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Posted on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 03:20 am:   

hello brethren. have any of you guys had any experience with the cheap spring reverbs that were made to go with home stereos in the 70's? sansui and pioneer made some. i see these on ebay all the time- usually for under $25. just wondering if you guys have heard/worked with any like this. i've seen these described as "awful sounding", but that's usually coming from people who enjoy reverb of the $3000 digital variety. (yuck.)

Mike Zee
Posted on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 04:30 am:   

there was a little conversation about ra-500here:
utilizing a sansui ra-500 reverb amp as an effect

I've found a page with few mp3 samples to check out, well it's kind of hard to tell much by listening to these samples:
Sansui RA-500 few mp3s here

i'd say if you don't mind spending 20-40 bucks or what ever it's a good thing to have in dub studio for some COOL OLDY reverb-options. also , cos' the unit like this is actually an amp, you may even be able to modify it, maybe to change the spring or something :)
One thing for sure, that the sounds of these old "machines" are VERY unique..., you can't get it with modern dsp.

best regards,
'n respects,
/Mike Zee
zee dub lab

Mike Zee
Posted on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 04:53 am:   

oh, man, if you ever see pioneer SR-101, that spring with all tube amp for 20 bucks and if it is in working condition - BUY IT! :) :), it's just soo agly-beautiful.
I've seen one once in absolutely shiny-condition, some guy was polishing it every day and kept it under glass hood or something..., but it was for over $100 ...
I'd say for $20 bux it's good to have just for its amp art.
Well, then the problem is again to keep it working , you know... tubes are not very 'long living things'... and you may have to do some other maintains and repair soonner or later...well, it's just old stuff know.

/Mike Zee

Mike Zee
Posted on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 08:39 am:   

here, i've found another page to check out, well, at least just to see stuff:
some old processors here
I have no idea about the company who's page it is, they've got some old stuff, including some reverbs (pioneer), some eq etc... prices???hmmmm... I don't know what to say, cos' it is really hard to determine value of these units. Near antique stuff... ;)

/Mike Zee

Mike Zee
Posted on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 08:52 am:   

on this page they've got couple of pretty cool rack-spring units:
amps and effects
..I would not say it's cheap thou :)

/Mike Zee

Posted on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 11:17 am:   

Mike, you wrote: One thing for sure, that the sounds of these old "machines" are VERY unique..., you can't get it with modern dsp.

i think it could be done, but nobody really tried so far. let's look at a related technology: digital guitar amplifier modelation. there are digital vintage amp modellers on the market like the "pod" from line-6 since a few years and they sound quite ok. even software programs like the "revalver" can do such stuff (check the picked/mute guitar on my track confident dub i tried to make it sound like the guitar on steel pulse's "handsworth revolution" and it came out as i wanted... with an evaluation version of revalver!).

now back to reverb: the thing is of course that with spring reverbs in dub we are looking for a very specific sound that maybe a maximum of a few thousand people on this planet really want to have, whereas there are hundreds of thousands of rock guitarists out there who want to sound like led zeppelin.. so vintage amp simulation is a market a company can earn money from!

one allready existing possibility for simulating spring reverb digitally is the "convolution method". this implies recording an "accoustic fingerprint" (or impulse response) of a real room or any given analog or digital effect box and then computing the effect with convolution.
a free winamp plugin to demonstrate this technology can be downloaded here
also the "accoustic mirror" plugin supplied with sound forge does the same thing. sadly this plug-in needs so much computing power it will hardly run in real time together with your other audio software (at least with knowadays computers..) so for dub purposes here comes yamaha with their rack mount unit SREV-1.. and yes, it's far more expensive than getting some old spring reverbs from ebay. :-)
also it's questionable how good such a simulation would work for dub style spring reverb for the following reason: convolution works based on the assumption that we are dealing with a linear system (mathematically speaking). this is true for a room reverb situation. the typical dub spring reverb sound however requires driving the spring reverb close to distortion. and then it is out of it's linear range!

Mike Zee
Posted on Friday, August 16, 2002 - 12:45 pm:   

Daniel, heh, good talking, man :)

well, man, when I've said "you can't get it", I mean from 'practical' point, not to say that it technically impossible.
My point is, simply, if you have that 'ugly tube amp with dusty metal spring inside' it gives you that very special sound right through - bang - out- got it. To get it digitally, and I mean that very sound you need:
1. pretty good dsp power/processor/program
2. therefore you may need cash - :) (cheap effect will not do it well)
3. you need actually experience and knowledge working with dsp (know how to use software to get what YOU HAVE IN MIND, and not just randomly using dsp for what ever may come out of it, or to learn how to program your hardware dsp-unit (plus usually you need some extra external tratment to your dsp to get the desired effect)
4. bottom line - you must be a some sort of nerd-producer -- heh heh, well, you know what I mean.

And also I have to add to the "mix", that it may very well depend on your personality. I mean, some musicians-producers are more connected to big boxess, real instruments, amps and mics, and they do not feel 'home' working with 'on-screen parameters'....
So, another words: two radical sides here:
one guy will seat with computer software/or programming his hardware dsp-units to get some "cool desired effect", calculating every step and sound,
the other guy will get similar result simply by kiking spring-tank with foot :)
- both are happy at the end, heh heh heh

I remember had funny conversation with one of my local musician/producer friend. He gave me some sketchy break-beat-type of track, just to have my opinion. Well, the track was pretty cool, but the most I liked about it was that cuttin' trough snare. So I've asked him,: "How did you program/sampled or what ever that snare?"
And he laughed and said: "It's not snare, nor I programed anything, it was just accident - I was hiting/testing mic off some box I had there near, while was mixing down the track.. and the sound happend to be pretty cool, like snare for this specific mix, so I've used it... "

I think, in general, for dub, it depends on how do you as producer like to work... Sort of speaking: Are you a more like mechanic, or furnituer builder, or are you more like mathematician or bank-manager ? :) - what's your personality?

/Mike Zee

Posted on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 06:55 pm:   

There are good and affordable rack mount tube spring reverb units at

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