Roland Chorus Echo Vintage Gear Demo


This vintage gear demo, by Chris Schlarb of Big Ego studio, features the Roland Chorus Echo SRE-555 (501) Tape Delay.

Here’s what Schlarb has to say about the Roland Chorus Echo:

The Roland Chorus Echo is an analog tape echo, chorus, and spring reverb rack effect unit released in 1982. It is one of my favorite things on the face of the earth.

The unit features three playback tape heads which can be used independently and in combination. There are also two additional effects circuits that can be switched in and out: lush analog chorus, and a vibey, metallic spring reverb.

The SRE-555 was the last tape echo machine Roland ever manufactured. It’s an incredibly robust and well made piece of equipment and I can think of anything that comes close to the sonic and creative possibilities this unit offers. It lives on one of my consoles effect sends and I use it on almost every record I produce and mix.

Audio: “Sully” by Jeremy Trezona from Phantoms. Featuring drums by Ana Barreiro, electric guitar by Sam Hoffman, & Wurlitzer electric piano by Carey Frank.

If you’ve used the Roland Chorus Echo, leave a comment and share your comments on it!

via Greg Bummer

19 thoughts on “Roland Chorus Echo Vintage Gear Demo

  1. Former user here. Aside from cleaning gunky tape heads, it was a blast. The best thing I took away from using it was how close all of my digital effects are to the hardware versions of things I once owned. When people talk about “warmth” and other subtle variables, they’re right, because tape is tape, with its own charms and drawbacks. That said, don’t pine away for vintage gear too deeply. The 5% “grit” or “warmth” loss is nada when stacked against how close emulations come and moreso where modern amenities enhance ’em. I’d much rather program Roland’s new mega-delay than struggle with tape issues. I multiply that 37 times because I can play M-Tron and not have one tape snarl kill the day. Screw excess purity. Just play more. 😛

    1. Yes! I’ve played with analogue gear, I romanticise it too but at the end of the day it’s all about playing. For me, whatever allows me to play most is the best 🙂

  2. Speaking of which
    -What does anyone know about fixing a 301…
    I’m missing some of the delay modes , getting him- assuming a short, but haven’t found the issue

  3. there is just no substitute to tape delay….unless you are of the view that ‘plugins’ are just like analog . It isn’t just the sound either…it’s how you find those ‘sweet spots’ and how they generate unique ,organic warm sounds you just won’t hear from emulations.. it isn’t just the ‘sound’ either….these things are like instruments….they ‘play’ much better than clicking with a mouse. I have a korg stage echo ….and it’s worth it’s high price, and upkeep. If I had to choose between an analog synth for $1000…or a tape delay…I’d still go with the tape delay and use a bargain basement Casio, rather than use a moog with plugin effects….it would just be better. Anyone that has one probably feels the same.

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