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I must admit that I have become apathetical about delay.

 

On a whim I brought my Maestro Echoplex out of storage to let some young rockers, i was recording, use it.

 

It was so friggin' awesome.

 

The degradation of the repeats was so mind boggling.

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A properly functioning EP is a thing of beauty. They were fairly common when I was a kid, and I used to borrow a friend's quite a bit. The better emulations do come close, but something about the feel is off. I guess that is probably due to the preamp.

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The burden of tape echo maintenance is severely over-stated.

 

It really depends on the machine... some are more reliable by design than others IMO.

 

If we're talking tape deck / transport maintenance in general, it's not something I really think about too much - I just do it. But then again, I'm an audio engineer who started with analog tape decks (because that's all there was back then), and I was trained that you clean the heads every time you take a reel off the machine, and you regularly calibrate, align, degauss and otherwise maintain the things, or they stop sounding good and stop working right.

 

For an engineer it's second nature - for the typical guitarist, the idea of doing regular preventative maintenance is much less a part of their world.

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