Cherry Audio Stardust 201 Tape Echo
Space Echo recreation from Cherry includes the classic warm tape delay tone, BBD chorus and even a tape stop effect
Cherry Audio announces Stardust 201 Tape Echo, its first stand-alone effects processor. Stardust 201 Tape Echo is a vintage tape delay/chorus/reverb plugin effect that lovingly replicates the classic Roland “Space Echo” tape echo effects of the 70s and 80s, and expands upon the integrated effects featured in the Mercury-4 virtual synthesiser.
Echoes Of The Past
First introduced in 1973, the Space Echo represented a step forward in reliability compared to earlier tape echo devices. With its solidly built tape transport mechanism, and with the inclusion of a spring reverb and chorus effects in some models, it was capable of a multitude of new sound colours. Prior to the advent of solid-state devices, echo effects were created with tape machines by recording an incoming signal, then playing it back slightly later via a playback head situated after the record head. The length of the delay time was determined by the distance between the record and play heads and the speed of the tape transport. Additional echo repeats were achieved by mixing (or feeding back) a portion of the delayed signal back into the signal input. This may sound like a crude affair, but it (somewhat accidentally) sounded fantastic for a number of reasons: the limited fidelity of audio tape provided a natural roll-off of bass and treble frequencies, and a “warm” tonality, and the inherent instability of the mechanical tape transport created minor speed variances (aka “wow and flutter”), lending an organic chorusing effect to repeats. Adding large amounts of feedback would overload the circuit and tape itself, resulting in wild, distorted “runaway” feedback effects.
Cherry Audio’s Stardust 201 Tape Echo includes features from the original RE-201 and RE-301 Space Echo units, plus new features for expanded creativity and ease of use. The tape echo section perfectly recreates the warm tonality and subtle speed variations of the original, and includes all the features that make the original Space Echo units so desirable, including all seven head modes for all manner of creative, rhythmic repeats. We’ve also expanded on the original with a tape speed mod section, for effects ranging from subtle vibratos to wild ray gun effects; a wow and flutter control for realistic tape transport speed variances; and motor on/off “kill” switch for creative tape-stop effects. Stardust 201 also includes a sync switch for easy rhythmic synchronisation with DAW project tempos, and a “wide” mode that quadruples the maximum delay time.
The renowned BBD chorus effect seen in later Space Echo models has been recreated also. In addition to speed and depth controls not found on the original Space Echo units, Cherry’s BBD chorus operates in true stereo mode for lush stereo soundscapes. The input section allows up to 1,000% input gain for nasty-but-warm overdriven effects. Also included are a realistically-modelled spring reverb section, bass/treble tone controls, and four different graphic “themes” that make Stardust look as cool as it sounds.
“My only issue is I’m using it on too many things!” enthuses Dom Morley, Grammy Award-winning producer, mixer, and engineer for artists including Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Sting. “It sounds absolutely wonderful – three effects in one and all of them nailed. All of a sudden my mixes are swimming in beautiful reverb and delay. They’ve done an amazing job.”
Cherry Audio’s Stardust 201 Tape Echo effect plugin is available now at cherryaudio.com, for only $19 (List $29). Owners of the Mercury-4 Compuphonic Synthesizer can purchase Stardust 201 Tape Echo for only $10!
Stardust 201 is available for both Windows and macOS, in AU, VST, VST3, and AAX formats, with a free 7-day demo available. It includes full native support for Apple’s M1 processor, and is fully compatible with macOS 12 Monterey.