UAD AKG BX20 review

  • $199

A sublime new BX20 clone

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Our Verdict

This AKG BX20 clone which upholds and enhances UAD's reputation as a world-leader in bringing the sound of vintage and rare hardware into the 21st century.

For

  • Stunning quality.

Against

  • None.
Buying options

AKG's BX20 spring reverb was a zenith for the company in the late '60s.

Employing a mechanicaland electronic design, it became famous for darker ambient and spatial treatments which have proved popular with producers looking to bring dense onics to their productions.

Indeed, those selected to discuss UAD's latest clone give you some idea as to where this reverb will have entered your musical consciousness. Adrian Utley (Portishead), Joel Hamilton (Pretty Lights) and Peter Katis (The National) all boldly endorse it on UAD's website.

The control set for UAD's BX20 is fairly straightforward. It can be used in mono or stereo configurations, with the option to link its two channels in the lower section. There are independent controls for Bass and Treble, with a low cut filter completing the tone-shaping tools.

Elsewhere, the upper section contains a pre-delay control offering times from 0mS to 250mS, while there's a dry/wet dial to control reverb levels and an additional Wet Solo option for auxiliary buss purposes. Most importantly, however, you can choose between two 'tanks', which reflect the spring containers of the original hardware.

Each of these features its own discrete sound, so you have the option to choose one (a) or the other (b), or to combine their sounds via the a/b setting.

UAD's clone features a clever approach to emulating the BX20 sound, using impulse responses sampled from the original hardware which are then further shaped using synthesis. The result is extraordinary, with a rich tone which manages to create reverb tails which melt beautifully into a mix, even with long reverb times (of up to 4.5 seconds).

It's billed as an 'Indie' reverb and, of course, it sounds wonderful on guitars, which manage to find a place of their own whenever the BX20 is enabled. However, it's equally capable when fed a variety of other sound sources, adding a pleasingly dusty quality to drums (either over a whole buss or on individual kit pieces) and synths too.

Alternatively, if you're drawn to soulful, aching vocals such as those of Amy Winehouse or Beth Gibbons, this could well go on to become a go-to reverb choice. Don't be fooled by its seemingly small feature set; this is a hugely configurable reverb with a wide range of musical applications.

This AKG BX20 clone which upholds and enhances UAD's reputation as a world-leader in bringing the sound of vintage and rare hardware into the 21st century.

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Tech Specs

PlatformMac or PC