The air in my workshop is now heavy with the strong scent of machine oil and alcohol. This marks the completion of my first Binson Echorec rebuild for a paying customer! The oil and alcohol were used during the endless hours of head alignment and idler wheel tweaking that were essential to get this old Echorec (1962) operating close to original factory new condition. Head alignment is fantastically fiddly to get just right on these machines as it involves alignment in 3 planes. Additionally, there’s alignment between all five heads to consider as well as the tracking force of each individual head on the drum. It really is a challenge and much, much more complex than azimuth adjustment on a typical reel-to-reel tape machine, which is a breeze in comparison.
The idler wheel can be a pain in the ass too – I found myself getting extremely frustrated with the inordinate amount of time it was taking to complete the job. It’s not rocket science, but it’s one of those things that demand time and require the patience of an angel, however when it starts to run true, and you hear those pristine endless repeats or self-oscillation, well it’s as close to a miracle as this athiest can get. The devil very much is in the detail here. You can learn the theory, but it really comes down to spending time and getting involved, something that is in short supply in today’s world. Anyway it’s done, a complete rewire, respray and setup, effectively a new machine just like an Echorec that rolled off Binson’s production line back in the 1960’s, and hopefully good for another 50 years or more.
Effectrode doesn’t currently offer restoration, rewiring or setups of Echorecs but it’s a service we’re aiming to provide in the not too distant future. In the meantime I’ll be writing more articles and will get a detailed article on the intricacies of Echorec head alignment online as soon as I can. Stay tuned more info on these fabulous machines!