View Full Version : Know anything about reverberators?

12-06-2015, 08:14 PM
I just made a spur of the moment purchase of a "StudiSonic" reverberator off e-bay. It said "$40 By It Now" and it seemed too good to pass up. I have not seen these very often and they usually go for a lot more:


They are shown on Page 36 of my 1963 Falcon Owner's Manual:



A glitch is that the jacks were cut off:


I know that they mounted in the trunk, and these are evidently the mounting tabs:


But .... that's all I know. Has anyone ever had one of these and/or know how the wiring works?

This was the description given on e-bay:

Seller Notes: “Rare studio sonic reverb pulled from a 1963 Falcon Sprint”

"I have a rare Studio Sonic Reverb unit taken out of a 1963 falcon sprint. It was located in the trunk and appears to be in great shape. These units were put into your car to make your radio sound like it was in a studio. They were put in Falcons, Comets, Fairlane's, and most early 60s ford cars.
This one still looks intact, was not water logged or taken apart, all electric parts are intact inside the unit. I do NOT know if this works or if it is broken.
The wires are all there, the turner switch was cut off of it as well as the single speaker but there is plenty of original wire to splice and make it work.
These are rare radio speaker enhancers that make a collectible accessory in your falcon. I have only seen these in 1963 Falcon Sprints or Futuras, but were available for other Ford cars.
Again I do NOT know if this works nor, have I tested it so you would have to buy it AS IS. The only numbers I found on this is on the back side:
MOTOROLA R1200 112444 then stamped 413 40"

12-07-2015, 09:25 AM

I think the wires would go to the radio (source for sound), speaker (from the reverb unit), and the "mixer control" (I assume ran up to the dash) - though it's not clear from anything I've found so far. Here's a thread on a Mustang site with some pics. You could "register" on the site to gain access to some of the members-only pics.


The sound these made would be interesting to hear someday. My guess is, compared to today's sound quality, it will be a bit on the cheesy side. Reverb is to make the sound "fuller" as though in a concert hall. The main way this was done was to stretch springs in a box and the springs vibrating cause the reverb. Lots of interesting "what is reverb" videos on YouTube. Usually it was the speaker making sound against the springs to cause the reverb. You see them most commonly added to guitar amplifiers, but I can see that as "hi-tech" for a 1963 car.


12-07-2015, 08:01 PM
I can see that as "hi-tech" for a 1963 car.

It will go nicely with my "Futura" theme. It's the car of the Future, ... Today! I do like the way my car spells "F U T U R A" across the back in big chrome letters. It makes the people behind me look at it and think ... "Huh?"

I was somewhat mystified as to how to wire this thing in place, but I found this web site that explains it well and includes schematics: http://www.mustangtek.com/E…/FordStudioSonicsoundsystem.html



Here is a complete 1964 kit that is listed on e-bay for .... $1,400!


The system in its original configuration included a floor-mounted on-off switch and a dash-mounted fade/reverberation control. I will be non-authentic because I am not going to drill holes in my floor or in my dash. So, I will build a little switch panel and mount on the lower edge of the dash. I will also need to get another rear shelf, a rear speaker, and a speaker grill. The actual 1963 Ford rear shelf speaker grills pop up on e-bay ever now and then, but they are pricey.


When I get this rigged up, it should be pretty cool to flip a switch and get concert-hall echo reverberation. What will Ford think of next?

Cool! Here is a 1962 Caddy playing music from a Redi-Rad (which I also have) through the radio with a Motorola VibraSoninic reverberator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zw3gnkdfis

12-07-2015, 08:44 PM
Has anyone mentioned that when you hit a bump with the reverb activated, the springs that cause the reverb effect will make a pretty loud noise and fade out?I had one back in that era installed in my '55 Ford. Of course, I considered it pretty cool to have the reverb set to max, and then gradually adjusted the effect down because of the distortion when bumps were hit (my hometown didn't have the smoothest streets in the area).

12-07-2015, 09:32 PM
Has anyone mentioned that when you hit a bump with the reverb activated, the springs that cause the reverb effect will make a pretty loud noise and fade out?I had one back in that era installed in my '55 Ford. Of course, I considered it pretty cool to have the reverb set to max, and then gradually adjusted the effect down because of the distortion when bumps were hit (my hometown didn't have the smoothest streets in the area).

Man, I am really stoked to figure this thing out and get it installed. It is so cool that it is electro-mechanical, with the reverberation effect created by .... springs. Springs, bouncing up and down.

Falcons are old, but in my mind they are still modern cars. Your 1955 Ford sounds really nice. Did you have a Y-Block V-8? I would love to have a 1950 Ford with a flathead V-8. :)


12-07-2015, 11:10 PM
My old '55 wasn't really a very cool car. It was a 4-door sedan with grossly bad paint. It was a (Y-block) 292 w/heads from a 312 supercharger motor and several configurations of induction (but no supercharger). Made respectable power but certainly wasn't king of the local streets. I remember that I had to put quite a few transmissions in it until I discovered the Borg-Warner T-85c (predecessor to the T-10). My wife and I went on our honeymoon in that car and we sold it shortly thereafter.

12-08-2015, 12:24 AM
You sold it shortly after the your honeymoon Gene?? Did it have cans and other garbage tied to the bumper?

Dennis, this reverb contraption made with springs is one of the coolest gizmo's of the era I've ever seen. :rocker:

After you install it you're going to have to send us some before and after recordings. ;:)

12-08-2015, 12:44 AM
Boy this is interesting. Gene, your honeymoon reminds me or Carol and mine. I had the best looking car in all of Wichita in my 57 black chevy 2 dr. hardtop with white rolled and pleated interior. It was great to drag race and the stories of Carol trying to drive it to school are hilarious. But, now the bad news. We were drag racing, hit one of the dips in Wichita and I broke the starter off my bell housing. We had to drive her dads 54 piece of garbage 4 door mercury on our honeymoon. What a let down. And we had cans and junk attached to the rear bumper.

Also, I guess it is just me, but I couldn't help chuckling when I read about these old cars being still modern cars. Lord they were unsafe, uncomfortable, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, broke down all the time, but oh my gosh were they fun to drive and look at.

If you are old enough, you will remember doing what my family did every October and driving around to all the car dealerships to look at all the new cars. They were always different, exciting, and beautiful. Now you can't tell a Ford from a Chevy from a Toyota.

All that being said. I now love to drive our newer cars for all the safety they have, comfort of seating, driving, air conditioning, heat, music and on and on. But, there is nothing compared to driving my Falcon and remembering the fun we had in high school driving that beautiful 57.

There are so many good things about both eras. These and those are the good old days to me. Larry

12-08-2015, 06:48 PM
I have a lot of experience with spring reverb tanks from my audio repair background, but never would have thought they would have put them in a car :confused: In fact, recording studios used to pay many thousands for special spring reverb tanks imported from Germany (AKG used to make them).

They do make very compact digital reverb units. You could conceal one inside of the tank, wire it up to that unit, then you wouldn't have the issue Gene experienced. If you have ever heard an old Fender guitar amp tip over, it is pretty much the same sound.

12-08-2015, 07:26 PM

I have begun assembling the parts that I will need to make this installation look half decent.

1963 grill:

This speaker grill looks similar to the 1963 grill, except that it is black.
Speaker Grille, 1965 - 70 Mustang 6X9 Rear California Pony Cars $32.58
See: http://restorationpartssource.com/store/speaker-grille-1965-70-mustang-6x9-rear-california-pony-cars_moreinfo.html?gclid=Cj0KEQiAnJqzBRCW0rGWnKnck OIBEiQA6qDBavFYdTxO0I2yj-z1QbF2D_ff6g60-9KV0BpA4x4sfHgaAj098P8HAQ


I will spray paint the new speaker grill gray to make it look like the pictured original 1963 grill:


This is a matching speaker to fit the grill:
Speaker 1965 Mustang (Rear, 6"x9" stock replacement) Scitt Drake $19.03
See: http://restorationpartssource.com/store/speaker-1965-68-mustang-rear-6-x9-stock-replacement-scott-drake_moreinfo.html


I am also going to get a new un-painted masonite package tray to mount the speaker (I don't want to cut the one that I have).

What is the best way to paint one of these? Should I paint it flat black or satin black? Spray or brush? Latex paint? Should I paint it with primer?


See: http://www.falconparts.com/ford-falcon-auto-parts/pc/1960-1965-PACKAGE-TRAYS-150p6746.htm $19.95

12-09-2015, 12:30 PM
Nice project Dennis.
ON the package tray....the guy I bought my upholstery and the package tray from (Jake at Original falcon interiors) said to use flat black spray paint.
I did, and it looks great. But, I'll share the experience...the package tray will soak up a lot of paint. It's also kind of fuzzy...and after you paint that stuff (even using primer first)...touch it and some of that painted fuzz starts to break off and leaves a tiny unpainted spot- so you need several coats. So, in between coats of paint, I sort of gently wiped it with a towel to break them off then did another coat of paint. It's also kind of textured so you need to paint it from different directions. In the end, one can of paint was barely enough. You might buy two cans just in case. The final product looks really nice though. Good luck!

12-10-2015, 07:04 PM
Nice project Dennis.

Thanks, Don.

Does anyone know how to add speaker cloth ...


... between a speaker and a grill?

Should the cloth be glued to the grill or to the speaker?

What kind of glue is good to use?

Do you spread glue on the rim of the speaker and/or grill and then stick it on to the spread-out cloth?

Do you then try to pull the cloth tight immediately after it has be stuck to the rim of the speaker and/or grill?

Thanks, Dennis.

12-11-2015, 01:34 AM
I am not a fan of gluing anything to the actual speaker. Maybe you can rig something up to hold the cloth underneath the grill. On a $19 speaker I might not worry too much. That particular speaker won't have a lot of travel (low bass) so it should be ok. I would check how much that center cone moves and if it will hit the cloth while in use.

If you do want to go that way you could lightly stretch the material on a surface. Then get your adhesive on the speaker gasket then place it face down on the cloth. Once it is dry you can flip it and trim the cloth.

I have also seen some use good double sided tape (3m) which is a lot less messy. It holds cell phones together, why not your grill cloth?

12-11-2015, 04:00 AM
I am not a fan of gluing anything to the actual speaker.
I have seen some use good double sided tape (3m) which is a lot less messy. It holds cell phones together, why not your grill cloth?

Hello, Brian.

Thanks for the suggestions. The reproduction speaker has a white center cone that would probably be visible under the black grill. It seems that it would look nicer if it were covered with the black cloth ($6 off e-bay and mailed from China).


The cloth was attached to the speaker on the original Ford speaker (photo taken from e-bay). But ... If just the speaker were covered with cloth, it would be an oval under a rectangle and the corners under the grill would not have cloth under them.


The grill is a two piece assembly with a frame and a flat grill piece (e-bay photo). It would be just as easy to attach the cloth to the grill and it would give complete coverage. I will try attaching the cloth to the underside of the grill.


The double-sided tape is a good suggestion. I would be less messy and would eliminate the chance of the glue spreading beyond where it was supposed to be,

Thanks, Dennis,

12-27-2015, 05:28 PM
I finally got around to an initial examination of my StudioSonic unit. The top and sides are covered with cardboard. The cardboard is somewhat crumbly and I am wondering if I should put it back on or make a replacement out of plastic or new poster board.


Here is an internal label on the reverberator. It says:


Here are the springs in the reverberator:


Here are the electronics. I need to study the electronics and see which leads are attached to what in order to understand which ones are inputs and outputs.

One of the leads needs to be re-soldered.

I found this picture of a StudioSonic placement in the trunk of a Ford Galaxie. The wires do not have any protection. If this thing works, I will have to make a cover for that side of the unit. The way the bumper jack is attached to the spare tire in the Galaxie looks nice.


12-29-2015, 07:04 PM
The e-bay seller had listed this device as a Studiosonic that had Motorola R200 stamped on the back. Ford used Motorola radios so it made sense that the Studiosonic would be made by Motorola.

I studied a couple of low resolution schematics of the Studiosonic and they were a little different from what I had. I finally realized that while Studiosonics were made by Motorola, a Motorola was not a Studiosonic and that I have a Motorola Vibrasonic R200.

Mine could be a period correct after market item. But, quoting a guy on a Pontiac LeMans bulletin board: "Fords & Mopars got factory Motorola Vibrasonic R200 reverbs. Fords also got FoMoCo ones. Delco units were only available from the factory in Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs ... not Chevrolets." So, it might have been a Ford factory or dealer installation.

I looked on e-bay and found a "1962 1963 MOTOROLA AUTO CAR RADIO VIBRASONIC SYSTEM SERVICE MANUAL BROCHURE R200" for $12.99 with postage included. It will be mailed from Fort Wayne, Indiana. "Original H.W. Sams Co. Inc. auto radio "Vibrasonic" reverberation system service manual pages for 1962 and 1963 cars. This manual is for Motorola model number R200 and has 3 pages. Pages are loose. Dated 6/63. Includes service information, wiring diagrams, circuit photos, parts list and descriptions. The model number of your system is located on the unit. Good used condition. Shows slight handling and storage age." Perfect. This will help a lot:

5370 5371

I saw this internet picture of a Motorola Vibrasonic R200 with a paper label on the back:

My unit did not have that label:

So, I cropped and printed the photo of the label to fit the dimensions of where the label was supposed to have been on mine and made a reproduction:

12-30-2015, 08:38 PM
Dennis, I'd recap this at the very least. Looks like I see a big electrolytic in there. Most of these old capacitors dry out and will make the thing hum like crazy. Or the electrolytic with blow.

If you want a good source for stuff like that, I buy parts from https://www.tubesandmore.com/ and they've got a lot of what you might need. Helps you found a Sam's Photofact book on it. Shoot, using that, we could all have one!

01-03-2016, 07:15 AM
Dennis, I'd recap this at the very least. Looks like I see a big electrolytic in there.

Hello, Roger.

I received the Motorola R-200 technical specifications yesterday. The big electrolytic capacitor is a 100-500-500MFD/16VDC beastie. I found where to get a replacement "SPRAGUE TVL-3026.8", but it is $20 +$6 postage. I will wait until after I get this thing wired up and see what it does before I start replacing parts.

What I need to find first is an on/off potentiometer. The schematic shows the unit with a 9A fuse on the input power lead with a note saying "0.4A @ 12.6V". This indicates a 5 watt power capacity.

The schematic shows a 200 ohm potentiometer. So I need a 12v, 200 ohm, 5 watt pot, preferably with a built in on/off switch, and have not been able to find one.

Can you suggest a more commonly available size that would still be "close enough" to substitute?

Do you think that this would work? I can add a separate on/off switch: "5W 250 OhM WIREWOUND POTENTIOMETER TGL 44x38 RFT GERMANY". $6 + $7 postage.


See: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5W-250-OhM-WIREWOUND-POTENTIOMETER-TGL-44x38-RFT-GERMANY-/161009691034?hash=item257cece99a:g:veAAAOxyn9BRbmO m

This one might be better because it has a shorter shaft: "220 OHM Wirewound Potentiometer Panel Control Pot 5W 2 pcs". $9.98 for two + free postage from Hong Kong.


See: http://www.ebay.com/itm/220-OHM-Wirewound-Potentiometer-Panel-Control-Pot-5W-2-pcs-/351615893872?hash=item51ddf0c170:g:2AQAAOSw~gRVzkA 5
Thanks, Dennis.

Jeff W
01-03-2016, 11:43 AM
Hi Dennis, I have a few electronic projects under my belt. I usually put together a list and place a big order with these guys.


My last project was a bat detector. A little device that lets you heard the ultrasonic voices that bats use to locate their prey.

01-03-2016, 02:09 PM
My last project was a bat detector. A little device that lets you heard the ultrasonic voices that bats use to locate their prey.

Hello, Jeff.

Cool! Did it work? I saw an animated Disney movie about a scientist who had been listening to bat squeaks. He slowed them down and overheard flying pixies that were talking to one another.

Thanks for the electronics resource tip. Lots of interesting stuff there.

I will go with this type switch because I like the screw terminals and the On/Off label: "Shoreline Marine SL52107 Toggle (On-Off) 2 Poisition Switch Chrome Finger Lever". $3.98 with free postage from China.


I can't resist.
TV show theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qP-NglUeZU

Jeff W
01-03-2016, 05:18 PM
Dennis, the bat detector works wonderfully. It does just as your pixie description states, it uses a divider circuit to lower the frequency to human ear levels. I haven't heard any conversations yet, just clicking. Maybe I need more imagination.

It was designed by a nice man named Tony Messina out of Nevada. He posted all the details to build your own and even offers the bare circuit board for sale. He offered great support and loves to spread his interest in bats and electronics.

Here is his link:


At the bottom of the link there is a .wav file of what it sounds like.

I was able to apply another of my hobbies and built a little wooden box to house the detector and a few accessories.

01-03-2016, 07:51 PM
Hello, Jeff.

Cool! I listened to the wave file and was surprised to hear a series of "clicks". Thanks for posting the link. The electronic device is surprisingly compact and the cabinet is very well made. I especially like the bat logo.

I see bats here in Tampa flitting over the road while driving to work in the early morning. They roost in the "aprons" of dead palm fronds (leaves) that form around the crowns of sabal palms.

It has been fun studying the schematics for this old reverberator. It has been a long time since I have traced circuits and tried to figure out how they worked. I had to look up a PNP transistor because I had forgotten what they did.