Pro Audio Files

Review: PSP SpringBox

PSP SpringBox

PSP has created an amazing emulation of an analog spring reverb. Those of us who have spent time with real spring reverbs know how they can add a ghostly vibe.

They’re often associated with surf guitar sounds which the SpringBox does fabulously. They can do a lot beyond that though.

I find they can excite a vocal performance or add eeriness to an organ. They also can work nicely on snare drums.

Time Warp

I have fond memories of experimenting in studios with racks of cool analog gear. There would be times when you would patch an old box in and instantly knew there was magic happening. PSP has managed to pull that off with the SpringBox.

The interface is very easy to use. I feel like the designers at PSP have actually been in a studio and used rack gear. There is nothing that tricks out your eyes when you open the plugin.

I could close my eyes and kind of guess where a tweak may be and probably find it. Creatively, I find this very important. I do not want to get lost in a sea of confusion when I have an idea.

Yeah, we get it… You like it… But, what does it really do?

Tweakers

You have the choice of 2 and 3 spring options. You also have the option of dual 2 spring and dual 3 spring options.

In simple terms, the 2 spring versions have more “boing” to them. On certain settings they can almost have a modulation-like effect. Try sending a bass drum through a 2 spring setting. If you like to get greasy, this might be your jam.

The 3 spring settings are more refined and less “sproingy”. These tend to be my favorite for vocals. There are certain midrange frequencies from vocals that excite the SpringBox. This will get your mojo working!

Other uses can be for snare drum, organs, pianos and obviously guitars.

The SpringBox is clearly not a substitution for a Hall reverb. It’s funky in all the right places. No suit and tie required.

Structure and Discipline

Some of my other favorite adjustments are the Damp knob. This knob sets the high frequency damping. This can be a magical setting. To me it can really tame the springs. It makes it less unruly and adds warmth.

I would often play with the Damp knob when using the SpringBox on drums. With the right adjustment you can get a cool slap back type effect.

Judgment of the Moon and Stars

Speaking of drums, the High Pass Filter knob gets a lot of use.

A bass drum can really trip out a spring verb. If you happen to be running a mic from the kit to the verb and it has a lot of low end, you may get undesirable results (unless you’re into that. I’m not judging… yeah, I’m judging you).

Adjusting the HPF knob allows you to keep the bass frequencies out and let those lovely mids pop.

Gag Reflex

The great thing about this PSP plugin is no matter where I seem to put the knobs, I get something I like. I may not stick with it, but I never cringe.

I can twist the presence knob all the way up and it’s not harsh or digital sounding.

Wheels on the Bus

Ok, it’s time to talk guitars. But, let’s start with acoustics.

I love this thing on acoustic 12 strings. It’s an instant statement. It reminds me of a different era. It’s not so lo-fi that it can’t be modern, but it’s enough so that it’s a bit melancholic.

The SpringBox can be a bold statement on acoustic guitar. If your mom is still packing your lunch and cutting the crust off your sandwiches, then perhaps you should stay with something a little more light on the heart. But, if you’re ready to pull out that Dead Kennedys shirt and start challenging the powers that be, this is the right reverb plugin for you.

Miserlou

I will admit to being  a spring snob for electric guitars. I own several real ones. I usually smirk at any pedal that claims to have a spring preset. I carry around a big tube spring reverb to gigs just because I’m a purist.

The SpringBox doesn’t sound like one of the analog units I own. But, not in a way that it doesn’t compare. I dig that it goes beyond what my analog units do. I don’t reach for it as an alternative, I reach for it as its own unique flavor.

I can do the Dick Dale/Ventures thing. I can also create other bold statements and atmospheres.

Pastime Paradise

To me that’s the the mark of a great plugin.

Most developers are in a race to create a plugin that replaces analog for practicalities sake.

Perhaps, that was the inspiration behind PSP’s design. What came out though, isn’t a lifeless copy. Rather, a unique sound that is a valuable asset to creativity.

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Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall is a producer, songwriter, session musician and instructor based in NYC. More at guitaristmarkmarshall.com

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