Check out this demo of Plate Echo — "the greatest studio effect of all time"

Plate Echo is a 130-lb sound effects box that produces incredible echo/reverb sound effects. In this video, watch Fran Blanche, founder of the Frantone effects pedal company, demonstrate and partially tear down an old one that she owns.

She says:

I stand before a monolith. This is, in my humble opinion, the greatest effect ever created. They're kind of rare now. But this is vintage echo-plate-to-plate echo. And the reason I say that this is the greatest effect of all time is that it is such a fundamental element in our culture of modern music — every big production sound that you've ever heard on any record from the 60s, 70s, 80s, forget it. It's this. When you hear that really big sound on "Riders on the Storm" or anything from the Walker Brothers or the Shirelles, or the Ronettes, that wall of sound from Phil Spector to The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, every really great big production-sounding song you've ever heard, was delivered by this.

[via Sensible Endowment]