The Binson Echorec was a popular delay and echo machine used extensively by David Gilmour and Led Zeppelin. These machines used analog magnetic recording technology that utilized a metallic drum rather than audio tape for a more durable recording medium. Unfortunately, these machines were made with wire whose insulation breaks down over time and leaches out a caustic substance that corrodes the wire and eventually renders these machines useless.

Here is a very nice example of an Echorec on the bench. The three pushbuttons at the top as channel selectors which allow you to select up to three different inputs and corresponding outputs to the unit. The controls left to right are:

  • Input Level: Allows for the control of preamp drive. For no distortion this is adjusted so that signal peaks cause the beams in the “Magic Eye” in the center of the panel to just touch. Increase beyond that and distortion occurs.
  • Length of Swell: Controls the amount of regeneration in the wet signal. Somwhat like a “dwell” control on reverb. If this is adjusted to high levels, the device becomes unstable and oscillates.
  • Volume: Mixes in the level of the wet signal.
  • Tone
  • Selector: Echo, Rep, and Swell; Selects between the three operational modes of the unit. The “Swell” setting acts more as a reverb.
  • Switch: This allows for the selection of the individual playback heads. Positions 1-4 select the heads individually and the remaining eight positions connect various combinations of heads.

Top view with the lid removed reveals the memory drum and the record and four playback heads. The black idler wheel drives the memory drum from the motor shaft which can also be seen here. The small bottle of head cleaning oil and lubricant came with the units and is also stored under the lid with spare fuses.

Many examples of Echorec sounds are available on YouTube.  Search “Echorec” and enjoy!

Here is an example of what the wires look like in this unit after 40+ years. The insulation simply crumbles and the wire is corroded green. Every single piece of wire needs to be replaced, and the unit is full of coaxial (shielded) wire as well. The fix is labor intensive (12+ hours) but certainly worth it. The flecks that you see on the chassis are pieces of insulation that have flaked off the wire.

Some of the wire on the bench after removal.

Contact me to discuss terms and conditions for rewiring. I have been able to successfully rewire these units and perform head alignments. Be advised that this is very labor intensive and I may have your unit for over a month to get it back into shape.

Shipping these units requires care when packaging. I will return the unit to you in EXACTLY the same container you send it in, so pack it carefully.