Tuesday, August 2, 2022


 Classic Arp in for some detailing a while back. 


I like the EVANS brand tape echos from Japan, despite some design limitations. They tend to get tremmy as the pinch roller is always pressing the capstan. Some people like that a lot! Pinch can be replaced if it is an issue. This VE-80 is actually an amp as well, with two speaker outs. Made until 1981 this was probably the last tape echo standing in the Karaoke market. It used a long loop in a (kind of flimsy) chamber, like a knock off RE201. The mixing options are great, i.e. independent dry and echo volumes and EQs. Fun stuff!

I have seen 3 of these as well as a few others in the line! This one wanted a new loop, aggressive cleaning, PCB repair (echo recovery EQ circuit) and a polishing. 


Friday, May 27, 2022

Distracted by Russian invasion of Ukraine

Slava Ukraini!

I apologize for working more slowly than usual. I have been extremely distracted and preoccupied by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. My Great Grandfather left the village of Peremyliv, in what is now western Ukraine in 1902, when it was still under Austrian rule. He came to Canada and worked HARD building a life in a country that wasn't completely accepting of him. He came to Ethelbert, Manitoba, near other Ukrainian settlers and stayed with his girlfriend's family, working at a brick factory until he could buy his own land to clear and farm.

After hundreds of years of oppression and exploitation under foreign rulers, 100 000s of immigrants from Galicia came to North America and participated in the colonization of Turtle Island, my Great grandfather and his girlfriend among them. They made a place here, for a family, and I exist now to fix your synths because of them, in part. It is a complicated story.

I strongly support Indigenous Sovereignty in Canada and I am also proud of my family history. 

Ukraine, with the borders we recognize today (pre Crimean invasion), briefly struggled to exist after WWI but quickly became a part of the Soviet Union, and remained so until its collapse in 1991, when independent Ukraine became recognized. The people there had been ruled by others since the siege of Kyiv in 1240. They were ready for independence, but they had to overcome the chaos of the Soviet dissolution and the following decades of corruption and collusion. In 2014 they showed that they rejected Russian Mir and they have been fighting for their democracy since then. 

In 2019 they chose Volodymyr Zelenskyy reaffirming their commitment to be free of Russian influence in a hotly contested, fully democratic election. Since the Maidan Uprising in 2014 and the ousting of Kremlin Puppet Yanukovych, "pro-Russian parties" (to put in the nicest terms) have failed to win in any election.

Putin's "SpEcIaL oPeRaTiOn" is a War - an invasion of a smaller independent democratic state by a nuclear-armed aggressor. All justifications made by the Kremlin are ridiculous. It is a war of territorial expansion based on genocidal ideology and a distorted version of history.

I won't spend time disputing their hideous PR, but I will spend time informing myself on the history of the region and the history of Western international policy. But mostly I will spend time listening to, learning from, and supporting Ukrainians until the war is over and they have reestablished their borders.

Also I will also fix a few things when I can! Thanks for understanding and supporting Ukraine.

Monday, February 7, 2022

WINTER 2022 - E-Mu SP 1200 refurb and more...

ELECTRONICS COMPASSIONATE HOUSE is pleasantly full of synths at the moment. Korg M1, Roland Juno 60, Korg Poly 6, Yamaha CS15D and SK20, Roland SH-101 and JX-1, a DX7 and a Wurlitzer... as well as a bevy of tape machines, effects and other gear! I am working and taking on more work and always willing to discuss options or technical issues via email!

I had the pleasure of servicing this E-Mu SP 1200 last month. 

These machines suffer from dirty buttons which make using the menus difficult and also cause false triggers and multiple triggers from the play buttons, which are very frustrating symptoms.

The smaller buttons can be cleaned or replaced but the PLAY buttons are not available. Thankfully their mechanism is quite simple. Two contacts that are held apart by a small spring. The top cap can be removed and the contacts can be cleaned and adjusted. Both contacts can bend or move out of position. In the worst case, with a broken internal contact, the old piece can be removed and replaced with the leg of a component bent correctly and inserted.

Touch sensitivity is a "global parameter", not a factor of each individual button on its own, which is to say the DYNAMICS work by sensing vibration of the PCB via a Piezo glued to the board.

The machine has a thorough Self-Test function which allows the user to check all aspects of the controls, display, drive, etc...

Here are some gutshots for the fans:

Thursday, January 6, 2022

2022 IS HERE

 Hello friends,

Carl is still here! Hunkered down in my Space Shanty working slowly but surely!

I am currently clearing a backlog that accumulated over the holidays but please feel free to inquire.

I remain,

Carl, C. Tech

Monday, May 24, 2021

MAY 2021

Hello everybody and thanks for all the inquiries. I am still taking on work! Contact me through email and we can discuss your equipment details and then arrange a drop-off through text messages. I check my emails every day or two unless it is really nice out! If you are a repeat customer and you already have my contact, feel free to text me at any time, I will do my best to respond quickly. I won't answer calls.

Turn-around time varies almost exclusively depending on shipping time for parts. If I can use current production parts I can get them within 3 days (if I don't have them in stock). If I need NOS or obsolete parts it can take much longer. 

There is always something on the list ahead of you, but feel free to let me know if you need a rush job and I will do my best to accommodate you. I typically do a quick diagnoses within a few days of receiving an item so I can plan my coming weeks and make orders, etc. A fast diagnosis does not always mean a fast repair though!

Friday, January 29, 2021


I will take care of them.

Typically $120 - $150 for a full service* consisting of mechanical and electrical cleaning, head cleaning and realignment, new tape loop, calibration of bias and rec level for ideal feedback characteristics, felt replacement, and minor troubleshooting!

Drastically improve WOW and Flutter, Frequency Response & Feedback! 

*I do not replace bearings, motors or pinch rollers without cause. Be careful if someone tells you "your motor is dead" as that is rarely the case! 

Sunday, January 24, 2021


I found the camera's USB cable!
Here are some recent visitors...

Top: ECHOPLEX EP3, Univox EM200 Disc Echo, Re 201

Inside the EM200

Classic BBD Delay from MXR

Tascam 246, one of the best MTRs

Tascam Porta02 mkII, one of the later MTRs

And EVANS brand BBD. This uses 3 MN3005 ICs.

Octave CAT wanted cleaning and tuning.

Some rare Japanese ELK pieces.

The Ace Tone EC-1, Great Grandfather of the Roland Re-201?

Akai ASQ10...

TEAC 3340S

Fostex 250

Hohner Combo Organ


2021 is here and I now stock motors for Tascams and other MTRs. These are not drop-in replacements, but can be used to replace a worn Mabuchi EG-530YD-2B, etc...

These are not for sale, but it will reduce wait times and cost of repairs on any MTR with motor issues! This is in addition to my normal rotating stock of pinch rollers, belts, idlers, ICs, passive components etc. 

Different Tascams use different circuits for motor speed control and speed switching. E.C.H. motors have the correct voltage, RPM and direction of rotation but different modifications are required for each model of MTR. Calibrated using a 500hz/1Khz test tape made on a Nakamichi cassette deck after replacement.

Please inquire if you have an MTR with a bad motor, maybe I can help!

Saturday, December 12, 2020


Hey internet, just so you all know, it is VERY common, essentially universal, to secure large components that could be susceptible to vibration on a circuit board with GLUE.

That includes electrolytic capacitors. So, while they can indeed go bad and even leak from time to time, I think  that all lot of people might be mistaking this glue for "leaked caps" and then replacing caps that are fine. I am not in favour of shotgunning repairs, especially for amateurs, as there is a high risk of creating new issues. That includes wholesale replacement of capacitors. 

That being said, electrolytic caps can and do dry out and cause problems. Identify the symptoms and proceed logically, don't replace every cap just because they were glued on when the machine was built.

A bad cap can LOOK FINE, or it will bulge a bit or push out the bottom, etc...

Just sitting by the fireside building on our vast knowledge....

Monday, September 21, 2020


Here is another visually stunning list of some things I have been working on. 

As a list, it shows that I have been getting a lot of MTRs and 1/4" tape delays, which is fine by me! I will always welcome an organ or a synthesizer too!

This list is not exhaustive by any means and does not include duplicates of the same piece (i.e. quite a few Re-201s and various Tascams).

Thanks Folks! Keep 'em coming!




Roland RE 201

Roland RE 301

Roland TB-303

Farfisa Compact 

Roland JV-1080

Roland JP-8000

Univox Organizer

Roland RS-09

Tascam 246

Tascam PORTA 05

DJ 2000

Vestax MR66

Tascam 414

Yamaha DX 275

Roland SH-101

Acetone EC-1

Korg Poly 6

Tascam Porta 1

Tascam 424

Tascam 488

Electrocomp EML 500

Arp Odyssey


Evans VE-80

Roland R-8

Tascam 644

Roland Re 150


Tascam 244

Tascam 144

Tascam 488 mkII

Acetone EC-10


Farfisa Pro 222


JUNO 106

Yamaha CMX1




Guyatone AE-5

FARFISA Professional




Sunday, September 20, 2020


I had a YAMAHA DX-9 come in for a "battery change" as the front panel display was showing "CHANGE BATTERY!" when the synth was turned on. The customer had left the unit crated up for a long time and was testing it prior to selling it. 

I went ahead and replaced the battery without powering the synth up, only to find the same symptom with the new battery in place. Sometimes it would report the correct voltage of 3V, but sometimes not, arbitrarily. Further basic testing revealed that the DATA ENTRY slider was not working either. Electrical testing of the data fader showed that it was fine - the problem was elsewhere.

A helpful user on a forum that I can't trace at the moment (I would like to give credit as it was the only mention on the internet that I found) pointed out that there is an ADC (analog to digital converter) responsible for converting control positions (as voltages) into digital data for the CPU. It handles a variety of functions including the battery level, data entry slider and other controllers. A problem with the ADC or the associated multiplexers, buffers etc. would result in spurious battery reading and bad data entry.

This page (below) from the service notes shows the ADC (on the left, labeled A/D) and its responsibilities: Data Entry, Pitch Bend, Modulation, Foot cont, Breath cont, Aftertouch, Battery. The relevant parts of the DX9 are the same as the DX7. 

I replaced the ADC (M58990P-1) with a NOS part and also replaced a line driver (74HC240) and some multiplexers (74HC138) associated with the sub CPU, for good measure.

This resulted in the synth reporting correct BATTERY voltage and restored the correct functioning of the DATA ENTRY slider, as well, presumably of the other controllers which I had not tested.

The lesson for other DX7 or DX9 owners is that issues with the M58990P-1 will cause various problems that might be disguised as hardware failures. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

TASCAM TEAC PORTA power adaptor notes

If anyone is trying to use various TASCAM PORTA-STUDIOS but does not have the original PS-P1 adaptor, here is some info...

The original was:

15V DC, 400mA, center NEG, 5mm outer barrel 

The machine states 11-15V DC beside its jack, and requests that you only use the original adaptor.

I service these machines and from time to time see an original adaptor, but not often.

Many ads online claim to be PS-P1 equivalents but I have my doubts.

Modern switching adaptors often don't work at all. You might see the machine struggling to turn on (blinking power light) as the motor's surge current shuts down the switching adaptor over and over again.

The lesson is, get a good 12V DC LINEAR (transformer based) adaptor with sufficient current handling (400 to 1000mA - more is never dangerous) in order to get proper performance.

Monday, July 15, 2019


An incomplete list of some types of gear I am dealing with lately - the focus is TAPE, but I will still take on synths and organs and anything interesting, from time to time. The shop is wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with broken things, so I can't be taking on more for now, though ...

ELK Tape Echo
SONY TC-5550-2
TASCAM Porta One
TASCAM Porta 02
TEAC 144
TASCAM 488 mk II
TASCAM MidiStudio 688
TASCAM 424 mk II
TASCAM Mini Potra 02
EML 500
FARFISA Professional
AUDIOMAT Opera Reference (again, DSP problem ha)
... as well as FOSTEX and YAMAHA multi-trackers
... and your general bits and bobs ...

Friday, March 1, 2019



I can service you Multitrack Cassette Recorder.

Rubber will degrade and belts will need to be changed on machines that were stored in working condition for too long. If it "worked when I put it in the closet" odds are very high you have a bad belt. I have found that in most cases minor mechanical issues will stop a machine from working long before the heads are worn out. I have serviced all members of the Tascam family, many Yamaha, Fostex and others. As a Certified Electronics Tech I can troubleshoot and repair most problems that can arise other than severe mechanical damage or neglect (high impact falls, etc). I am also a lifetime user of the Tascam 414mkII and I appreciate the technology and would like to help people continue to use these machines!

Things I do when I receive a machine in a D.O.A. condition (as needed, no shotgunning)

    new belts, pinch roller, idler tires if needed
    transport mechanism cleaning and repair (where possible)
    motor speed calibration
    motor replacement
    head cleaning and demagnetization and alignment if necessary (due to damage from user removing a stuck tape, etc)
    cleaning of all contacts/ pots/ faders with DeOxit D5 and F5
    electronic troubleshooting and component replacement to eliminate signal path / mixer / PSU etc. issues 
         (experience with the topology of the circuits keeps bench hours low)
    full test of all functions

I offer a six month warranty for my work and will happily troubleshoot any new problems that arise.

I am happy to fix machines shipped from outside Toronto (but shipping from the US is expensive).

Contact me if you are having trouble finding a TAPE TECH in your area and I can offer basic advice on troubleshooting and maintenance.

Thanks for looking,
Good Luck!



Saturday, March 17, 2018



Spring is nearly here and I will become more active again. Like the great Canadian Black Bear, I am thin and hungry and ready for electronics. I will be taking on more work starting in April and May, as the shop warms back up to a reasonable temperature.

Due to an overwhelming number of inquiries I will only be able to reply to emails when I believe I can reasonably be of service. Thank you for your business!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SHORT HOLIDAY Oct 11 until Oct 21

Hello! E.C.H. will be closed until Oct 21st. Any pending pick-ups can be arranged after that! 

See you all soon.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Summer has passed us by. I was in the garage. Missed it altogether! Here is a sample of some of the things that came through recently.

Drip Electronics PULTEC EQP1A kits x2. These kits were partially built by the customer. I finished the wiring to the panels and tested and calibrated the units.

Drip LA2A Levelling Amplifier - Testing and troubleshooting.

1176 Limiters x2 - ground issues and power supply cap replacement.

FENDER PRINCETON REVERB Amp - faulty ground connection causing oscillations and noise and a failed resistor in the HT supply.

FENDER SUPER REVERB - Early 70s Fender bassman that face-planted. Confirmed safe operation, isolated bad pre-amp tube. Confirmed bias and all voltages.

HAMPTONE Tube pre-amp - Recap.

D&R Mixer - IC replacement, resistor replacement (bad IC cooked power supply).

LINE 6 Delay Unit - power supply (internal) repair. Fault caused by incorrect wall wart (common issue).

PHILLIPS 209 Automatic Turntable - a cranky TT from the early 70s. Had problems with the discrete transistor flip-flop circuits in its brain. Totally degraded rubber parts (idler wheels, belt) and other frustrations. Fully restored to working condition.

ALLEN & HEATH DJ Mixer - headphone jack tip stuck in jack. Bleeding fader. Repaired jack and cleaned fader.

Various Headphone repair - cable replacement etc...  a pain in the butt but often worth it.

ELECTRO-VOICE Dynamic Mic repair - changed to XLR high-impedance from original 5 pin cable (mic has 2 impedance options wired internally).

PIONEER Tape Deck - stuck tape preventing door from opening. Disassembled and removed.

TECHNICS 1200 x2 RCA replacement.

MARANTZ 1530 Receiver - bulb replacement and cleaning.

STANTON DJ Turntable - ground issues, motor issues. Repaired, lubricated.

HOHNER Symphonic 320 organ repair. Adjusted several oscillators that had drifted causing the overtones to dominate the tone. Ds sounded like As, Bb sounded like F, etc... Minor calibration restored the tuning. THIS WAS JUST ME (much of my own gear is in need of maintenance)! I have possessed this organ for years and am happy to have it back in shape.

...and certainly more that I have forgotten as well, as usual.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


The Tube Tester was needed for some tube testing recently and I had to get in there and troubleshoot a few problems. There was B+, but no bias voltage or heater voltage. This machine uses two separate power supplies to generate the needed DC. A 5Y3 Rectifier tube had finally gone bad in the low voltage supply. Replacing this tube as well as the AC cord (brittle) and cleaning all sockets and switches (particularly the NORMAL/LIFE TEST switch) restored proper functionality and the machine can be used again! Basic maintenance after 60 yrs.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


SHARP VZ-3500 Linear TT / Cassette Boombox (speakers not shown)

Spring is here and with it comes spring cleaning and fresh starts. Why not freshen up your sound system? I have been delighted to spruce up a variety of integrated amps and other stereo equipment for some people lately. In almost all cases the problems have turned out to be minor and fully addressable. Here are a few examples that required next to nothing in parts cost (one TT motor, a 12V bulb, some LEDs) and minimal labour. All of these units were brought back to fully working condition for less that $100, often much less.

NIKKO ND100W Cassette deck - high frequency noise on playback
 - cleaned internal record switch. Bias oscillator signal was leaking into playback.

MACKIE 1202-MZ Mini Mixer - unreliable
 - full cleaning including master send select buttons (causing intermittent drop-outs)

TECHNICS SL 1400 Direct Drive Turntable - left channel dead
 - New RCA installed

CEC HD53 Headphone Amp - erratic left channel
 - Cleaned and reseated all ICs

ROTEL RX 602 and 202 - erratic, noisy, dropouts
 - full cleaning of all pots and switches

LUXMAN L-410 - condition unknown, pulled from extended storage
 - full cleaning and testing of all INS/OUTs

LUXMAN M-02 Power Amp - distortion at all volumes, VU backlights dead
 - cracked/dry solder in driver stage and protection relays repaired.
 - LEDs to replace VU backlights.
 - full cleaning of all pots and switches.

LUXMAN C-02 Pre-Amp - erratic, noisy
 - full cleaning of all pots and switches

HARMON KARDON hk330 VI Receiver - LCD screen dead, volume knob loose
 - new 12V mini-bulb for LCD backlight, tighten volume pot

HARMON KARDON 430 - no output right channel, turner dial broken, bulbs out
 - right channel speaker protection fuse blown. Cleaned selector switch and tested for safe operation (expected output levels, low DC offset). Repaired tuner assembly. Replaced fuse-style bulbs with LED equivalents.

MARANTZ 2235 Receiver - no output, bulbs out
 - cleaned speaker protection relays, replaced fuse-style bulbs with LEDs.

TECHNICS SLBD 20D Turntable - too slow (progressively slower after exteded use)
 - Confirmed defect of DC servo motor, replaced. Strobe calibrated, confirmed working.

SHARP VZ-3500 Linear Turntable Boombox - not working at all
 - cleaned degraded belt from TT assembly, replaced belt. Replaced Linear Motor belt.
 - cleaned all pots and switches. TT, tape and radio working again.

CASIO CZ-3000 - two broken keys
 - repaired keys, full cleaning and testing.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

YAMAHA MT 4X motor replacement

I recently revitalized a YAMAHA MT4X 4 track recorder that had stopped working. The unit in question had a dead motor (exploded capacitor inside the motor, worn brushes). As these motors typically run the entire time the machine is powered up they burn through a lot of hours of use. Everything else in the machine seemed fine however, including the belt.

A new motor was sourced on the internet - a Sankyo SHU2L from a small company in Australia called PROBE - and installed. A transistor controlling motor voltage switching was replaced as well. The machine works fine again and should for many more years.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017


I have an INSTAGRAM profile now. I will try to put exciting pictures of the insides of things and outsides of things from time to time. My main activity is actually spending time fixing things so don't expect too much action in the digital realm.



Saturday, March 4, 2017

MORE RECENT JOBS - February 2017

In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of restoring or modifying:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

LAST MONTH at E.C.H. - January 2017

A brief summary of some of the pieces to pass through E.C.H. last month, with a complete lack of exciting pictures!