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Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module

Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module

Spring Reverb ModuleDoepfer A-199 is a spring reverb module, which electronically simulates the reverb effect with the aid of spiral springs. Spring reverb systems have a characteristic sound behaviour based on the (inadequate) mechanical properties of the springs used: Signal delays, self-resonances, limited frequency range, acoustic resonance behaviour, sensitivity to mechanical influences such as shocks, etc. They do, however, sound very distinctive.

The A-199 uses a spring system with 3 separate springs, which makes the reverb very "thick" due to the different characteristics of the springs. The A-199 module also has some special features, which are not found in many other Spring reverb systems: As a first special feature, the H-signal can be fed back to the input at the A-199, whereby the feedback can lead to the system's self-resonance. The feedback can be provided within the module with the feedback controller, but the feedback signal can also be routed via external modules (eg VCA, filter, phaser, frequency shifter, vocoder, distortion / waveshaper, ring modulator, etc.). In this case, the pure reverb out is routed via the external module (s) and fed back to the "external feedback in" socket. This socket is designed as a switching socket, ie the internal feedback line is disconnected as soon as a plug is plugged into this socket.

As a further special feature the module has an emphasis amplifier where the middle frequency ranges (centre frequency approx. 2 kHz) can be additionally raised.

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Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module 22% bought this exact product
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118 € Add to Cart
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31 customer ratings:

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Bursting with character

Zoë, 02.06.2013
Spring reverb is NOT like pristine digital reverb. Don't get it for that, but do get it. When added to the end of a patch, you can use it as a strange, otherworldly, organic reverb that leaves a metal taste in your mouth. But this is a modular synthesiser, so you're not confined to that. You can instead put it before the VCA, which stops it being reverb and starts it being a strange little creature that makes your patch sound more organic or real-world in a way that's hard to identify. It stops sounding like a synthesiser and starts sounding like a weird thing that might physically exist. In short, it introduces some complicated real-world physics into the mix.

So let's look at this particular spring reverb by Doepfer. The build quality isn't great, and it might benefit from a little re-soldering. If you're into modular synths, which are a pretty niche market, this probably won't be too difficult for you. It works just fine straight out of the box, but looks like you need to treat it carefully if you're not confident repairing it yourself later down the line.

Having said that, the features are great. The "emphasis" knob EQs the midrange, I believe, making it sound brighter if need be. As well as the regular inputs and outputs, there are extra ones for the feedback loop, so you can amplify the signal to lengthen the tail, filter it with any filter you already have, and so on. These simple features make it very open ended.

I also hear it's pretty easy to swap out the reverb tank -- the physical spring reverb in a metal case, that you plug into the main module -- for a different one, should you want to, for even more possibilities. Personally, though, I haven't found the need: this module is already providing me with so many things to try out, that I've still only begun to scratch the surface.

Spring reverb in general has a very distinctive sound, so check out some examples online before you decide whether this is for you. Personally, I'm making it a big part of the latest evolution of my signature sound.
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Dark, muddy and brooding

Martyn Q., 01.10.2015
The a199 has a lovely dark spring sound, the provided spring tank is a great match and starting point for a collection of tanks. Spring reverb is not the clean realistic sound associated with reverbs today - its clangorous, shonky and unmistakably mechanical in nature. The A199 is slightly l less feature filled than some other spring reverb modules available (no vc of feedback amount or wet/dry mix, no tank selection etc - all easily patchable though) - but a fraction of the cost. Follow the mounting instructions carefully to avoid unwanted artifacts (they are very susceptible to interference) - I've opted for keeping the tanks out of the case. You may consider also buying a decent external phono switch so you can have multiple tanks linked to the unit at once - saves popping the module out to change tanks.

I love playing with the feedback path of the a199 - it can even play self patched, great for drones... A typical drone patch for me would go:

A199 with no audio being fed to it, high feedback -> feedback insert goes to a vca -> A189-1 bit mangler -> Freqshifter -> A106-5 sem filter -> feedback return of the A199. Modulate away on the modules in the feedback path and the results are stunning - so organic, dark and ethereal.

I also like using it to add body to drum sounds or synthesised pianos, keep feedback low and run the mix output to a vca to shape the level contour.
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Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module
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Spring Reverb ModuleDoepfer A-199 is a spring reverb module, which electronically simulates the reverb effect with the aid of spiral springs. Spring reverb systems have a characteristic sound...

  • Module: Yes
  • Empty Rack, Or Housing: No
  • Basic System: No
  • Accessories: No
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LFO Modulation Generator The module A-145 (LFO) is a low frequency oscillator, which generates periodic control signals in a wide frequency range. Five wave forms are available: saw tooth, inverted...

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