I bought Lexicon reverbs -- the MX200 can be found in the $120 range and provides a lot of options. You can also probably find the MPX110 for $90-100, with the same 24-bit converters, but not as flexible in the programming.
This is by no means a high-end reverbunit, but it is what I would consider the low end of the price range for good quality -- and I think you would be hard pressed to find anything else at that price point that is as good. I'm sure others will chime in with their favorites ...
TC Electronics M-One is as much an industry standard as anything, if you're looking to put something in the booth that will hold up and be useful. Also it's a great piece for kids to learn on cause they'll see them every where they go. If the budget is tight you could get by with the MidiVerb or even an old SPX90 or Rev7.
You should be able to get a second-hand M-One for about $250 or so. This would be a great unit, as BNBsound said. On the other hand, you could probably get a used Lexicon MX200 for fifty to a hundred bucks less. But get the M-One if you can.
+1 for the SPX 990. I've got a couple in my racks and really like them. They have enough presets that chances are good you can fget close to what you need right off the bat. They also have enough flexibility that you can play around and build your own effects if you want. They are easy to navigate and quick to set up during sound check. On the down side, the are deeper than any other piece of equipment in my toy rack. If you are putting them in an equipment rack with a back lid make sure you have clearance for the unitand the plugs. I have also noticed that it accepts a wide range of signals. I have two of them because we see a lot of riders that ask for them. They are far and away my favorite unit.
I also have a Lexicon MPX-1. Similar to the SPX990, but a tad less expensive. I used it for a delay effect a couple of times because it has a front panel button specifically for tapping delay patterns that the SPX doesn't. It's not quite as deep either. I heard somewhere that Lexicon has recently discontinued that series, that may affect the price.
I just received the new t.c. electronics D-Two and used it for the first time last night. I think I like it and if you are looking at putting together an effects rack (multiple effects units), a dedicated delay unit will round out the choices nicely.
I vote for the TC M-one. A fantastic little unit. I echo whomever said that you'll learn your way around most reverbs by using it. If I were walking up to a small theater system, I'd either like to see that, or a Lexicon MPX 550. Last I heard, they were discontinued, so you might be able to find a second hand one for cheap. The interface I think is easier than the M-one, but I think most other people disagree on that fact. For a "get it done" solution, the Lexicon MPX100 works well. We used them in our classes, and they sound decent with an idiot proof interface (I don't mean any offense by that statement).
Just remember to check your cables. When I was looking into efx units, I thought the MPX was 1/4" TRS balanced while the M-one had both balanced XLR and 1/4" TRS. Or maybe it was the other way around. Regardless, something to watch for.
Another vote for the Yamaha stuff. I've been using the SPX2000 for over a year now... very happy with the room 'verb it's got. Also, there seems to be no end to the amount of good presets there are in its library.
I refuse to play nice with GC and Sam Ash.
I know a good product when I see it, I don't need a commission monkey to bore me for 20 minutes with "cool features".
Product specialists are much better to deal with than chain stores.
Unfortunately, being in secondary education, I am limited by companies that my school has accounts with (unless I charge the equipment on my own personal account and then have the school reimburse me). We have an account with them and I am stuck with using them. This is why I research (internet search, asking you guys, etc...) before going into stores like that. I know that by going unprepared, I'll end up getting something that I don't need just so that a monthly quota is filled.
Thanks for the advice, though. I'll be careful with them.
What is unfortunate is that the guy who I went to for sound equipment passed away two years ago and my new contact just went out of business. Actually... a lot of small audio chains in my area have gone out of business. Ohio has come upon some very rough economic times I'm afraid.
So I just upgraded our MPX110 to an MX200 ... should I be looking to move to a TC M-One as a next step for reverb?
One thing I like about the MX200 is the ability to do a full split of the two processors, giving me two independent mono reverbs with independent outputs if the need arises. Does the improved sound quality and/or controllability of the M-One reverbs outweight some of these conveniences?
PS: And I assume a used M-One has the same electronics as the XL ... I have no issue with XLR vs TRS unless there is an audible difference between the two.
I have yet to work in a room, including those with extensive acoustic treatment, that needed more reverb. In fact, I wish I could suck some out in most places. This also includes musicals I have done (which I specialize in). There are a few times where for special effect I want reverb, but I can do that with a midiverb.
What I have needed was good digital delay. I recently did West Side Story and the band (which was mic'ed) was 30' upstage of the FOH speakers. the result was the acoustic energy from the band was 30 ms behind the sound coming out of the speakers. I sub-grouped the band, and used a digital delay set for 30 ms to delay their mics. The result was all the musical smear was gone.
Unfortunately, most "cost effective" processors being made today do not allow you to set the delay time directly. Units like the Lexicon MX-200 require you to tap the delay, the use the control knob to adjust percentage of tap. Ever try tapping 30 ms?
As an independant engineer, I carry my own toy rack and it's got 8 channels of old DBX red-knob compression (the 160A, I think). Also in there is a TC 2290 (which I used for the delay), 2 Alesis PEQ 450s, an older digitech quad 4, an m-audio 1814 and 410 for digital i/o, power conditioning, patch bay, and headphone amp (for when I had to drive the music directors headphones over a long distance) and a dbx driverack PA for venues which do not have a proper system controller and analyzer.
If I had to choose outboard processing (not counting system management) in terms of what I use most it'd be compressor, parametric eq., time alignment delays, and then somewhere further down is reverb and then, only in conjuction with a compressor for gated 'verb for a soloist who isn't used to singing in a theatrical setting.
This really caught my eye since I have found very little need for reverb in musical theatre.
My question... how do I route the m1 through my mixer? The instructions that came with it aren't very clear (at least not to a person who has had zero technical training in sound gear).
Also... to answer the question last posted... I want reverb for one specific part in Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye is singing "Rich Man" when he sings the dai-dai-dai part. I know that the amount I am spending on one little effect may seem strange. I also ordered the m1 at the advice of many here because it is industry standard and I do want my kids learning on equipment that they'll probably use in future gigs.
There are different ways to go about it, but I have found the following to work great for me. Take an aux send out of the board and into the M-ONE input. Take the output of the M-ONE and put it into a seperate channel (or two if you are using stereo reverb effects) of your midas board so you can mix it just as you would another mic or playback device. If you are out of channels, you can use an aux return, but this limits you a bit when doing complex mixing / routing.
After looking at your board on the Midas website, I notice that they sort of lable things differently. If your console has aux, FX, or mon (monitor) sends and returns, they all function the same. So feel free to use the sends labeled FX, Mon, or aux, they all accomplish the same thing. When I tell kids how to patch I say " remember you are sending to the effects unit and returning to the board". That seems to help them remember how to patch as I described above.