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How To Create Vintage Reverb Sounds Using The LX480

Although the algorithms for the reverbs from the late 70s and early 80s and the LX480 differ somewhat, the primary difference was how they handled constructive and destructive phase interference caused by feedback resonances.

In earlier reverbs, resonance was almost always mitigated with a chorusing-style modulation.

In order to give you the flexibility to re-create these much loved classic reverb sounds that pre-date the original hardware, we've included a powerful chorus engine.

This is perfect for adding that unique flavour you often heard on early 1980s-sounding drum machine sounds or Vangelis-style spacey synths.

So if you’re looking for a vintage color to your reverbs, here are some simple steps to follow.

1. Pick a Dual-Engine Configuration

The Dual-Engine allows you to chain two different effects together in new and exciting ways, creating unique senses of spaciousness and envelopment.

To find the current engine configuration, simply press the Setup Button, and then click on the Config Tab.

LX480 Single Engine Mode

You can switch between each engine’s settings by using the E1 and E2 buttons.

By default, the LX480 is set to a single configuration. This means audio will only be routed through the currently selected engine. In this instance, only one engine will be active.

For a more vintage reverb sound, it’s best to use a single engine configuration.

2. Choose An Algorithm

For vintage sounds, it’s best to use the Plate/Room or Hall algorithms from LX480. Of all of the early algorithms, the Plate/Room algorithm in LX480 is closest in sound to early plate algorithms from the late 70s and early 80s.

3. Set Output Render Characteristics

With the LX480, you have the ability to change the entire color of reverb with a few simple output controls.

These controls are found on both the I/O and Config tabs in the Setup Menu

LX480 Setup I/O Tab

LX480 Config Tab

For more vintage sounds, use the main and aux outputs which are modelled on the analog outputs of the original hardware. Also ensure that 18bit, saturation and mod. truncation are also checked.

Of course, these can all be mixed and matched to taste.

4. Check Decay Optimization Value

For more the Plate/Room and Hall algorithm, DCO has 20 steps. The lower half (0-9 RVB) is called reverb mode. The upper half (0-9 EFX) is called effects mode.

This parameter has two functions. To link or delink parameters, as well as changing the way the algorithm responds to different input levels, both of these characteristics affect how realistic the reverberation sounds.

DCO is usually set to 7 RVB when creating natural spaces, however, a lower setting creates a more static reverb tail more similar to a 224 style reverb tail.

5. Adjust Size

Once you have confirmed DCO is set to a reverb mode, you can then set the size parameter.

The size parameter roughly correlates to the size of space in meters. Increasing the size value makes the RTM and SPREAD ranges bigger.

Since the size parameter also affects reverb density, for vintage sounds, set larger sizes for a less initially dense reverb tail and then set the overall Reverb time to taste.

6. Reverb Time Mid

Once you have the right size, tweak the reverb time to get the length of reverb you need.


Remember that the time listed is for the mid frequencies. We’ll adjust the reverb time for other frequencies later.

7. Adjust Diffusion

The diffusion parameter controls the echo density of the reverb.

Vintage sounds tend to have less density, so lower diffusion is more authentic.

8. Shape and Spread

Now it is time to adjust how quickly the reverb builds up and decays as well as the perceived sense of “envelopment” of the reverb using the shape and spread parameters

Shape and Spread control the “acoustic signature” of a reverb. You will likely want to fine-tune the shape and spread parameters one after the other.

Start with spread to control the spacing and density of the reflections during the initial build-up, which makes the apparent space bigger.

Then adjust the shape to control how long it takes for the reverb to reach its peak amplitude and how long it takes for the sound to decay.

Larger rooms typically take longer time to reach their peak amplitude, so you can add more shape if needed.

Smaller rooms and plates have much lower Shape settings.

Older reverbs didn’t have controls for this, so for vintage sounds set the shape and spread values to low settings.

9. Add Chorus

Now it is time to add the chorus-like modulation that was prevalent in early reverb units.

Chorus is added with the Chorus Type, Chorus Rate and Chorus Depth parameters on the Plate/Room and Hall algorithms.

Chorus Type (CHT), selects between the various different chorusing modes. With a value of 0 the chorusing modulation is completely off. Settings 1–3 increase the number of internal delay lines. Settings 4–7 are identical to settings 0–3, but with added chorusing to the outputs.

  • For vintage style, chorus effects try CHT settings 1-3.
  • For ultra-modulated effects, think Lanois/Eno, try settings 4-7.

Settings with a negative number have the various delay lines randomized so that they are completely independent of each other, which results in a more chaotic pitch variation.

  • Chorus Rate (CHR), controls the rate of the chorusing modulation.
  • Chorus Depth (CHD), controls the amount of the chorusing effect on the reverberation.

Rate and Depth settings can be adjusted to taste.

10. Reverb Level

This controls the input gain of the reverberation engine. Settings above 160 will result in saturation of the internal calculations which can give a much more vintage impression.

On the original hardware, this value was hardcoded for Hall, Plate/Room and the Ambience Algorithms. The Reverb Level was included in the Random Hall Algorithm. Set the value to 160 when using the Hall, Plate/Room and Ambience algorithms for true emulation.


This parameter is NOT a straightforward volume control.

  • Settings between 0 and 160 it functions as a conventional volume control,
  • Settings above 160 introduce saturation with various intensities in both the diffusion and the reverberator sections to create a more upfront reverb sound.

11. Set Other Parameters To Taste

Now that the overall spaciousness is crafted, you can refine it further by adjusting the other settings.

The most common adjustments are to the bass and high-frequency reverb time multipliers and crossover frequencies.



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