Digital Reverbs

Vintage Digital

The first digital reverb to hit the market was way back in 1972, when the German manufacturer EMT who were enjoying dominance with the in studios around the world with their EMT 140 Plate Reverb, introduced the EMT 144 Digital Reverb. The EMT 144 was a rack mount design with very limited capabilities and as such was not very successful. Few of these classic old digital reverbs remain in existence today. In 1976, EMT joined forces with American electronics company Dynatron to develop the now legendary EMT 250 digital reverb. Looking like something from a sci-fi movie, the floor standing EMT 250 was almost novel in appearance, but it’s incredible performance would ensure it became a mainstay of studios the world over. The EMT 250 was updated to the EMT 251 which offered increased bandwidth, additional programs with additional parameters to tweak the reverb programs. In 1978 American company Lexicon released their competitor to the EMT 250, their Lexicon 244 digital reverb, a reverb that to this day is still being used in studios today.

Algorithmic Reverb All early digital reverbs are algorithmic reverb designs. Algorithmic reverbs are essentially delay lines that repeat on themselves to simulate reverb decay. The ‘algorithms’ used tweak each repeat usually with modulation and various other filters. Some of the worlds most loved digital reverbs such as the EMT 250, AMS RMX 16, Lexicon 224 and Lexicon 480L are all algorithmic reverbs. It is clear that not all algorithmic reverbs are created equal, and it is why to this day, those reverbs are so revered, their algorithms are superior to other manufacturers.

Convolution Reverb Convolution reverb is to reverb what sampling was to keyboards. Convolution reverb involves measuring a live space, and using this ‘impulse response’ applies it to the incoming signal to simulate that real space. Convolution reverbs works exceedingly well, and provides very realistic reverb. Early hardware reverbs to use convolution techniques were the Sony DRE-S777 and the Yamaha SREV1.

Reverb Plugins Today plugins like Audio Ease Altiverb provide hundreds of impulse response reverbs in a plugin format. Some of the ‘real’ spaces provided with that plugin are quite breathtaking. In particular, the Great Pyramid of Giza, a space no one will ever get to record in, sounds phenomenal. Most reverb plugins these days are either algorithmic, or convolution, and with today’s computer power, we can enjoy the very best sounding reverbs possible and for far less that what a hardware reverb costs. However, there is still some kind of magic in these older hardware reverbs that most of us just can not let go of.

EMT 250 Digital Reverb

The EMT 250 Digital Reverb is completely electronic, with no moving parts; ruggedly built and insensitive to shock or vibrations…and a studio legend! Extremely versatile with many programming possibilities and adjustment of parameters. The EMT 250 Digital Reverb uses high-value digital words (12 bit, quasi 15 bit) to virtually eliminate intrinsic and quantizing noise.

Dynacord DRS 78 Digital Reverberation System

The first point of make clear about the Dynacord DRS 78 is that it is a digital echo and reverb system in a three rack unit high enclosure. Besides giving a very wide range of reverb and echo effects it produces above all true and absolutely natural reverb effects as they have been obtainable so far only in studios or in cathedrals.

Lexicon 224 Digital Reverberator

The Lexicon 224 digital reverb announced in 1978 is the kind of stuff legends are made of. It is without a doubt the most admired and desirable reverb of the Lexicon line-up. It may be over 40 years old now, but the Lexicon 224 is still in use today at many studios regardless of it’s limited bandwidth, and is loved by so many engineers, that they will only replace it when it dies. If it dies…

Deltalab DL-2 Acousticomputer

DeltaLab introduces the Delatlab DL-2 Acousticomputer, a flexible and rugged all-electronic ‘space machine’ with highly musical sound quality and a surprisingly modest price. The Delatlab DL-2 Acousticomputer is a combination digital delay and special effects processor designed for use both on stage and in the studio, providing well known functions plus some new effects not available in any other device.

AMS RMX 16 Digital Reverberation System

Unlike its mechanical counterpart the AMS RMX 16 system does not require special installation. This, together with the large reduction in size, the superior signal to noise performance and the greater bandwidth, gives the AMS RMX 16 significant advantages over old-fashioned mechanical reverberation systems.

Sony DRE 2000 Digital Reverberator

The Sony DRE 2000 was Sony’s first digital reverb and they headed straight for the heart of Lexicon with a complex and very advanced system, that also proved fragile. These reverbs are hard to find on the used market, partly because those who have them hang onto them, and partly because many of them have died, proving to be too expensive and difficult to fix.

Ursa Major Space Station SST-282

The Ursa Major SPACE STATION is an advanced signal processor using time delay techniques to transform a mono source into a new, stereo, output signal.  It is as different from earlier delay units as the complex reverberant sound of a room is from a single repeat of a sound slapping off a wall.

Quantec Room Simulator

The Quantec Room Simulator is a new technical concept that enables emulating the acoustical behaviour common to spaces of any volume or size, so that acoustical impressions ranging from a tin can to a columned cathedral may be synthesised and created at fingertip command.

Eventide SP 2016 Signal Processor Reverb

The Eventide SP 2016 Effects Processor Reverb is something special. If you’ve never worked with one before, your ears are in for a pleasant surprises. What makes the Eventide SP 2016 so unusual is that (unlike most products in this specialised age) it isn’t just one thing. Not simply a reverb or a digital delay, or an equaliser…but all of these things, and more.

Yamaha Rev1 Digital Reverberator

The Yamaha Rev1 is a professional digital reverberator with 1 in and 2 outs. Various reverberation effects can be added to original sounds by allowing early reflections and subsequent reverberation to be independently controlled and mixed.

Publison Infernal Machine 90 Stereo Audio Computer

France’s contribution to recording studio effects, the Publison Infernal Machine 90, Stereo Audio Computer. The Publison Infernal Machine 90 is a computer based audio processor released around 1983, from a company based in France. There is very little information available on the machine apart from the User Manual which is more a guide on how to use it rather than what it is capable of. If you have a copy of a brochure or magazine ad that tells the story of this a machine, please let us know.

Ursa Major StarGate 323 Digital Reverb

With the coming of the Space Age, sound engineers will finally acquire power over acoustic space and time with the Ursa Major Stargate 323. They will create reverberant spaces of almost limitless variety, from tiny chambers to vast echoing canyons. They tune their effects to achieve a richness and realism that once seemed beyond the reach of any technology.

Yamaha R1000 Digital Reverberation

After working on delivering a high end digital reverb in the Yamaha REV1, they decided to tackle the other end of the market with the Yamaha R1000 digital reverb. By comparison, the Yamaha R1000 was most definitely not in the same league as it’s more expensive sibling, but it afforded home musicians a taste of digital reverb that delivered pretty good results.

Ursa Major StarGate 626 Digital Reverb

The Ursa Major 626 replaced the previous model, the Ursa Major 323, by adding more memory which allowed for longer delay times. For those who loved the Ursa Major Stargate 323 and in particular the delay functions should seek out the Stargate 626 to take advantage of those longer delay times.

Ursa Major 8×32 Digital Reverb

There are times when you won’t compromise on sound quality. When, no matter how difficult the material is, you must have reverberant effects that are perfectly smooth, clean, spacious, colourless. There are perhaps three or four computer-based digital reverb systems that achieve uncompromising sound quality. All sound quite natural (and relatively alike).
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