Since the heady days of the ’30s, instrument companies have flirted with spring reverb technology. The tanks first began appearing in Hammond organs and took root in the public consciousness when Ampeg launched their Reverberocket amplifier in the early ’60s. This mantle was taken on by Fender, the sound popularised by surf rock and the rest, they say, is history.
One of these classic Fender amps – the Twin Reverb to be precise – would be the core inspiration for Anasounds and their Element spring reverb collection. But instead of going down the digital route, the French company took their concept to a whole new level of authenticity.
Forget emulations – this is the real deal. The Anasounds Element spring reverb makes it easy to dial in subtle swells, all the way up to epic surf rock twang.
Meet the Family
The operational principle behind spring reverb doesn’t take much explaining. Audio signal is sent via a transducer to one end of the springs, the springs are vibrated, which is picked up by another transducer at the other end of the springs and sent back into the dry signal path. Easy enough to slot into a guitar amp.
What makes the Element special is that the springs are set in differently-sized housings that can be attached to a pedal board. The smallest of the tanks, Le Bon, is 18cm long and small enough to slot in among your other pedals. And even though it’s the daintiest version, it’s still capable of producing a seriously spacious reverb when pushed.
La Brute is the next size up, sporting a 23cm tank. Unless you have ample spare room on your pedal board (who does?), you’ll be wanting to make use of the clever mounting option (all three tank options have holes for screwing them into the underside of a pedal board). This spring tank offers up more reverb than you will know what to do with. But if you want more reverb still…
There’s always the Le Truand. It’s 42 cm of cavernous ‘verb that transcends guitar sounds. There’s so much potential on tap for other worldly sound design that you’ll be aching to use this in conjunction with all kinds of instruments, or even as a send effect.
Keeping in Control
Don’t forget though, it takes two to tango, which is why the element system comes with a controller in the form of a stompbox. The controls are exceedingly straightforward, making it easy to dial a subdued sense of space, or drench your tone in endless ambience.
On the top left, you’ll find the out knob, which controls the output level of the reverb. This control can be augmented with the saturation switch in the middle of the pedal. When activated, the spring is pushed into overdrive territory, adding another sonic dimension to the ambient tails.
Mix is pretty self explanatory, turn anti-clockwise for the dry, clockwise for wet. On the bottom row is a pretty handy two band EQ. Nothing surgical here, but it does offer a way to gently sculpt your reverb tail. If you cut the low band and push the tops, you can bring forth that inimitable clatter of retro surf. Cut the tops and boost the lows to produce an altogether more moody and smooth extension legato notes and swells.
Getting the Element pedal to talk to its reverb tank siblings is a piece of cake. At the top of the stompbox there is a input for a standard 9-volt power supply, as well as a 3.5mm mini jack output for connecting dual RCAs to your choice of tank. There’s also an input and output jack for slotting the device into your pedal chain. Hook it all up, et voila, welcome to authentic analog spring reverb.
Anasounds also take great care in the construction of the their Element series. Most of us are used to stomping on metal devices, whereas the pedal and tanks are constructed from bamboo and mahogany, which are subjected to additional processes to improve their strength. You can also order laser cut designs on demand, so you can have your very own limited edition look.
The Element series from Anasounds brings authentic, analog spring reverb to life – but not in the emulated way we’ve grown accustomed to of late. This is the genuine, old-school article, made to slot into a brand new workflow.