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MESS Membership and Engagement Coordinator, Prue Rees-Lee shares her appreciation for the Roland Chorus Echo RE-501

The Roland Chorus Echo RE-501 is one of my favourite effects to add to any chain. The parameters are pretty straightforward (chorus, echo, sound on sound, and reverb), but it has the ability to transform any sound into a cavernous, verbed-out, echoing wonderland, like a time machine transporting you back to an 80s analog dreamscape.

The effects are produced using actual tape, open the top and you can see it turn and spool around like spaghetti (highly recommended as it’s quite mesmerizing, and always amazes me how it does get tangled!). Released in 1982, it came after the famous Space Echo, and was the last magnetic tape echo Roland produced, as digital effects had started knocking at the door. Slightly more reliable and less noisy than its forbearers, the 501 offers stereo outs and still retains some of the wonderful unpredictability of working with tape.

Pairing it with the Mellotron Midi is super satisfying, and it gives the digital Mellotron some of its original warmth back, and the delay is 😍, but really, use it with anything, it’s incredible.

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