Vox V807 Standard Echo Reverb Unit by Thomas Organ - 1966 - 1968
The Vox V807 "Standard Echo Reverb" was designed and manufactured in Sepulveda CA by the Thomas Organ Company. The V807 was offered at a retail price of $200 in North American Vox catalogs and price lists from 1966 to early 1968.
The V807 was part of the first wave of American made Vox products made possible in 1965 after JMI (Jennings Musical Industries), the UK parent company of Vox, sold the North American rights to the Vox trade mark to Thomas Organ. This purchase granted Thomas Organ full autonomy to design and manufacture Vox products for the North American marketplace without direction from JMI.
A Tapeless Echo
Most popular echo units from the 1960's, such as the Echoplex, JMI Vox Echo Standard and JMI Vox Echo Deluxe, employed a capstan (motor) driven continuous loop of audio recording tape and a series of tape heads. The first tape head recorded the original or "dry" signal onto the audio tape loop. An additional set of up to six evenly spaced tape heads played back the original signal as the tape passed over them, now delayed to simulate an echo. A final head erased the original signal from the tape at the completion of the loop. A downside to tape driven echo units was the need to periodically clean the tape heads and replace tape loops due to wear.
Thomas Organ wanted to design an solid-state echo circuit for their home organs that did not require the periodic maintenance of tape based units. The engineering department at Thomas Organ developed a motor driven "electrostatic memory disk" for their organs that electronically created an echo effect without tape loops. At the heart of the Thomas electrostatic memory disk was a spinning metal disk resembling the platter in a modern hard drive. The original audio signal from a guitar or microphone was electrostatically recorded on this spinning disk. Several pickups evenly spaced around the disk picked up this delayed signal to simulate an echo effect. Thomas Organ adapted the electrostatic memory disk designed for their home organs to the Vox V807 Standard Echo unit. You can read more about the Thomas Organ electrostatic memory disk in the V807 "Under the Hood" web page.
Jacks and Controls
The solid-state Vox V807 Standard Echo Reverb included two input jacks, "Instrument" and "Guitar." The "Instrument" jack was tailored for "flat" audio response, gain for this input was adjusted by the "Instrument Volume" control. The "Guitar" jack was a fixed gain input designed to accent treble response. The "Output" jack accepted a standard ¼" cable to connect the V807 to an amplifier. An RCA style jack labeled "Remote Switch" accepted a single SPST foot switch, such as the Vox "Egg" pedal, for remote operation of the echo effect. The "Blend" control balanced the amount of original, or "dry" signal (control fully counter-clockwise) to the delayed or "wet" signal (control fully clockwise). A three way rotary "Effect" switch selected from one of three delay effects, Echo, Delay Echo and Reverb.
JMI Vox Lead Engineer Dick Denney Visits Thomas Organ - October 1965
By mid October, 1965, the engineering department at Thomas Organ was making progress on the new solid-state Vox products they planned to introduce to the North American market in 1966. Thomas Organ invited Dick Denney, lead engineer for JMI Vox, for a visit to their design lab in California to evaluate and critique these new designs. Denney's visit extended from October 18, 1965 to November 4, 1965.
In a letter written November 4, 1965 to the JMI head quarters in Dartford Kent, UK, Stan Cutler of Thomas Organ disclosed Denney's suggested improvements for the V807 Standard Echo Reverb. Denney's concerns centered on the motor. Unlike the two speed JMI Vox Echo Standard and JMI Vox Echo Deluxe, the Vox V807 Standard Echo Reverb offered only one motor speed. Denney expressed concerns about the performance limitations of a single speed delay. He suggested two other speeds for future consideration should Thomas Organ later decide to offer multi-speed operation. Denney also expressed concern over a minor instability in motor speed causing a slight vibrato to be present in the "wet" signal. Thomas Organ suggested that upgrading from a two pole to a four pole motor might improve this motor speed instability.
Neither of Denney's suggestions regarding the motor were implemented by Thomas Organ.
Schematic and Owner's Manual for the V807 Vox Standard Echo Reverb
The Owner's Manual for the Vox V807 Standard Echo Reverb (see below) states the following: "The Vox Echo Reverb Unit contains a sealed electrostatic memory assembly on which only factory service is permitted. The Vox warranty is void if the electrostatic memory unit is opened or the seals are broken."
It appears that Thomas Organ never issued a service schematic for the Vox V807 Standard Echo Reverb unit. All service was performed by the national service center at Thomas Organ.
Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music
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