Vintage Digital

Digital Reverb

Classic Recording Studio Equipment

Digital reverb, also known as artificial reverb, is a type of audio effect used in recording studios to simulate the sound of a natural acoustic environment. The first digital reverb units were developed in the late 1970s, with early examples including the EMT 250 and the Lexicon 224. These early digital reverbs used a combination of digital signal processing and analog-to-digital converters to create a convincing simulation of different acoustic spaces.

Digital reverb quickly became popular in the recording industry, as it provided a more flexible and cost-effective solution than traditional mechanical reverbs or echo chambers. Digital reverb units could simulate a wide range of acoustic spaces, from small rooms to large halls, and could be easily adjusted and automated to create dynamic and complex reverb effects.

Over time, digital reverb technology continued to evolve, with improvements in processing power, algorithms, and user interfaces. Today, digital reverb is an essential tool in the recording industry, and a wide range of software and hardware reverbs are available to suit different recording needs and budgets. Despite the advances in digital technology, however, many recording engineers still value the unique character and sound of traditional mechanical reverb units, and these continue to be used in certain recording environments.

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.

Click here for a brief history of Digital Reverbs

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.
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.
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 45 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…
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.
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.
The EMT 251 Digital Reverberation System, released in 1980 is a rather rare reverb unit, strangely less well known than the legendary EMT 250, which is replaces, regardless of its superior specification and functionality.
There have been many digital reverbs over the years, but few are as revered as the AMS RMX 16, which you will still find in studios the world over, some 40 years later. That in itself is enough to indicate just how good this reverb unit is, but it is also the only ‘old’ digital reverb that is being remade now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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