The earliest batch of Ecorec machines (spelt without an ‘h’) were fabricated sometime during 1953/54. The name ‘Ecorec’ is made up from the Italian word ‘eco’, meaning echo, and the first syllable of the word ‘record’. It’s believed that no more than thirty machines were made on this first production run. Bini purposefully moved on to iron out a few of the wrinkles in machine’s design, altered the name slightly and the first true Echorec 1° (spelt with an ‘h’) was born. These model ‘T5E’ machines were fitted with an illuminated gold ‘Plexiglas’ front panel and the metal enclosure painted in a beautiful hammered metal effect gold paint—the overall effect is very pleasing giving the machine a wonderfully classy and stylish appearance. The T5E was manufactured from 1955 up until 1962/63.
The ‘Baby’ Binson was introduced around 1958 (though the scheme is dated March 1960) and, being a more compact machine, was primarily aimed at guitar players. This model was fitted with a silver Plexiglas front panel and finished in silver hammer tone paint. It also possessed a smaller diameter magnetic drum, was less bulky and came with a less hefty price tag than its big brother, the ‘T5E’. The retail price of the ‘Baby’ was £140 in 1962 (£3,200-00 in today’s money). For comparison, a Vox ‘AC30′ tube amp was priced at £119 and Fender ‘Stratocaster’ guitar at £160. Although the ‘Baby’ Binson was a budget echo machine it performed almost as well as the larger Echorec units.
The ‘Baby’ was manufactured up until 65/66 when Bini took the decision to standardise the Echorec product range in an effort to keep their production costs down. Manufacture of the smaller drum and compact chassis parts ceased and from this point onwards the ‘Baby’ was replaced by the ‘B1S’; the ‘B1S’ was essentially ‘Baby’ electronics installed in a ‘T5E’ chassis with the larger diameter ‘T5E’ drum. Further, the gold and silver front panels were dropped and all Echorecs were fitted with black Plexiglas front panels and painted in the same gold hammer finish paint.
Like the ‘Baby’, the ‘B1S’ featured just one channel, which means the old-style, cream ‘car radio’ channel selector buttons are conspicuously absent from the front panel. The panel layout has a sparse and pleasing simplicity about it. However, it wasn’t long before Bini altered the design to add cream pushbutton switches and the ‘B1S’ became the ‘B2’ (and this later became the ‘Export’). The ‘Baby’ and its successors were the only “classic” models with four knobs, all the other models were six knob designs with twelve separate echo selections from one head alone to complex multitap effects with all four playback heads. Record level, playback and regeneration (feedback) was also adjustable. This was the standard layout for the ‘B1S’, ‘B2’ and ‘T5E’ models.
Then came the most iconic Binson Echorec of all: the model ‘T7E’ or Echorec 2°. The ‘T7E’ was introduced in 1960 and was the first of their echo units to offer reverberation effects, not just delay. The convenience and versatility of the ‘T7E’ made it a highly desirable tool to have around in the recording studio or for live work, and the machine rapidly became Binson’s flagship product. In fact the new ‘T7E’ and ‘B2’ models were so successful that Binson even manufactured branded versions of the machines for Sound City (England), Guild (U.S.A.) and the Italian company, EKO Guitars. Sound City’s Echorec was branded as the ‘Echomaster’ and Guild’s was the model ‘T6E’.