyager sound. The heavy chorus makes one of the outputs detuned, but the other outputs reinforce the intended pitch creating what sounds like a drifty oscillator with two different delay settings.
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megavoice
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by megavoice » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:50 pm

I read your reports and writings with GREAT interest as either I have a 501 and remembering the early days one of my guitar players used a DC-50 with his VOX AC 120 steadily and had a GRAT sound, and playing a `68 Les Paul Deluxe.

One week ago I gave my 501 a stitch and brought it back to life but the tape is pretty damaged.
Does anybody know where I can get tapes. Roland doesn`t produce them now for more than 20 years anymore and I don`t trust those guys who sell some on ebay because often they cut down a piece of a normal tape and try to sell ?????
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EricK
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Re: Tape Delay Shootout with Micromoog: Ep4/RE301

Post by EricK » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:01 pm

ATR Magnetics
https://atrtape.com/product-category/qu ... ster-tape/

Get those heads demagnetized and everywhere in the transport system where the tape touches cleaned also.

Good luck!
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