This year’s Melbourne Guitar Show comes bearing exciting news, Strymon will be showcasing the brand new Cloudburst Ambient Reverb Pedal.
Strymon have been on a tear as of late, which culminated in the recent success of their Next Generation line of effects pedals that were released and subsequently took the industry by storm late last year.
There is a lot of hype around Strymon at the present juncture and its easy to see why.The brand boasts an ardent fanbase that wholeheartedly believes in their product range, which combines the very best of analogue and digital to produce digitally-controlled pedals that provide players with more routing, presets, and configurability than any other offerings, currently on the market.
Strymon first achieved acclaim with the massive success of their BigSky, TimeLine, and Mobius pedals, before going on to expand their range and creative horizons, targeting more specific sounds by way of the Iridum amp modeller and impulse response pedal, the Compadre dual-voice compressor and boost, and more recently, the Zelzah multidimensional phaser. All forward thinking pedals, each bearing its own unique sonic signature.
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Fans of titanic and ethereal reverb possibilities, will no doubt be aware of Strymon’s Big Sky and Blue Sky pedals (who’s fans include industry titans of the likes of Foals’ Yannis Phillipakis, no less)- this year’s Melbourne Guitar Show comes bearing some exciting news. Strymon will be showcasing the brand new Cloudburst Ambient Reverb Pedal, the first in a new series of more compact pedals which takes the Cloudburst sound from the Big Sky and makes it easier for users to work with – with a couple of cool tricks thrown in the mix, too.
For a compact unit, the Cloudburst packs in the features. USB connectivity is found on the rear, saving space with a USB-C connection. Inputs and outputs are offered on TRS connectors that can be switched from Mono to Stereo. And MIDI switching is still an option with a TRS MIDI connection squeezed in. A centre negative DC connection is also found on the rear, as this pedal chews a decent current with all of the processing – batteries aren’t a realistic option.
Turning attention to the pedal’s top panel, it’s fairly standard fare, with control knobs for Decay, Pre-Delay, Tone, Mix and Mod, plus an intriguing Ensemble switch – a selection that should keep most ambient noodlers happy. The Pre-Delay adds a nice touch, giving the Reverb more dimension and a little reality, until you start pushing it beyond the halfway mark, where it swirls into the realms of fantasy with upwards of two seconds pre-delay.
The Tone control adjusts the Reverb sound, not the dry sound, so when you get into the modulation on the Cloudburst you are able to dial back some of that glassy shimmering and darken the sound up nicely. Of course, as with any Strymon effect, you can abuse just about every setting, so it is possible to ramp up the tone to an eye watering sound that gives a new definition to the word ‘bright’. The Mix control does just that, blending the wet and dry signal.
Then we come to the Mod control, which is something Strymon fans will no doubt want to wind up right away. It adds a subtle shimmering vibrato at first engagement that gets wilder as it increases, with the reverb carrying on the modulated sound through the entire decay process. This interacts with the modulation and ensemble functions to provide a whole host on sonic possibilities. The beauty of this kind of interactivity is the manner in which it goes well beyond a standard reverb pedal, especially when you engage the aforementioned Ensemble mode. There are two settings, being Mezzo Piano (the more subtle of the two) and Forte. Starting off with the more subtle of the two, the ensemble mode adds a synthesised string sound into the reverb mix that is taken from the notes you’re playing, giving a gentle, but warm fullness to the overall sound.
The Cloudburst tracks your playing and generates the string sound from the harmonics to give the impression that it is actually a separate entity and not just a duplicate of the reverb in a different tone. Because of this, you’ll actually get different ensemble sounds when you change the pickup selection, or adjust your playing style, with a more staccato effect delivering different string sounds to a softer, more fluid style of playing. When you move into the Forte mode, it brings the volume of the ensemble up and adds more layers to the sound for a really beautiful aural image. This one feature in itself is going to have people lining up to get their hands on one of these pedals. It’s just a delight to listen to.
So, if you thought reverb was just a simple, one-knob addition that is found on the far right of your amp, think again. Strymon have once again proven that your standard reverb is never going to be enough. This is a pedal that just brings guitars to life and has something for just about any player. And for the Strymon faithfuls out there who already have one or two of their blue boxes, the Cloudburst offers a new take on their delightful reverb and packages it into a housing that is just small enough to fit next to your other two. I don’t think I need to say any more – the richness of this pedal’s sound really says enough!
Be sure to test out the Strymon Cloudburst Ambient Reverb pedal yourself at this year’s Melbourne Guitar show.