We tested out the new Strymon Cloudburst Ambient Reverb pedal in our studio Noise Machines. It’s a lush, granular-sounding digital reverb pedal that ranges from a short slap, to a warm, infinite textural bath.
You’ll most likely recognise the Strymon name from their incredibly popular Blue Sky reverb (which also comes as a plugin), and some of the reverb tones in this brand new box, Cloudburst, may even sound a little familiar. The Blue Sky is a mainstay on pedals all over town, and hey, the Cloudburst may even replace it, OR be added in addition.
The Cloudburst covers all the whole reverb spectrum from a luscious reverb wall to a straight up nice and wiggly modulation. It’s fairly small and simple looking unit with a Decay knob to control your reverb length, a Mix knob for your wet and dry setting, a Pre-delay control to temporarily postpone the onset of reverb, a complementary-voiced Tone control, and a Modulation control to move your reflections.
Strymon is a pedal company out of Westlake California founded in 2009 by Pete Celi, Gregg Stock, and Dave Fruehling. The company grew out of their previous pedal business, Damage Control; all members of which were previous employees at the Line 6 company. Strymon currently have about 20 high end effects in their catalogue, featuring reverbs, delays, an amp simulator, and a world of modulators too.
While the reverb section in the Cloudburst on its own sounds great, the real magic of this pedal comes in the Ensemble section. This switch toggles a rich, warmly harmonic accompanying pad to your reverb; think of it like the richest digital bath you could immerse yourself in, starring a 48 frequency band detector generating upper harmonic partials based dynamically on what you play.
This comes with two settings for your backing ensemble, mp for mezzopiano, and forte, the former being softer and the latter being the louder for those of you who don’t mess around with old-world sheet music. In case you’re wondering, these settings are all blended with, and are controllable with the above reverb settings. The tone setting in particular allows for a large shift from an almost cello-esque harmonic backing in the low side, through to a brighter, crisper brassy symphony up the clockwise end of the knob.
In addition you can add an expression pedal via the jack port on the top, and really get deep if you wanna explore the MIDI preset side of things internally via the USB-C port. Plus you can plug in Y-split TRS cables (otherwise known as stereo cables, rather than your standard guitar leads) to play into this thing with a stereo device, or play it in mono and have the sound emerge in stereo, all switchable with a toggle that’s also up top.
The Cloudburst comes in a 1590XX style sized enclosure meaning it’s gonna take up way less real estate on your crowded pedal board than any of the other offerings from Strymon too. It features a modern, click-less switch, and is cleverly buffered whilst engaged and unbuffered whilst not in operation.
The Cloudburst Ambient Reverb from Strymon is a fairly straight-forward piece of kit. It’s a lush, controllable reverb unit with a selectable ensemble pad to build a drone, soundscape, or a reverberated wall of sound. It’s a pleasure to play and experiment with, especially whilst building slow, massive, rich textures.
The philosophy over at Strymon is: “We want to build products with no compromises”, and throughout their history their reputation for creating quality pieces is formidable, the Cloudburst included. It’s not the most versatile unit if you’re looking for a straight up digital reverb, but if you need a granular-esque sounding verb with the option to create anything from a sharp slap to an infinite wall of sound, then maybe it’s the piece for you.
The Cloudburst runs at $559 AUD and is available from all reasonable pedal stands in your area. For more info head over to Strymon.net.