This unit is a true stereo delay, a rarity for tape units. It can keep the left and right channels completely isolated from each other, each with its own delay settings (feedback, depth, tone, head selection), or can provide a variety of ping-pong and switched-channel delays. Heads can be set to “super repeat” or “repeat and swell” mode, independently for each channel.. Output settings are dry, mix & echo only, switchable for both channels as well.
The unit also provides two unique buttons due to its stereo capabilities: ‘reverse echo’ and ‘mirage’. The first one sends the delayed signal to the opposite channel, so the left channel’s echo is on the right, and vice-versa. The mirage setting is for ping-pong delays alternating between each channel.
This is a truly well-engineered unit that provides crisp, well-defined delays. I’m surprised stereo tape delays such as this one are not more common; after all, the tape transport for a mono 1/4 inch tape is exactly the same, you just need to install stereo heads. Of course you also have to double all the signal electronics, which makes the unit more expensive to manufacture, and probably explains their rarity.
The signal routing capabilities are great, and all sorts of wonderful delays can be achieved by, for example, sending a stereo signal in with ‘Mirage’ on and different head selections for each channel. You can also take a mono signal and, by using ‘Reverse echo’ and ‘Mirage’, get a stereo signal out.
Technical Info / Service Notes
I own two HE-2250 (one covered in tolex, the other in wood), and both of them needed a big clean up when I got them. I don’t know why for sure, but their switches were, in both cases, so dirty that they could barely make contact, even after repeated wiggling, particularly the head selection switches. In one case, it was so bad that when I first plugged in the machine, I couldn’t get any sound out of it, dry or wet. I was worried, but as it turned out, all the electronics were fine, all it needed was a new tape and lots of cleaning.
So, after replacing the tape and cleaning the tape path, I sprayed contact cleaner on all switches and pots, in some cases more than once, in order the clean up the signal path and to be able to select all the heads properly.
One of my HE-2250 gave me quite a lot of trouble, because there was a really bad contact on the ‘mirage’ and ‘reverse’ buttons, which is a huge problem because the whole signal passes through these switches, left and right, dry and wet… And spraying contact cleaner from the front panel, in the crack near the button, didn’t do it: the liquid couldn’t make it to the actual contacts. So I had to open up the unit and make my way to the switches from the inside, where I was able to spray the contacts, press the buttons a bunch of times, and finally get a clean signal across the two switches.
It’s a good thing I didn’t have to actually replace the two buttons, because I’m not quite sure how I would have gotten them out of there. The design of the front panel is a bit tricky, the pot nuts are recessed in an unusual way, so disassembly would have been tricky…
|Date||Probably mid/late 70s|
|List price||165,000 yen|
|Transport type||Tension tape loop, reel-to-reel style|
|Head selection||Each channel has 3 "head-selector" switches. Settings are: off, super repeat. repeat and swell.|
|Inputs||Line in (L/R - RCA Jacks), Mic in (L/R)|
|Outputs||Stereo line out (RCA jacks) and phones out.|
|Wet output only||Yes. Dry, mix & echo only switch|
|Pinch roller||No capstan|
|Tone control||Separate tone knob for each channel
|Related models||HE-2250 is in a wooden cabinet, HE-2250G (pictured) is in a tolex cabinet.|