American manufacturer Audio Scape presents the XL-305R, a modern take on the XL-305 Spring Reverb from the 80’s. The vintage unit is considered a Secret Weapon reverb with a cult-like status. Unlike the typical spring reverbs, its spring assembly has 12 springs tuned in equal temperament. The effect is very similar to opening the lid of a piano, holding the damper open, and singing into the strings.
Preserving the core principle, Audio Scape re-imagined the rest of the design with modern workflow and aesthetic improvements. The effort was carried out under the direction of Wayne Kirkwood (the XL-305’s original designer) and took 4 years of R&D work. Understandably, Audio Scape is proud to introduce a modern, yet authentic take on the XL-305. Here’s more about the XL-305R.
Audio Scape XL-305R
The XL-305R sizes up at 2U and has a switching power supply used to improve noise characteristics. The input controls adjust the amount of signal reaching the reverb tank. They come with signal overload LEDs to indicate when the input signal is too strong. There are Mix controls too, to properly blend the dry and wet signals. Alongside these, there are Parallel / Wet toggle switches that make it possible to have a full wet signal or parallel blend. For example, when the parallel switches are engaged and the mix controls are maxed out, the reverb operates at 50% wet signal.
Additionally, a 4-band EQ with center detent pots offers room for tone shaping. There are also a pair of Mono push-button lighted switches. The Mono Drive switch stereo links the two channels and the Mono Return switch sends the reverb assembly signal summed to mono. The total output level is monitored from LED indicators on the unit’s right side.
In terms of character, the XL-305R can sound like a gentle plate reverb at milder input settings, and give those springs a workout when driven harder. For additional insight, you can read some choice words from the original designer at the Audio Scape website, and listen to samples.
Price and availability
The AudioScape XL-305R is listed as ‘coming soon’, priced USD 1999 sans shipping and taxes. AudioScape is based in the United States.