Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module VE
Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module Vintage Edition, electronically simulated by means of 3 spiral springs. Spring reverb systems have a very characteristic sound that is based on the (insufficient) mechanical properties of the springs like signal delays, audio resonances, limited frequency range, acoustic feedback behaviour, sensitivity to mechanical shocks and others. The 3-spring system used in the A-199 ensures a 'dense' reverb due to the different properties of the three springs. The A-199 implies some special features that are not self-evident for spring reverb units (the reverb signal can be fed back to the input using the feedback control). Even self-oscillation of the springs similar to the self-oscillation of filters is possible. The feedback loop can be connected to external modules (VCA, VCF, phaser, frequency shifter, vocoder, distortion/waveshaper, ring modulator and others). In this case the reverb output of the A-199 is connected to the input of the external module(s) and the output of the external module(s) is fed back to the external feedback input socket on the A-199. This socket contains a switch that interrupts the internal feedback loop as soon as a plug is inserted. Another feature is the emphasis control. This enables the adjustment of the accentuation of mid frequencies (around 2kHz).
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– Taget fra: Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module
Bursting with character
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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– Taget fra: Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module
Dark, muddy and brooding
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.
Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module Vintage Edition, electronically simulated by means of 3 spiral springs. Spring reverb systems have a very characteristic sound that is based on the (insufficient)...
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