NAMM 2023: The vast expanse of the Anaheim Convention Center has seen its share of gear stories over the years but tale of danish guitar effects specialist T-Rex completing an epic project to resurrect the Binson Echorec takes some beating.
After eight long years, during which the company shared details of a prototype before retreating to the drawing board and issuing periodic updates of their progress, detailing the difficulties in engineering the wire that carries the information in the mechanical drums, T-Rex’s Binson Echorec project is finally ready, the mechanical echo machine is back in production and it has some new features, too.
You would not call this – nor the originals – a compact unit by any means but with a bypass footswitch positioned on the bottom righthand corner of the enclosure you could mount it on a pedalboard as though it were just another delay pedal.
But this isn't just another delay. Alternatively, and frankly, with a $2,100 unit comprised of moving parts we like this idea, you could run this back with your guitar amp, using a remote switch to engage or bypass the effect, and an expression pedal to control the delay time, or you could keep it in the studio where it is sure to be safe from accidental missteps.
It is also where it can be deployed as a powerful recording effect – the Echorec might be most commonly associated with David Gilmour’s ethereal Pink Floyd electric guitar tone but it has similarly processed drums, most famously on John Bonham’s reference quality drum sound on Led Zeppelin’s When The Levee Breaks (which the likes of Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode sampled years later).
T-Rex has kitted their Echorec out with balanced and unbalanced I/Os, so you can run this in the studio and not worry about any extra noise. There is also a control that can adjust the speed by plus or minus 20 per cent.
It has an input stage where you can choose between two recording heads, one short, just like the original, the other long. Then there are four selectable playback heads. There is a tone dial for EQing the repeats, and you can toggle between the quasi-reverb ambience of the swell mode and the echo of the repeat setting.
Another cool touch is the green light on the front, the so-called ‘magic eye’, an indicator tube which illuminates green to let you know when your input signal is overloading the unit and causing it to clip.
There is nothing as yet on the T-Rex website as to final pricing and specs, but in the comments for the video at the top of the page, which was shot at NAMM by B’s Music Shop of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, B's confirms it will be priced $2,100.
That's no one's idea of cheap but when original Echorecs are retailing for $6,000 or more depending on their condition, there will be demand. The units are handmade in Denmark. You can read more about the project at T-Rex and see how it has evolved over the years.