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Favorite hw reverb for SYNTHS?
Old 22nd March 2018
  #1
Favorite hw reverb for SYNTHS?

A lot of threads about talk about what sounds great on drums or vocals, but curious here favorite for synths specifically, reverbs that just do amazing things, or even unusual things, to synths.

For example, one reverb that I think does amazing things for synths, just brings out the nuances and amplifies so many of the overtones in wonderful ways is the lexicon 300. it becomes one with the synth and brings out so many aspects of the synth that's lurking there, and turns it into swirling goodness.

what others do that in their own diff yet unique ways?
Old 22nd March 2018
  #2
Gear Addict
I use a BigSky on an effects loop from my mixer. I run 3 hardware synths and some ITB synths through it with amazing results. It's pricey ... but has changed up what I do with my sounds. There's a youtube video that Peter Dyer has, running several Prophet-12 patches through the BigSky. Incredible stuff. Probably what sold me on it in the first place.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #3
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DJRAZZ's Avatar
 

Eventide Space for the options and ease of use. Plus it has line level inputs in stereo and true bypass. Not that other pedals do not. But they are listed right on the back. Good basic reverb but can get crazy as well like a synth box in it's self. I also like the TC helicon gear for clean studio reverbs. The Strymon stuff is great but there are many options out there to compete now for cheaper. The Space is still unique. You seem to either love it or hate it.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #4
Gear Nut
 

BigSky seems great. If I had not set my eyes on the coming Empress Effects Zoia BigSky would be big on my radar.
YouTube
Old 22nd March 2018
  #5
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autoy's Avatar
Midiverb II and Quadraverb I. Everything sounds so lush and warm, I prefer it to the strymons. Very nice and they won't break the bank. Same goes for the Lexicon MPX1 if you need some deep editing apart from a huge sound.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #6
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oldgearguy's Avatar
 

Publison IM-90. Start with the Sound Hoarder preset, edit to taste.

(Yes, I'll get around to posting a sample soon)

For gear you can actually find, any of the Eventides (H3000 and up) can create very alien swirling clouds of sound, but they still sound a bit cleaner, crisper than the old Lexicons.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #7
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eventide orville or h8000 - endless weird fun!
Old 22nd March 2018
  #8
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CathodeRay's Avatar
I use a couple of Lexicon PCM81's and a PCM91 for my synth rig. Simply sublime! I would like to add a Eventide Harmonizer down the road
Old 22nd March 2018
  #9
Deleted c985153
Guest
Anyone have any experience with the digitech polara? Sposda be some old lexicons in a pedal. Not too pricey either.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #10
Meris Mercury 7
Old 22nd March 2018
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted c985153 View Post
Anyone have any experience with the digitech polara? Sposda be some old lexicons in a pedal. Not too pricey either.
Polara has a nice metallic sound, like an old Midiverb, but a bit better.
It is quite lo-fi though, if you're used to ITB reverbs.
Strymon is more like ITB reverbs.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #12
Deleted b6e9904
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I have a pretty quirky old verb for synths; a Dynacord DRP-16. It’s a digital reverb from the late 70’s. It’s a budget machine from when the technology was in its infancy. It’s actually only 8-bit I believe, so it takes ‘graininess’ to a whole other level. It has 8 different size settings that aren’t adjustable. I think you can get an expansion upgrade that doubles that, but I just have the standard version. It sounds really cool on synths I think. It’s mono so I mainly use it as an insert effect on my mc202 adjusting the wet/dry mix. Shorter settings used subtly on those classic Roland square bass donks give them a pretty unique extra character that I like, and the longer settings are useful too. It reminds me a bit of a spring reverb, not in its sound per se, more that its character is nothing like the sound of a real space, it’s its own sound.

Obviously being mono it can’t be your only reverb, and I guess it’s a bit of a frivolous one trick pony for the price of them, but I like it and i’m glad I have it.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #13
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silent5's Avatar
 

I love the noisy, crumbling tails of the Midiverb I.

I'm a fan of the TC Nova Reverb pedal too. The silver plate algorithm really gets along with synths.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

My old and trusty Dynacord DRP 20 and DRP 15 are in daily use here for Synth Verb...
Old 22nd March 2018
  #15
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Big sky for pedal/tweaking/big effect verb. Midiverb ii for rack/simplicity/blend.

Sometimes i think about trading big sky but im locked in to the infinite hold feature.

Also the lexicons in my soundcraft signature sound great to. Big sky is pretty much welded to my prophet6.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #16
There are a TON of really high quality reverb pedals capable of handling line level. We all know Eventide Space and Strymon Big Sky, so I won’t even mention those, other than I’ll say that I feel like one can hear Big Sky from a mile away. I mean, whenever you hear it, it’s like, “ohhh...there’s strymon again.” However, there are some new contenders, that may even be better.

















A less expensive option


Another budget option, way better than you’d expect


IMO, Empress has moved ahead of everyone. Its on the top of my shopping list. He does use a synth at the end.


I’m not even listing a few because there aren’t demoes with keyboards that I know of. Things like T-Rex Roomate/Roomate Jr., Crazy Tubes Splash Stereo, and there are some ridiculously rich and massive mono reverb pedals as well from Earthquaker Devices and others.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #17
Here for the gear
 

I recently wanted something similar and ended up going with the OTO Machines BAM. It sounds great and I like the fact that it's designed to be a desktop unit as opposed to a stompbox. It's also fully MIDI controllable.

There are some really nice algorithms out there in stompbox land and some pedals with extra bells and whistles but I really like BAM!
Old 22nd March 2018
  #18
Deleted 7a792f4
Guest
I was recently shopping for a good dedicated reverb pedal (for an FM synth)-
(my budget was under $200)
Listened to demos and read reviews of many pedals that folks like for said application...
Boss RV6, Zoom MS-70CDR, Polara, etc...
.....and ended up buying the MXR M300 (about $150).
Old 22nd March 2018
  #19
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Another vote for BAM. Hard to make it sound anything but lovely with those analogue filters and everything.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #20
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login's Avatar
Eventide space, when it comes to halls, plates, chambers, ambience reverbs almost all big brands are great (strymon, eventide, boss, lexicon, empress).

But eventide has algorithms that are quite unique and different, their shimmer is quite good (others too but the character of eventide is great), but then you have stuff like the Blackhole and mangledverb that quite unique and different. Try the plugin versions if you can.
Old 22nd March 2018
  #21
Deleted c985153
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by plastic_ View Post
Polara has a nice metallic sound, like an old Midiverb, but a bit better.
It is quite lo-fi though, if you're used to ITB reverbs.
Strymon is more like ITB reverbs.
Tks...could be useful, but maybe not a good all rounder. Already have the hof, which may cover similar ground.


Those neunabers look interesting, and not too pricey. I find myself shying away from the big/blue sky coz, as others have mentioned, it's sorta recognizable, although I'm not really sure why that matters...
Old 23rd March 2018
  #22
yep
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathodeRay View Post
I use a couple of Lexicon PCM81's and a PCM91 for my synth rig. Simply sublime! I would like to add a Eventide Harmonizer down the road
+1 to this. I would also add that the PCM70 might actually be preferable to the PCM91, for people chasing that classic Lexicon sound.

If what you are after is the big, warm, "expensive" sound of the Blade Runner/Terminator/John Carpenter soundtracks, then there is something magical about the older Lexicon boxes. The 224 is obviously the "the one", but the PCM70/80/81 sounds are based on the same algorithms, and a lot more accessible.

Other slutz are more knowledgeable than I, but the deal with those early Lexicon verbs was that David G was literally a physics professor at Harvard when he started working on them, with other folks from MIT etc. So you had these incredibly smart people trying to make realistic reverbs within the technological limitations of the day, and they came up with all these incredibly clever and creative ways to achieve gorgeous, lush-sounding artificial spaces.
  • For one thing, the processing power was less of a limitation than one might think. They were designing and building dedicated chips who sole purpose was to run extremely-efficient machine instructions. The UI, display, etc was handled by other processors, so the lexichip had only to deal with reverb. No OS, no UI, no compilers, just a few hundred lines of assembly language math instructions. Putting that all into a plugin that runs on a generic CPU would actually have consumed a fair amount of computing power, up until recently.
  • For another, Lexicons were never intended to be a "character" reverb, they were meant to be the most-realistic sounding reverb possible, especially for classical music applications. Lexicon wasn't trying to create warm, vibey artificial soundscapes, they were trying to create Boston's Symphony Hall in a box. It just so happens that the early attempts happened to create the lush, rich, "hollywood" sounding reverbs that we still chase today.
  • One of the major ways they achieved this, in the earlier days, was through some extremely complex modulation-type systems that they would alternately call "chorus", "Spin", "randomization", etc. Those old Lexicon boxes might have like, a hundred adjustable parameters on any given patch, and like half of them were ways of modulating how the different delay lines interact with each other. You cannot reproduce them just by putting a chorus in front of a reverb or vice-versa, and none of the modern PCM boxes or plugins have the same depth of algorithm configurability. Increased processing power and fidelity have led to simpler algorithms with better realism, but arguably with less of that "magical" character.
  • For the above reason (pursuit of realism), Lexicon continually tweaked and re-tuned their algorithms, not only in response to improvements in processing, memory, and converter technology, but also in the aesthetic pursuit of sounding more and more like Symphony Hall, and less like Blade Runner. So ironically, while they were getting closer and closer to the kind of hi-fi "realistic" reverbs that we take for granted today with convolution plugins, they were in some respects moving further away from the deep, beautiful, otherworldly sonic environment that we hear in old movie soundtracks and U2/eno/synthpop type stuff.

Like, it's not a straight "improvement" from PCM70 to PCM80 to PCM91. With Lexicon, it is never a straight "improvement", from one box to the next. As they moved closer and closer to the kind of realistic reverbs that we take for granted today, they, in some respects, moved further and further from the magic "Lexicon sound" of a bunch of Harvard and MIT scientists trying to create an artificial concert hall, with late 1970s technology.
  • The PCM70 started life as an fx processor, that they added a reverb chip to at the last minute, running the classic 224 algos. Compared to the 224, it has more processing power, more fx, noisier converters, a mono-only input, much worse UI, and inferior analog IO stages. That said, it's still definitely a professional piece of gear that cost as much as used car when released (compared to the house-like prices of the 224), and it definitely has that "Lexicon magic", and has been used on countless hit records. Plus it costs a fraction of a working 224, and is slightly more repairable.
  • The PCM80 was intended as a successor to the PCM70, with similar multi-FX plus reverb capabilities, running similar 224-style algorithms. It featured significantly more processing power, bandwidth, and fidelity, and is a more capable multi-fx box, with an atrocious UI. In some respects, the improved fidelity and bandwidth of the PCM 80 does more to expose its limitations than to enhance the sound. They also scrapped a lot of the best presets from the PCM70, and on a box where each patch might have hundred or more parameters, that matters a lot. (speaking of presets, anyone interested in classic reverbs owes it to themselves to check out Italo's page: try getting these sounds with a convolution plugin!: Italo de Angelis)
  • PCM 90 was released at the same time as the PCM80, as a dedicated reverb unit instead of multi-FX. Its selling point at the time was new, more-realistic algorithms than the "old" Lexicon reverbs in the PCM70/80, along with more dedicated processing power for just reverb. Along with the mighty 480, it introduced the brilliant "Random Hall", which might arguably be the pinnacle of the "Lexicon sound" in terms of the combination of realism, fidelity, and that modulated magic of those "out of the netherworld " Lexicon tails. But for some people, especially those chasing the warm/warbly/classic vibe, the PCM90 marks a turning point away from what made Lexicon reverbs "special".
  • PCM81 and 91 are upgraded versions of the above, that include more bandwidth and digital fidelity, more algorithms and presets, and upgraded features. The PCM81 includes the mighty "Pitch FX" card fx built-in, and is definitely worth the upgrade, which is usually cheaper than buying a PCM80 and the fx card separately. One downside is that the "x1" boxes do no have easily-upgradable memory, so you are stuck with some relatively short delay times, by modern standards.

None of the Lexicon models "below" the PCM line ever had anything close to the same kind of modulation magic, and Lexicon's marketing has been maddeningly vague, if not outright misleading about this. It's like they were putting out magazine ads that said one thing, and sending pro sales reps to say another, from about the 1990s onward.

The LXP-1, LXP-5, and LXP-15 are all quite good, as budget reverb/fx boxes go, but they omit the modulation stuff that made the Lexicon sound special. Same with anything that begins with "M". Even if it has the same "chip" as a real Lexicon, it doesn't have the best algorithms, which Lexicon gimped in everything below the PCM line.

The current PCM92 and 96 represent a further step in the PCM91 direction. Much better fidelity, lower noise, much easier/simpler UI, lots of improved digital features and DAW integration, overall more "realistic" sounds, but arguably a step further away from the old Lexicon magic. Moreover, the new boxes offer vastly fewer options for the sound-designer, with maybe a dozen or so parameters per patch, versus a hundred or so on the old PCM boxes.

Why is this? You would think, with a slick new computer-interface and plugin-type operation, that they could offer more flexibility than ever, right?

Well, I have heard that there were only ever about 4 or 5 people who knew how to program a lexichip, and that none of them work for lexicon anymore (and remember, the old days of lexicon were like, literally, Harvard and MIT scientists). I'm not saying that the people working at Lexicon since their acquisition by Harmon are dumber or less-dedicated than they used to be, but I am saying that the last 20 or so years have not produced as much innovation as happened in the prior 20 years, and a lot of us think that the older stuff was actually better.

The current PCM plugins are all based on the PCM 92/96, and not on the older 70/80/81/90/91, FWIW. I haven't sold my old PCM boxes, yet.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #23
Deleted User
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Vermona Retroverb on Monotribes and MS-20.
HOF Reverb and Strymon Deco on Blofeld and Sledge
Old 23rd March 2018
  #24
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grasspike's Avatar
I have an entire collection of 1980s and early 1990s rack units. Lexicon MPX110, MPX100, Alex, Reflex. Yamaha SPX-90, Midiverb II's (I have 9 of them)

But if I had to pick one device for Synths it would be the Behringer XR12. Technically it's a digital mixer, but it's loaded with great sounding reberbs modeled after many great vintage reverb units.

Because it's a digital mixer you also have the ability to EQ and Compress before and after the reverb, send one reverb into another, add delay etc

It's an amazing device for $250, just got a second one for $199 that was open box.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #25
Digital reverb is not my cup of tea, but I find the Retroverb spring reverb + LFO to be a very fun unit.

I sometimes wonder about the likely hood of real plate reverbs coming back in style at a much reduced size and price. Just about everything is getting reissued so I wouldn't be too surprised.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #26
Of course the stereo spring reverbs in the ARP 2600 and TTSH is the grandaddy of all synth reverb IMHO. You can really push it and it distorts in a lovely way.

Might start using it more as an external effects unit now that I think about it.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #27
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NEXUS-6's Avatar
 

Lately I'm really digging the reverb on my Korg AM8000R's
Old 23rd March 2018
  #28
I just like things that give me “spaces” that reverberate. I have cheap ones and expensive ones and ones that are built into synths and drum machines and digital recorders. I even have ones as plugins on my computer. I really like them all and they all have their place. And guess what! They all do their job; creating a sense of space. I don’t care if it’s realistic. I’m not in film production doing foley design, and even if I were, 99% of people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference betweeen a Zoom and a Bricasti.

I can’t really pick a favorite. It’s like picking your favorite child. I’m just feeling blessed to have so many options. It’s a great time to be alive, having so many digital spaces. I don’t have to find a tiled bathroom or a gym or an old cathedral to set up a bunch of mics. I just push some buttons and fiddle with some settings. Usually sounds beautiful and extremely close to what I wanted.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #29
and the weekly reverb thread by @ fromthepuggle . you know, you could repost your new questions in one of the old threads, instead of starting a new one every time. that way all would be in one place for reference.

anyway, my favorites for synths are:

lexicon 300
lexicon 224X
lexicon pcm81 +dualfx card
eventide orville
dynacord drp16 - for lofi stuff

also, i use eventide space predominantly for live performance.

others i really liked at one time or another in the past, but don't have: midiverb ii, drp20, lxp1, lxp5, sony v77, korg a1 and a real standout, roland r880 - fantastic rooms as well as vast long decay stuff.

looking forward, i am actively looking for an ams rmx16 (tho more for drums/perc/vox), hopefully once that is out of the way, i'll probably pickup up Midiverb II . its so cheap, yet such a lovely classic "darkwave"and "shoegaze" tone, its a sin not to have one in the palette.




a few examples:

Lexicon 300 : Wetsuit (4 difussed delays into reverb) - on everything in this track, except:
PCM70 : Small Room mono - for center mono percussion only:

Aquilonis

Orville : Mercury Cloud (multitap inverse into reverb/pitch)

A6_BerlinPad
A6_Pyramids

PCM-81 : Quad>Hall (4 detuned taps into vast random hall into chorus):

Prophet VS into PCM81
Old 23rd March 2018
  #30
Deleted 7a792f4
Guest
With all this Lexicon Love (and extensive pedigree history),
I'm surprised there hasn't been a mention of the Ensoniq DP rack Reverbs-
could have sworn those were actually Lexicon Reverb algorithms- or was that an old marketing myth?

and if not- wonder which Lexicon units they most closely resemble....
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