The last four years have seen a veritable explosion of incredible-sounding reverb pedals, starting with the Strymon BlueSky Reverberator, and followed by stuff like the mind-bogglingly powerful Eventide Space. But the overriding philosophy of most manufacturers seems to be that reverb fans fall into two camps—dyed-in-the-wool spring devotees or those who want a command center filled with a jillion algorithms.
Neunaber’s Wet Mono Reverb falls into a logical, largely neglected middle ground: Designed and built in Orange County, California, it offers a single, studio-quality digital reverb in a roughly MXR-sized box with a simple, 3-knob layout and no distracting bells or whistles. Two Wet Mono versions are available: The standard v4 (tested here) features buffered bypass, while the v4tb has true-bypass switching.
What’s New, Neighbor?
Given the Wet Mono’s ’90s-Photoshop visual vibe and lack of toggles and LCD readouts, it can seem almost quaint at first glance. Indeed, perhaps its most sophisticated function is the ability to use the soft-response footswitch during power-up to select between normal, trails, or two-stage bypass modes, the latter of which allows already-played notes to continue at their normal rate of decay while you hold the switch down (an option that perhaps has more allure and practical use on the true-bypass v4tb). But once you hear the Wet’s fidelity and interact with the knobs a bit, you get the sense that a lot of care and thought went into making this a quality pedal with the no-nonsense allure of an amp-style reverb.
Only two construction aspects struck me as potentially problematic: First, the manual warns that removing the bottom plate will void the warranty because the circuit is sensitive to electro-static discharge. A lot of players are going to think you should be able to take a gander at the innards without such drastic consequences. Second, the amount of vertical give in the plastic pot shafts makes me wonder how much the Mono will stand up to gig abuse.
As Wet As You Wanna Be
When I tested the Neunaber with a Telecaster and a Danelectro baritone driving a Jaguar HC50 and a Goodsell Valpreaux 21, I got a surprising number of sounds from the humble control set. Although the company’s website and the unit’s included instruction sheet don’t specify what type of reverb it’s pumping out, it sounds to me like a hall emulation.
Don’t let that lead you to rash conclusions, though: Yes, if you set the mix knob between noon and 2 o’clock and then crank depth to its upper reaches, it sounds like you’re playing in a giant room in space where crazy galactic walls reflect gorgeous, glitch-free reverberations into infinity. It’s nothing like the interstellar zaniness of Eventide’s Space, but fans of Strymon-style lushness will love it. They’ll also dig how higher tone settings add an addictive sheen reminiscent of mild shimmer-mode settings on the BlueSky or BigSky. These sounds really are so inviting that you’ll find yourself coming up with new song parts simply because of how beautifully ghost notes and minuscule picking nuances blossom into oblivion.
But the Wet Mono also sounds really good when you turn depth way down for a rockabilly-style slapback, or dial it somewhere in the middle to use as a pristine set-and-forget reverb. And the tone knob lets you tailor the ambience from a darker, more muted vibe to something more akin to a live room with hard reflective surfaces.
If your ambience needs are simple and you’re searching for a studio-quality reverb in a box that’s a piece of cake to operate and doesn’t hog pedalboard space, then Neunaber’s Wet Mono Reverb may be the single-purpose, 21st-century ’verb machine of your dreams. Considering its price and other powerful options on the market, the Mono can seem limited. But its simplicity is the whole point. It’s difficult to imagine a hi-fidelity reverb that’s easier to use.
Watch the Review Demo: