Does an outboard reverb unit make sense for anything other than surf?

Colamander

Member
Messages
1,278
I love spring reverb. I've been toying with getting an outboard reverb unit. Maybe a surfybear or something. But I don't listen to or play surf music. The closest I'd get is rockabilly. So does it even make sense to try one out?
 

macmeda

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,341
The fender outboard unit has tubes so does that mean it may add some gain?
 

oldpotion

Member
Messages
136
Recently bought a surfybear 2.0 and it is AMAZING. I like surf, jazz, funk, blues, and 90s stuff (verve, oasis). Using it for the first four traditional styles and loving it. I think I could use it in a 'rock' context, think oasis, but it would be a lo-fi sound and probably not optimal (more She's Electric than Supersonic).

You can't directly control the decay length with the outboard units, and they have a long decay. But you can definitely get a more conservative amp-like reverb, at least with the surfybear, by setting the dwell low, or by keeping a long trail and significantly lowering the mix. I originally got the surfybear for a surf project, but its become a foundational part of my rig. I just leave it on -- it can be that subtle. There are some quirks, e.g. that increasing the mix control rolls off highs, so all three knobs (thinking of the tone knob here) have to be set with each other in mind.

I wanted an outboard unit for the 'authentic surf tone'. Weirdly, I wasn't even a big fan of splash before I got the unit. It was the long trail that interested me. But boy: in person the splash is so fun. With the tone control lower it can be warm and smokey. It can be very rhythmic and funky.
 

Colamander

Member
Messages
1,278
Recently bought a surfybear 2.0 and it is AMAZING. I like surf, jazz, funk, blues, and 90s stuff (verve, oasis). Using it for the first four traditional styles and loving it. I think I could use it in a 'rock' context, think oasis, but it would be a lo-fi sound and probably not optimal (more She's Electric than Supersonic).

You can't directly control the decay length with the outboard units, and they have a long decay. But you can definitely get a more conservative amp-like reverb, at least with the surfybear, by setting the dwell low, or by keeping a long trail and significantly lowering the mix. I originally got the surfybear for a surf project, but its become a foundational part of my rig. I just leave it on -- it can be that subtle. There are some quirks, e.g. that increasing the mix control rolls off highs, so all three knobs (thinking of the tone knob here) have to be set with each other in mind.

I wanted an outboard unit for the 'authentic surf tone'. Weirdly, I wasn't even a big fan of splash before I got the unit. It was the long trail that interested me. But boy: in person the splash is so fun. With the tone control lower it can be warm and smokey. It can be very rhythmic and funky.
Awesome - thanks for the info
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,340
Yes. While I do play some surf, it's far from my focus and I'm loving the Surfy Bear compact.

You get two footswitchable mix settings and shared tone/decay/dwell. It's a fantastic unit and in my experience kills any digital pedal. I keep one subtle mix setting and one dramatic mix setting. I use it for Blues, Rock, Stoner Rock, Ambient, Psyche... pretty much anything. With a higher mix setting it can do that big smoky blues house thing or ambient echoey stuff. With a subtle setting is can add just enough space to your sound to fill in the gaps.

I'd love to own a full sized amp top tube unit, and if my focus was surf music I definitely would, but this is so much more practical and about 95% of the tone. The spring is shorter which they have accounted for a bit in the circuit to make it sound bigger, but it does sound slightly less surfy and drippy. This makes it a little better for use as a general reverb and could actually be a better fit for your needs than a full sized Fender unit. The standard Surfy Bear is probably about 98% of the tone of an amp top 6G15 Fender tube unit. It's so close I doubt you could pick it out in a mix.

Previously, I had settled on a Catalinbread Topanga and Spaceman Orion. The Topanga got the most use. I didn't like the tone of the Orion, but since it was a real spring it had an authentic unpredictable character that the Topanga lacked. Overall the Topanga was best. It's probably the best you could find without a real spring. I sold all my "spring" Reverbs when the Surfybear Compact went on my board. I kept the Immerse for strictly for the Sustain mode which is spectacular and something a real spring reverb could never do. Great for doing synthy type pads with guitar.

Anyway... my answer is Yes. An external real spring unit like the SurfyBear is definitely worth having even if you don't play surf. I combine it with the SurfyTrem, which gives me pretty darn authentic Fender style Verb and Trem for my Benson Monarch which has neither. It's definitely one of my best pedal purchases in the past year.



 
Last edited:

BootRoots

Member
Messages
1,235
I love spring reverb. I've been toying with getting an outboard reverb un But I don't listen to or play surf music. So does it even make sense to try one out?
gear never has to “make sense” or even be practical. Play what you like and enjoy.

There are tons of folks around here with $5k pedal boards that never leave the basement/bedroom so don’t let anyone else tell you what works for you.
 

Colamander

Member
Messages
1,278
gear never has to “make sense” or even be practical. Play what you like and enjoy.

There are tons of folks around here with $5k pedal boards that never leave the basement/bedroom so don’t let anyone else tell you what works for you.
Good advice
 

Colamander

Member
Messages
1,278
Well it’s cleared customs. All that’s left is to wait for it to show up at my door and then find out how much $$ I get to shell out for cross-border shipping.
 




Trending Topics

Top