Guyatone seems to have tried many different types of transport over the years: tension loop, 8-track cassette, and this one, which uses the Sony RE cartridges. The EM 77 is a limited unit, mostly because it only has two playback heads (the Roland RE-100/200 has three, and so do the Elk delays) and no tone control.
On the plus side, it has a front panel that makes it look like a home-made prototype, and a really funky signal level meter, which is basically a little moving panel with a painted design on it. The pinch roller can disengage from the capstan, the speed is variable, and there’s a wet only switch, which has the funky name of “Fund Switch”!
Technical Info / Service Notes
My EM 77 is in a sorry state, and I haven’t taken the time to properly service it yet. The main problem I have is total lack of feedback. I can get each of the heads to repeat the input signal once, but that’s it. The cause of the problem is probably not too serious, as the main signal paths seem to be OK, but I haven’t taken the time to open it up yet.
Also, the coil that is used to engage the pinch roller with the ‘standby’ switch is very sluggish, most of the time I have to engage the pinch roller with a nudge from my finger. The transport itself isn’t very steady, I get tons of wow from this machine, it’s like putting my signal through a vibrato unit!
It’s a bit unusual that ‘mode 4’ on the front panel mode selection switch would simply be the same as mode 3, except wet only, because there is already a dedicated switch for that purpose inside the unit. Perhaps the designers wanted another way to select wet only, this time from the front panel? Once I repair the unit and get the feedback working again, maybe I’ll find out that ‘mode 4’ has another purpose…
|Manufacturer||Guya Co. (Tokyo, Japan)|
|Transport type||Sony RE Cartridge|
|Head selection||4 position mode switch: head 1, head 2, heads 1&2, heads 1&2 no dry signal
|Delay time||Relatively short|
|Outputs||1 line out|
|Wet output only||Yes, there's a direct/echo switch near the cartridge, and also mode 4
|Pinch roller||Standby switch disengages the pinch roller|
|Remote Control||Echo on/off footswitch jack|
|Related models||Other models using the Sony RE cartridges, such as the Elk EM-4 and Roland RE-100/200|
Great, thanks for the info! Sounds like these are a bit of a troublesome little unit! And only two playback heads – shame. Shame that it’s varispeed, and yet, still only has short delay times. Could be interesting to modify it so that the second head was around the corner, near the capstan roller! Could maybe get about 500ms that way! 🙂 Just an idea.
Hope you can get it working!
I have one of these units and i have used it a lot over the years. But true, it´s a little unstable. One thing that struck me by seeing this machine is the “wet only” switch, that feature is not on my machine! But there is switch on the back that takes down the speed a nudge more then what is possible from the front panel. Does yours also have that?