What we have here will be familiar to anyone with experience of the classy range of pedals made by Danish effects firm T-Rex. However, while the name may be the same, this is a brand new pedal.
The Room-Mate is an updated version of the valve-driven reverb pedal that has been around for a few years. Combining old and new technology with its valve and digitally generated reverb, the latest incarnation of the Room- Mate offers four different reverb types chosen with a mode knob.
New to this revised model is a spring reverb emulation, replacing the emulated plate reverb in previous incarnations. You also get room reverb, hall reverb and a setting called LFO that dishes up reverb and chorus together.
Also new is a decay knob, which adjusts the length of the reverb tail in all four modes. The other two large knobs on the front panel are the mix knob, which sets the ratio of effected to dry sound, and the level knob, which controls the overall output level.
The input to the pedal is controlled by a much smaller knob, a set-and-forget affair that you can adjust to your particular signal chain. As a prompt to set the level correctly, the pedal's green on/off LED will turn red if the input signal is too high and likely to cause distortion. Another small knob offers reduction of the high frequencies in the reverb tail.
With a valve to be powered, the Room-Mate needs a 12V DC supply and comes with a suitable adaptor. As well as the standard single input and output the pedal also offers mono in/stereo out operation.
The Room-Mate serves up smooth reverb that wraps naturally around your sound, whether you just dial in a touch of ambience with the mix knob or turn it up for a more obvious effect - juxtaposing that knob's position with that of the decay knob allows plenty of leeway in just how 'reverbed' you want your sound to be.
A crucial factor in any reverb is how the top-end dies off and the hi-cut control plays its part here in creating a smoother, less splashy sound, although it is subtle and perhaps doesn't go far enough.
The room and hall modes can create the sense of space their name suggests (although high decay settings on the hall can sound weird), while the LFO mode is a gorgeous hybrid of chorus and reverb that sounds really lush, especially in stereo.
What about the new spring mode? Well, it does a pretty good job of emulating the real thing - in a side-by-side test with a couple of Fender amp reverbs and a Peavey Valverb rackmount valve-powered spring reverb unit, the T-Rex stands up well and is as close as we've heard thus far from a digital stompbox.
Reverb pedals may not be seen as an essential item for some, but they're extremely useful, not just for creating specific effects but also for tailoring the sound to suit the acoustics of a particular playing space, and the Room-Mate is probably as good sounding and versatile a pedal as you'd find for the role.
What's more, with its new spring emulation, players who regularly utilise the built-in spring reverb in their Fender amp will find it a pragmatic substitute for those occasions where, through space restrictions or the like, they are faced with the prospect of playing through an unfamiliar non-reverb amp at a gig.
So then an excellent pedal with loads to recommend, albeit with a high price tag.