The Binson Echorec—designed in the late 1950′s by Italian engineer, Dr Bonfiglio Bini—is iconic and widely regarded today as one of the finest examples of magnetic echo-delay effect units ever manufactured. However, although Binson machines were made in an era where electrical instrumentation was built to last (and look incredibly beautiful and stylish), they’re not indestructible. The precision delicate electro-mechanical parts require constant care and maintenance. The heads and drum must be kept clean and lightly oiled to reduce friction and minimise wear. But even if properly serviced and maintained, nothing lasts forever. The heads gradually wear down, the rubber idler wheel ages becoming hard and brittle, motor bearings dry out, then cease or wear out, even the electronic components deteriorate. Electrolytic capacitors gradually dry out and lose capacitance, resistors drift to become open circuit, and the tubes slowly lose their ability to amplify and the performance of the machine inevitably declines over the years. Additionally, Echorecs manufactured during the mid 1960s onwards possess their own unique and particularly nasty problem with the quality of the internal wiring insulation which breaks down and ‘sweats’ releasing corrosive gases which cause further damage to any metal parts inside the unit.
But keep calm and do not despair—these wonderful echo machines, like other instrumentation from this era, are entirely serviceable and, like a 1950 Ferrari 166 MM ‘Barchetta’, almost impossible to ‘write-off’. Tubes can be swapped out, resistors and capacitors can be unsoldered and replaced with new, worn or damaged mechanical parts can replaced with N.O.S. (new old stock) parts and there are plenty of enthusiasts out there who are rebuilding multi-section capacitors or even machining their own magnetic drums (one of the most difficult and expensive Binson parts to procure). Within these pages you’ll find everything you need to keep your vintage Echorec ‘Baby’, ‘Export’ (4-knob) or ‘B2′ (6-knob) tube delay-echo running like a dream machine—it’s all here. Schematics demystified, how to get hold of parts without paying through the nose, fascinating historical information and detailed, technical articles delving deep into the idiosyncrasies of the Echorec and explaining how to maintain and service your machine and unlock its true potential.
Finally, do take time to take a look at the Effectrode Binson Blog which details a full Echorec restoration from the ground-up. The work included a complete rewire, repainting and even rebuilding the multi-section electrolytic power supply smoothing capacitors. These pages are under constant revision and updated frequently in a quest to provide the most comprehensive and accurate Echorec service information possible—the definitive reference for Echorec owners.