Vintage Digital & Analogue Studio Effects

Vintage Digital

Sony DRE 2000

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.


This is it, the reverb made famous by Chris Lord Alge who uses it to this day on all his mixes, the Sony DRE 2000. It is a beast of a reverb both physically and in terms of it’s sonic signature. There are few units left in the wild, as they are fragile and difficult to fix, but thankfully plugin recreations are starting to appear which should preserve it’s place in history, and deservedly so.

The Sony DRE 2000 was the very first digital reverb from a Japanese company, and was first shown at the 67th AES Convention in New York in November of 1980.. The Sony DRE 2000 was released in 1981 with a retail price of US$15,000. It took some time for their countrymen to follow, but follow they did starting in 1983 with the release of the Yamaha Rev1 and in 1984 with the Roland SRV-2000.

In August of 1982, Sony released Version 2 software that provided improved stereo imaging, increased depth to the reverbs, smoother decay and the addition of a second early reflection. In addition to the original Reverb-A which was improved in Version 2 software, Sony added Reverb-B (Medium size concert hall), Reverb-C (Plate reverb) and Reverb-D (Plate reverb).

In 1984, Sony released the Sony DRE 2000-A which came with Version 2 software pre-installed and oddly they chose to remove the digital input and outputs. The fact that the sampling rate was 32kHz may have had something to do with that decision given the lack of compatibility at that time.

The front panel of the Sony DRE 2000 went through three iterations as can be seen from the above images. The second and third iterations used the “DIGITAL” logo that appeared on many Sony professional audio products of the era, including the Sony PCM-1630 digital recorder. Similarly, the remote control too had three iterations over the life time of the product.

Digitally processed reverberation effects
With the advanced digital technology employed in the Sony DRE 2000, high-quality reverberation effects with a better signal-to-noise ratio, better frequency response and wider dynamic range can be added to incoming signals.

Reverberation not susceptible to external vibration
Unlike conventional mechanical reverberators, the Sony DRE 2000 is unaffected by external vibration or mechanical shock because all operations are performed electronically. Because of this, the Sony DRE 2000 can be installed almost anywhere.

Reverberation parameters easily programmed
The reverberation parameters which determine the reverberation characteristics are easily programmed with the parameter buttons on the supplied remote control unit.

Programs can be memorized
Up to 10 programs can be stored in the non-volatile memory for later recall.

Delay modes
The delay function produces a delay between the sound source and the delivered signal, with delay times of from 1 to 999 milliseconds (for each channel) in mode-1 and delay times of from 1 to 999 milliseconds (channel 1) and from I to 499 milliseconds (channel 2) in mode-2.

Echo modes
Echos can be added to incoming signals in two modes. In mode-1, the same echo pattern is added to both channels and in mode-2, different echo patterns are added to each channel.

Pre-programmed reverberation, delay and echo modes
Four modes of reverberation, two modes of delay and two modes of echo have been pre-programmed in the unit.

Compact and lightweight
The Sony DRE 2000 is more compact and lightweight than conventional mechanical reverberation units.

Sony DRE 2000


Sony DRE 2000


Sony DRE 2000


The three different faceplates you will see on the Sony DRE2000



Quantization: 16 Bit
Sampling Frequency: 32kHz
Frequency Response: 30Hz-13kHz
Dynamic Range: 81dB
THD: Below 0.3%

Dimensions: 428mm x 132mm x 463mm
Weight: 15.5kg

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Plug-In Options

Slate Digital VerbSuite Classic

VerbSuite Classics is a partnership with LiquidSonics, and uses proprietary FUSION IR processing to capture the evolving and modulating characteristics of the modeled hardware reverb tone, including the Sony DRE 2000.

Audio Ease Altiverb

Altiverb is the industry standard convolution reverb plug-in. It features top quality samples of real spaces as well as classic old hardware reverbs.

Sony DRE 2000 Digital Reverberator Reviews

Have you owned this product? Let others know what you thought of it.

Community Score


(2 Reviews)

Build Quality 65%
Sound Quality 90%
Usefullness 75%
Mojo/Funk 80%
Reliability 48%

What other owners say...


By Anonymous

Build Quality 35%
Sound Quality 80%
Usefullness 50%
Mojo/Funk 60%
Reliability 10%

Sony rulez!

By Toni Hinterholzinger

Build Quality 95%
Sound Quality 100%
Usefullness 100%
Mojo/Funk 100%
Reliability 85%

Owning several EMTs, Yamaha Rev1, AMS RMX16, Bricasti and Lexicon 300, I really have to admit that the Sony DRE2000 is the most incredible tool in my workshop. Throw it on snare drums, on analog modular synths, electric guitars, even on orchestra, it S-H-I-N-E-S ! That’s all – simply the most 3d “artificial flavoured” reverb out there, bar none, ever, period. things it cant do: giving dimension to upright bass, bass drum and hihat. anything else: rarely something greater than the Sony! sadly it is hard to service, sometimes impossible. anyone experienced in repairing those precious gems? mine starts to bother me sometimes with weird noises coming out of the DA converters at times…

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