Strymon Big Sky: Strymon has quickly made a name for itself as a company with an unparalleled dedication to digital innovation and top-shelf tone. Few reverb pedals are as highly revered in the guitar community as the Big Sky, which features both highly convincing, weapons-grade reverbs, and a simple, intuitive layout that eschews much of the confusing maze of menus and scrolling that other hifalutin digital reverb units rely on to get sounds dialed in. In addition to recreating classic, familiar tones, the Big Sky also features Strymon’s “reverbs from the future,” which includes the Shimmer setting, a singing, pitch-shifted ambience that has taken the guitar nerd universe by storm and spawned an army of soundalike algorithms from competing companies. The Big Sky features stereo in and out, MIDI in and out, and expression pedal control, and at 479 bucks, is pretty darned expensive. But it’s also unspeakably wonderful sounding, so you’re at least getting what you paid for.
Source Audio Soundblox 2 Dimension Reverb: Source Audio’s Dimension Reverb, though not quite as well known as the Strymon Big Sky, seems to be charting a similar path, with a formidable assemblage of unique, three-dimensional sounding reverb tones packed into a highly functional, yet intuitively simple, package. Where the Dimension Reverb has a clear advantage is its size, which is quite a bit more compact than the Big Sky or units of similar quality. This pedal features 12 distinct reverb types, including time-tested classics, as well as very cool original sounds like the Metal Box and Modverb. Additionally, the Dimension Reverb works with Source Audio’s expression pedal and Hot Hand technology via proprietary connections. The down side is that it is mono in and out, which is a bit of a let-down considering how tremendous Source Audio’s reverbs would undoubtedly be in full stereo. The Dimension Reverb sells for $189, making it a heck of a bargain.
Logidy EPSi Convolution Reverb: Convolution reverb is a concept pioneered in the late ‘90’s by Sony with their DRE S777 studio reverb unit. In basic terms, it involves the sampling of the reverberant qualities of actual acoustic spaces, such as famous opera houses and concert halls (or even the bathroom at the bus station!), via impulse responses, which can then be stored, recalled, and applied to any input signal with incredible realism. Previously available only in very expensive hardware units or, recently, in relatively affordable software plug-ins like Altiverb or Waves IR1, convolution reverb technology has finally made its way to guitar pedals via Logidy’s EPSi, an austere, four-inch-square black box that loads impulse responses (IR’s) from an SD card. It comes with 100 pre-made IR’s, but the best part is that it allows the user to create their own from any space they wish, and share them with others via online freeware libraries. The EPSi is less than ideal for live use, due to its very, very minimal layout, but the tones and creative possibilities are limitless for recording purposes, and at around 200 bucks, it’s a groundbreaking piece of musical technology that most working guitarists can afford. The Logidy EPSi is undoubtedly a stompbox game-changer in the making.