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Alexander SpaceXpander Reverb Pedal Review

lunar sanctum

Member
Messages
95
Not much mention of this fantastic pedal on the forums so I thought I'd post my impressions.

The SpaceXpander has three modes: Spring, Analog and Plate. A knob labeled Tweak adjusts a different parameter in each mode. The Balance knob can go 100% wet. The pedal has buffered bypass, an optional trails mode and a silent (no-click) switch.

In Spring mode the Tweak knob acts as a tone control and Space controls the size of the virtual spring tank. Expand sets the dwell. The reverb sound is very organic and realistic with no digital noise or artifacts.

In Plate mode the Tweak knob adjusts the pre-delay and the Expand knob adjusts the damping. With Expand at max you can get around 25 seconds of reverb tail here. Higher control settings seem to enhance certain upper harmonics of the reverberated signal. It's not shimmer, nor is it modulated. But it does sound very cool.

However it's the so-called Analog mode that puts the SpaceXpander in a class by itself. Technically not a reverb at all, this mode is an emulation of the Panasonic MN3011 multi-tap bucket brigade chip of olden tech times. This chip was used in electronic organs back in those days to deliver a quasi-reverb sans an actual spring tank. It's got a sound like nothing else, and as far as I can tell no one has ever emulated this particular chip before.

This mode generates a BBD style six-tap echo that sounds awesome. The repeats have a somewhat lo-fi tone (although not distorted) with a snappy percussive edge to them. Coupling this with the unusual six-tap rhythm pattern is what gives this mode its unique retro character. The maximum delay time is around 950ms. On the original MN3011 chip the sixth (last) delay tap was outputted at 166ms so there's way more range available here. The Space knob can take you from shorter times (which sound more like reverb) to longer times (which sound more like delay) or anywhere in between.

In this mode the Tweak knob allows you to dial in a variable modulation. It's not chorusy at all, it's much more of a moody pitch vibrato. With the controls maxed out you get a cool retro 'signal from space' feel, especially with shorter notes and staccato lines. Very groovy in a late 60's space age sci-fi kind of way. Online demos posted thus far simply do not do this sound justice. This mode makes me play in a totally different way and to me that is one of the hallmarks of a great pedal.

The MN3011 emulation is what makes the SpaceXpander unique and a keeper for me. I know of no other pedal which can duplicate this sound. Kudos to Alexander for dreaming this one up. Highly recommended.
 

yoyo1983

Member
Messages
633
Great review.... I was looking at the oblivion delay the other day and then the whole range of pedals... Amaaaaazing stuff. The waveland.. Golden summer...
Chesapeake... Equilibrium... You name it.. Want them aaaaalll.
 
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lunar sanctum

Member
Messages
95
Wanted to add this to my review above. After playing the SpaceXpander I sold my Earthquaker Afterneath and my TC Electronic T2 because I realized how cold and lifeless those two pedals sounded in comparison. The SpaceXpander really does have a much warmer and much more lush tone at every setting. And I've yet to hear a multi-tap delay emulation that has even half the character of this pedal's Analog mode.

No, I don't work for Alexander Effects. I'm just a super-satisfied customer. Matthew makes fantastic pedals that are truly unique. Will be picking up their new Sky-Fi pedal very soon.
 

Mr. Limbic

Member
Messages
3,096
Sounds pretty interesting. I haven't looked into this one at all, but does it offer any sort of exp control?
 

lunar sanctum

Member
Messages
95
No expression control on the SpaceXpander. But the pedal sounds so good that it doesn't matter to me. Call it character, mojo or whatever. This thing has it.
 
Messages
1
I bought this pedal, about 4 weeks ago I have to say I agree, this pedal is amazing and is my main reverb, all modes sound so nice. this pedal just has IT!! I sold
my Meteore Lo-Fi Reverb for this pedal and was worth it. It seems Alexander has stop making it I do not see it on their site, so if you can snag one go for it, I am not sure why this pedal has slipped through the cracks it will probably go down in history as one of the most underrated pedals around. But I have one, its mine, its on my board for good!! :)
 

Kestrel

Member
Messages
1,719
Good review! Haven't tried the SpaceXpander, but I do have the Alexander Sky Fi. Sounds amazing and worth seeking out if you like ambient, ethereal sounding reverbs. The Sky Fi is unique in that the reverb builds (swells) up and just sounds lovely as it decays. You can use it along with it's delay or bypass the delay altogether and use it as a standalone reverb pedal.
 

John Mark Painter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,600
I have a Spacexpander on my bass pedalboard. Tonally, it gets a really lush tone without muddying up the bass (you can still tell what notes you are playing!)
 




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