Air rockets are dumb. Make your own floppy drive echo / delay unit

You could spend your weekend making the compressed air rocket posted below. That’d be fun. Or you could get a few floppy drives together and make your own tape delay and reverb. Yeah, that sounds much more exciting.

This DIY project comes by way of Oakland, CA from a Daniel McAnulty. Musician, tinkerer, and just a cool guy all around.

My goal with this project was at first to make new kind of tape delay that is cheap, robust and easy to build yourself. It quickly became clear that the most interesting aspects are completely unrelated to traditional tape delay systems – random access, movable heads, simultaneous forward and reverse, changable loop size on the fly, easy automation etc. etc.

This ingenious build works on the same principle as the original tape delay units. A signal is written to the magnetic tape and then read as it passes the playback head however many milliseconds later. Add the delayed signal to your original, and suddenly it sounds like the room doubled in size.

In order to create a complete system that behaves like an original tape delay, i.e. continuous recording of your input signal, the wiring diagram gets a little crazy.

Seeing as tape delays are no longer manufactured, I will definitely be giving this build a shot.

Videos of the system in action here.

via [SynthGear]