Sony MU-R201 Stereo Digital Reverb

Sony MU-R201
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The Sony MU-R201 came after the ultra expensive Sony DRE-2000 and was the first of it’s kind to offer true stereo processing. It was something of a sleeper in the west with Roger Nichols being one of it’s few true believers, having used it on everything he mixed including all the Steely Dan mixes he did.

In Japan you would be hard pressed to find a studio that does NOT have at least one Sony MU-R201 in their racks even today, many have two. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is about this unit that makes it so good, but it sits in a mix really well and is very well made, in particular the ultra rare remote control with it’s solid steel casing is very solidly built.

Impressive Stereo Ambience
All circuits from the input to the output stage are equipped for stereo processing. The key device of the Sony MU-R201 is a newly developed 2-channel audio processing LSI (Digital Presence Synthesizer CXD1079), which creates stereo effects not possible with two monophonic reverberators. The result is striking, high-quality reverberation.

Versatile Preset Characteristics
Musicians, recording engineers and sound technicians from all over the world have contributed to select a total of 100 presets which are stored in the memory of the Sony MU-R201. The user can immediately choose a setting for any application.

Creative Effect Shaping
The EDIT and EQ (equalising) functions of the Sony MU-R201 can be used to change preset reverberation effects and to produce original settings. Besides the 100 factory-preset characteristics, a user memory for another 100 settings is provided, offering unlimited creative potential.

Wide Variety of Reverberation Types
10 basic modes on the Sony MU-R201 serve as reference, complemented by many versatile effects, such as hall ambience, acoustically “live” room effects, tightly controlled plate reverberation, percussive multi-gate reverb and multi-reverse reverb. The dual multi delay setting offers up to 20 repeat outputs for each channel separately, and reverb & gate effects further enhance versatility.

Direct Memory Selection
Memory selection and adjustment is simple and straightforward, for easy operation also during a live performance.

Serves as Two Independent Reverberator Units
In modes 3 (Multi Gate Reverb), 4 (Multi Reverse Reverb), 5 (Dual Multi Delay), 7 (Dual Reverb), 8 (Reverb & Gate), and 9 (Reverb & Delay), the two channels of the Sony MU-R201 operate separately. This permits use, for example, with two different instruments during recording or a live performance.

Precise Sound Definition
Up to 26 parameters can be set, to design exactly the sound field you want and to create special effects not available in ordinary surroundings.

4-Band Equalizer Control
The Sony MU-R201 incorporates a programmable two-channel four-band equaliser (LOW, L-MID, H-MID, HIGH). Equalizer data can be stored along with effects settings, to instantly provide the desired sound shaping characteristics for each application.

Remote Control Capability
An optional remote control unit (Sony MU-RM1, cabled) permits operation of the unit from any convenient location. A foot switch (FS-11) can be used to increase or decrease memory numbers, switch effect processing off and on, and suspend effects.

Flexible Input/Output Configuration
Two sets of input/output jacks are provided, to accommodate either standard phone plugs or RCA-type phono plugs. A +4/-20 dB LEVEL selector matches the unit to professional or consumer equipment and any musical instrument.

Easy Combination with Digital Instruments
The integrated MIDI interface accepts program change signals for external selection of memory numbers during a performance. The effect level can also be controlled via key-touch and control change signals, making the Sony MU-R201 ideally suited for use as an effecter for digital instruments.


Sony MU-RM1A

Sony MU-RM1A

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Sony MU-R201 Stereo Digital Reverb Reviews

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


(5 Reviews)

Build Quality 86%
Sound Quality 87%
Usefullness 99%
Mojo/Funk 81%
Reliability 83%

What other owners say...

Steely Dan?

By Anonymous

Build Quality 90%
Sound Quality 70%
Usefullness 100%
Mojo/Funk 80%
Reliability 90%

I like this reverb but I’m a little confused by Mr Nichols statement. He says he used this unit on all the Steely Dan mixes, yet this unit didn’t come out until 1986 and most of the Steely Dan stuff was much earlier.

Steely Dan

By Roger Nichols

Build Quality 85%
Sound Quality 95%
Usefullness 100%
Mojo/Funk 80%
Reliability 80%

One of my favorite reverbs is the Sony MU-R201. I use it on every project, including the Steely Dan mixes. This was a unit made by Sony for Ibanez. Toward the end of its marketing life, Sony sold it with Sony labels and some software updates. Ten years ago it was priced at over $1,000, and worth every penny. I have seen them in pawn shops in Hollywood for under $200. The coolest feature of the MU-R201 is that it is a true stereo reverb.

Pretty good Reverb for the money!

By Anonymous

Build Quality 90%
Sound Quality 95%
Usefullness 95%
Mojo/Funk 95%
Reliability 90%

I have watched these things on eBay for about a year now and read reviews here and given their low price I took the plunge. I noticed the preset on the image here of 31 so tried that on snare and wow! This preset is worth the price of entry on its own, it adds a great live sound to snare drums and works pretty well on most things actually. I have not yet had the chance to play around editing or anything but seems easy enough and at around $200 I can not understand why everyone does not have one as it seems like a bargain to me.

Great Reverb!

By Charlie Mung

Build Quality 90%
Sound Quality 95%
Usefullness 95%
Mojo/Funk 95%
Reliability 90%

I don’t know why more people don’t know about this great reverb. I love it on snare, brass, vocals everything, it just works.

A hidden gem

By Steve

Build Quality 95%
Sound Quality 90%
Usefullness 100%
Mojo/Funk 70%
Reliability 75%

This is a hidden gem of old reverbs. I love this thing on just about anything and use it on every drum mix I do. Snares sound wonderful through it, so Roger Nichols was onto something way back when. Ignore the limited bandwidth as I actually think that is what helps this reverb to sit in a mix so well. My favourite!

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Released: 1986
Quantization: 16 Bit
Sampling Frequency: 26kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz-11kHz
Dynamic Range: >90dB
THD: Below 0.008%