The VARISPEED USB tape deck is the result extensive circuit modification and mangling. I wanted to make a tape deck that was quick and easy to record to tape loops with after encountering lots of difficulites when using standard tape decks with tape loops.
The variable motor speed makes it possible to warp and bend pitches whilst recording as well as while playing back!
The tape deck features an onboard microphone for recording audio or you can use the MIC input on the side which can be used with the electrete lapel mic included.
The tape deck has a stereo 3.5mm jack line input which is mixed down to Mono before being recorded.
The output is line level and routed to the 3.5mm stereo jack labelled EAR.
Based around our VARI-SPEED Tape deck but with alot of extra features, primarily the unit has been modified to make it possible to choose between internal MIC or the MP3 player while using the tape cassette player/recorder. You can hear both simulatiously so just load up a USB stock with your favorite samples and then record straight to tape! The toggle switch on the side is used to select if MIC or USB MP3 is normalized to the tape deck record input.
You can also mix in external audio via the EXT input.
There is a super smooth speed control. This new version has an added CV input which enables control over the full range of the tape speed from 0 to +5V. When using the CV mode the SPEED knob will act as an offset.
The unit has also been modifed for LOFI dub style recording, while the tape is playing back you can punch into record mode without stopping the tape. The result isn’t perfect as a single tape head is used for both record and playback so there will be pops and click which are the result of making and breaking connections but this all adds to the tape decks charm. Pausing before and at the end of recording can help smooth out the results.
As well as warping Tape speeds the new AGC (Automatic gain control) switch gives you two extra overdriving options when recording. The upper positon the AGC is maxed out giving a wonderfully blownout overdriven recording.. Pure sonic destruction.
With the switch in the middle position the recording act as normal, the unit is fitting with AGC as standard.
In the lower postion the Attack time of the AGC has been modifed to take about 1 sec. The result means that in breif periods of silence or quiet parts of the input audio will rise giving the effect of a noise floor side chain.
Tips and tricks
Record at full speed for a higher quality of recording
DRONE – Save a single sample to a USB stick and i will be looped. There is a gap between the playback ending and restarting but recording to a tape casette loop and the two layered through a big verb will smooth it out a bit.
Half press REC to just erase!
You can make a melody by pausing to change pitch!
LOFI SOS can be achieved by blocking the erase head with a think piece of card.
DC power supply and wired Mic included.
Power supply included. Happy looping!