Category Archives for Sound Pedals

Red Panda Context Reverberation Pedal Review

Using a reverb pedal can be intimidating, especially if you have never used one before. Reverb pedals have so many different parameters around them and if you don’t know how to properly use one, you may not get the dramatic effect or overall sound you are looking for. One of the most popular reverberation pedals in the entire world is the Red Panda Context reverb pedals; while the Red Panda isn’t a reverb pedal that’s highly talked about, it is a pedal that you’re going to find in many guitar players arsenals all around the world. The tone on the Red Panda is amazing, but it is a pedal that is less versatile than other pedals on the market.

There are six delay modes on this pedal, which are all familiar options to any experienced reverb pedal user. The true bypass is switchable internally, which allows you to have a tail if you prefer. In order to consistently maintain the clarity of the notes, the Red Panda pedals comes with a dedicated dry path.

The Red Panda Context Reverberation Pedal had four controls. These controls are:

  • Blend
  • Damping
  • Decay
  • Delay

The Red Panda Context Reverberation Pedal also has six different modes. These modes are:

  • Delay: Adjustable delay time with repeats
  • Plate: Dense and bright reverb that also has an adjustable reverberation time with a low and high-frequency response
  • Cathedral: Bright reverb with an extended response
  • Gated: Adjustable gate time with a nonlinear decay
  • Room: Fast build up
  • Hall: Slow buildup with a moderate diffusion

The Room mode gives users an expected sound for reverb that also comes with a quick commencement. If you are looking for a snappy, short reverb that adds just a little bit of dimension and presence to your sound, the Room is the mode that you’re going to want to use. If you are looking for an infinite reverb ambience, turn up the Decay while in Room mode.

When you push the Delay past twelve o’clock, you’re going to receive an echo that sounds as if your sound was bouncing right off the wall and back at you. By pushing the Decay, you’re going to extend the reflections and muffle the sound. If you don’t like this because the sound is too bright, you can push up the Damping.

Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal
List Price: $225.00
Price: $225.00
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The Hall mode begins to pick up right where the Room mode left off, just be offering a more substantial set up for your guitar’s sound to bounce around. If you turn up the Delay up to 12 o’clock and turn the Decay all the way down, you’ll create a burst of echoes, which sounds really cool.

As for the Cathedral mode, this is an infinite, expansive, reverb that will make your guitar sound like it’s traveling all around in outer space. This mode is bright and fluffy, so if that isn’t something that you’re into, you should try turning the Damping knob if you are looking to darker up your tone.

Gated mode is an interesting reverb, as it makes the reverb more prominent while you are playing and it silences any space in between. In other words, the Gated mode creates a small burst of ambience and begins to trail off to a quick stop when you stop playing, even if you are on a high Decay setting. If you are looking for something that’s a little eerie or different, the Gated mode will quickly become your favorite mode.

The Plate mode offers the huge plate-style reverb, without having the large plates around. This mode provides you with a smooth extension of the reverb, while also elongating your guitar’s sound with a reverb trail. As for the Delay mode, this is one of the most surprising parts of the Red Panda context, because it gives you with a clean digital delay, with the option of having reverb.

That’s right, there isn’t a spring mode on this reverb pedal. The Red Panda Context isn’t traditional enough to have a spring setting, but you will find other familiar modes on this reverb pedal, such as Room, Plate, Hall. Just to make things a bit more exciting on this reverb pedal, Red Panda has added a delay mode with a modulated reverb.

The Red Panda Context also has a minimal parameter layout that is comparable to some of the more complex reverb pedals on the market today. Most guitar players don’t play with two maps or even use their effects loop, so Red Panda only made this mono. For such a minimalist reverb pedal, the Context has a unique collection of reverberation sounds.

Criteria:

It is most definitely easy to become overwhelmed by the massive reverb pedal; market that’s available; there are a countless number of reverb pedals available in every single style in the world. In order to know how to evaluate a reverb pedals’ quality to make sure that the reverb you’re looking at is the proper one for your needs, you need to understand what criteria is used to evaluate a reverb pedal’s quality.

This review of the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal will look at the following criteria:

  • The quality of sound produced
  • The materials that the pedal is made from
  • Who the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal is best suited for
  • How easy the pedal is to use
  • The value of the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal for your money

The Red Panda Context is an amazing reverb pedal, especially since it performs like a high-end reverb pedal that costs double of what the Red Panda Context does. This reverb peal is one of the best reverb pedals for guitar players that are looking for a large ambience or just a subtle space for your guitar, especially if you are someone who is just plugging your guitar into a single amp or just using an effects loop.

The only complaint that I have about the Red Panda Context Reverb pedal is that it doesn’t come with an Expression pedal control to use over the Decay or Blend; this would have been nice to use to have an extra momentary foot-switch for the infinite Decay.

Core features of the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal:

  • Blend control allows you to adjust your wet/dry blend
  • Blend controls also allows you to adjust your blend up to 100% wet
  • Decay adjusts your reverberation time, from very light to incredibly large
  • Delay sets your pre-delay, which simulates natural spaces
  • Damping adjusts your high-frequency response; this is to create a dark ambience
  • Minimal signal path
  • Mono in/out
  • 7” x 3.7” x 2.4”
  • WIMA poly film caps
  • Neutrik jacks
  • Burr-Brown op amps
  • Comes with top mounted jacks
  • D/A converters
  • 2 bit A/D
  • Does not take batteries
  • Requires 9V center negative 100 m A power supply, this is not included
  • True bypass switching which is selectable via an internal switch
  • 100% made in the USA

Who is Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal best suited for?

I would personally suggest the Red Panda Context Reverb to both beginning pedal users and expert reverb users. It’s a simple reverb pedal to use if you’ve never used a reverb pedal before; it’s really difficult to make anything from this pedal sound bad. However, if you are a beginning reverb pedal user, I would suggest that read the manual in order to understand how the six modes properly work.

If you are an experienced reverb pedal user, the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal is a stunning pedal to use at a decent price range. I have tried other reverb pedals that left me underwhelmed, especially when they are compared to the Red Panda Context. While this pedal doesn’t have a Spring mode, the other modes and options on this pedal really make up for this.

Does the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal work as advertised?

Yes, the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal does work as advertised; it’s a reverb pedal that’s easy to use, yet covers a lot of ground. Even if you don’t take time to read the manual that it comes with, you can go through and select any mode and be introduced to a whole world of usable sounds in an instant. Even if you have no reverb pedal experience, using this pedal is super easy; it’s really hard to make anything on this pedal sound bad. However, it is important that you understand how each of the six modes works, especially if you are looking for the top quality sound to be produced.

Pros of the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal:

  • The Red Panda is comparable to the DigiTech Polara, but the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal has a longer decay time, which gives you the option of having a huge reverb without having to sacrifice any of your note clarity.

Cons Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal:

  • Is very minimalistic
  • A bit on the pricier side

Other alternative reverb pedals to consider:

TC Electronic Hall of Fame

If you are interested in something that’s a little bit less complex to use, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame may be something that you’re interested. The basic setup of this reverb pedal is a pedal board friendly, compact, battery powered pedal that has been loaded up with new sounds; these new sounds are now called Tone Prints. Each pedal has a small number of several sound variations that you can choose from; one of these variations being Tone Print. Tone Print allows you to download the settings that celebrity guitar players have designed and upload them to your pedal by using a mini USB cable or by using your smartphone. You can use your smartphone by aiming the speakers on your phone to your pickups; this beams the data directly to the pedal.

DigiTech Polara Reverb Pedal

The DigiTech Polara is best suited for reverb users who are looking for a pedal that has a fit more accessories than a basic reverb pedal does. With the added Stomplock knob guard added into the creation of the DigiTech Polara, this reverb pedal is perfect for traveling guitar players. Maybe you don’t do a whole lot of traveling, but enter yourself into competitions to play, or play at a lot of concerts, I would also really suggest this reverb pedal to you, especially if you aren’t looking for anything that has a whole lot of bells and whistles.

Final Take: The Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal

The Red Panda Context is a great reverb pedal that copies the reverb algorithms of pedals that are at a much larger price range. All six modes of this pedal are very useful and a lot of guitar players appreciate how easy it is to dial the pedal in a great reverb space without menu diving. Not to mention that this is an excellent pedal that boosts reverb algorithms, which is a trait commonly found is reverb pedals that are a lot more expensive. Not only is the Red Panda Context Reverb Pedal easy and simple to use, this reverb pedal is one of the best digital reverberation pedals that you can find for your mono guitar rig.

That’s all for this Red Panda Context Reverberation Review. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal Review

The TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal is a reverb pedal that’s pedal board friendly, but offers several different versions of the reverb effect. TC Electronic Hall of Fame was just launched a couple of years ago and was marketed as a basic pedal. Just by adding a basic reverb pedal to your guitar, you are going to open up a range of ambient vistas for you to explore and play around with.

The basic setup of this reverb pedal is a pedal board friendly, compact, battery powered pedal that has been loaded up with new sounds; these new sounds are now called Tone Prints. Each pedal has a small number of several sound variations that you can choose from; one of these variations being Tone Print. Tone Print allows you to download the settings that celebrity guitar players have designed and upload them to your pedal by using a mini USB cable or by using your smartphone. You can use your smartphone by aiming the speakers on your phone to your pickups; this beams the data directly to the pedal.

This pedal has two inputs and two outputs that you can use for connecting to a stereo; this pedal is powered by a 9V negative supply and draws a current of 100mA. There are a pair of dip switches that are inside of the Hall of Fame pedal that allow you to choose between the default bypass switching and the buffered bypass; this switch also allows you to set a ‘dry kill’ node so that you just get the effect of the pedal, with no added dry sound when the reverb pedal is used along with your amp’s FX loop.

Another cool thing about the TC Electronic Hall of Fame is that it is both operable in stereo, as well as standard mono guitar pedal mode. Also, the Hall of Fame has controls that allow you to set the amount of reverb, as well as how long you want it to take to decay; there is also a tone knob that you can use in order to make the tone brighter or darker. The two way switch on the reverb allows you to set whether or not your reverb has a short or long pre-delay, which allows you to put a little bit of space in between your notes before the reverb begins to kick in.

As for sound, the spring simulation is a typical essential for people who play without one built into their amp. The Hall of Fame spring recreates that sound almost to a T. The other simulations on this reverb pedal add a realistic sense of space that you may not hear on other pedals. Tone Print’s default setting has plenty of other reverb styles to choose from too; the setting that comes with the spring reverb that turns the reverb down and up, all depending on how long you play.

Criteria:

It is most definitely easy to become overwhelmed by the massive reverb pedal; market that’s available; there are a countless number of reverb pedals available in every single style in the world. In order to know how to evaluate a reverb pedals’ quality to make sure that the reverb you’re looking at is the proper one for your needs, you need to understand what criteria is used to evaluate a reverb pedal’s quality.

This review of the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb Pedalwill look at the following criteria:

  • The quality of sound produced
  • The materials that the pedal is made from
  • Who the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb Pedal is best suited for
  • How easy the pedal is to use
  • The value of the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb Pedal for your money

The TC Hall of Fame is a great purchase to make if you are new to playing with a reverberation pedal; if you are an experience reverb pedal, I will tell you to move on from this pedal, because you can find better. However, for a beginner, this is a really nice pedal. You get a selection of basic features for $109, with the option to download more options off the Tone Point application.

Core features:

One of TC Electronic Hall of Fame’s most famous features is the Tone Print feature on the pedal. Tone Print is a feature that allows users to parametrize the reverb sound using an applicating (Tone Print Editor) to download the setting directly to your pedal. The Tone Print allows you to have an invariable source of reverb sounds that are new and mainly features ten different types of reverb. These styles are:

Room

Hall

Church

Plate

Spring

MOD

LOFI

Tile

AMB

Gate

Gate is a classic reverb type that is normally heard on kick drums and snare drums on a lot of music that was produced in the eighties.

Tile imitates the ambience of a smaller sized room where a lot of echoes are created. In terms of a small room, try thinking about the size of a closet or a bathroom.

Room, Church, and Hall are all very similar; they copy the ambience that is created in closed in spaces. Room copies the ambience that is created in a room that is the size of a dining room, while Hall recreates the ambience created in a large cavern.

MOD insets a small amount of Chorus into the reverb in order to create a warmer tone.

Plate and Spring both copy the plate tanks and vintage spring tank sound.

LOFI is an abbreviation for Low Fidelity- this reverb is what you want to use if you are looking for a dirty, rough sound.

AMB is the reverb that will provide you with a small amount of ambient. This is a short reverb and all it really does is smooth out the dry sound that is coming out of tour cabinet.

Who is the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal Best suited for?

First off, I would not suggest this pedal to anyone who is very precise about their music; the TC Electronic doesn’t really allow you to do a lot of tinkering when recording or playing live. The TC Electronic Hall of Fame, in my opinion, is better off in the hands of a beginner. Even if you aren’t a beginning guitarist, if you have never used a pedal before, I wouldn’t suggest you going with a fully loaded pedal. Start off with something easy to figure out and basic, like the TC Electronic Hall of Fame reverb pedal!

If you are someone who likes to tweak with your reverb, you’re going to have to hook up the pedal to TC’s editing software and work within the limitations of the wet and dry knob. However, if you only just need to take a quick second to lubricate your output, the Tone Print database will have your back.

Does the TC Electronic Hall of Fame work as advertised?

Yes, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame does work as advertised. The TC Electronic Hall of Fame offers a basic pedal that beginning guitarists can use with little difficulty. This reverb pedal also does allow you to download additional reverb patterns from Tone Print off of an application. TC Electronic marketed this as a basic reverb pedal and that’s exactly what this pedal is.

Pros of TC Electronic Hall of Fame:

  • Adjustable pre-delay
  • 9V DC Operation
  • Tone Print function
  • Compact size
  • Comes with tone editor software

Cons TC Electronic Hall of Fame:

  • No reverse reverb sound
  • Limited real time control
  • Doesn’t come with a mini-USB cable for editing

Other alternative reverb pedals to consider:

The EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly

If you’re looking for something a bit more spicy, the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly isn’t the typical reverb pedal; that most guitarists are used to playing with. I would not suggest that you purchase this pedal if you are just looking for a moderate echo, any sort of conventional sound, or a bit of a subtle ambience. The Afterneath produces an original sound; however, the sound the Afterneath Otherwordly produced is comparable to a multi-tap digital delay algorithm that is combined with a reverb. However, if you’re looking for a unit that has all of the combined effects that the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly, you’re not going to find one.

DigiTech Polara Reverb Pedal

If you are a fan of ambient, you are going to be disappointed by this pedal. However, if you are someone who is looking for a versatile compact reverb pedal, you’re going to enjoy using this pedal. The DigitTech Polara pedal exhibits clarity and simplicity that make the Polara a simple and fine addition to add to any pedal board. The stereo spaces in this pedal create beautiful effects that will transform your music to a whole new world.  If you are looking for a small pedal to carry around with you instead of a whole plethora of units, this arrangement of simple sounds will take care of you.

The Final Take: TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal:

Contributing a reverb pedal to your guitar set up can allow you to open up a whole new range for you to explore. The Hall of Fame is one of the easiest reverb pedals that I’ve ever used; I also love it because it takes up less space on my pedal board than a lot of other units that I’ve ever used.  However, if you are an expert reverb pedal user, I would not suggest this reverb pedal to you. This is a very basic version of a reverb pedal, which is perfect for beginners. The overall tones of this pedal are efficient and practical.

That wraps up our TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal review. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

Top Five Best Reverb Pedals on The Market Today

Reverberation (also called reverb) is one of the oldest musical effects that is still around today. Centuries ago, the acoustic effects of a room or a hall were used in vocal music. As time has passed, we have used that knowledge to improve the quality of our performances. Having reverb when performing music is essential; even if you’re playing your guitar in a room, you’re still going to have a slight touch of reverb that will make your tone just a touch warmer.

But, what exactly is reverb?

Reverb is the echo of a sound after is occurs as it reflects off of surfaces that are in the current environment until it’s audio volume reaches zero.

There are five main types of reverb. These are:

Hall Reverb: This is a reverb that copies the type of echo that you would hear in a concert hall; this reverb typically lasts between one to three seconds.  This reverb is best used for a long decay, large sounding reverb, or complex reflections. Is also commonly referred to at the Cathedral Reverb.

Chamber Reverb: The chamber reverb gives a short decay time, which results in a sound that’s less muddy sounding compared to other reverbs. The chamber reverb only lasts about 0.2 to 1 second.

Room Reverb: This reverb has a lot of early reflections with a quick decay and typically lasts from .02 to 1 second. This reverb is best used along with slap back echoes.

Plate Reverb: This is a replication of an analog reverb, which is where the vibration from the sound created is sent through a plate of metal that also vibrate, which reflects the original sound created. This reverb is best used if you are looking for a focused reverb.

Spring Reverb: This is an analog reverb that is emulated in digital verbs. This reverb is best used for surf, rockabilly music, vintage amp style reverb, or if you are looking for a bouncy tone.

Do I need a reverb pedal?

Reverb is an essential tool that you need to use if you desire to create space for your guitar to be heard within a mix of instruments, whether you are performing live or recording in a studio. Reverb helps to create a sense of depth for the sound your guitar creates, by making the sound you produce more dry or more wet. The sound of a dry guitar is more prominent and in your face sounding, while a wet guitar is more distance and pushed back.

What’s the difference between reverb and delay?

A delay pedal mirrors the sound of your guitar playing. On the other hand, a reverb pedal produces ambient flections of the sound your guitar is producing. While both of these effects are similar in application, they are both usually used at the end of an effects loop or a signal chain.

How do I use reverb with delay?

It’s more common than you would believe to see delay and reverb pedals being used together. Typically, the delay will come first and the reverb follows close behind. However, if you are looking to create a different sound, you can try reversing the role and having reverb first, followed by delay.

Criteria:

It is most definitely easy to become overwhelmed by the massive reverb pedal market that’s available; there are countless number of reverb pedals available in every single style in the world. In order to know how to evaluate a reverb pedal’s quality to make sure that the reverb you’re looking at is the proper one for your needs, you need to understand what criteria is used to evaluate a reverb pedal’s quality.

All reviews of the reverb pedals listed will look at the following criteria:

  • The quality of sound produced
  • The materials that the pedal is made from
  • Who the reverb pedal is best suited for
  • How easy the pedal is to use
  • The value of the reverb pedal for your money 

In case you hate reading, I’ve created a master comparison chart for a quick summary of all five of the reverb pedals for you to take a glance at. If you want to read about the reverb pedals in more detail, keep on scrolling!

Brand TC Electronic DigiTech EarthQuaker Catalinbread Red Panda
Model Hall of Fame Polara Afterneath Otherwordly Topanga Context
Price $149 $149 $225 $199 $225
Reverb Types Six- Spring, Hall, Plate, Room, Church, Ambience Seven- Room, Hall, Modulated, Plate, Spring, Halo, Reverse Modulated Surf Room, Hall, Cathedral, Gated, Plate, Delay
# of Controls 3- Tone, Decay, Level 4- Level, Liveliness, Decay, Type 6- Length, Diffuse, Dampen, Drag, Reflect, Mix 4- Dwell, Tone, Volume, Mix Blend, Delay, Decay, Damping

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Otherwordly Reverberation Pedal

Rather than imitating a plate or spring, the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly uses a sequence of short delays that cascade into each other in order to produce the reflections that are typically produced by reverb units. Each of the delays stands in for each reverb reflection that’s decaying; in return, this creates a large space.

The EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly offers several different controls. Some of these controls include:

  • Length: controls length of the decay
  • Dampen: changes the tone
  • Diffuse: changes the spread of the effect
  • Drag: controls the speed
  • Mix: controls the wet to dry ratio
  • Reflect: changes the regeneration, also feed output back into the pedal

A lot of the devices that EarthQuaker creates are famous from producing unique guitar effects; the Rainbow Machine, Organizer pedals, and the Bit Commander are just some of their most famous pieces.

The EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly isn’t the typical reverb pedal; that most guitarists are used to playing with. I would not suggest that you purchase this pedal if you are just looking for a moderate echo, any sort of conventional sound, or a bit of a subtle ambience. The Afterneath produces an original sound; however, the sound the Afterneath Otherwordly produced is comparable to a multi-tap digital delay algorithm that is combined with a reverb. However, if you’re looking for a unit that has all of the combined effects that the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly, you’re not going to find one.

When I first got my hands on the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly Reverberation Pedal, I was a bit overwhelmed at the offering of six knobs. On the far right, there are two knobs. Knob number one allows the user to adjust the reverb tone from dark to bright. The dark to bright range has a consistently full sound. The second knob is the mix knob, which sets the amount of the wet reverb signal that is heard; this knob ranges from no reverb to a wet signal that sufficiently covers the dry sound without it actually being one hundred percent wet. In other words, it’s safe for you to turn the mix knob all of the way up or to keep at the 3 o’clock position and in turn you’ll have amazing results.

The reflect and the length knobs are also an important part of the pedal that you need to learn about, as they both are very interactive parts of the pedal. The length knobs determines the decay time of the reverb, which creates the overall length of the sounds that are heard. The longer that you have your length knob on, the more hall inspired reverb you’re going to receive. On the other hand, the reflect knob increases the regeneration, which adds to the length of the reverb. If you have your reflect set too high, the pedal will self-oscillate. I personally suggest that if you have one knob set high, you keep the other knob low. However, it is a whole lot of fun to have both knobs turned up high and throw yourself into reverberating bliss.

The most enjoyable part of using the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly is that the drag knobs allows you to affect the reverb sound by changing the spacing between short delays. You can change this knob to produce more of a rhythmic delay, a reverb ambience, or you can slowly turn the knob while it’s reverberating in order to produce a pitch with different reverberated sounds. In case you’re not entirely sure what this would sound like, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that can you show you this. If you have listened to this, it’s a completely different experience when you are playing.

Diffuse knob allows you to add definition to the delays; if you are looking for articulated repeats, turn the knob counter clock wise. However, if you are looking for a legato production, turn the knob clock wise. If you happen to be someone who wants a clear delay sound, make sure you turn down your diffuse, length, drag, and reflect knobs!

If this pedal floats your boat, why not check out my full EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Otherwordly Reverberation Pedal review here!

DigiTech Polara Reverberation Pedal

The Polara reverb pedal is a small but solid reverb pedal that has its home made in the same space as it’s ambient cousin, the Digi Tech Obscura. The cosmetic appearance of this pedal is a bit bulky, but that may be appealing to some players. This reverb pedal has four sliding knobs, as well as a tails switch. In a stereo pedal such as the Polara, switches that are side mounted are very common to come across.

There is one common complaint among some users of the Polara, but it truly is just a complaint that doesn’t affect the performance of the pedal. Some users wish that the Polara as a bit taller, in order to fit a top mounted I/O configuration, just to save some space. The Polara is smaller than a Tube Screamer, but larger than a Ditto. One of the most raved about parts of the Polara is the Stomplock knob guard that was installed in order to keep your settings locked in, avoiding an accidental movement while performing on stage.

The Digi Tech Polara has seven Lexicon Reverb voices. These voices are:

  • Room- This is a fast decaying reverb; you should use this option if you would just like a touch of ambience
  • Plate- Studio reverb that is typically found on classic recordings
  • Reverse- Crescendos from a piano to a fortissimo; this is reverb in reverse
  • Halo- Reverb with surging octave changes
  • Modulated- This reverb is ideal for chords
  • Hall- Large reverb paired with a warm decay
  • Spring- This is also called the ‘classic surf’ reverb, but it also great to use along with Rockabilly.

On this pedal, the Room reverb copies the tone of a reflective room that’s medium sized. As for the Plate, the Plate emulate a vintage, fizzy wash that comes from the boutique scene. If you have the liveliness turned down low you can play over a dark, soft base; this adds a creepy element which can be really cool paired along with vocal solos.

The Reverse reverb takes out the dry signal that comes from your guitar and reaplces it with a wet reserved reverb. I love using the Reserve reverb to add an eerie effect to crescendos and decrescendos. Modulated is great to use if you are looking to pop your chords out of the mix without adding any muddiness to the sound produced. If you have the Modulated reverb in use while you are in stereo, it can be very easy to get lost in the sound.

When I played around with the Halo reverb, I was surprised at how little part liveliness played in the sound produced. With the liveliness set at a higher rate, the lower octaves were more clear to the ear, but the higher octaves were muffled. I enjoyed the Halo reverb though because it added warmth to the sound produced and faded into a cozy decay.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Spring tone because it made my tone harsh sounding. The harsh sounding tone was even worse when I had the Liveliness set all the way up. However, when I had the liveliness turned to around six o’clock, the Spring became tighter over single coils, which was enjoyable.

If this is the pedal you are falling in love with, please read my full DigiTech Polara Reverberation Pedal review to find out more!

Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal

If you are someone who enjoys the 60s surf reverb, this is the pedal for you. The Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal was designed to copy the sound of the Fender 6G15 reverb unit that usually sells around for around $1,000. If you love the Fender 6G15 but can’t afford the price tag that comes with that reverb pedal, the Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal is an amazing dupe.

Catalinbread created this reverb pedal to have the distortion and overdrive go directly into the front of your amp. I personally think that the Catalinbread Topanga is the best spring reverb pedal that I have ever used; I am saying that because of how well it works, but I’m also saying that because of the price range. A spring pedal that performs this well isn’t usually this affordable, but Catalinbread somehow managed to do it.

This reverb pedal not only have an attractive cosmetic appearance, but it also has a very warm and realistic tube-driven spring tank sound to it. Catalinbread’s reverb pedal was born to be connected to the input part of your amp; I highly suggest that you don’t use this pedal in the effects loop. By driving your preamp, this reverb pedal is going to provide you clean, vintage sounds; if you are looking for a sound that’s more intense, turn the volume knob. By turning the volume knob, you’re going to increase the sound which allows the reverb to saturate your amp a bit further.

The Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal has four knobs. These knobs are:

  • Dwell
  • Tone
  • Volume
  • Mix

The Dwell knob provides you with the ability to control how much signal is going into your reverb springs; cranking the dwell knob up can shorten the wet side, which is due to the signal crashing the springs.

As for the Tone knob, this knob allows you to control the brightness of your sound; if you are looking for your sound to be a bit brighter, turn your knob clockwise. If you are looking for your sound to be darker, turn the knob counter-clockwise.

Mix provides you with the ability to adjust the amount of reverb that blends in with the dry sound. By turning this knob all of the way up, you are going to receive a fully wet sound.

The Volume knob is the rock on this pedal. The Volume knob is the volume control of any preamp, which allows you to increase (or decrease) the sound.

Check out my full Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal to learn more about this reverb pedal!

TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal

The TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal is a reverb pedal that’s pedal board friendly but offers several different versions of the reverb effect. TC Electronic Hall of Fame has just launched a couple of years ago and was marketed as a basic pedal. Just by adding a basic reverb pedal to your guitar, you are going to open up a range of ambient vistas for you to explore and play around with.

The basic setup of this reverb pedal is a pedal board friendly, compact, battery powered pedal that has been loaded up with new sounds; these new sounds are now called Tone Prints. Each pedal has a small number of several sound variations that you can choose from; one of these variations being Tone Print. Tone Print allows you to download the settings that celebrity guitar players have designed and upload them to your pedal by using a mini USB cable or by using your smartphone. You can use your smartphone by aiming the speakers on your phone to your pickups; this beams the data directly to the pedal.

This pedal has two inputs and two outputs that you can use for connecting to a stereo; this pedal is powered by a 9V negative supply and draws a current of 100mA. There are a pair of dip switches that are inside of the Hall of Fame pedal that allows you to choose between the default bypass switching and the buffered bypass; this switch also allows you to set a ‘dry kill’ node so that you just get the effect of the pedal, with no added dry sound when the reverb pedal is used along with your amp’s FX loop.

Another cool thing about the TC Electronic Hall of Fame is that it is both operable in stereo, as well as standard mono guitar pedal mode. Also, the Hall of Fame has controls that allow you to set the amount of reverb, as well as how long you want it to take to decay; there is also a tone knob that you can use in order to make the tone brighter or darker. The two-way switch on the reverb allows you to set whether or not your reverb has a short or long pre-delay, which allows you to put a little bit of space in between your notes before the reverb begins to kick in.

As for sound, the spring simulation is a typical essential for people who play without one built into their amp. The Hall of Fame spring recreates that sound almost to a T. The other simulations on this reverb pedal add a realistic sense of space that you may not hear on other pedals. Tone Print’s default setting has plenty of other reverb styles to choose from too; the setting that comes with the spring reverb that turns the reverb down and up, all depending on how long you play.

Want to find out more? Read my full TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverberation Pedal review here!

Red Panda Context Reverberation Pedal

Using a reverb pedal can be intimidating, especially if you have never used one before. Reverb pedals have so many different parameters around them and if you don’t know how to properly use one, you may not get the dramatic effect or overall sound you are looking for. One of the most popular reverberation pedals in the entire world is the Red Panda Context reverb pedals; while the Red Panda isn’t a reverb pedal that’s highly talked about, it is a pedal that you’re going to find in many guitar players arsenals all around the world. The tone on the Red Panda is amazing, but it is a pedal that is less versatile than other pedals on the market.

There are six delay modes on this pedal, which are all familiar options to any experienced reverb pedal user. The true bypass is switchable internally, which allows you to have a tail if you prefer. In order to consistently maintain the clarity of the notes, the Red Panda pedals comes with a dedicated dry path.

The Red Panda Context Reverberation Pedal had four controls. These controls are:

  • Blend
  • Damping
  • Decay
  • Delay

The Red Panda Context Reverberation Pedal also has six different modes. These modes are:

  • Delay: Adjustable delay time with repeats
  • Plate: Dense and bright reverb that also has an adjustable reverberation time with a low and high-frequency response
  • Cathedral: Bright reverb with an extended response
  • Gated: Adjustable gate time with a nonlinear decay
  • Room: Fast build up
  • Hall: Slow buildup with a moderate diffusion

The Room mode gives users an expected sound for reverb that also comes with a quick commencement. If you are looking for a snappy, short reverb that adds just a little bit of dimension and presence to your sound, the Room is the mode that you’re going to want to use. If you are looking for an infinite reverb ambience, turn up the Decay while in Room mode.

When you push the Delay past twelve o’clock, you’re going to receive an echo that sounds as if your sound was bouncing right off the wall and back at you. By pushing the Decay, you’re going to extend the reflections and muffle the sound. If you don’t like this because the sound is too bright, you can push up the Damping.

The Hall mode begins to pick up right where the Room mode left off, just be offering a more substantial set up for your guitar’s sound to bounce around. If you turn up the Delay up to 12 o’clock and turn the Decay all the way down, you’ll create a burst of echoes, which sounds really cool.

As for the Cathedral mode, this is an infinite, expansive, reverb that will make your guitar sound like it’s traveling all around in outer space. This mode is bright and fluffy, so if that isn’t something that you’re into, you should try turning the Damping knob if you are looking to darker up your tone.

Gated mode is an interesting reverb, as it makes the reverb more prominent while you are playing and it silences any space in between. In other words, the Gated mode creates a small burst of ambience and begins to trail off to a quick stop when you stop playing, even if you are on a high Decay setting. If you are looking for something that’s a little eerie or different, the Gated mode will quickly become your favorite mode.

The Plate mode offers the huge plate style reverb, without having the large plates around. This mode provides you with a smooth extension of the reverb, while also elongating your guitar’s sound with a reverb trail. As for the Delay mode, this is one of the most surprising parts of the Red Panda context, because it gives you with a clean digital delay, with the option of having reverb.

That’s right, there isn’t a spring mode on this reverb pedal. The Red Panda Context isn’t traditional enough to have a spring setting, but you will find other familiar modes on this reverb pedal, such as Room, Plate, Hall. Just to make things a bit more exciting on this reverb pedal, Red Panda has added a delay mode with a modulated reverb.

The Red Panda Context also has a minimal parameter layout that is comparable to some of the more complex reverb pedals on the market today. Most guitar players don’t play with two maps or even use their effects loop, so Red Panda only made this mono. For such a minimalist reverb pedal, the Context has a unique collection of reverberation sounds.

Need to know more? Check out the different Red Panda Context Reverberation Pedal here! 

Conclusion

The reverb pedals that I have listed above are not listed in order from best to worst; each of the pedals listed above will cater to guitarists who have different needs. We hope this list has the perfect guitar pedal for you!

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Otherwordly Reverberation Pedal

Rather than imitating a plate or spring, the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly uses a sequence of short delays that cascade into each other in order to produce the reflections that are typically produced by reverb units. Each of the delays stands in for each reverb reflection that’s decaying; in return, this creates a large space.

The EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly offers several different controls. Some of these controls include:

  • Length: controls length of the decay
  • Dampen: changes the tone
  • Diffuse: changes the spread of the effect
  • Drag: controls the speed
  • Mix: controls the wet to dry ratio
  • Reflect: changes the regeneration, also feed output back into the pedal

A lot of the devices that EarthQuaker creates are famous from producing unique guitar effects; the Rainbow Machine, Organizer pedals, and the Bit Commander are just some of their most famous pieces.

The EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly isn’t the typical reverb pedal; that most guitarists are used to playing with. I would not suggest that you purchase this pedal if you are just looking for a moderate echo, any sort of conventional sound, or a bit of a subtle ambience. The Afterneath produces an original sound; however, the sound the Afterneath Otherwordly produced is comparable to a multi-tap digital delay algorithm that is combined with a reverb. However, if you’re looking for a unit that has all of the combined effects that the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly, you’re not going to find one.

When I first got my hands on the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly Reverberation Pedal, I was a bit overwhelmed at the offering of six knobs. On the far right, there are two knobs. Knob number one allows the user to adjust the reverb tone from dark to bright. The dark to bright range has a consistently full sound. The second knob is the mix knob, which sets the amount of the wet reverb signal that is heard; this knob ranges from no reverb to a wet signal that sufficiently covers the dry sound without it actually being one hundred percent wet. In other words, it’s safe for you to turn the mix knob all of the way up or to keep at the 3 o’clock position and in turn you’ll have amazing results.

The reflect and the length knobs are also an important part of the pedal that you need to learn about, as they both are very interactive parts of the pedal. The length knobs determines the decay time of the reverb, which creates the overall length of the sounds that are heard. The longer that you have your length knob on, the more hall inspired reverb you’re going to receive. On the other hand, the reflect knob increases the regeneration, which adds to the length of the reverb. If you have your reflect set too high, the pedal will self-oscillate. I personally suggest that if you have one knob set high, you keep the other knob low. However, it is a whole lot of fun to have both knobs turned up high and throw yourself into reverberating bliss.

The most enjoyable part of using the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly is that the drag knobs allows you to affect the reverb sound by changing the spacing between short delays. You can change this knob to produce more of a rhythmic delay, a reverb ambience, or you can slowly turn the knob while it’s reverberating in order to produce a pitch with different reverberated sounds. In case you’re not entirely sure what this would sound like, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that can you show you this. If you have listened to this, it’s a completely different experience when you are playing.

Diffuse knob allows you to add definition to the delays; if you are looking for articulated repeats, turn the knob counter clockwise. However, if you are looking for a legato production, turn the knob clockwise. If you happen to be someone who wants a clear delay sound, make sure you turn down your diffuse, length, drag, and reflect knobs!

Criteria:

It is most definitely easy to become overwhelmed by the massive reverb pedal; market that’s available; there are a countless number of reverb pedal available in every single style in the world. In order to know how to evaluate an reverb pedals’ quality to make sure that the reverb you’re looking at is the proper one for your needs, you need to understand what criteria is used to evaluate a reverb pedal’s quality.

This review of the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly Pedal will look at the following criteria:

  • The quality of sound produced
  • The materials that the pedal is made from
  • Who the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly is best suited for
  • How easy the pedal is to use
  • The value of the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly for your money

Overall, the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly Devices is an affordable pedal that offers a whole new range of effects that differs from the Hall of Fame. This is a great pedal to bring along with you if you don’t want to drag a whole bunch of pedals with you; it offers a whole plethora of effects in just one pedal.

Core features:

  • Length knob controls the decay length of the reverb
  • Dampen knob to adjust the tone; turn the dampen know counter clockwise if you want a darker tone produced, turn the know clockwise if you would like brighter tones produced
  • Powdered by a 9VDC power adapter
  • The mix gradually transitions the wet signal to dry; while the signal does not completely go full wet, it does slowly lower the clean level, which gives the appearance of full wet
  • Reflect controls the regeneration of the reverberation. Turn your knob clockwise if you are looking for echoes and wash; if you want less, turn your counter clockwise. If you turn the knob up too high, the reflect with self-oscillate.
  • Current draw is 65mA
  • The diffuse knob to adjust the spread of the reverb; if you are looking for a sharper attack, turn the knob counter-clockwise. If you are looking for more of an ambient attack, turn the knob clockwise.
  • The drag knob is made up of a collection of short delays; the separation of the delay lines created a ping, stuttering effect. My personal suggestion when using this knob is that you slowly turn the knob as you let your notes or chords ring out in order to produce a warped speed effect. If you are looking for more drag, turn the knob counter clockwise. If you are looking for less drag, turn the knob clockwise.

Who is the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Otherworldly Reverberation Pedal Best suited for?

I would not suggest the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly for any beginning guitarists. I would also not suggest this reverb machine to anyone who is traveling and only needs a machine that’s going to give them basic effects.

However, I would suggest this reverb machine to anyone who is looking to surpass their comfort zone and create. The EarthQuaker Afterneath is the perfect reverberation pedal to use if you are someone who plays with several different bands or groups and are looking for a pedal/ machine that will fit into a variety of styles, not one that only fits into one style.

Does the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly work as advertised?

Yes, it does! While I understand that $225 isn’t always affordable for musicians, I know from personal experience that it truly is a joy to play. I love using it to travel around with as a I play along with different bands that are in different genres. It’s a reverb pedal that you can truly customize your sound to.

Pros of the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherworldly:

  • The EarthQuaker Afterneath is one of the most inspiring and unique reverb pedals that is on the current market and has been for years.
  • Affordable for all of the features that it provides

Cons EarthQuaker Afterneath OtherWordly:

  • If you are looking for a pedal that’s only going to provide you with ambience, this pedal shouldn’t be the definitive pedal that you use.
  • Can be a bit complex to figure out if you are new to using reverb pedals

Other alternative reverb pedals to consider:

TC Electronic Hall of Fame

If you are interested in something that’s a little bit less complex to use, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame may be something that you’re interested. The basic setup of this reverb pedal is a pedal board friendly, compact, battery powered pedal that has been loaded up with new sounds; these new sounds are now called Tone Prints. Each pedal has a small number of several sound variations that you can choose from; one of these variations being Tone Print. Tone Print allows you to download the settings that celebrity guitar players have designed and upload them to your pedal by using a mini USB cable or by using your smartphone. You can use your smartphone by aiming the speakers on your phone to your pickups; this beams the data directly to the pedal.

Red Panda Context

The Red Panda Context is an amazing reverb pedal, especially since it performs like a high-end reverb pedal that costs double of what the Red Panda Context does. This reverb peal is one of the best reverb pedals for guitar players that are looking for a large ambience or just a subtle space for your guitar, especially if you are someone who is just plugging your guitar into a single amp or just using an effects loop.

The only complaint that I have about the Red Panda Context Reverb pedal is that it doesn’t come with an Expression pedal control to use over the Decay or Blend; this would have been nice to use to have an extra momentary foot-switch for the infinite Decay.

Final Take: The EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Otherwordly Reverberation Pedal

If you are someone who is bored with the limited possibilities of the Hall of Fame, the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly Reverberation Machine is a pedal that I honestly suggest to many of my students, co-workers, and friends. I know as a guitar performer and teacher, I often get super bored with the common effects. Whenever I’m creating new music or working with a new band, I’m often looking to push myself past my comfort zone and create something new.

When I am looking for a traditional ambience, I usually stack over reverb pedals over the EarthQuaker Afterneath. While we talked about the functionality of this pedal, it’s truly how you use the pedal that makes it so exciting. This quickly became a huge component in my performances, as it provides my guitar is an entire playground of exploration.

The drag function that this pedal offers is what truly sets it apart from other alluring soundscape creating pedals. My only complaint about this pedal is that you have to have an internal PCB (schematic design) in order to accommodate this pedal. However, there are so many other benefits that this pedal has to offer, that that negative really is nothing when looking at the whole aspect of the pedal.

 

DigiTech Polara Reverberation Pedal Review You’ll Love

The Polara reverb pedal is a small but solid reverb pedal that has its home made in the same space as it’s ambient cousin, the DigiTech Obscura. The cosmetic appearance of this pedal is a bit bulky, but that may be appealing to some players. This reverb pedal has four sliding knobs, as well as a tails switch. In a stereo pedal such as the Polara, switches that are side mounted are very common to come across.

There is one common complaint among some users of the Polara, but it truly is just a complaint that doesn’t affect the performance of the pedal. Some users wish that the Polara as a bit taller, in order to fit a top mounted I/O configuration, just to save some space. The Polara is smaller than a Tube Screamer but larger than a Ditto. One of the most raved about parts of the Polara is the Stomplock knob guard that was installed in order to keep your settings locked in, avoiding an accidental movement while performing on stage.

The DigiTech Polara has seven Lexicon Reverb voices. These voices are:

  • Room- This is a fast decaying reverb; you should use this option if you would just like a touch of ambience
  • Plate- Studio reverb that is typically found on classic recordings
  • Reverse- Crescendos from a piano to a fortissimo; this is reverb in reverse
  • Halo- Reverb with surging octave changes
  • Modulated- This reverb is ideal for chords
  • Hall- Large reverb paired with a warm decay
  • Spring- This is also called the ‘classic surf’ reverb, but it also great to use along with Rockabilly.

On this pedal, the Room reverb copies the tone of a reflective room that’s medium sized. As for the Plate, the Plate emulates a vintage, fizzy wash that comes from the boutique scene. If you have the liveliness turned down low you can play over a dark, soft base; this adds a creepy element which can be really cool paired along with vocal solos.

The Reverse reverb takes out the dry signal that comes from your guitar and replaces it with a wet reserved reverb. I love using the Reserve reverb to add an eerie effect to crescendos and decrescendos. Modulated is great to use if you are looking to pop your chords out of the mix without adding any muddiness to the sound produced. If you have the Modulated reverb in use while you are in stereo, it can be very easy to get lost in the sound.

When I played around with the Halo reverb, I was surprised at how little part liveliness played in the sound produced. With the liveliness set at a higher rate, the lower octaves were more clear to the ear, but the higher octaves were muffled. I enjoyed the Halo reverb though because it added warmth to the sound produced and faded into a cozy decay.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Spring tone because it made my tone harsh sounding. The harsh sounding tone was even worse when I had the Liveliness set all the way up. However, when I had the liveliness turned to around six o’clock, the Spring became tighter over single coils, which was enjoyable.

Criteria:

It is most definitely easy to become overwhelmed by the massive reverb pedal; the market that’s available; there is a countless number of reverb pedals available in every single style in the world. In order to know how to evaluate a reverb pedals’ quality to make sure that the reverb you’re looking at is the proper one for your needs, you need to understand what criteria is used to evaluate a reverb pedal’s quality.

This review of the Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal will look at the following criteria:

  • The quality of sound produced
  • The materials that the pedal is made from
  • Who the Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal is best suited for
  • How easy the pedal is to use
  • The value of the Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal for your money

Overall, the Digi Tech Polara is a reverb pedal that has a trippy cosmetic appearance to it. This IS a great pedal to have with you if you need something that has all of the basic effects, with a few extras added into the mix. I would personally suggest this pedal to you if you are prone to dropping your instruments or your pedals, as this reverb pedal was built to withstand a decent amount of abuse. I would not suggest this pedal to you if you are a huge ambient user, as the Polara doesn’t deliver super well with the ambient setting.

DigiTech Polara Reverb
List Price: $149.95
Price: $149.95
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Core features:

  • Decay knob allows you to determine the length of the tail on the reverb
  • Liveliness knob determines the frequency response
  • Level manages the volume of the signal that is affected
  • Knobs lock in place so that the settings won’t change during transportation
  • Stereo outs included
  • High Voltage operation
  • Uncompromised signal quality
  • True Bypass circuitry preserves your tone while in bypass
  • Custom Cut Hook and Loop Pedal board pad that you can use to attached and lock your pedals on to your pedal board
  • Stomplock knob guard locks your tone into place, while also preventing accidental knob adjustments while on stage or preventing any tampering

Who is Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal best suited for?

The Digi Tech Polara is best suited for reverb users who are looking for a pedal that has a fit more accessories than a basic reverb pedal does. With the added Stomplock knob guard added into the creation of the Digi Tech Polara, this reverb pedal is perfect for traveling guitar players. Maybe you don’t do a whole lot of traveling, but enter yourself into competitions to play, or play at a lot of concerts, I would also really suggest this reverb pedal to you, especially if you aren’t looking for anything that has a whole lot of bells and whistles.

Does the Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal work as advertised?

Yes, the Digi Tech Polara does work as advertised; it provides reverb users with a basic reverb pedal that has a little bit of extra jazz to spice it up. It truly is ‘built like a tank’ as Digi Tech describes, which is always a bonus, especially if you are not extremely careful with your instruments.

Pros of the Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal:

  • Attractive cosmetics
  • High build quality
  • Various selection of robust reverbs

Cons Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal:

  • Lacks a quality ambient reverb
  • There is no pre-delay control, which means that the Polara is pretty simple. This may be a pro to some people, but to those who are more experienced with using pedals, others will find this a con.

Other alternative reverb pedals to consider:

TC Electronic Hall of Fame

If you are interested in something that’s a little bit less complex to use, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame may be something that you’re interested. The basic setup of this reverb pedal is a pedal board friendly, compact, battery powered pedal that has been loaded up with new sounds; these new sounds are now called Tone Prints. Each pedal has a small number of several sound variations that you can choose from; one of these variations being Tone Print. Tone Print allows you to download the settings that celebrity guitar players have designed and upload them to your pedal by using a mini USB cable or by using your smartphone. You can use your smartphone by aiming the speakers on your phone to your pickups; this beams the data directly to the pedal.

Red Panda Context

The Red Panda Context is an amazing reverb pedal, especially since it performs like a high-end reverb pedal that costs double of what the Red Panda Context does. This reverb pedal is one of the best reverb pedals for guitar players that are looking for a large ambience or just a subtle space for your guitar, especially if you are someone who is just plugging your guitar into a single amp or just using an effects loop.

The only complaint that I have about the Red Panda Context Reverb pedal is that it doesn’t come with an Expression pedal control to use over the Decay or Blend; this would have been nice to use to have an extra momentary foot-switch for the infinite Decay.

Final Take: The Digi Tech Polara Reverb Pedal

If you are a fan of ambient, you are going to be disappointed by this pedal. However, if you are someone who is looking for a versatile compact reverb pedal, you’re going to enjoy using this pedal. The DigitTech Polara pedal exhibits clarity and simplicity that make the Polara a simple and fine addition to add to any pedal board. The stereo spaces in this pedal create beautiful effects that will transform your music to a whole new world.  If you are looking for a small pedal to carry around with you instead of a whole plethora of units, this arrangement of simple sounds will take care of you.

The Ultimate Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal Review

If you are someone who enjoys the 60s surf reverb, this is the pedal for you. The Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal was designed to copy the sound of the Fender 6G15 reverb unit that usually sells around for around $1,000. If you love the Fender 6G15 but can’t afford the price tag that comes with that reverb pedal, the Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal is an amazing dupe.

Catalinbread created this reverb pedal to have the distortion and overdrive go directly into the front of your amp. I personally think that the Catalinbread Topanga is the best spring reverb pedal that I have ever used; I am saying that because of how well it works, but I’m also saying that because of the price range. A spring pedal that performs this well isn’t usually this affordable, but Catalinbread somehow managed to do it.

This reverb pedal not only have an attractive cosmetic appearance, but it also has a very warm and realistic tube-driven spring tank sound to it. Catalinbread’s reverb pedal was born to be connected to the input part of your amp; I highly suggest that you don’t use this pedal in the effects loop. By driving your preamp, this reverb pedal is going to provide you clean, vintage sounds; if you are looking for a sound that’s more intense, turn the volume knob. By turning the volume knob, you’re going to increase the sound which allows the reverb to saturate your amp a bit further.

The Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal has four knobs. These knobs are:

  • Dwell
  • Tone
  • Volume
  • Mix

The Dwell knob provides you with the ability to control how much signal is going to your reverb springs; cranking the dwell knob up can shorten the wet side, which is due to the signal crashing the springs.

As for the Tone knob, this knob allows you to control the brightness of your sound; if you are looking for your sound to be a bit brighter, turn your knob clockwise. If you are looking for your sound to be darker, turn the knob counter-clockwise.

The mix provides you with the ability to adjust the amount of reverb that blends in with the dry sound. By turning this knob all of the way up, you are going to receive a fully wet sound.

The Volume knob is the rock on this pedal. The Volume knob is the volume control of any preamp, which allows you to increase (or decrease) the sound.

Criteria:

It is most definitely easy to become overwhelmed by the massive reverb pedal; market that’s available; there is a countless number of pedals available in every single style in the world. In order to know how to evaluate a reverb pedals’ quality to make sure that the reverb you’re looking at is the proper one for your needs, you need to understand what criteria is used to evaluate a reverb pedal’s quality.

This review of the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal will look at the following criteria:

  • The quality of sound produced
  • The materials that the pedal is made from
  • Who the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal is best suited for
  • How easy the pedal is to use
  • The value of the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal for your money

Core features of the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal:

  • Spring reverb
  • 9V negative power supply
  • Requires 80 m A current
  • Has four knobs
  • Single stomp switch
  • Also comes with a volume control

The Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal is a pedal that is different from any other Spring reverb pedal that I’ve used; this pedal sounds like an actually outboard spring reverb tank. Unless you happen to be using fuzz, the reverb doesn’t get muddy or noisy; it’s a reverb pedal that has a warm distortion.

Who is Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal best suited for?

The Catalinbread Topanga Reverb Pedal is best suited for guitarists who are interested in playing surf style or who have interest in playing surf style.

Does the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal work as advertised?

Yes, it does! While some surf players may argue how about realistic this reverb pedal sounds, this reverb pedal is every surf guitarist’s ultimate dream. When you have all of the settings set at their most extreme, you’re going to receive the sound of a Fender reverb unit that’s slightly distorted.

Pros of the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal:

  • One of the best spring reverb pedals on the market
  • Has many options of lush sounds that range from soft to surf-worthy
  • Has the wash sounds when you have the knobs turned all of the way
  • Incredibly versatile, especially for a surf pedal
  • Volume knob adds dimension and warmth
  • Quality, solid build

Cons of the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal:

  • Needs a separate on and off switch
  • Hidden modulation mode
  • Doesn’t play very well with higher gain pickups, causes unwanted distortion

Other alternative reverb pedals to consider:

TC Electronic Hall of Fame

If you are interested in something that’s a little bit less complex to use, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame may be something that you’re interested. The basic setup of this reverb pedal is a pedal board friendly, compact, battery powered pedal that has been loaded up with new sounds; these new sounds are now called Tone Prints. Each pedal has a small number of several sound variations that you can choose from; one of these variations being Tone Print. Tone Print allows you to download the settings that celebrity guitar players have designed and upload them to your pedal by using a mini USB cable or by using your smartphone. You can use your smartphone by aiming the speakers on your phone to your pickups; this beams the data directly to the pedal.

The EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly

If you’re looking for something a bit more spicy, the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly isn’t the typical reverb pedal; that most guitarists are used to playing with. I would not suggest that you purchase this pedal if you are just looking for a moderate echo, any sort of conventional sound, or a bit of a subtle ambience. The Afterneath produces an original sound; however, the sound the Afterneath Otherwordly produced is comparable to a multi-tap digital delay algorithm that is combined with a reverb. However, if you’re looking for a unit that has all of the combined effects that the EarthQuaker Afterneath Otherwordly, you’re not going to find one. 

Final Take: The Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal

The Topanga delivers across the entire board, from the subtle waves of reverb to the Dwell and Mix modes, to the wet/dry mix. For $195, you can purchase yourself a great spring reverb pedal. The Topanga uses a lot more than just surf music for inspiration in this pedal too; you can fine tune this pedal to what you exactly need. Even though this is a digital pedal, you don’t receive the digital harshness that you get in a lot of other digital pedals, even the high-end ones when they’re up on their higher settings.

That’s all for the Catalinbread Topanga Reverberation Pedal review. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

Zoom G5n: The Ultimate Review

Zoom are one of the most consistent names in multi-effects, catering for every guitarist, at every level throughout their playing journey.

From their little G1Xon for beginners, right up to this baby… they’ve got you covered.

This baby is the G5n, and it’s their top-of-the-range model, as reflected in the price. Zoom are a company who know what they’re doing at this stage, they’ve been doing it for long enough – since 1983 to be exact.

So, let’s get started with dissecting the G5n, and see what it can do for you and your journey.

Core Features and Specs

At this price, you’d expect something all-singing and all-dancing, and Zoom has pretty much brought that to the table.

A solid, rugged design – probably not as bulletproof as other manufacturers, but you won’t have to play too nice with it. There are plenty of effects at your disposal here.

Material Metal
Number of effects 68
Number of amp simulators Five amps; five cabs
Power Mains only
Loop length 80 seconds
User-created effects storage 200

So far, so standard really. There’s nothing really shouting at me as being groundbreaking, but we review things to look at them more closely!

This will work well for…

The guitarists who are most likely to part with this amount of money for kit like this, are ones who are sure they’ll be getting their money’s worth out of it.

This means we’ll be drawing a line to join this up with professional musicians who don’t have the time, patience, or storage space for a full set of individual stomp boxes.

I’d suggest this would be best for someone playing the corporate covers scene, who’ll need to cover a lot of ground in terms of the effects they’ll need, and need something that’ll survive the occasionally spilled chianti.

Does it do what it should?

It’s a weird thing to consider – multi-effects are supposed to do it all! Let’s take a look at the parts first.

Firstly, this is made of metal. Not tin or anything, heavier than that. If this breaks on you, you were doing it wrong, and you’ll need to seriously reevaluate your pedal use.

Let’s have a nosey at the back panel. Nothing too surprising here. Jack plugs for an input and a stereo output; a mini jack plug for attaching headphones; a mini jack plug input for attaching an MP3 player, phone or tablet, for jamming along to; your mains connection; your USB connection; and a control in.

“Control in”? What’s that? Well, in case you don’t have enough buttons or switches on the G5n, the control in is where you can plug in the Zoom FP01 footswitch, or the FP02 expression pedal. The FP02 kind of makes sense, if you feel you need both a wah pedal and a volume pedal.

I’m still trying to decide what the overall pedal looks like. At the time of writing, I’m opting for something from the Batcave. From the Christopher Nolan trilogy. It can be none more black, has lots of buttons, and appears to be built to withstand a building dropping on it.

Construction

As noted, this is built to be sturdy, to last… not necessarily to be abused, but it would probably be fine with that.

Chassis material aside, the G5n comes with five little pedals on the front, a footswitch for each of its tone banks, six additional buttons for each of those banks, and a few other knobs on its top panel, just for good measure, and a full foot-size expression pedal.

Now, what should one make of this number of controls on a multi-effects pedal? Well, the first thing to comment on is that they all make the pedal’s design bigger overall, which may not be what people are looking for.

The second thing to consider is that it may actually improve the functionality of the pedal: less scrolling, less holding a button down for a few seconds to make it change its function… it doesn’t sound too awful, does it?

So essentially, what these two points come down to is whether you prefer less floorspace being taken up, or more functionality from your pedal.

Each of the tone banks comes with its own LCD screen, as well as another one towards the back of the unit, showing you what your effects chain looks like, making it next to impossible to not know what you’re doing.

Let’s get to the exciting bit – how this Batbox tank sounds.

Tones

Looking through the list of the effects available on this unit, and it looks like you’ll be stuck to find something you don’t like.

They’ve combined some inspirations from classic effects pedals with some of their own work, but it’s likely that if you had time to analyze the audio properties, you’d be able to work out which individual stomp box was the inspiration behind it.

Let’s take a run through what they’ve included, in the various categories they’ve split the effects into.

  • 7 dynamics effects, this includes compressors, a mute button, and a noise gate, with one f the compressors inspired by the MXY Dyna Comp
  • 12 filter effects, including some different types of auto-wah, as well as a selection of EQs
  • 15 drive effects, which includes your overdrive, distortion and fuzz sounds. The usual inspirations can be found here: tributes to the Ibanez Tube Screamer and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff etc
  • 19 modulation effects, so a few tremolos, flange, phase and chorus sounds
  • 9 delay effects, including a tape echo simulator, and an interesting sounding one that alternates the delay between left and right
  • 10 reverb effects, including a tribute to the reverb found on a 1965 Fender Twin Reverb amp

Those are the main effects. I didn’t even get to the wahs, the amps, the cabs. There’s just too much!

Playability

I never feel like I have enough of a word count to talk about the playability of a good multi-effects pedal. They just do so much! I’ll try and cover at least some ground though.

It’s always great to highlight the computer connectivity of a multi-effects pedal, just to highlight what that achieves.

Connecting your G5n to your PC or Mac allows you to use it as an audio interface, so you can record your guitar directly into the digital audio workstation (DAW) of your choice. This is where the amp and cab models are most important.

Say for example you own a Fender Blues Junior amp, but you need the sound of a Marshall JCM 800 for a recording gig. You can set your G5n to the JCM setting while it’s plugged into your Blues Junior, but let’s be realistic – it’s still a Blues Junior. So you can put that JCM 800 sound directly to the recording source, and tada! It’ll sound closer to a JCM 800 that it would coming through your Fender first.

Pros Cons
●      Heavy duty, giggable beast of a thing

●      Could have been made by Wayne Enterprises

●      Plenty of effects to keep the gigging professional busy

●      Useful to have in a recording environment too

●      Some players may not like the blacker-than-black design

●      The number of buttons may be deemed as too fiddly for some players

●      Not the biggest selection of amps and cabs in a multi-effects unit

 

 

Some Alternatives to the Zoom G5n

There are still a few competitors for the G5n. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

Line 6 are one of the big names in multi-effects, and not without reason. They make great gear.

Line 6 M13

Their M series is a bit of a standout. With over 100 effects, it’s essentially the multi-effects pedal equivalent of the Avengers: they took all the effects from the type-specific multi-effects they previously released, such as the DL4 delay unit and the DM4 distortion unit, and brought them all together in a single box.

Each of these type-specific multi-effect were well-received in their own right, so there’s nothing wrong with bringing them in for a team-up.

This is very much for the gigging guitarists though, as it doesn’t feature any kind of USB output for hooking up to a computer. It doesn’t even come with an expression pedal, although it does have an input for one to be attached.

It does let you essentially set up different pedalboards for different types of music you might be playing. These are called scenes, and are pretty useful.

BOSS ME-80

BOSS are certainly a brand who need no introduction when it comes to effects pedals, and indeed multi-effects pedals.

Straight, off, just to clarify and confirm: yes, it is built like a tank; yes, it probably can be thrown off a cliff and be fine.

The ME-80 feels like their big daddy of multi-effects units, and has plenty going for it. This is so similar to the G5n, they could be sisters.

The first thing you’ll see is that it has many, many knobs. This is for a simple dial around method of selecting your effect type, with further knobs for tweaking the parameters.

It also has USB connectivity, so you can use it as an audio interface, or downloading free patches from BOSS’s Tone Central.

In Conclusion

It’s difficult not to be impressed with the Zoom G5n – it does tick so many boxes. It feels like there should be more boxes for it to tick them too.

I can see a working functions covers musician getting on well with it. With the range and quality of tones accessible, it is a solid workhorse of a pedal.

If you need one that does it all, this could be a goer.

Zoom G1Xon: One of the Best Multi-Effects Sound Pedals

Some guitarists of a certain vintage will remember a multi-effects pedal from the days of yore, called a Zoom GFX707.

It was cheap as anything, but for a lot of us, it was our first experience running our guitars through something before it hit the amp. We’ve moved onto higher-end gear, but there’s still a reverence associated with it.

The 707 is long gone – you can pick them up for less than $30 – but Zoom still caters for people learning their phase from their flange in the form of this tidy little box: the G1Xon.

Core Features and Specs

The cost of the G1Xon puts it very much in the range for beginners on a budget.

In saying that, their minds will be blown by having a vast quantity of sounds at the tips of their toes!

For $20 less, you can get one without an expression pedal, but for the sake of that, you’re as well to just pay it and get the most out of it.

Material Plastic
Number of effects 78
Number of amp simulators 22
Power Four AA batteries, or AC adaptor
Loop length 30 seconds
User-created effects storage 100 spaces

This will work well for…

For the most part, especially due to the price, this is pretty much aimed at beginners, and will work very well for them.

In saying that, seasoned guitarists have been known to keep their starter multi-effects box around for a while, even if just for the tuner and metronome. Or perhaps just the nostalgic sentiment.

Anyway, this is a fantastic addition to a beginner’s kit, maybe a few months after they start, when they have a good feel and ear for the instrument and amp they have, and are eager to find their own sound.

Does it do what it should?

The short answer to this is yes, yes it does.

Look, at this price, and for the intended audience of this pedal, all they’re going to want to do is play with the sounds until the get it as they like. And the 78 different types of effects on this pedal will keep them entertained and exploring, and hopefully even inspired.

The parts used are plastic, so this is unlikely going to cut it on the rigours of the road, but a bedroom guitarist should have no problems.

Apart from the aforementioned expression pedal, the G1Xon has two footswitches. These are used for manually scrolling through effects, engaging the pedal’s looper function, and engaging tuner mode. It has other buttons for you to store your own patches, and switch between looper and rhythm.

It’s got a bright, orange, backlit LCD screen to show you what you’re doing.

On the unit’s back panel, you’ll find the input for your guitar to go in, and the output for the unit to go to your amp or headphones. You’ll also find the mains input, and a mini USB port: you can use that for firmware updates or for connecting it to the mains.

The back panel also includes a mini jack plug, auxiliary input. This can be used for hooking up a backing track via your phone or tablet.

Construction

In terms of the layout of the pedal, it’s all logical and makes sense. It seems well put together, and nothing is rattling that might cause any concern.

However, this is a cheap pedal and is constructed as such. It’s plastic, and not super-heavy plastic either.

Sure, if you’re mostly using it in a bedroom to experiment with noise, it won’t be too much of a concern, but there are still hazards in a bedroom that the G1Xon is unlikely to survive, like if a heavy chair fell on it or if a glass of water spilled on it.

I’d suggest that even when using it for its regular purpose, you wouldn’t want to be over-zealous in stomping on it. There’s no way would it cut it with a regularly gigging band on the road, but it’s not designed for them anyway.

It sounds like it’s all doom and gloom! It’s not, there’s still plenty of fun to be had, but it is important to be aware that this is never going to win any prizes for durability. If you’re looking for a multi-effect box that you can dramatically stomp on, you’ll need to look elsewhere with a few extra dollars.

Let’s move on to see how this little box sounds.

Tones

78 effects and 22 amp simulations, means an awful lot of ground to cover when talking about the G1Xon’s tones, but I’ll cover what I can.

This Zoom categorizes its effects into four groups: Overdrive/distortion; dynamics/filter; modulation; and delay/reverb. Most of the effects are based on well-known, classic effects pedals – the user’s manual will tell you which ones they are based on. As you go through the various effects, they show on the display as an individual pedal.

With the sounds that are attributed to particular pedals, such as the Big Muff and the Tube Screamer, it’s important to be realistic about the fact that they are not these pedals, and are going to be quite a bit away from sounding like them.

It is worth remembering that guitarists using the G1Xon are most likely to be using a low budget, probably small, solid state amp, so expectations need to be managed: when you switch to the Tube Screamer, the chances of you suddenly sounding like Stevie Ray Vaughan are probably nil.

The amp simulators are fine if you’re going directly into headphones or an audio interface. If you plug it into a solid state practice amp with a six-inch speaker, it’s not going to sound like a Marshall stack.

Playability

With the amount of stuff to discover in the G1Xon, it’s not short in playability stakes, especially for guitarists at the start of their musical journey.

So much is heard about the various effects pedals that the famous musicians use, and that cost a lot of money. When guitarists are still in their exploratory stage, it’s actually pretty useful to have something like this where they can try out a whole bunch of them cheaply.

Although the “tribute” sounds won’t really sound like the ones they’re modeled on, it should at least get ears accustomed to the varying tones across pedals and amps, and perhaps sow a seed of aspiration if they continue playing.

A fun aspect of the G1Xon is the built-in rhythm tracks. These days, such things are recorded using actual drums – a far cry from the days when the “punk” setting would be an endless MIDI snare and hi-hat!

It’s an undervalued thing, but the built-in metronome is really important. It’s always amazing to see guitarists who are playing to themselves rather than to their bandmates, and especially their drummer. With the likely owners of this unlikely to quite be in a band yet, it would be good for them to practice playing to its metronome.

Pros Cons
●      Very, very cheap

●      Lots of room for beginner guitarists to start exploring effects

●      Construction is spot on

●      Ideal as a first effects pedal

●      You get what you pay for – this sounds cheap

●      Casing feels a little flimsy – you’d be afraid to take it outside your bedroom

 

Some Alternatives to the Zoom G1Xon

There are a bunch of alternatives available for beginner guitarists on a budget if the G1Xon isn’t quite what you’re looking for.

Vox Stomplab

Best known as amp manufacturers, Vox have diversified their product offering over the past decade or so. The Stomplab range has been around for a few years now, and is well-regarded. Looking at the Stomplab IG, as with Zoom, the inclusion of an expression pedal will cost you an extra $20.

The first things you’ll notice about the Stomplab are its parts and construction. All its sounds come packed in a sturdy metal box, with two metal footswitches.

Given the maker involved, it’s probably no surprise that amp simulation is a big part of the Stomplab’s offering. Of the 103 effects at your disposal, 44 are amps, with a further 12 cabinets. Of course, it covers Vox’s own legendary amps like the AC30 and AC15, with the rest based on various Fenders and Marshalls etc.

Behringer FX600

If you’re on an even tighter budget, Behringer’s FX600 is about $20 cheaper and is super-compact. It’s the size of a regular pedal, but with six built-in effects: flanger, chorus, phaser, delay, tremolo and pitch shifter.

With one knob for selecting the effect you want to use, one for controlling the level of the effect, it’s got a further two knobs for adjusting the parameters of your selected effect.

Obviously, with this price and the incredibly compact nature of the pedal, there has to be some cutbacks somewhere. The six effects can only be selected one at a time, so you’ll need to choose wisely – the FX600 doesn’t come with any internal memory to store your own creations.

Despite being made of plastic, Behringer pedals are actually pretty tough. The sounds aren’t based on any existing ones. This might be a good fit if you’re looking for choice but simplicity.

In Conclusion

The Zoom G1Xon is a solid choice for beginners looking to explore the world of effects.

It may not be bulletproof in terms of its build, and the sounds may not be the highest quality, but it will certainly get fledgling guitarists into the ballpark of the sounds they aspire to.

As with any kit, the most important thing is to get into your local guitar store and see if it’s for you.

TC-Helicon Play Acoustic: Another top Multi-Effects Pedal to Love

While most multi-effects units are very much aimed at electric guitar players, some of the features in them would be a waste of time for a guitarist more focused on acoustic playing.

A teeny, tiny market does exist for multi-effects processors for acoustic musicians, and it’s here that TC-Helicon’s Play Acoustic model resides.

TC-Helicon is a Canadian subsidiary of TC Electronic, which is largely focused on vocal effects such as harmonizers and pitch correction, a tradition they’ve proudly incorporated into the Play Acoustic. I’m excited to take a look at this, and see what it does!

Core Features and Specs

There are quite a few features in the Play Acoustic that identify it as a useful tool in your arsenal of guitar gear.

The first thing is that it has applications for both your acoustic guitar and your vocals, whereby you can add effects that will bring you away from being just another singer with a guitar. Most notable of these is the harmony effects, so you can play or sing, and it will track the sound and apply harmonies in real time.

Material Metal
Number of effects 14: six for guitar, eight for vocals
Number of amp simulators None
Power Mains only
Loop length None
User-created effects storage 100+

This will work well for…

This is an ideal piece of kit for solo, acoustic singer-songwriters.

If the time is taken to familiarize themselves with all this can do, and with the right songs and arrangements, the Play Acoustic has the potential to really bring their live sound to a whole new level, and the ability to really stand out amongst a heavily saturated market of such performers.

I do think it’s important to highlight that just owning the box and bringing it with you onstage isn’t enough. It’s something you have to work with to get the most out of. Think of it as having an additional musician performing with you – you wouldn’t publicly perform with one, without having practiced first!

Does it do what it should?

The general implication of the Play Acoustic’s features is for a live setting and taking a look at the parts involved in its creation, it’s definitely been designed with that scenario in mind.

Firstly, it’s made of a sturdy steel chassis, with high-quality footswitches on the top, for you to engage whatever effect while you’re performing.

Looking at the back panel, and there’s a lot going on.

  • jack plug input for your guitar, and an XLR input for your vocal mic
  • two XLR outputs, one each for guitar and vocals, for going to a DI box or to the mixing desk
  • a mini jack plug output for headphones
  • a mini jack input for an auxiliary audio source, like your phone or tablet
  • a connection for an additional pedal
  • your mains connection
  • mini USB connection
  • a GND switch – not as ominous as it sounds – if there are grounding issues while you’re playing causing your guitar to hum, pressing this button should help resolve them

Looking at the top panel, the centerpiece is it’s bright, backlit LCD screen to show you what exactly your’re doing as you go through its features. This is supported by six buttons to select your effects, and a knob to adjust them for what you need.

Construction

The Play Acoustic has been designed with the gigging musician in mind. To this end, the metal casing and footswitches are well-suited. I’d be 100% confident bringing this on the road, without any worry of it breaking.

Despite the ruggedness of the design, it’s not an excuse to go throwing the pedal around. You still need to be careful, especially with products based on digital interiors. They can get loose, and they can break internally. If you look after this pedal, the most issue you’ll have is some scuffs.

The placement of the controls and buttons are all logical and make sense, and the LCD screen will be fine on even the darkest of stages.

I will say that if you’ve been doing the solo, acoustic singer-songwriter thing for a while, having this pedal at your feet, that does so much, might be a shock to the system. That’s why it’s important to spend quite a few hours making sure you know the layout of the pedal, and how it will do what you want and expect when you need it to happen onstage.

So far, so good then. Everything is looking well, but let’s see what the Play Acoustic will do for your sounds.

Tones

Seeing as this is a guitar gear website, we’re going to keep things focused on the applications of the Play Acoustic to your guitar sound.

Looking at the reverb effects first, there are 36 different types available, taking some directly from parent company, TC Electronic’s, pedal of contemporary legendary status, the Hall of Fame. With this number of reverbs available, you’ll be sure to find one that works for your music, whether it’s emulating a bathroom or a cathedral!

The Play Acoustic’s μMod set of effects is one I personally find a bit weird and includes chorus and detunes. I don’t want to say these are impossible to apply to an acoustic guitar, but I think it would take a certain talent to give them an applicable audio aesthetic to appeal to a wide audience.

The next one is the most exciting. It’s called the BodyRez EQ. Generally speaking, you know how when you mic up an acoustic guitar, and it has a lovely, warm, resonant sound, that will reflect the natural nuances of the guitar’s sound? But when you have an electro-acoustic, with a pickup, it loses that warmth, and can sound a bit weedy when it goes through a PA?

Well, the BodyRez is intended to breathe some of the life it loses when it’s wired up, back into it.

Playability

Beyond the effects, there’re all kinds of things you can do with the Play Acoustic. If you wanted to go really nuts, you could try micing up your guitar and applying some of the vocal effects, or micing up your electric guitar amp!

Experiment, have fun! That’s where progress comes from!

Getting back to straight up plugging in your electro-acoustic though, and the original intentions for this pedal, there is a lot to play with, especially in terms of the reverbs and μMods. The reverbs are OK and pretty easy to figure out whether it’s right or wrong, but the choruses and detunes might take a little more working out.

It’s not that the effects are difficult to use, it’s just that a little patience, and some honest friends, will go a long way in getting the most out of the pedal. It would be useful to record yourself performing with, it just to be able to listen back and really pick out, what’s working, and what’s not.

While not a full audio interface, the USB connectivity does allow you to record your guitar or vocal parts, with the effects applied, but the playback will have to come from another interface. That feels like a bit of a cop out really.

Pros Cons
●      There are effects for vocals as well as guitar

●      Good quality parts and ruggedly constructed

●      Ideal for solo, acoustic singer-songwriters looking to bring an extra bit of flavor to their sound

●      It will take time and patience to get the most out of it

●      It is a bit pricey for most singer-songwriters playing in bars

●      Lack of full USB interface functionality feels like a cop out

 

 

Some Alternatives to the TC-Helicon Play Acoustic

Effects rigs for acoustic musicians isn’t the biggest market in the world, but we have a couple of things to look at.

BOSS have a few offerings because of course they do. Their flagship one is the AD-8.

BOSS AD-8

This is an interesting gizmo and has a different aim than the Play Acoustic. The core idea behind the AD-8 is that it will emulate high-end acoustic guitars. What an idea! Interestingly, it doesn’t specify which guitars it will emulate.

It’s as easy as selecting the type of body you want to sound like, and away you go. I’m not sure what I make of it, but I appreciate that it’s a good idea that would have practical applications for some guitarists.

If you normally play a show with a few guitars, to achieve different sounds for different songs, but you’re booked to play a show that just doesn’t have the room on stage for all your guitars, the AD-8 would solve those problems.

Zoom A3

Zoom’s A3 takes elements from the Play Acoustic and the AD-8, and then some.

Like the AD-8, it allows you to emulate the body shapes of different types of acoustic guitar. Like the Play Acoustic, it allows you to use effects that are fairly unusual for acoustic, like chorus.

Where the A3 stumbles off in its own direction entirely is that in addition to emulating guitars, it wants to emulate the microphones that would be used to mic them up, with choices inspired by legendary mics like the Shure SM57 and Neumann U87.

On top of that, you can select effects such as delay, tremolo, phase and flange. It’s not impossible, but it would take a player with great skill and patience to make those work on acoustic.

In Conclusion

I can definitely see an intermediate acoustic, solo singer-songwriter getting along well with the Play Acoustic. In a saturated market, it’s sure to let them stand out if they have the patience to learn how to tastefully apply it.

T-Rex Soulmate: A Pedal to Love for Ages

T-Rex aren’t known for their multi-effects pedals at all. They’re better known as the creators of some very tasty sounding, but not very cheap stomp boxes, as well as power supplies, pedalboards, and relevant cases.

So, what do we make of them coming out with a multi-effects unit?

Well, going off their existing reputation and positioning, it’s unlikely that it’s going to be lame. Going off this price tag, it really better not be!

Look, it may not be their core business, but T-Rex have been around for long enough and will have well-enough established practices not to do terrible ideas. Right?

Core Features and Specs

The core features of the Soulmate are essentially that it is just five effects.

If you like the idea of a multi-effects unit, but feel you don’t really have any need or want for most of the stuff that manufacturers are trying to cram into it, this could be for you.

This is about the complete absence of frills. T-Rex aren’t trying to show off. This is literally taking five of their best pedals, and shoving them into one box.

Material Metal
Number of effects 5
Number of amp simulators None
Power Mains only
Loop length None
User-created effects storage 10

This will work well for…

Hmm… there’s a tricky question.

I guess there are a couple of people this would work for.

As it only has five effects, it would be for people who are picky about what effects they need.

As those five effects are exclusively from T-Rex, you might also want to be a fan of their effects.

Aside from those two, given the cost of the Soulmate, it’s likely that prospective owners are going to be professional musicians. If you spend this amount on a pedal, you’ll want it to be heard, and you’ll want to be seeing it as an investment that you’ll be getting a return on.

Does it do what it should?

Probably the first surprise with the Soulmate is the fact that they’ve gone for a black finish. T-Rex makes some of the most brightly colored effects pedals around. When they’re doing something so different to their usual approach, I definitely would have expected a bright yellow or green finish.

Anyway, the actual material used is rugged and sturdy. The six footswitches are also metal, and look like they’ll take a few stomps for a few years.

Looking at the back panel, and it’s as straightforward as you would expect: jack plugs for input, with two for output; a socket for your power supply; and two further jack plugs for a loop, to incorporate the Soulmate with your other pedals – this section has an additional plug for power, this time for output, for powering other pedals.

You’ll also notice a boost knob on the back panel. This is for adjusting the level of the Soulmate’s boost function to whatever you need.

In addition to the functions of a series of traditional pedals, the T-Rex have also included a tuner, 10 spaces for presets, and a tap tempo for working with the delay.

Overall, it’s reminiscent of a cringeworthy old business acronym: KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Construction

The Soulmate feels durable, solid and weighty. It could handle a few years on tour. You’d want to be giving it some serious abuse if it didn’t last.

The layout of the build is fine. There’s nothing about it that makes you wonder what the designers or makers were on when they were dreaming it up and putting it together. Giving the footswitches a fair wiggle and poke gives a reassuring lack of movement.

T-Rex promotes this as being five of their pedals stuck together, so removing the need to set up various pedals, with various connections and power supplies, and that is really what they’ve done. It is just like having five pedals side by side, where you can operate one at a time, dialing in your own tones.

Probably the key distinction is between this and the individual pedals is that you can save up to 10 presets here, rather than having to tweak it every time you take out your Soulmate to play. That’s very useful.

The construction will satisfy somebody who just needs the core pedal sounds, whether they need them for gigging every night, or just for their own leisure playing at home.

Let’s take a listen and see what these core sounds are actually like though.

Tones

From left to right on the Soulmate, the effects are: overdrive, distortion, delay, reverb and boost. It’s essentially taking a bit from each of the categories the masses of effects of multi-effects pedals usually have.

The overdrive is taken from T-Rex’s Møller pedal. This is supposed to be a nice gentle overdrive, aimed at blues, just edging over to blues rock. It’s a pleasant, well-balanced tone, but it can be cranked nicely for some classic rock sounds.

If you want things a little bit more dirty, the distortion section is based on T-Rex’s Mudhoney pedal – the original single channel one, rather than the contemporary one with two channels. This one has heavier players in mind. The Mudhoney is one for pushing that boundary from warm drive to dirt. It doesn’t get too dirty, not anywhere near any kind of fuzz, but, still… dirty.

Moving along to the delay section, which is apparently based on both their Replica and Reptile models. Both of these pedals are renowned for two things: the range of tones, and the near-analog warmth in a digital pedal. As a digital pedal anyway, it wasn’t to difficult to duplicate that for the purposes of the Soulmate.

The reverb switch is based on the Room-Mate pedal. Now, the Room-Mate is a lovely tube-driven piece of kit, something distinctly lacking from the Soulmate, but it’s not a bad job of replicating the lovely spring and hall reverbs of the original.

The final effect is a boost. Remember earlier, when I mentioned the boost level on the back panel? That’s for that. It works pretty well at boosting clean tones, but I always find that an EQ or overdrive/distortion pedal is better for boosting your driven sounds.

Playability

For the player who wants just some core boutique effects in a single box, they’ll certainly get hours out of the Soulmate, just from enjoying what it does.

This is especially for players who don’t want to spend their time figuring out what button to press to find those core effects amongst the masses of fun you usually get in a multi-effects pedal.

I said at the start that T-Rex seemed to be going for quality over quantity, and that’s what they’ve done. It’s the price range of professional equipment, but I can see an intermediate musician with the money getting a lot of enjoyment from it.

Playability isn’t always about the number of effects and USB connectivity.

Pros Cons
●      Perfectly rugged and solid parts and build

●      Ideal for a professional or intermediate musician whose playing focusing on these core sounds

●      Ideal for those who just want to play guitar, rather than play with a multi-effects unit

●      Some players won’t be happy with the stripped-back, no frills approach

●      Lack of USB connectivity may bother some

●      Some players just won’t appreciate the simplicity of it

 

 

Some Alternatives to the T-Rex Soulmate

There really aren’t very many boutique multi-effects pedals around, but there are a couple worth looking at.

Carl Martin Quattro

With an MSRP of $979 there’s no denying that the Carl Martin Quattro is pretty cost prohibitive. Think about it: the most common use of effects pedals is for guitarists who need a range of sounds for whatever it is they’re playing, but can’t afford all the individual stomp boxes they need, so multi-effects is the compromise.

So, the tone of this needs to be the equivalent of going on a date with your celebrity crush, where you’ll drink the tears of angels, before riding away together on a unicorn. Or something.

Like the Soulmate, the Quattro is limited in the number of effects it presents: echo, chorus, two types of drive, and compressor. However, the difference – and this is a big difference – is that it retains analog build. There’s not a hint of the harshness associated with digital here.

BOSS GT-100

On the other side of the Soulmate is the BOSS GT-100, with an MSRP of $699. This is a bit more in line with the traditional image of a multi-effects pedal. BOSS are one of the top names in making such things, so you don’t really have anything to worry about.

In saying that, the GT-100 doesn’t have as many effects built into it as some cheaper models might. It comes with 44 effects, which includes BOSS’s famous COSM technology for amp modeling. Most notably on first appearance, it comes with a built-in expression pedal, a feature not included – or required – on the Soulmate or Quattro.

Outside of that, the GT-100 pretty much comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a digital multi-effects unit. It has 200 presets – 100 from the factory, and 100 to fill yourself. It has USB connectivity, so you can use it as an audio interface or downloading free effects patches from BOSS.

In Conclusion

The Soulmate isn’t cheap, and probably isn’t the most versatile piece of gear around. It’s really for professionals and intermediates who know the sound they want to achieve and can just go ahead and do it.

The sounds are right up there with T-Rex individual boxes, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a go if you have the budget.