Korg SE echoes (just like Roland RE ones) are, at least nominally, sound effects but I think it is safe to assume that they are instruments, really. Organic, unrepeatable, quirky, simply amazing. When they work, that is.
Internet is flooded with echoes that are supposedly mint (of course “for they age”) or ones that will “only need a new tape to function as new”. That is not true. To make a Korg SE function perfectly, we need 30+ hours of hard labour. That’s at least three working days. But then the echo will look and perform like new, just like the one we offer here.
What we do exactly is:
– Perform general cleaning of the inside and outside of the unit, including tedios cleaning of tolex and metal hardware
– For 100V (Japanese) versions, replace the Japanese PSU with brand new, tailor made 230V PSU
– Replace the capacitiors in the PSU
– Regenerate all pots
– Disassemble, inspect, lube and test the motor. Replace noisy bearing when necessary.
– Polish the heads, set proper levels and positioning
– Replace all felts and install newly sliced tape
– Perform calibration to factory specification
Standard price 1230 EUR (1000 EUR plus 23% VAT).
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Korg SE-300/SE-500 or Roland RE-201? Which is better for me?
A: They are comparable in many ways. The SE-300/SE-500 is definitely not a worse sounding unit. It is different in mainly two aspects: it has three on/off head selectors, so you can instantly change delays (repetitions), something that is not possible on the 201. Also, the SE-300 gives you the ability to send only the delayed signal into the reverb, not the fixed sum as in the RE-201. So is it better? I would not go as far as to say that. They are very even contenders.
Q: How often will I need to change the loop?
A: It depends on how much you use the echo. Some will work on it for hours each day, some a few times a month. What I recommend users is to record a few settings when they receive a freshly restored RE echo witha newly spliced tape and, later, check the present condition of the tape with original, “early” samples. If the delays are dull and muddy, it might be time to replace the tape. The process is very easy, by the way.
Q: I heard the Korg SE echoes are very fragile, prone to failures and generally unreliable.
A: If this was true, our business would have folded several years back. Once properly serviced, echoes are very, very reliable. I have lost track of how many we have serviced over the years but I think the number is anywhere between 250-300. Laws of statistics apply here and I can simply conclude that there is no special risk when buying tape echo.