What is it?
Danelectro DSR-1 Spring King spring reverb. Made in china around 1998.
Pedals using real spring tanks inside them seem to be quite rare. There are tons of different digital variations that try to emulate the original spring sound from many brands around. The biggest reason for the absence of springs inside any pedals must be the size. The length of the springs affect their sound and anything shorter than 20cm will most likely be too short of a reverb. So this time i wasn’t surprised that the circuit board itself was quite small inside the massive box. And it is with all SMD construction. Taking a closer look at the SMD ICs, there’s a PT2399 digital delay/echo chip in there. So, to compensate the shortish spring length, the design is a hybrid – utilizing a digital delay chip to get clear slap back effect in addition to analog spring sound. The three controls take care of the attenuating and slight boosting overall sound with the Volume control. The Tone seems to boost highs when maxed and the Reverb is a mixer control that blends the digital chip and the spring unit with the signal.
If i wouldn’t have taken a look at the chips, i would have expected this to be all analog design. So the overall “meh” was a bit of a letdown. Nevertheless, it is a good and clever design. And it does have the springs in there, which do affect the reverbed sound. But no. It is not 100% analog spring reverb. The springs are Accutronics/Belton BS3AB2C1E, a “tank” with three springs.
There’s also one more, very cool, but simple feature. The kick pad. While it’s not connected to anything, it’s simply a rubber pad glued on the top of the enclosure. Kicking it or stomping on it makes the box naturally shake. Which leads to the tank shaking and giving out the uncontrollable spring action – like heard on many surf records. Nice feature in addition to quite unique and, like i already said, clever design.
Modding the PT2399 part for fully controllable delay in addition to springs should be doable. But. I think i’ll keep the unit as it is.
How does it sound?
Good. Very good. At first i would not have noticed the digital delay that was present. So i was already patting myself on the back for an amazing deal of the analog spring reverb pedal. So the disappointment may be biasing me a bit. Without that fact i would have probably declared this unit the greatest sounding gift from the Danelectro catalog ever produced. But that aside, the sound is definitely wet enough and the controls are sufficient. Very nice, big box.