When you’re lying on your back at night and you think about the universe, what do you think it sounds like? Some would imagine a thick, heavy silence like you would hear underground. Science suggests that with nothing for sonic vibrations to reverberate against in The Grand Vacuum that this would be the most accurate assumption. Science be damned though; when I think of the sound of the universe, I hear everything all at once. I hear the unending, catastrophic, caterwauling orchestra of every atom singing simultaneously accompanied by the lilting, effervescent melodic freedom of floating endlessly untouched by time, stave or physical limitation. It seems that the brains behind the Mad Professor brand of pedals tend to agree as somehow they’ve managed to distil this limitless symphony into one modest blue box, the Kosmos Ambient Reverb.
I’ve played a good number of The Professor’s units now and I’m not ashamed to admit that I like them a lot. They have a way of taking a seemingly complicated harmonic and tonal question and responding with an alarmingly simple answer. Like Boss and MXR, their catalogue is extensive and jam packed with wildly nuanced tricks of the trade. Their fuzzes and drive pedals are that little bit more of what is missing from the heavy hitters in the category, their time based effects are just that little bit more finessed, and it seems they have a penchant for swiftly sorting the wheat from the chaff with as little fuss as possible. How very Scandinavian indeed.
Unassuming as it is, the Kosmos is no exception. Here the Finnish engineers dive headlong into the pool that units like Strymon’s BigSky and Eventide’s Space Reverb splash around in. Where those two wallow in a horizon full of options, to the point where you need an engineering degree to really get the most out of them, Kosmos cherry picks the absolute essentials from their offering and turns it into a greatest hits collection. There are eleven individual reverb archetypes to choose from, all of which are honed in by the familiar trio of Level, Tone and Time. The chameleonic Control knob is really the reason why this little stompbox stacks up against the motherships though, as it _ exes a different muscle depending on which sense of space you’re after. On the simpler settings it adjusts the amount of pre-delay or ducking at play, allowing your dry signal to shine or wash out according to purpose. In the Shimmer and Delay/Reverb combo settings, it blooms a whole other set of craziness, sending you spinning as deep into space as you dare to venture. With the touch sensitive nature of the switch you are afforded a swelling tide of reverberation, for which the Control knob reins in the speed, countenancing your ascent beyond gravity.
Contrarily enough, Mad Professor has managed to simplify the most mercurial aspect of effects pedals. The Kosmos is a distilled version of some of the most complicated reverb machines known to man, but what it gains in simplicity it certainly does not lose in scope. There are as many different sounds and textures on board as there are stars in the sky, from there the only limitation is the bravery of your imagination.
Hits and Misses
Simplicity without limitation
Technicolor without oversaturation