Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb Module VE

Spring reverb module in Eurorack format

  • By way of spiral springs electronically recreates the reverb effect
  • Spring system with 3 separate springs
  • Reverb signal can be fed back to the input
  • Width: 8 HP
  • Depth: 50 mm
  • Power requirement: +80 mA (+12V) / -10 mA (-12V)

Further Information

Reverb Yes
Delay No
Multieffect No
Misc. Effects No
Width 8 TE / HP
18 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.6 /5
  • handling
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
Total
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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Total
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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Total
Nice little blast from the past
guybblue, 15.05.2013
It's a spring reverb for your modular!

To be honest, it's hard to think of more to say than that. It works, and it sounds just like the spring reverb built into the Carlsbro keyboard amp I had when I was a teenager. The only point to be aware of when mounting this unit is that the spring tray itself needs to live somewhere -- it's attached to the module by a generous 60cm flying lead, but if you're housing it within your modular rack, it needs to go as far from the PSU as you can get it so that you don't get any induced hum. It may be sonically cleaner, if aesthetically more cluttered, to put it outside the rack entirely -- which has the added advantage of letting you smack it with your hand without killing all your precious valve-based modules. Once that's sorted out, though, you're in for lots of spoingy, boingy fun, for not much money. What's not to love?
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Bang for buck spring reverb!
Grent, 20.06.2013
One of the only Eurorack spring reverbs available, this is an excellent addition to anyone's modular synth. Spring reverb is something that is still hard to emulate well with a computer, nothing really sounds like the real thing.

For me it really shines with a VCA (or even better, a filter) in between the feedback output and input. You can get some great Radiophonic Workshop-esque eerie sounds!

My only gripe with it is that personally I think the reverb tank is slightly too small. It's great for sound effects but cannot sound as big as I would like. You can get around this though by using the feedback subtly or by swapping the spring out for a bigger tank! An absolute steal considering how much it costs for a non-Eurorack spring reverb.
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$129 €116.81
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