This unit has a great selection of inputs and outputs, including a “wet only” output through the “vocal amp” jack. The mode selector resembles the one on Roland Space Echos, and with 11 positions almost completely covers the range of head selections possible.
The EC-10 looks great with its red, black and gold design and cool, uncommon knobs. Plus the VU meter an logo light up when the unit is on, so it’s a great looker.
On the negative side, there are a few things that prevent this model from being a classic tape delay. First, the pinch roller doesn’t disengage from the capstan, even when the unit is off. There is a thumbscrew that allows to “lock” the pinch roller away for long-time storage, which is better than nothing, but still a bit unpractical. Second, the tone controls are internal (see below); it would have been much nicer and convenient to have them on the main panel. Third, the fidelity of the unit isn’t that great, probably because of the short tape loop.
Ace Tone were the precursor to Roland, so this unit, along with the EC-20, are in a way the ancestors of the Space Echo RE series. The first Space Echos, the RE-100 and RE-200, corrected all the issues mentioned above: disengaging pinch roller, front panel tone controls and longer tape loop. So Ace Tone’s first efforts were only the beginning of tape delay engineering for the Roland team. This at least makes them historically significant, if not the best units around…
Here’s an excerpt from a 1972 Ace Tone catalog (you can see the full catalog here). It says that the unit came with a vinyl cover, a head cleaning tape and a footswitch, none of which I’ve ever seen..
Technical Info / Service Notes
Inside the unit are 6 screw/thumb potentiometers, positioned for convenient access. You can rest the EC-10 on its four side legs, and the pots are on top, easily tweaked. I figured out the function of five out of six: bass, treble, feedback, echo volume, dry volume (pre-echo). The last one didn’t do anything obvious, so it remains a mystery to me…
|Manufacturer||Ace Electronic Industries (Japan)|
|Date||1972 or earlier|
|List price||69,000 yen|
|Transport type||Tension tape loop|
|Head selection||11-position mode selector|
|Outputs||4 - high gain, low gain, vocal amp, line out (balanced, back panel Cannon type connector)
|Wet output only|
|Tone control||Internal pots (treble and bass) for delay signal|
|Remote Control||Echo on/off jack|
|Operating Voltage||100v-220v (Switch at back of unit)|
|Related models||Ace Tone EC-20, Roland Space Echo RE-100