Outboard studio gear is often beyond the reach of most guitarists so it is especially exciting when one of the most bankable effects companies comes out with a new pedal that offers some studio magic in a compact stompbox, and Catalinbread has done just that with the launch of the CBX Gated Reverb.
Gated reverb, you might ask, what is this when it’s at home? Well, simply, it’s reverb pedal with an adjustable gate that can kick in and snip off the reverb tail and leave your sound tidy, polished and yet still with that sense of space.
It is a sound all of us are familiar with having rose to prominence during the ‘80s, when artists such as Phil Collins and Bruce Springsteen deployed it to give their records that super-pro sheen. And it was not always on electric guitar. Gated reverb was often just the thing to gussy up a snare drum sound.
Use it on guitar, however, and you might not take it off. At least, that’s what Catalinbread is thinking, and it offers players plenty of control over their sound without overcomplicating matters.
Back in the day, if you wanted to create a gated reverb sound, you would have wanted a Solid State Logic SL4000 Talkback Mic channel and AMS RMX16 digital reverb unit to hand. Now, you have just five knobs to familiarise yourself with: Lag, Gate, Verb, Mix and Pre, with some of these controls interacting with each other for some very interesting results.
Mix is the most self-explanatory dial, controlling the balance between wet/dry signals. Max it out and it’s 100 per cent reverb, no dry guitar. Fully counterclockwise and it’s dry.
Lag adjusts the amount of delay between sounding a note and the onset of the gate. Catalinbread advises us to “think of it as a pre-delay control for the gate” and you can use it to enhance your picking attack and also to dial in some slapback or quasi-reverse sounds.
Gate controls the sensitivity of the gate. The more you turn this clockwise, the more sensitive the gate. When you turn this fully counterclockwise, the gate is inactive. With the gate out of the signal, the Verb controls the length of the reverb tail but when the gate is in play, i.e., the Gate is anywhere above zero, it could be better described as a thickness control.
You can dime this for some heady thick reverb, that nonetheless cuts out just as the note you’ve played has just decayed enough to trigger the gate. At its extreme, you can dial in some “huge, harmonically rich reverb”.
Finally, Pre controls the level of the preamp, which can magically sweeten your sound and helping with that whole “always on” appeal.
The CBX Gated Reverb is available now and it’s priced £179/$199. Head over to Catalinbread for more information.