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Thread: Question about old reverberation amplifiers..

  1. #1
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    Question about old reverberation amplifiers..

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    Greetings everyone, I was poking around eBay and came across a Sansui RA-500 reverberation amplifier (complete with real spring reverb unit inside). I'm looking to record an album 100% analog this winter, which means no computers. As such, I'll need a reverb unit to color my tracks a bit.

    My question is, does anyone have any advice or suggestions about which reverberation amplifier would be worth my time and money? They are actually quite cheap on eBay, but I would still like to get a nice one. Is the Sansui any good? Pioneer made a few back in the day, would a Pioneer be a better bet? Any thoughts at all are greatly appreciated; I really no zilch about these units. Thanks !

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    although you can get some cool sounds from anything, i would recommend avoiding the reverbs designed for home stereo systems and stick to the studio-type units. i owned that exact sansui model and couldn't get much more than a short, subtle clank out of it (perhaps there was something wrong with it).

    i recommend the biamp MR-140. I've been using this for a few years and it's outstanding (and usually cheap, although i've noticed the prices going up the more it gets mentioned on forums like this!).

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    I second that thought on the home reverb units. I ve had that same Sansui and a Pioneer unit ( the one with the funky blue faux display) and they were both crap.
    I am shamed to admit i now use a Yamaha digital unit that works quite nicely....

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    I have a Pioneer unit with the wacky green lighted display. It's strictly a nostalgia/hippie toy. I use digital units for creating "real" ambience.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    One day I'll make it into somebody's signature line.

  5. #5
    Beck Guest
    Yep, I concur with what lonewhitefly and others have said. The Sansui is a home stereo unit. I remember when things like that were all the rage in home receivers and amps, but very gimmicky IMO. They don’t measure up to even the cheapest digital reverb. I would even use a <gulp> plugin reverb before I’d mess with that Sansui or similar… and I don’t generally use plugs.

    For reasonably priced vintage spring reverbs that are designed for studio use look at the Furman RV-2, Fostex 3180, Orban 111, or Tascam RS-20B. They are a bit dark and muddy IMO, but that’s the nature of spring units when you get a lot going through them. I’m partial to the Tascam model if I had to have a spring unit. It has a switchable 200 Hz highpass filter -- very useful. Really a bit torn between the Tascam and Furman.

    But… I haven’t used springs for recording since the 80’s and I don’t wanna! I understand the draw to go all analog, but even the die-hard analog aficionado I am I think digital does a great job with reverb. That’s one thing it does really well. IMO a vintage digital unit would be a better option than a lot of the new made in China junk, which aren’t really any better than cheap plugins.

    I’m partial to 80’s/90’s made in USA Lexicon and Alesis units. Get a Lexicon LXP-1 and be happy. They sound great and are very simple to operate. Others I have in my arsenal:

    Lexicon LXP-15II
    Lexicon Reflex
    Alesis MidiVerb II
    Alesis Quadraverb 2 (V2)
    Yamaha SPX90 (don’t use it much anymore)

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