This delay machine is a somewhat inferior version of the Roland RE-100: they both share the same cartridge transport (see this page for more info on the RE-series endless cartridges), and both have a switch to disengage the pinch roller; unfortunately, while the RE-100 boasts a number of additional features, the ELK is a very basic design with limited capabilities: the motor speed isn’t variable, there are no tone controls, no wet output and no VU meter…
It does have one original feature: a footswitch control that allows to shut off the delay input while keeping the regeneration on. That way the delay signal stays on, but isn’t “fed” anymore from the playback heads. The delay can be stopped smoothly, since what’s left of the delayed signal trails off instead of cutting off suddenly. This is actually very useful, it’s a mystery why it wasn’t implemented in more tape delays…
Technical Info / Service Notes
My ELK Echo Machine was in working condition when I bought it. Apart from a replaced “echo” knob (that little black knob isn’t original), it was in great shape. After using it for a while, I noticed a strong wow & flutter. There could be many causes to this, but when I opened the unit to take pictures for this page, I noticed that the belt had been replaced by a rubber band. Rubber bands can drive a capstan without a problem, but their elasticity causes a lot of wow & flutter. It’s not the first time that I bought a tape delay only to find that the belt had been replaced by a rubber band. I guess it’s much easier to find than a decent belt… I’ve ordered a replacement belt, 33cm x 7mm, that should make the delays much more steady.
This unit is a bit of a pain to disassemble, I realized. Instead of being fixed by screws at the bottom, you actually have to remove the top plate, then the cartridge AND the pinch roller (annoying), so that you can access three more screws underneath. Not the best engineering design, I must say…
I was surprised to find a fan attached to the motor. I’ve seen this in the Mirano Echo Chamber 3, but it makes more sense there because of the heat generated by the tubes. It’s surprising to find a fan in a transistor tape delay. At least it’s not noisy…
There’s also a switch to rewire the input transformer from 100V to 117V.
|Miyuki Ind. Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan)
|Sony RE cartridge
|5-position selector switch
|6 (4 x mic, 2 x inst.)
|Wet output only
|Two footswitch jacks: echo on/off, echo off with echo trail
|100v / 117v
|Elk EM-4, Elk EM-10