This 1973 vintage Roland RE-200 is a very rare item - the pre-cursor to the venerable Roland RE-201 Space Echo. It is virtually the same, other than the fact that it uses the now-obsolete Sony RE-4 endless tape (the cartridge can be re-loaded with suitable recording tape by specialist firms, so there's no worries there), and more importantly, the Standby switch (also footswtichable) releases the pinch roller from the tape, therefore stopping the tape when it's not needed, and preventing wear to the tape, guides, heads and capstan. For some reason Roland made subsequent models in a way that the switch only took the heads out of the circuit, but the tape kept running.
The history of these rare Rolands can be seen at Wikipedia.
I much prefer this original system! It means that not only will the tape last much longer than the RE201-501 models, but so will the heads. You simply leave the unit switched on right through the gig, connected into your rig, and it's only when you press the footswitch or flick the front panel switch when you want the particular echo you have selected (infinitely variable like the RE-201) that the tape actually starts moving. The motor runs the whole time, so there is no start-up lag - a solenoid simply brings the pinch roller into contact with the tape and capstan and it's instantly away. Brilliant! Of course, if you have reverb selected, that stays active throughout.
The reverb sounds particularly good, and when servicing the unit we saw why. On the label on the side of the reverb tank, it proudly states (and I kid you not), "Manufactured by beautiful girls in Milton, Wis, under controlled atmosphere conditions". Yep, not only is it a quality USA-made folded line spring reverb made by OC Electronics, it's made by beautiful girls!
A very high quality unit, extremely rare and quite collectable, but also extremely usable.
Sold to Malone