JMI Vox "Short Tom" Echo Standard (1963 - 1966)



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Popularized by the British guitar legend, Hank Marvin of the
"Shadows," the Vox "Short Tom" Echo Standard mechanically simulated an echo effect for guitars or vocals using technology derived from an audio tape recorder. The "Short Tom" Echo Standard was designed and manufactured by Jennings Musical Instruments (JMI) of Dartford, Kent, UK and featured in the 1963 "Precision in Sound" Vox product catalog. It last appeared in the 1966 JMI Vox catalog.

The Vox "Short Tom" Echo was the third generation mechanical echo device from Vox. From 1959 through 1962, JMI bought two styles of mechanical echo units from the Italian manufacturer
Meazzi and rebranded them as a Vox product. The Meazzi echo used a magnetically treated disk as a recording medium. The inset photo at left shows an image of the three channel
Vox rebranded Meazzi echo unit from the 1961 Vox catalog. The 1962 Vox catalog introduced a five channel version of the Meazzi echo unit, also rebranded a Vox product.

Vox "Short Tom" Echo Advertisement - 1963

The Vox "Short Tom" eventually evolved into the Vox "Long Tom" Echo Deluxe, the most famous and desirable Vox tape echo. The "Long Tom" was introduced in 1964 and discontinued in 1968. Both the "Short Tom" and "Long Tom" echo units shared a similar tape delay mechanism but the "Long Tom" featured a extended cabinet and longer tape loop.

The "Short Tom" and "Long Tom" echo units were nicknamed after Vox founder and president Tom Jennings.


Vox Echo Standard Plexiglass Front Panel
Controls
Mixer Section
- The Vox Echo Standard included three 1/4" high impedance inputs. Each input was equipped with a volume control. This "three channel" design allowed the Vox Echo Standard to serve as both a microphone mixer and an echo effects unit. While Hank Marvin of the Shadows would use just one of these inputs for his guitar, the Dave Clark Five used all three inputs to add an echo effect to their vocal microphones. Rotating the volume control adjusted the level of the input. Pulling the volume control "out" engaged the echo effect for that channel.

"Normal - Echo" Control - Pull the rotary control outward to start the motor, rotate the control to adjust the balance between the "dry" input signal and the echoes generated by the tape.

"Amplif" Jack - Output jack. Connect a cable from this jack to the input of a guitar amp or PA system.

"Remote" Jack - Insert a single button foot switch with a 1/4" plug to remotely disengage the echo effect.

Push Buttons - Four rectangular push buttons configure the playback heads to affect the time period and regeneration of the echo effect. These buttons may be engaged in any combination. Read more about these buttons on the Vox Tape Echo "Under the Hood" web page.

The Tape Mechanism
The Vox Echo Deluxe utilized a endless loop of 1/4" wide audio tape. The tape traveled in a clockwise direction over the recording head and then passed over a series of six playback heads. These playback heads created the echo effect. The speed amd regernation of the echo reflections created was determined by the combination of the front panel buttons selected and the position of the "Echo-Repeat" slide switch. An erase head was located after the playback heads, preparing the tape for the next pass over the record head.


Vox Echo-Reverberation "Cliff Richards Model"
The Vox Echo-Reverberation
Vox introduced the Vox Echo-Reverberation unit in 1962. British pop star Cliff Richards was featured in print advertising for this product. It included a "VOX ECHO" badge on the front panel.

Using the term "echo" in conjunction with the Vox Echo-Reverberation unit was a bit of a misnomer. It is presented here for clarification.

Reverberation is the audio delay effect commonly heard in auditoriums and concert halls. As sound is reflected between the walls of a large room, it combines and blends into a smooth delay. This contrasts with echo, the audio effect that occurs when sound is reflected back to the listener from a much larger distance. With echo, individual "slap backs" of the original sound are evident to the listener's ear.

The Vox Echo-Reverberation unit uses a spring based "Accutronics" style delay line to produce reverb. It is incapable of producing a true "slap back" echo as one would hear with the "Long Tom" Echo.




North Coast Music offers schematics and vinyl for the Vox Short Tom Echo.
Schematics for the Short Tom and Long Ton Vox echo
Exact replacement vinyl


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music


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