Reverb: Atmospheric vs Classic

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Luthier Vandros, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    After a quick love affair with a MK3 Blues Jr, I found the brightness of the amp fatiguing. I have moved on to a Vintage Sound Vibroverb clone (Vintage 35) and it sounds spectacular. It has the same mojo that a friend’s 64 possesses. That’s impressive. Still, there’s something the BJ had that I’m not getting from the clone: that atmospheric reverb.

    The VS35’s reverb is true to classic fender form, but has an added dwell control out back and a MOD tank. Its nailing the classic reverb tones with all the cluttered flutter, but I’ve learned I prefer the more atmospheric/spacial effect the BJ produces. At low settings, the reverb envelopes the notes and adds a bit of air, but at higher settings, a tremendous atmospheric sound is produced and it’s just perfect for finger picking - notes fade into more of a delay effect than the cluttered fluttery tail produced by the classic fender style.

    Is there a pan change that could get me there? I can’t see how the solid state driver/recovery circuit could be the big contributor, but then again, I've never designed a reverb circuit.

  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    What spec pan is in there now? Long vs short decay, two vs three spring?

    IMO, the full length long decay TWO spring gives the best Fender sound. That cluttered flutter as you say. I absolutely hated a medium/three spring I had once. I didn't realize what it was, and I thought I hated the amp. Thing is, it was probably spot on for what you're looking for. Much tamer.

    EDIT: I can't design a reverb circuit, but if you're asking whether a tube reverb will sound different than SS, you bet. The signal passes right through that tube. If you're in the "SS sounds as good as tube" camp, then ... whatever. But yes, you're not going to get that - what I'd call harsh sound from the tube circuit.
    Luthier Vandros likes this.
  3. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Hey, Moosie.

    Thanks for your thoughts about swapping to a 3 spring pan. That smoother tail might be what I’m struggling to describe.

    About the SS comment. I was doubting that the BJ’s driver/recovery circuitry was a bigger contributor than the pan for its spaciousness.

    Both amps have 2 spring, medium decay pans. Surprisingly, the BJ’s pan is about half the length of the others. That’s what has me scratching my noggin.
  4. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    After further research, the sound I’m looking for is more “roomy” vs “drip”. Gotta love unquantifiable descriptors! Which pan config might offer that?
  5. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    I’ll close this down. After learning about the characteristics that determine the sound of a reverb pan, the Belton 3 spring long delay/long tank seems to be what I’m after. It will produce the room/hall tone I’m after.
    Paul in Colorado likes this.
  6. J-Flanders

    J-Flanders TDPRI Member

    Aug 4, 2016
    The (long) 4(ab3c1b) pans give the typical drippy Fender/Surf tone.
    The (shorter) 8(ab3c1b) pans sound more like a hall or large room reverb. It has little drip.
    Both pans are available with the same input/output impedance combinations, so you can always switch one out for the other regardless of the circuit.

    I have a Surfy Bear reverb tank and have installed both pans. They're wired to a 4PDT switch so I can easily switch between the two reverb pans.

    I use the 4 for surf and the 8 for 'regular' reverb.
    Because the 8 has three input and 3 output transducers it has way more output than a 4-pan.

    For all these pans, there are different manufacturers: Accutronics, Belton, Mod, Tad, Revisit etc.
    Some sound more mellow and less metallic than others.
    Accutronics pans generally sound brighter, MOD pans are generally sound darker. For the 8 pan they might become too dark and boomy. My Accutronics 8 pan is plenty dark.
    Luthier Vandros likes this.
  7. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    J-Flanders: this is what I was looking for. Thank you so much.
  8. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Wanted to update the post. The short, three spring tank will arrive Tuesday, but some new 12at7s have arrived for the reverb driver and pi positions. I maintain that anything amperex from the bugle boy period is outstanding. Huge improvement in reverb tone. Still not the immersive sound I’m going for, but had I not heard the other type, I’d gladly land on this and happily settle. it delivers the perfect, fendery “note in front of the reverb” sound.

    More updates to follow.
  9. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Closer her down! The 3 spring, long decay, short pan did the trick. Not 100% there, but 90%+ and that's good enough for me. THe little drippy flutters are smooth and the effect sounds like a delay going into an ethereal space. Very easy to go too much/little, but that's what Dwell and Level controls are for.
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