Archive for the ‘reverb’ Category

No, not the sexual kind – though we do like that – but the spring reverb kind. 🙂 Specifically, I’m talking about the Tone Candy Spring Fever. I reviewed the Spring Fever back in May, and gave it a 4.5 Tone Bones. But now that I’ve got it and after spending a few hours with it last night, I’m now giving it 5.0 Tone Bones! Here’s why:

  1. As I said in my original review, the Spring Fever is just about the best spring reverb pedal I’ve ever played. It sounds incredibly realistic, and unlike many of the digital varieties I’ve played, while it’s jangly with some top-end, it also doesn’t lose bottom end, so your tone stays nice and rich. That’s a little disconcerting to some folks because they’re used to a brighter tone, but for me, the retention of the bottom end is really what sold me on its tone, plus with the Spring Fever, you can go from subtle spring ‘verb, to rich, spacious, swirling surf tones, so there’s lots of variety on tap.
  2. What I didn’t get to test out in my original audition of the Spring Fever was its Volume knob which also acts as a clean boost if you turn the Reverb and Mix knobs all the way down. I’m not sure how much boost the pedal adds, but there’s enough boost on tap to slam the front end of your amp with loads of gain.

I particularly like the Volume knob because it solves a real problem for me when I play my acoustic gigs at venues where I have to plug directly into a PA board. My acoustics’ pickups don’t have much gain, and I usually have to crank up the volume faders on the board, which can be problematic as it makes it difficult to balance out the guitars’ volume with my vocals. I’ve solved this in the past by lugging my Presonus TUBEPre preamp with me, but that’s a bit of a pain to lug (read: extra gear, not because it’s heavy), and requires a separate 12V power supply. The Volume knob on the Spring Fever eliminates the need for me to bring a preamp with me. Nice.

If I have one complaint of the pedal, it has to be its finicky nature with power supplies, and will add some noise to the signal. Mike Marino explains this on the Spring Fever product page, and recommends some power supplies to use, such as the 1-Spot. I used the 1-Spot in my clips, and when the Spring Fever was activated, there was a slight, but noticeable hiss. This has to do with the power supply, and not the pedal. This also happens when I use my MXR Carbon Copy with the 1-Spot. When I hook it up to a regulated power supply like a Dunlop DC Brick, the pedal is as quiet as can be. So despite Mike’s recommendation about the 1-Spot, don’t use it. Get a regulated power supply like the DC Brick. Luckily, I have an extra DC Brick, so that will be powering my mini board.

How It Sounds

As I said, the Spring Fever is about the best spring reverb pedal I’ve ever played! Capable of producing a wide range of reverb, this pedal will be a permanent fixture on my board! I’ve still got to play around with it some more, but I recorded a few clips to give you an idea of what it can do. The clips below were all recorded using my 1958 Fender Champ output to a Jensen Jet Falcon 1 X 12. I start out each clip with a dry signal, then play it again with some “grease.” What that pedal adds with respect to spaciousness is amazing! All the clean clips were recorded at unity volume, while the dirty clips were played with the amp turned up to about 2pm, and the boost at 1pm with Mix and Reverb completely off. I wanted to demonstrate the clean boost and its effect on an overdriven amp.

Les Paul, Middle Pickup, Fingerstyle. Reverb: 11am, Mix:10 am

Left Channel: Les Paul Middle Pickup, Reverb and Mix same settings as above
Right Channel: Les Paul Neck Pickup, Reverb: Dimed, Mix: 8pm

I love the right channel track on this clip. Turned up all the way, you get this cavernous room sound, but with the Mix set real low, it becomes a much more subtle effect, providing almost a delay-like ambience without the echos.

Squier CV Tele Middle Pickup. Reverb: 10am, Mix 10am
MXR Carbon Copy with long delay time, Mix at about 10am

Les Paul Middle Pickup (biased toward bridge), Volume: 2pm, Mix/Reverb Off

Squier CV Tele Bridge Pickup (biased toward bridge), Volume: 2pm, Mix/Reverb Off

Overall Impression

Yeah, it’s pricey at $275, though you can find it at a lower price if you look. But I haven’t heard as a good a spring reverb pedal like this – ever. And the fact that it has a booster in it just rocks! For me, and especially for my acoustic gigs, this is a game changer!

Read Full Post »

Click on the picture to see an enlarged view.

BOSS RV-5 Digital Reverb

Summary: No, it isn’t the be-all end-all in reverb pedals, but for what it offers as a nice, subtle reverb to add some spaciousness to your sound, then the RV-5 really excels.

Pros: Plate reverb is excellent on this pedal – especially with an acoustic guitar. Amazingly enough, the RV-5 is transparent to my ears and doesn’t suck tone. The RV-5 is also super-quiet, and makes no line noise at all; pleasantly surprising qualities.

Cons: The Spring reverb is a little funky on this pedal. At higher Decay settings, there’s a bit of an intended artifact in the tail of the signal. Not too pleasing to my ears.

Features (from the BOSS web site):

  • Stereo input/output for compatibility with other stereo pedals
  • 6 high-quality reverb modes on par with rackmount processors
  • First-of-its-kind Modulate mode detunes the reverb sound for added spaciousness
  • New spring reverb emulation offers realistic spring reverb sounds
  • New gate reverb taken from high-end Roland studio gear

Price: $149 street

Tone Bone Score: 4.5 ~ As I mentioned above, for what this pedal offers, it’s great! To me, its strong suit is to use it as a subtle effect to add some spaciousness to your sound. As long as you don’t overdo it, this pedal will work great. The Plate reverb is particularly fantastic with acoustic.

With all the great boutique pedals out there, BOSS tends to be a bit too run-of-the-mill for many tone connoisseurs. Even I’ve thought of BOSS as somewhat of an afterthought considering some of the great boutique pedals I have, and from my participation in various online forums. Like, “Oh yeah… BOSS has “xxx” pedal. But it’s BOSS, and that means cheap, production line stuff.” But after I purchased the BOSS RV-5, one of my first thoughts was: “Have I become such a boutique gear snob that I can so easily dismiss production line pedals like BOSS because they’re not hand-made, boutique, and cost far less than boutique stuff that’s SUPPOSED to be better. ‘Cause here I am walking out the store with a BOSS pedal!”

Admittedly, it was a sobering thought. It wasn’t that I was experiencing buyer’s remorse. I truly like this pedal. But I founded this blog to share gear I’ve either purchased or come across, and most importantly, with the premise that it’s tone that matters and not the price or who made it; that is, if it sounds good, who the hell cares who made it or how much it costs? The BOSS RV-5 is a perfect example of this. Yeah, it’s made by a company that is generally equated with “cheap” pedals. But who the hell cares? I like how it sounds. If it wasn’t for the Spring Reverb, which I don’t particularly like on this pedal, it would’ve gotten a higher rating.

My intent with getting yet another reverb pedal was to get a journeyman pedal that would just do the job for my solo acoustic gigs. I wasn’t looking for a reverb where I’d layer on tons of the effect; just something subtle. After all, I was plugging into a PA board, and just wanted a touch of spaciousness, not have the reverb be the primary tone. In my experience, at low levels, even “cheap” stuff works pretty well, so I took the RV-5 for a spin, and was rewarded with a very nice-sounding reverb. As with any digital reverb that I’ve used, using them judiciously and in moderation is the key, and that was how I did my evaluation in the shop.

The net result is that I purchased the pedal. It does the job of providing a subtle, background reverb VERY well. Someone commented in my Gig Report that they’d take the RV-3 over this. I think this was motivated by the fact that the RV-3 is great for ambient stuff, as it is both reverb AND delay. But the RV-5 is really a different animal. Heavy, ambient reverb is not its strong suit. But for adding a slight spacious texture to your tone, it clearly excels in my opinion.

How It Sounds

For what it provides for me, I think this reverb sounds great. It’s not the be-all, end-all in reverbs, and it’s definitely not something I’d use for ambient stuff, but frankly, I never use a reverb pedal for that anyway, which is why I have a delay pedal. I put together samples of the same chord progression to give you an idea of what it sounds like in its various modes. The pedal is set with Level and Tone at noon, and Decay at 2pm. All clips were played with my Gibson Nighthawk, and running into the reverb pedal and into my Aracom VRX22.


This mode adds an ever-so-slight slight chorus modulation to the tone. It’s nice.


Gate is interesting. Both pre-delay and decay are very short. This is actually kind of cool when you want a reverb tone that doesn’t tail.


This setting really started growing on me when I was doing my tests. This is really a small-room type of reverb.


Nice, expansive tone with this mode.


Probably the most subtle of the modes, it really shines with acoustic guitar, but is very useful with electric.


BOSS claims to have added real spring reverb effects to this mode. Well, it didn’t succeed. The little motes of slightly buzzing spring are absolutely annoying to me, and I would never use this mode. You can hear it a little in the clip. I wasn’t expecting it at all, so it’s out as far as I’m concerned.

Overall Impressions

Sans the Spring mode, I like the reverb this produces. Plate and Room are definitely my favorite modes on this pedal, and Modulate comes in a close third. All in all, if you’re looking for journeyman reverb where you just want to lay on some spacious texture, this is a great pedal to consider!

Read Full Post »