Strymon have announced the launch of their latest effects pedal, Cloudburst. Dedicated to creating ambient reverb effects, the device is powered by the company’s new Ensemble engine, which is capable of creating pads and soundscapes that responsively follow the user’s playing.
The company say that their aim with Cloudburst was to create the best-sounding single algorithm reverb possible, providing the sort of effects that are possible with the BigSky’s Cloud machine at high decay settings whilst also being versatile enough to offer more natural reverbs with a much shorter decay time. There was also a focus on simplicity and ease of use, resulting in the pedal being equipped with just five controls with no secondary or hidden functions.
The Ensemble engine works by continuously analysing 48 frequency bands and generating harmonic partials for each of them based on the dynamics and tone of the user’s playing. This allows the effect to vary depending on factors such as pickup selection, picking position, and the incoming signal’s overall volume envelope. A toggle switch offers Mezzo Piano and Forte modes, with the former providing a subtle enhancement of the reverb signal, and the latter capable of delivering huge synthesised string ensemble-style effects.
The Decay knob controls not only the duration of the reverb tail, but also carries out a number of adjustments to the algorithm behind the scenes, causing the pedal’s tonal character to change continuously throughout the parameter’s range.
The amount of high-frequency content in the reverb can be controlled with the Tone dial, with lower settings offering a subtle result and higher values making the reverb the centre of attention. It can also be controlled via an expression pedal, providing the opportunity to create dramatic filtering effects.
Modulation of the reverb’s delay line lengths can be introduced by a Mod control, adding some movement to the effect, with the higher end of its range capable of providing sci-fi style pitch modulation.
Pre-Delay and Mix controls are also present, and behave much as you’d expect, with the latter offering a Kill-Dry mode for use in parallel effects loops, and an analogue dry path option, both of which are accessible via additional power-up modes.
The pedal is contained within a smaller enclosure than many of Strymon’s offerings, yet still boasts a useful selection of I/O. In and Out connections are provided on quarter-inch TRS sockets, allowing for either mono or stereo operation (adapter cables for stereo operation are not included), whilst a third TRS socket doubles up as an expression pedal or MIDI input.
A USB-C connector offers another form of MIDI connectivity, along with providing a data connection for firmware updates, and will soon enable the pedal to be integrated with the company’s Nixie editor and librarian software.
Cloudburst is powered via a standard centre-negative 9V DC supply (not included) and requires a minimum current of 250mA. The pedal measures 117 x 69 x 64 mm (depth x width x height)
Pricing & Availability
Cloudburst is available now, priced at $279.