Pedals

Crazy Tube Circuits Splash MK3

Crazy Tube Circuits headquarters is located in Athens, Greece, one of the world’s most significant cities. Rich with history, it was home to some of the most renowned philosophers and a center of learning where art flourished. It is referred to as the birthplace of democracy and the hub of Western civilization. One would hope a guitar pedal emerging from such a locale would stay true to its epic heritage, especially when the box it ships in says “Insane Tone.” Let’s dive in and see how much of a splash it really makes.

Housed in a cool, wave-covered blue enclosure, the Splash has a simple control layout with four knobs and one toggle switch. The knobs control Excite, Mix/Kill Dry, Decay, and Volume functionality while the switch selects between three modes. Mode I is referred to as the Exciter, a reverb capable of providing everything from subtle space to huge, ambient washes; mode II is a medium reverb algorithm closer to room and spring sounds; mode III is a large reverb reminiscent of classic hall sounds. According to the instruction manual, the Excite knob adds harmonics and presence to the reverb. The Mix/Kill Dry knob has push-pull functionality. When it is down, it is a standard mix control. Pulled up, it kills the dry signal as well as controlling the mix.

As an unabashed reverb lover, I am extremely picky about the wet sounds I use. Too many units seem metallic and unnatural for my tastes. Those aren’t bad qualities, necessarily, and I think some crazy, modulated rack-style reverbs sound great in certain contexts, but they probably won’t end up on my personal board. My favorite thus far is the EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master. Its sweet sounding reverb can be subtle or far out without ever sounding over the top or unusable. Whether it’s fair or not, I compare every reverb pedal I play to the Dispatch Master and I’m rarely satisfied. As soon as I strummed a chord with the Splash, I was sold. It has a natural quality even at extreme settings. In Exciter mode, with the Excite and Decay knobs maxed, near-infinite reverb captures your sound and takes it to another dimension. This is a great setting for volume swells, and with the Kill Dry function engaged, you don’t even need your volume knob/pedal. Mode II is great for more subtle sounds, and mode III gets big but without the infinity factor of the Exciter mode. Using the Kill Dry function adds a whole new level to each setting and is it is worth experimenting with. The Volume knob adds up to 20db of boost if you need it. In keeping with the slogan on its box, the Splash preserved the natural guitar tone going into the pedal. It did not overtake my signal, but added glorious reverb to the sound I already had.

What I really love about the Splash is all settings are musical and usable. There are a lot of pedals loaded with several wacky sounds and a few good ones. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate experimentation and exploration, but at the end of the day I want something that sounds good and is functional. There is nothing in the Splash that you can’t use—it contains beautiful reverbs from subtle splashes to waves so big Moby Dick could be hiding in them. It’s compact, looks awesome, sounds amazing, and is simple to operate.

As a contributor for Tone Report, I have the incredible opportunity to test drive gear. Some of it strikes my fancy, some of it doesn’t, but frankly, none of it is ever bad. It’s been a long time since I’ve played something and thought “this sucks.” I don’t want to use the term lightly, but I feel we’re in a Golden Era as far as effects are concerned. That being said, I only throw down cash for things I really want, and I want the Splash on my board. I can’t give it any higher endorsement than that.

What We Like: Fantastic sounding reverb variations. Useful Kill Dry function. User-friendly design.

Concerns: Expensive.

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