September 17, 2023

Current Pedal Obsession: J Rockett Boing Reverb.

The “I just want reverb dammit” reverb.

Boing is not so special. And that’s why players seem to like what it does: No drowning your signal in reverb soup. No ambience that wears out its welcome. No artificial shimmer. Just sweet, amp-like spring reverb as Leo Fender intended it.

Belton done better.

Boing is based on the Belton Brick designed by Brian Neunaber. The module incorporates three, short, cascading PT2399 delays. Rockett did an incredible job of implementing the brick to create a convincing imitation of a Fender Deluxe spring tank. With the delays running 30-40ms (just like a real tank) it creates a believable space about the size of a barroom. Like the Fender amp it’s based on, Boing is simple with just one big knob that you can control with your foot for a sensible level of spring volume.

It’s a serious pedal.

What I find most fascinating about Boing is that it’s the only Belton I’ve heard that I’d consider pro-level. This is the result of a high-headroom circuit built around the module. It increases fidelity and also makes Boing responsive to your playing. On soft strums and plucks, it adds just a touch of room presence, a subtle phatness and hint of modulation on sustain. Make a hard staccato hit and it leaps to life. It truly can be a set-it-and-forget-it, always-on reverb.

It plays well with others.

The high-headroom circuit makes Boing effective anywhere in your chain, including in your amp effects loop. It’s nearly transparent, but adds a smidge of treble that helps your axe cut through the mix. At the same time it’s not enough to overly color the rest of your sound and translates your tone well.

Because of the robust nature of the electronics, Boing can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. But note that it acutely responds to the the volume and intensity of what you put in. So if you’re putting high distortion or a hot level into it or running it in your amp effects circuit, the spring effect will be louder and grittier, just like a real spring tank. If the input is softer or acoustic, you may have to crank Boing. Settings before 12n on the knob will remove dryness and be more felt than heard. After 12n is the area most players find desirable.

A great use of Boing is for adding a definable space to delays or ambient reverbs (that can leave the dry sounding too dry). Boing gives presence to the dry and helps fill out ambient effects so you can turn them down a bit and not overwhelm the mix. Boing’s beautiful, subtle swell can come through when it’s placed before the delay or ambient reverb. It works really well with vibrato and modulation effects. I often find myself wondering if the vibrato is enlivening Boing or Boing is enlivening the vibrato. It even gorgeously enhances built-in amp reverb.

My take.

Boing is definitely a secret weapon. It adds a steely sheen, enlivens your playing and cuts through the mix without stealing thunder. It’s designed to bolster your axe without taking over the show. Boing is one of those pedals that you rely on for its subtle magic and may forget it’s there until you turn it off. It’s the spice you don’t notice until it’s left out of the recipe.

For the spectators: Acutronics Digi-Log 2L module, 9v with internal battery, True Bypass, 60 mA.

Check out my review of Rockett’s Mr. Moto Trem Verb

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