This vintage Airline Spring Reverb, dating from the 60s, took part in the recent Soundgas Springathon (see YouTube demo below).
It is in excellent condition and very good working order (see detailed photos).
It’s been serviced and tested, checked for safety and is working well.
Some crackle can occur when switching between the three setting options, especially if it’s not been in regular use, but the selection is between treble, bass and normal and is something you’ll set and forget. The amount of effect pot is noise-free in use.
It looks to have all the original valves, but is a US 115v unit so will require a step-down transformer for UK/EU use – we can supply a high quality UK-made one if required.
The evolution of digital reverb left springs in the doghouse for many years – players and engineers were only too happy to be rid of the noisy and imperfect mechanical reverbs of the past. Springs were confined to recreating the sound of classic dub reggae and surf guitar. However, following decades of sonic perfection, there was a yearning for something different, something old. Tom Elmhirst mixing Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and Adele employed Pioneer hifi springs for a signature retro sound. Grammy Award-winning Nashville artists and producers (and up and coming engineers/producers in London) sprinkle fairy dust over guitars using Germanium transistor-based Telefunken Echomixers . Today’s dub producers, ever searching for that authentic sound, seek out the Grampian Type 636 reverb employed by Lee Perry at Black Ark (and by Pete Townshend in the late 60s for his guitar distortion, and Joe Meek before that). Using and abusing characterful and cranky spring reverbs is an antidote to an era when anyone with a laptop or digital guitar pedal has access to every modelled algorithm and space imaginable.
Try using a little tape delay before sending to a spring reverb, or use a digital/plug-in reverb and send the wet output from that to the spring to add character.
Soundgas Springathon YouTube demo below – 14 springs go head to head…
Taking part we have, in order of appearance: Carlsbro Reverb; Laney Supergroup; Allsound FH36; Telefunken Echomixer; Airline Valve Reverb (unserviced); Pioneer SR-202W; Pioneer SR-202; Pioneer SR-101; Sansui RA-500; Roland Space Echo RE-201; Schaller Reverb Unit; Grampian Type 636 battery unit; Grampian Type 636 mains powered; Vermona Retroverb.
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