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spring reverbs: BOSS RX-100 vs. FOSTE...

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Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 06:49 am:   

Interruptor: How do you like the rx-100 compared to your fostex reverb? I'm looking around for a good sounding spring reverb and considering both of these. Furman seems to have made some good ones too.


Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2003 - 01:42 pm:   

[note: i corrected the model name from "fostex 8890"
which was wrong to "fostex 3180" and added two pics,
cheers, interruptor]

fostex 3180:


- parallel springs: you can open the box and
mute some of the springs with a piece of cotton
or so and get a grittier sound.

- true stereo: separate springs for left and
right channel.

- all springs are tuned high for more high
frequency response (brilliance). Cannot
compete with digital delays in terms
of brilliance but this is not what you buy a
spring reverb for :)

boss rx-100:


- Has a "folded delay line". This means 3 springs
are put together in a z-like shape. Thus
successfully eliminating the typical spring
wobblyness. (A pitty because this is what
i like most about spring reverbs)

- you cannot mute a single spring to get a
grainier sound without muting the whole
delay line.

- mono: has stereo ins and outs but will just
mix a mono delay sound with your stereo
input signal

- no dry signal control: you will always have
a mixture of input signal and reverb on the

==> As you can imagine i prefer the fostex 3180.

Another good choice is a Vestafire Dual reverb
which is similar as a 3180 but featues also
some springs which are tuned low. (low frequency
response) It's especially these low tuned
springs which give you a wobbly sound.

In an interview King Jammy mentioned that they used
a modified "Fisher" reverb at King Tubby's studio.
The only Fisher reverb i found on the net is
the so called "Spacexpander" a tube driven reverb
from the sixties. It would be great to try out
one of these.. (They are sold at ebay for around
100 US$ and more - quite pricey, especially for
me as I would need an additional voltage
transformer for 220V and get it shipped to
Europe for around 50US$)
[update: i own a spacexpander now, it really
comes closest to the classic tubby sound :-) ]

The Interruptor

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 01:20 pm:   

Thanks for that information on the Furman.

My friend used to have a Fisher reverb in the back of his Pontiac- gave up the "stereophonic concertized" thang..sure it did... Motown and soul sounded great thru that, especially when you went over railroad tracks..

Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2002 - 07:27 am:   

I'd love to have a tube powered spring reverb like the Fisher but my transistor fruman rv-1 does the job pretty well. It has a great sweepable midrange EQ, treble control, and dry/wet mix knobs.

The first thing i usually end up doing when I get an old piece of gear is opening it up and looking at the insides. Inside the furman, the spring unit itself is suspended by small springs and there's a small pcb that the pots are mounted on in the front of the enclosure.

I'm pretty happy with the sound now but it is noisy and I'm thinking about replacing the capacitors with fresh ones. I've heard old, worn out electrolytic capacitors are a big cause of hum and noise in vintage gear. I'm also thinking about shielding the power transformer, if anybody has any advice about noise in spring reverbs maybe they can help.

The rv-1 has a 3-spring unit and i am going to try this damping technique with the cotton. I have the problem that if i move the reverb around or hit it even lightly it makes loud pops like something is shorting, i dunno. I want to get the splash sound that only smacking a spring reverb will give you. There is a review of the rv-1 on harmony central where someone says they give theirs a good smack and it makes wonderful noises. So, i'm looking for loose connections, and thinking about insulating the floating spring unit from the bottom of the enclosure.

So again, any words of wisdom on this stuff would be greatly appreciated.


Posted on Friday, January 04, 2002 - 01:50 pm:   

Indeed spring reverbs create a lot of noise. I managed to get the noise to an acceptable level with the following methods, the spring reverb is still the noisiest device in my setup though..

- make sure you drive the reverb with full load:
open the aux send on the desk and the input level of the reverb as far as possible without getting too much distortion (ok this one is obvious - but still worth mentioning)

- use low and high pass to filter away all frequencies which are not needed for your reverb signal

- listen closely to the noise. If you have notable supply humm you can eliminate it with notch filters (50Hz or whatever depending of your AC-current frequency + harmonics: 100Hz, 200Hz,..)
This is easy to do if you use a software based mixer with freely configurable filters.

For even better results replacing the capacitors may be a good option. Looter: Please let us now about the results if you actally do this!

peace The Interruptor

dharma one
Posted on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 03:39 pm:   

hey dub heads!

re: spring reverbs and noise

you should not drive a spring reverb straight from a mixing console. a preamp stage is required, and after the reverb a gain stage. otherwise you will get a lot of noise. also the sound will be MUCH better

look for schematics on the web, u can build this with a few op-amps

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2002 - 09:51 am:   

good point about the preamp.. all reverb units we discussed above do have built-in preamps though.
even with a preamp the noise level is considerably higher than with a digital reverb unit. If one loves the spring sound it's just about finding ways to live with this.

David prophet
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:23 pm:   

Hi interruptor!
I am out for a spring reverb and and thinking to buy a boss rx-100 for 100 euro. Is that a good choice of spring reverb? I red that u had one.

/david prophet

Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 07:56 am:   

Hey David, yes i think it's a good price and choice!

And as interruptor have say, software filter are the best way to cut noise on reverb. I use a 50hz on the mastering. I have just send to my software filter a sample of the sound of the reverb with no reverb.

See you.

Jah Bless,
KoCha / Almighty-dub.

Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 10:22 am:   

Hi David,

I listed 3 reasons above why the rx-100 is not a good device for use in a dub mixing setup.
The 4th point mentioned above was sound. This is up to personal taste of course. I personally prefer the sound of a fostex 3180 or even better a spacexpander.
I recommend to try out the device for a weekend if possible before spending the money.

Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 02:27 pm:   


this vesta fire spring reverb comes in 2 versions, rv-1 and rv-2 - both seems to be stereo - does anyone know the differences between them? is the springs tuned low on rv-1 aswell?

Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 04:33 pm:   

bought a vesta fire rv-1 now for $140.. a bit pricy maybe(?) but it seems very nice... anyone got any experience from this one?

Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 04:34 pm:   

(the price included shipping)

Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 08:12 pm:   

interruptor, anyone?

Steve McLoughlin
Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 12:35 pm:   

If anyone is interested in a BOSS RX-100 spring reverb, I am selling one on E-bay.
Just search for BOSS RX-100.
I've had it from new c1984/85 and it has all original packing and the manual.
It works fine.

Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 01:00 pm:   

I have a furman rev 1 and am quite happy with it despite the noise. I like the EQ on it. Smack this one and you'll get nasty clicks/pops. What you can do is take the spring itself out and place it somewhere else. Just solderiron some connectors and wire it up.
replacing capacitors won't eliminate the noise. With good and big enough capacitors in the power supply will eliminate hum.


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