The Blue Sky Reverberator

Download Example 1
3/4 Low Damp, 3/4 High Damp, Norm Mode, Plate Type
Download Example 2
No Low Damp, Half High Damp, Shimmer Mode, Room Type
Clips recorded with PRS McCarty DC245 20th Anniversary into a Matchless Avalon 35 combo.
The Blue Sky Reverberator is a gem—a toneshaping masterpiece. Like the Orbit, the Blue Sky has Bypass and Favorite footswitches. Knobs include Decay (decay time), Mix (dry/ wet balance), Pre-Delay (delay time before reverb), Low Damp (cuts the reverb’s low end), and High Damp (dampens high frequencies). Three of the most commonly used reverb types, plate, room, and spring, can be selected from the three-way Type switch. The Mode switch has three positions: normal processes an untouched rendition of the selected reverb type, mod adds a slight modulation (chorus) to the reverb effect, and shimmer tacks a note an octave up to the wet signal, and that note slowly rises in volume. When shimmer is selected with either the spring or room type, a harmonized fifth is added to the octave for even more texture. For guitarists fond of soundscapes and huge, ethereal passages, the Blue Sky has both two inputs and two outputs for true stereo operation.

Using a Nick Huber Orca into a Quidley 22 head and Quidley 2x12, I gave the spring reverb sound a run with Mode set to normal, Pre-Delay at minimum (so I could hear the reverb immediately after striking the strings), and all other knobs set at noon. I was pleased to hear that there were no latency issues, and even more pleased to hear how great the spring algorithm sounded. More importantly, I was astounded at how accurately the Reverberator interpreted my pick attack. Picking softly summoned a softer, subtler reverb than when I picked harder. The squeaking and squealing noises that a good spring reverb gives off when you dig in were also there, and they had a very authentic feel. I could hear the emulated springs shake and quiver louder and more violently the harder I picked, especially when palm muting.

After flipping to the room type, I turned Pre-Delay to 10 o’clock and dumped some of the low end using the Low Damp knob. This was especially useful when the Orca’s humbuckers pumped out some overbearing bass frequencies. What was really impressive about the room setting was its range. Using the Low Damp and High Damp controls in conjunction with the Decay and Pre-Delay knobs made it easy as pie to design a convincing emulated room, whether it was a carpeted basement or a concert hall.

The plate type is the darkest-sounding of the three, and it’s perfect for Ennio Morricone-style single-note riffs. When you use plate with the mod Mode setting, you get a much eerier mood. It would have been nice I could have altered the modulation, though. There are no controls for modulation speed or depth, so you’re pretty much stuck with one voicing. It’s a great, usable sound, but I would have liked to be able to slow the rate down a little.

Shimmer mode, on the other hand, leaves nothing to be desired. The upper octave crept in ever so slightly when I was playing either chords or single notes, and using it with the spring setting yielded my favorite sounds of all. Playing with the Mix and High Damp controls maxed out was ghostly soundscape heaven—just the thing for guitarists from the Robert Fripp school. The effect is almost like a volume swell. When used with the room reverb, it’s very reminiscent of the long-discontinued (but very coveted) Boss PS-3 Pitch Shifter in mode 7. In fact, I like the Blue Sky’s shimmer mode even because you can dial in just the right amount of highs and lows.
Buy if...
you’re looking for an extraordinary, compact reverb.
Skip if...
your reverb needs are simple or your amp’s built-in reverb gets the job done.

Direct $299 - Strymon -