Reverb pedals have become complex with octaves and filters and effects—oh my. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a reverb that’s goes from plate-like to gorgeous cosmic clouds with a simple crank of the Decay knob? Well, here it is: The ZCat Big Reverb
Around for over a decade, this little box from Latvia is an early atmospheric reverb that’s undeservedly remained under the radar. It has just one primo algorithm that sounds like a plate reverb with the Decay knob at 7a and the celestial heavens opening up at 5p. The decay maxes out at an astounding 30-seconds, but can be sustained infinitely (like a freeze pedal to play over) by holding the footswitch until the LED flickers.
Interestingly Doug Tuttle, the mastermind at Mid-Fi Electronics, doesn’t call the clean version of the Clari(not) a defunct tape delay. His description is “an envelope controlled vibrato/chorus/wow-and-flutter simulator”. (I’m guessing that’s a holdover from the delays before the Feedback knob was added that gave the clean, five-knob version of Clari(not) full delay features.) While the delay can do “boringly normal”, the dynamics-based modulation uniquely warps that echo into something near indescribable. And deciduously gorgeous.
We Americans think it’s a sin that we buy a wedge of Parmesan by weight and have to pay for that inedible rind. But grammas in Italy don’t waste a thing and turn that rind into a heavenly broth. Unbelievably rich, this broth can be used for soups, couscous or just on its own. It’s a great way to make use of your not-so-fresh vegetables, peels, clippings etc. Start with:
Current Pedal Obsession: Old Blood BL-44 Reverse pedal.
Get ready to be taken aback.
I’m itching to explain the concept of a reverse pedal. But Einstein and the Bootstrap Paradox are involved, so let’s forget all that. Instead this article will just help you get along with the BL-44 pedal as part of your musical workflow without too much time-space continuum talk.