Sonic LAB: Strymon Nightsky Time-warped Reverberator
Lush modulated soundscapes 23/11/20
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Strymon is a brand synonymous with lush, expansive reverb algorithms as well as other time-based effects. The latest pedal - Nightsky Time-warped Reverberator, does not veer from the path.
It's in a fetching blue chassis - think Modal Cobalt8 blue and you'd be on the right track, it has:
3 algorithms - sparse (granular), dense - plate and diffuse - a more complex modulated space
Each algorithm has access to the Shimmer section - which introduces the pitch modulation either on input or in the regeneration path for spiraling pitches +/- 1 Octave, Glimmer - a harmonic enhancement of the reverb signal, Drive - either pre or post - extra saturation, a pair of filters on the regeneration path or a low pass resonant filter on the reverb signal. An LFO/envelope section can be routed to the verb, pitch or filter for additional modulation which can also be synced.
There's also an 8-step sequencer for the pitch of the reverb, a freeze or infinite function, plus a morph for changing the pitch of the shimmer with a held footswitch.
On the front panel there's 16 user programmable patch locations, with up to 300 if accessed via MIDI - we have mini USB and MIDI i/o as well.
The unit is stereo in/out with switchable instrument/line level for maximum signal compatibility.
It sounds lush. Manly suited to large complex washes rather than authentic reverb spaces, it's an inspiration to play with. The interesting combination of features mean you can rapidly go from ethereal to other worldly and back with plenty of wobble and wonk if you require. The infinite setting (1 second press on the footswitch) will freeze the current audio buffer and allow incoming signal to be effected without adding to the freeze buffer, though you can set this to come in clean if you wish.
The shimmer and modulation is very creative and allows you to create and entire soundtrack wash/drone with a very simple signal input and proves endless hours of fun, while the additional features such as morph and expression pedal input means you can modulate many parameters with foot control.
There are a number od SHIFT functions such as Filter Resonance (hold the filter button and turn Reverb Knob), pre-delay (hold algorithm and Reverb), drive (drive button and Reverb knob) which require the use of the Reverb level knob which is a little unfortunate as releasing the button too early might end up with a sudden jump in the reverb signal level - not ideal for performance.
But on the whole this thing is great, it's almost a synth in it's own right. However, it does have that Strymon premium price (£439/$429) which makes a bit of a dent in the wallet, but boy does it sound good.
Great for performing and creating a wide variety of washes and ambient spaces - I thoroughly enjoyed it.