Eventide SP-2016

Eventide SP-2016

Classic Digital Reverb/FX Daily Rate: $75

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The SP2016 reverbs were the result of a five year effort that began at Eventide in 1978. Early work was done using HP desktop computers for simulation and real-time implementations were tested using stacks of discrete digital delays and a mixing console. These early real-time implementations were done at Sound Exchange recording studio located in the same building on 54th Street in NYC as Eventide. This early work demonstrated that the simple approaches suggested at the time by researchers like Manfred Schroeder at Bell Labs were woefully inadequate for any serious audio application. These experiments made it clear that a great deal of development work lay ahead and, by the end of those sessions, a general purpose programmable array processor was conceived - the SP2016.


By 1982, the first SP2016 was built allowing us to study various reverb so that algorithms could efficiently be created, modified and debugged. The development system was described in a paper published in the Computer Music Journal and presented at the ICMC conference at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC.


The SP2016 development system was used over the course of several years at Eventide. The results were a suite of effects that shipped with the SP2016. In particular, two of the reverb programs, with the imaginative names "Room Reverb" and "Stereo Room" have become classics. Their 'rich/lush/natural' sound is still used by the handful of producers and artists that have access to the limited number of working units. Eventide ceased production of the SP2016 in 1987, or thereabouts.


On the one hand, given the many, new high quality digital reverbs, the SP2016's longevity is surprising. (Given the SP2016's ancient electronics the fact that any still function is somewhat astounding.) On the other hand, as Eventide's Gerry Griffon put it "I guess a great reverb is a great reverb".


Designed by Tony Agnello, the Eventide original SP2016 digital reverb was stellar for its day. The name referred to SP for signal processor and 2016 for its 20kHz bandwidth (40kHz sampling rate) and 16-bit converter resolution. It stood toe-to-toe with other reverbs of its day - from AMS to Lexicon - and quickly became a favorite for many engineers.


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