the classic chorus echo device

Beside the usual suspects when it comes down to the individual classic echo or chorus devices there were also some combined devices build around true tape delays or bucket brigade delays (BBD). Looking from todays production standards they might be easily overseen and this is no wonder since their golden decade refers back to the 1970s right before the digital delay devices emerged during the 1980s.

Some example devices are:

  • Rockman Stereo Chorus/Delay
  • Roland DC-30 Analog Chorus-Echo
  • Roland SRE-555 Chorus-Echo
  • Roland RE-501 Chorus-Echo
  • Ibanez AD202 Analog Delay
  • Yamaha E1010 Analog Delay
  • Dynacord VRS23

Beside the delay unit itself they typically contain a Chorus/Flanger/Ensemble sort of effect as a switchable option or offer a direct and straight delay line modulation instead. Comparing them to todays feature blown digital delay units they might appear feature wise rather poor and limited but in some cases they were groundbreaking to their time providing a sound palette ranging from smoothest chorus goodness up to weird and feedback distorted audio fx oddness. This and their unique sound quality is probably the charm which still today attracts producers and audio engineers to use this sort of stuff.

Does the list miss some crucial device and are you still using such device and why?


  1. The first one that came to mind for me is the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man. Prominent on the Edge’s early U2 recordings.

  2. susiwong says:

    Depending on definition you might want to add some unique analog units like the TC 1210, the Cooper Time Cube (does it get more analog than two pieces of garden hose ? 😉 ) or the original Roland Dimension (later versions were digital emulations).
    None of these offer typical delay FX, all of them are delay based just the same.
    And, most important, they still eat most modern chorus / doubling devices for breakfast sonically.
    Imho, of course. 😉
    And yes, I love these dinosaurs (and a few good digital emulations) and use them whenever possible.
    Admittedly the only ones I still own are the stomp TC SCF (kinda half of a 1210), a few RSP 550s with a good Dimension emu and the UA plugins.

  3. I’m a big fan of these old devices too!
    Lately i’ve discovered the great arcDev ET-301 as great VST alternative.

    I began to write a tutorial a few days ago:

    Sorry for spamming around. I thought this might be interesting for some people in this context.


  4. I use Roland RE-201 Space Echo constantly.
    I love how each next echo repeat blends with the others. Also the repeats sound darker/compressed in a very cool way.
    Try to rurn repeats all the way up and it makes makes makesmakesszmakessde38&^ImakesOIU#(*makessde38&^Imake..
    Then turn the mode select knob and it goes crazy !!
    I like even how Re-201 distorts the dry sound when I turn the echo volume and reverb down.
    It is amazing unit!

    • Do you know where the dry sound distortion comes from? From the input stage?

      • I drive it quite hard.
        There is VU meter and red Peak Level diode on the front panel.
        I usually do not watch the meters but use my ears, so the peak level diode lights sometimes 30% of the time I think, so I think it is the input stage clipping.
        There is no true bypass so it affects dry signal quite much. It makes it darker and adds some noise 🙂
        When i want my dry signal clean i use “from PA input” and use it as send effect.

        • cool:spring! says:

          i own the original one and this one

          and i must say that the bargain between the phisical weight of the hw unit and the timbre of the sw is worthy enough(specially for the fantastic reverb). 🙂
          he made also another tape delay emulation for free,they are both rich and dirty,although only if you ever tried the original you can tell what “being dirty” really means(sometimes too much)…please tell me what do you think about’em

          • I must try that plugin 🙂
            It would be great if it comes close in sound to my RE-201.
            I often use Boss RE-20 on small gigs. It’s quite playable and has the character of original space echo but it lacks some warmth in the sound. I would not use it in studio but for gigs it is OK and it is so small and light in comparison to the original 🙂

          • Ah coolspring, I think you’re talking about the free WatCat plugin which sounds excellent and supposedly really authentic.

            I also have the GSI RE-201 tape echo and must say it sounds great,very gritty and warm.

            Apparently it sounds completely different from the UAD version but as usual,some adore the UAD one,while others prefer the grittiness of the GSI feeling that the UAD is a bit too polished.

            They are both modeled from different units so its horses for courses but, for the money, GSI 201 being £16, UAD can go whistle.

  5. There is the Echoplex as well (more a delay than a chorus though).

    A friend of mine made a small delay box which simulate a tape delay, it’s fun.

  6. Hi
    I have a DM-300. I dig it, but you can’t use delay and chorus at the same time.
    The chorus is no “instant gratification”, though : at some settings on some material, it sounds good, but it can also sound very average (neither lush, nor thick, nor unpredictable, just unsuitable).

    Does anyone know a BBD chorus device unit with 2 or 3 BB lines ?

  7. High Voltage says:

    I suppose you know this blog, its loosely related to this topic, but i remember him talking about old echo devices and harmonisers:

  8. Oh man, I LOOOOOVEEEEE those old units!
    Never enough rhodes, never enough noise from a mixer and tape and NEVER enough of that old tape/bucket brigade delays!
    Can´t wait for that! I´m planning to build a beast in Reaktor but don´t know where to get the time for it 😦

    Herbert, let me know if I can help you!!!!!!

    I did some research for my project and got plenty of information about head timing variances, noise, frequency range of different tapes and so on

  9. Dean Aka Nekro says:

    Quite fond of the MXR Analog Delay from the 70’s (Big Dark Green Stompbox), Simple but a very dark/murky sound which for whatever reason(s) compresses by nature in a pleasing manner out of all the older stuff i have had a chance to play through/with. Thier Carbon Copy gets close but not to the same degree and with the dark/murky and compressed side-effects
    A massive +1 to the already mentioned Roland Dimension Chorus (It is a real magic box and i have a tendancy to not really enjoy chorus effects fwiw but the original Dimension is something very special)
    That is it off the top of my head i can think of but i will get back if i remember anything else and i am sure there are a few i have neglected due to not having the best of memorys. Deluxe MemoryMan i will give a +1 to also (the 1978 one is the one i tried and liked alot) Cheers


  1. […] related links: the classic chorus echo device […]

  2. […] the classic chorus echo device […]

  3. […] the classic chorus echo device Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Filed Under: Audio FX Plug-Ins Tagged With: chorus, delay, DLA, echo, stateful saturation, Update « if you are seeking the next challange in room acoustic treatments […]

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: