Roland RE-201 Space Echo

The Roland RE-201 Space Echo remains one of the most popular echo/reverb/delay effects units of all time. The original RE-201 was used by notable guitarists such as Randy Rhodes and David Gilmour, and in the past decade has undergone a resurgence in popularity due in large part to Radiohead, and Jonny Greenwood in particular.

The Roland RE-201 is a tape echo analog unit that records audio direct to magnetic tape, replaying this audio over several playback heads before the audio is erased by new incoming audio. The RE-201 uses 1/4" tape, with the replacement tape loops sold by Roland under the product name of Roland RT-1L.

Roland Space Echo PLASTIC TAPE BAY COVER for RE-201, RE-101, RE-150 etc
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The Roland RE-201 Space Echo, while not strictly an "effects pedal", can be switched via an external foot switch (see Jonny Greenwood's guitar rig for an example). The RE-201 is a small box like unit with a number of controls that can be used to manipulate the tape speed, repeat pattern (this is an 11 position rotary switch), wet/dry mix for both echo and reverb, intensity (number of repeats) and bass/treble controls. The RE-201 also has three inputs, one instrument and two for microphones as well as dry and effected "echo" output jacks.

Besides that fact that the RE-201 is highly sought after "cos that guy from Radiohead uses one", it is prized due to it's often unpredictable behaviour and warm delay tones. It also has the ability to kick out a nice little slapback effect as well as Radiohead style 'flutter' effect. The more experimental guitarists out there will also enjoy playing around with the RE-201's self oscillating and regeneration qualities via manipulating the tape speed controls.

As with a lot of "vintage" effects, one of the downsides of the RE-201 (besides sourcing replacement tape loops) is the noise it will add to your signal. There will be a noticeable hiss, but nothing that a decent noise gate couldn't take care of.

Whilst the RE-201 is now only available on the second hand market (see eBay), Roland Boss have released the Boss RE-20 Twin pedal, which was designed to re-create many of the tones and nuances of the original Roland RE-201 Space Echo. It's important to note that the Boss RE-20 Twin pedal is digital and note an analog tape unit.

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Roland RE-201 Vintage Guitar Space echo Pedal Reverb Delay from Japan [Exc++]
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Tape Tension spring (19mm version) for Roland Space Echo RE-201, RE-301, RE-501
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Tape Tension spring (22mm version) for Roland Space Echo RE-201, RE-301, RE-501
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ROLAND RE-201 SPACE ECHO 120v Serviced Vintage Tape Delay - Price inc. 20% VAT
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