Find of the Week: A Vintage BX20 Spring Reverb

Compared to a real, reverberant room or a thick, lush plate, spring reverb is tinny, noisy, and not really suitable for much beyond guitar, right? Wrong. Or at least that's certainly not the case with the BX20.

Created by AKG in the late '60s, the BX20 is an over-engineered, stereo spring reverb system housed in a large wooden cabinet. Inside are two amplifiers that activate two separate reverb tanks, one for the left channel and one for the right. And those tanks are themselves housed in a suspended inner-capsule to keep them away from knocks and noises.

The result is a spring reverb that sounds darker, richer, and deeper than you would ever expect—and a characteristic tone all its own.

A full view of the AKG BX20E1 An inside look at the suspended reverb tanks A close-up of the remote The connections panel

With an adjustable decay time between 1.5 and 3.5 seconds, it won't ever provide the endless tails of a digital effect. But use it to treat vocals, drums, guitars, or a full stereo mix, and it envelops everything in a warm, organic space, the type of reverb that helps individually recorded instruments sound like they're all in one room together. And it's because of this that—half a century later—you can still find BX20s in many professional studios and software emulations of BX20s in a whole lot more.

This particular BX20 currently for sale through Reverb seller Little Tokyo Guitars is a BX20E1 from the 1970s, and is in very good condition. The original remote is still intact, so you can set and adjust reverb times from your desk. And while the outer cabinetry has a few dings here and there, it's in remarkably good physical shape.

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