Vox V837 Echo Deluxe by Thomas Organ - 1966 - 1968
Some of the images on this webpage were supplied by Rik Kraak and used with his permission
The Vox V837 "Echo Deluxe" tape echo was designed and built in Sepulveda CA by the
Thomas Organ Company. It used a loop of magnetic tape, a recording head and a series of playback heads to create an echo effect. It was offered for $299.90 in North American Vox catalogs in 1966 and 1967.
Thomas Organ also offered the Vox V807 Echo Reverb for $200 from 1966 to 1968. It utilized an electrostatic memory device to create a echo effect.
Thomas Organ Gains the Right to Build Vox Products in the US JMI struggled to meet the sudden world-wide demand for Vox products at the dawn of the "British Invasion" in 1964. In addition to ramping up production to meet demand, JMI also needed to quickly implement a network of regional distributors to supply Vox products to dealers outside of the UK.
JMI chose the Thomas Organ Company of Sepulveda CA to become the Vox distributor for North America in late 1964. For about a year, Thomas Organ imported Vox products from JMI in the UK. The high costs of shipping, import duties and delays in production at JMI became a constant source of irritation to the management of Thomas. These problems caused Thomas to approach JMI and propose a new arrangement. Thomas wished to secure a license from JMI to manufacture Vox products for the U.S. market in their own extensive facilities in California. This license was granted to Thomas by JMI in the latter part of 1965. From that point forward, Thomas started to design and produce their own Vox amp designs in the U.S. and shipments from JMI to Thomas Organ all but ceased.
The Shift from Tube to Solid State Circuitry at Thomas Organ Now that Thomas Organ was free to manufacture Vox products in America, it would be reasonable to assume that they would simply continue to build the original JMI Vox designs in their California facilities. This was not to be the case. Thomas Organ wanted to eliminate the vacuum tubes in all Vox products, replacing them with new transistorized or "solid state" circuit designs. Thomas knew that transistorized circuits were cheaper to produce, generated no heat, required less maintenance and in theory offered a longer service life. One of the many products targeted by Thomas Organ for conversion from tube to solid state circuitry was the JMI Vox Echo Deluxe.
The JMI Vox Echo Deluxe (Made in the UK) The JMI Vox Tape "Long Tom" Echo Deluxe circuit was powered by six vacuum tubes and featured three input channels. Each channel was equipped with a ¼" input jack and a "pull pot" rotary level control that also disabled the echo effect. A ~22" loop of 1/4" wide audio tape passed over the recording head, imposing the signal from the inputs onto the tape. The tape then passed over a series of six playback heads, creating the echo effect. The nature of the echo was determined by the combination of the four front panel buttons selected. An erase head was located after the playback heads, clearing the tape for the next pass over the heads.
Control Panel of a JMI Vox Tape Echo Deluxe (UK)
The V837 Vox Echo Deluxe by Thomas Organ (Made in the US) While the features and functionality of the V837 Vox Echo Deluxe were nearly identical to the JMI Vox Echo Deluxe, the Thomas Echo Deluxe was transistorized while the JMI Echo Deluxe had a vacuum tube circuit.
The Thomas Organ (US) and JMI (UK) Echo Deluxe units both featured three channels. The front panels of both units had three ¼" high impedance input jacks, three rotary volume controls and three switches to disable the echo effect. The front panel of each unit also had a echo blend control, a ¼" output jack and a ¼" jack for a foot switch. The V837 Echo Deluxe also offered a rotary "Sustain" control, a feature not included on the front panel of the JMI unit. The "Sustain" on the V837 adjusted the amount of echo regeneration. The V837 and JMI Echo Deluxe units both offered a chassis mounted regeneration limit control.
Both tape mechanisms incorporated a record head, an erase head and six playback heads. Either unit featured four front panel push button switches that selected different combinations of the six playback heads. On the V837 Echo Deluxe, the "Reverb" button enabled only the second playback head. The "Echo" button enabled only the fourth playback head. The "Answer" button enabled only the sixth playback head. The "Roll" button enabled playback heads one through five simultaneously.
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