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Tell me about the Swell mode on the Big Sky and Empress Reverb

JDaniels

Member
Messages
913
Hey fellas,
Love the tones I'm getting from my TC Hall of Fame, however I'd really like at least 3 or 4 presets with midi capability being a bonus. Now I definitely wouldn't use a Big Sky or Empress Reverb to it's full potential, but I was looking at these today and it appears they each have a swell function. Now I'm just curious, could that mode replace the auto swell mode on my Line 6 DL4? If it would, I'd pull the trigger, as I'd love to kick the green monster off my board. If not, I've been looking at the Free The Tone Ambi Space pedal, which has 4 presets and midi capability which really intrigues me, and I wouldn't have to shell out for the Strymon or Empress. However, I don't want to take a step down in the tone department from the HOF. Anybody know anything about that particular pedal? I'm mostly using the plate mode on the HOF with moderate settings and I really like how it fills out and sustains my leads nicely. I'll bump up the mix when I need to do ambient swells and whatnot, which is why it would be nice to have a couple presets and tweak things further. Any other recommendations I might missing? Thanks fellas
 
Messages
2,722
I like the BigSky Swell a lot, but I don't know if I'd use it for traditional volume swells. It is able to swell the dry, there are 'swell wet' and 'swell dry' options, but to me that's not the strength of it. The reverb uses a different modulation than other algorithms on the BigSky ('4 phase modulation') and it can sound pretty huge, but it can also hit the front end of your amp fairly hard (which is not a desirable thing in this case) if you're not careful, it's almost 'gain.'
 

JDaniels

Member
Messages
913
I like the BigSky Swell a lot, but I don't know if I'd use it for traditional volume swells. It is able to swell the dry, there are 'swell wet' and 'swell dry' options, but to me that's not the strength of it. The reverb uses a different modulation than other algorithms on the BigSky ('4 phase modulation') and it can sound pretty huge, but it can also hit the front end of your amp fairly hard (which is not a desirable thing in this case) if you're not careful, it's almost 'gain.'
Ahh I understand how that works, might not be quite what I'm hoping for then. Cool feature still though.
 

JDaniels

Member
Messages
913
Just watched a video of the Big Sky as well, and the swell feature is similar to the Empress video I posted above. What I'm after is an absence of the attack or "pluck" of the strings that fades into that nice ambient atmosphere. Both pedals seem to do that nicely, or am I missing something?
 
Messages
2,722
Just watched a video of the Big Sky as well, and the swell feature is similar to the Empress video I posted above. What I'm after is an absence of the attack or "pluck" of the strings that fades into that nice ambient atmosphere. Both pedals seem to do that nicely, or am I missing something?
I don't think you're missing anything. It's just not a hot topic with regards to reverb pedals at the moment. If you're using it to play chords you do have to be careful how you set it, but that is where presets are very helpful.
 

urQuill

g.f.a.
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,106
I have a similar question. What I think we might be looking for is a reverse reverb, set to 100% Wet. The Walrus Audio Descent does a nice reverse reverb as well, but ... I dunno. I'll try to find the demo. It's nice, maybe a bit shiny sounding ... so hard to know from a YouTube clip.


I'm also very curious about the FTT Ambi-space. Just something about the sounds I'm hearing in the early demos really grabs me. I'm liking it right away, where the Empress and the WA ... just not sure.

What I think we really want is probably a Lexicon rack unit and the time to thoroughly learn to control it. But given the shortness of life, all these pedals are incredibly attractive.
 

UrbanHymns

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,400
Just watched a video of the Big Sky as well, and the swell feature is similar to the Empress video I posted above. What I'm after is an absence of the attack or "pluck" of the strings that fades into that nice ambient atmosphere. Both pedals seem to do that nicely, or am I missing something?
Played or owned all 3 reverbs - HOF, Big Sky, and Empress.

You won't be missing any of the great HOF tones if you get the Big Sky or Empress. Both replacements offer amazing reverbs. I'd say even better sounding reverbs, but the HOF is hard to beat for the price.

I found the Big Sky swell mode to be a more direct replacement of a volume pedal swell. At least with the Mix all the way up.

I've spent less time with the Empress, but the video showed more options around that mode. Seemed like less of a volume pedal swell, and more of an effect?
 

Ejphotos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
882
Empress does seem more like an effect rather than a traditional volume pedal swell. The cool thing with Empress though is that there is a voting forum where you can suggest new features and if there is enough support, Empress will add the algorithms to new downloadable firmware.
 

REDFIVE

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
883
[QUOTE="ThinPaperWings, post: 23151236, member: 102156"but it can also hit the front end of your amp fairly hard (which is not a desirable thing in this case) if you're not careful, it's almost 'gain.'[/QUOTE]

100% agree on this ... I get the same thing happen fairly regularly. It doesn't sound bad to me, but it's something to be aware of
 
Messages
4,217
I think the question is more where you prefer the swell in the signal chain. With a standard delay --> reverb setup, it may or may not be that big of a deal to you.

I'm not familiar with the line 6 pedal or the Ambi Space. I think either Empress or Big Sky would serve you well either way.

I'm a bit confused though, are you looking to replace the delay and the reverb with just a single reverb pedal?
 

JDaniels

Member
Messages
913
I think the question is more where you prefer the swell in the signal chain. With a standard delay --> reverb setup, it may or may not be that big of a deal to you.

I'm not familiar with the line 6 pedal or the Ambi Space. I think either Empress or Big Sky would serve you well either way.

I'm a bit confused though, are you looking to replace the delay and the reverb with just a single reverb pedal?
Yes I am looking to replace the DL4(I only use the auto swell mode) and the HOF with a single higher end reverb. I have a Timefactor to take care of my delay needs adequately.
 

Ejphotos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
882
Yes I am looking to replace the DL4(I only use the auto swell mode) and the HOF with a single higher end reverb. I have a Timefactor to take care of my delay needs adequately.
An Empress is definitely worth looking into then. It does have a lot of tweak-ability, and with it being a new pedal, I'm sure new algorithms will be developed for quite some time.
 

baklavaa

Member
Messages
801
Preset bank 92 on the big sky is a GREAT auto-swell tone. I used as a swell with no volume pedal and didn't miss the volume pedal at all. It was killer.
 




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