New Music Gear Monday: Waves Magma Springs Reverb Plugin

There was a point in audio history where the only way to get cheap reverb was by using a spring-based unit. But while spring reverbs have their own sound, they also have drawbacks, like being susceptible to handling noise. In the age of plugins we don’t have to worry about that anymore, so spring reverb emulations are back in style. One of the most versatile available today is the Magma Springs plugin from Waves.

Magma Springs reverb plugin

As a quick background on spring reverbs, the classic spring reverb consists of adjustable springs stretched between a transducer on one end and a pickup on the other in an assembly called the reverb tank. The energy from the transducer makes the springs move, the signal bounces back and forth, and the pickup converts this motion into an output signal. The length and thickness of the springs determine the delay time, while damping pads (like in a piano) influence the color of the reverb tail. Spring delays aren’t usually as rich or big as hall reverbs or chamber reverbs, but that also means that you can design an articulate reverb around an instrument without the risk of losing it in your mix.

It’s 7 In 1

Magma Springs differs from most spring reverb plugins in that it’s actually 7 spring reverbs in one. The first is labeled as 50s, which is said to harken back to the sound of early records coming out of Memphis. Twang is modeled around the classic Tele into a Vox combination, while Motor City is built around the sounds coming out of early Motown before they built their own chambers. Classic is the standard 3 long spring sound found in the sophisticated AKG reverbs, California provides a brighter sound, while Heavy is said to describe “a Les Paul into a blown-out Fender cabinet in a large hangar.” Finally, Dark Space provides the sound commonly found on popular dub records.

One of the great things about digital representations of spring reverbs is that variables can be introduced that were never part of the original analog units. This include Predelay (which can go up to 600ms), and Reverb Tail Length, which can be set to Short, Medium, and Long.

A Drive control adjusts both the input gain and harmonic distortion added, while a Feedback control adjust the amount of headroom available. Other controls include Bass, Treble, Mix, Out and a Stereo/Mono switch.

Magma Springs is currently on sale for just $29 (normally $149) and is available for Mac and PC on all plugin formats.

You can find out more here, or watch the video below.

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