For an 8-track based unit, the EM-808D has it all: multiple inputs, tone controls, back-lit VU meter, plus the ability to output a 100% wet signal. You can’t really ask for anything more from this kind of technology… Its limitations are the same as every other 8-track delay: one head only, short delay time and low fidelity at slow tape speeds. Regardless, 8-track delays have a charm of their own: low wow & flutter, plus a very peculiar way of distorting signal that makes them extremely useful for certain applications. The EM-808D does a great job at all of this. This unit, along with the Kastam SS-102 (they are basically the same units), are my two favorite 8-track delays.
The catalog says that the unit uses “CT-2” cassette tapes (sold for 1500 yen each in 1982, about 15$US!). I’ve never seen one, but I suspect these 8-tracks have wide enough holes at the front so as not to need modification. More info on this topic on the 8-track cartridge mod page.
Technical Info / Service Notes
My EM-808D needed no servicing, apart from the usual cleaning. I didn’t need to change the drive belt, but in my experience with 8-track delays, the belt could fail at any time. Fortunately it’s not so hard to replace, provided you have a bit of money to spare.
|Tokyo Sound Co. (Japan)
|1981 or earlier
|44,000 yen (1982)
|150 - 400 ms (from catalog)
|High gain, low gain
|Wet output only
|Yes, through the "from PA" input
|Bass and treble for delay signal
|Echo on/off footswitch jack
|Also known as the Kastam SS-102. There is also a model EM-808 (without the D), released one year earlier, which looks identical to this one (see catalog below). I don't know what the difference is.