The Element Spring Reverb from French pedal company Anasounds aims to recreate iconic reverb tones commonly found in vintage Fender amps. Their innovative detachable spring tank is available in three sizes: Le Bon, La Brute and Le Truand (the good, bad, and ugly). It’s a delightfully fresh take on one of the most underrated yet ubiquitous effects in guitar pedal history.
Without a doubt, this is definitely the most eccentric pedal I’ve ever come across. Reverb pedals containing real springs have been done before, but none (to the extent of my knowledge) house the moving spring in an exterior see-through chamber. While ostensibly seeming like a gimmick, there’s actually a fairly practical reason for this – pedalboard real estate. Most, if not all, analogue spring reverb pedals are housed in a fairly large enclosure that span two regular-sized pedals or more. Thankfully, the Element Spring Reverb’s main control unit is appreciatively ordinary in size, assuming you’re going to mount the reverb tank underneath your pedalboard (Anasounds provides two mounting screws). Regardless on whether you plan on having the tank on top or under your board, it’s a considerable commitment. Mentally rearranging your board, patch cables and power supply is definitely a good idea before deciding whether to pull the trigger on this particular pedal.
Logistics aside, the Element Reverb both looks and sounds fantastic. The main unit consists of a metallic stonewashed enclosure topped with a stunning laser-etched wooden panel. The spring tank features the same wooden panels on its top and bottom, with a matte silver casing. Two rubber feet are affixed to the corners of the tank, eliminating unwanted spring rattle from overzealous drummers and bassists. A twin red/white RCA to 3.5mm cable connects the stompbox to the reverb tank, which is conveniently colour coded. An output level, two-band EQ, wet/dry mix knob and a spring saturation toggle switch are the only controls atop the pedal.
Sonically, the Element Spring Reverb is about as authentic as it gets. Lush waves of bouncy trails are easily dialled in with the output knob on 9 o’ clock and the mix on 12. Further tone sculpting is readily achieved with the low and high EQ controls. Crank the highs, and you’ve got yourself a one-way ticket to the drippy realm of surf-rock. Bump up the lows, and you’ll acquire a variety of intensely moody atmospheric tails at your disposal. As you would expect from a high-quality analogue spring reverb, the Element Reverb is extremely touch-sensitive and responds noticeably well to a range of playing dynamics. Additionally, all manner of gain is handled extremely well with no extraordinary artefacts, spring echoing or popping.
When the middle switch is flicked down, the output level of the springs is doubled, producing a slightly overdriven reverb sound. While it was initially fun to play around with, the saturated setting is probably overkill for most conventional forms of music. Still, props should be given to Anasound for implementing some variety in this pedal.
While still being slightly too ostentatious for me, I can definitely see (and hear) where the hype comes from. If you’re tired of the same old bland digital reverb in your amplifier, this pedal might just possibly change your life. The same goes for vintage spring reverb connoisseurs who’ve always wanted to transplant a Fender Twin’s reverb tank to another amp.
Hits and Misses
Authentic, natural-sounding spring reverb
Solid build quality
Bigger tanks require careful planning/drilling