Delay is essential for capturing the true essence of David Gilmour’s tones. It’s been the staple of his setup since the late 60s and his use of the Binson Echorec defined the sound of Pink Floyd in the early days. The Gurus Echosex has gained a reputation of being one of the better Binson delays on the market. Naturally, I had to check it out. Here’s my review of their limited edition Echosex 2.
The 50s and 60s was the era of the echo, or tape machines. The Italian made Binson (which were designed around a disc or drum, rather than tape) was one of many but made famous by guitarists like Hank Marvin and David Gilmour. That ethereal, almost reverb-ish quality, was different to most other models and brands, and the Binson soon gained a legendary status.
Vintage delay, or echo, is as fashionable as ever and more and more pedal makers try to capture the tone and vibe of those old units. There’s something about that warm tone, the tape flutter and modulation and the grainy decay that makes vintage echo so musical and instantly recognisable.
The Echosex has been available for some time but to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary, Guru recently released a limited edition of the pedal, made to look like the old Binson Echorec, including a glowing eye!
The Echosex feature large, easy access knobs controlling bass/treble (tone filter), flutter/modulation, volume, swell/feedback and time. It feature buffered bypass (with options for trails or no trails) and runs on 9-12V adapter power. Inside there is a double triode 12AX7B tube.
There are several reviews out there covering the different features of the Echosex, so I won’t go into detail here but rather focus on the tone. See also gurusamps.it for more info.
The first thing that strikes me is how warm and organic this thing sounds. The repeats has that slight percussive attack, with a smooth decay that blends perfectly with your playing. Unlike most delays, which simply repeats the notes, the Echosex adds room and texture.
On a clean guitar, the Echosex deliver clean echo, with plenty of headroom. Blended with dirtier sounds, the Echosex gets an almost reverb-like character, with rich sustain. This is so typically for David Gilmour’s tones and the way he often blended screaming fuzz with the Binson.
David Gilmour always kept his Binson units pristine, which indicates that there was minimal tape flutter and modulation. The Echosex allow you to dial in the amount you want, from zero to deep modulation, sounding like a unit badly in need of maintenance. It sounds authentic and blends beautifully with your tones.
One this you might miss is the multi head feature of the old Binsons, which allowed you to dial in some pretty complex echo patterns. The Echosex has one single tap. It would be interesting to hear that compared to the Calalinbread Echorec. Still, I don’t consider it a draw back. The Echosex has a lot to offer as it is.
There are several great sounding tape echo pedals out there. Both the real deal and simulations. The two that perhaps comes closest to the Echosex is the Catalinbread Echorec and the classic Deluxe Memory Man.
The Echosex is kind of a mix between these two. It has the Binson sound of the Catalinbread and the organic flavour and warmth of the Memory Man. Still, and as much as I love these two, the Echosex plays in a entirely different league. The Catalinbread has the multi head feature but the overall tone of the pedal is flat and dull compared to the almost 3D quality of the Echosex. The Memory Man is hard to beat but it is noisy and the modulation is really just a chorus. The Echosex is dead silent and the modulation sounds like really tape wear or flutter.
The verdict? It’s always hard to describe a delay or echo unit because how they ultimately sound depends on your guitar, amp and other pedals but to keep it short: the Echosex is no doubt the best sounding echo pedal I’ve ever tried. And I’ve tried a few. You can really hear the dedication, knowledge and love that went into designing and producing this thing.
Gurus has managed the difficult task of capturing true analog tape echo in a pedal with stunning authenticity. Whether you’re into 60s surf, rockabilly slap back or David Gilmour’s spaced out tones, the Echosex is as good as it gets. Highly recommended!