This forward-thinking reverb moves from ambient to traditional with ease.

While a lot of newer digital reverbs seem designed for extremes, Tsakalis AudioWorks’ Ocean feels like reverb with real musical purpose. It’s a wonderfully realized mixture of iconic ’verb tones with enough modern touches to please adventurously ambient players. Each of the three modes (hall, shimmer, and spring) offer inspiring, floaty takes on their respective flavors. Depending on the mode, three of the knobs (size, storm, and diffuse) change function. I started in spring mode and dialed up a darkish tone—simulating a larger spring via the diffuse and size knobs, respectively. The tone was enveloping and rich with tails that trailed off beautifully. Compared to the reverb in my Fender ML Deville, the Ocean had an earthy feel with more detail, though the mix control tended to get too deep too quickly for my tastes.

The key to the shimmer mode is the diffuse control. According to Tsakalis, the control changes the “material” the imaginary walls are made of. Turning the control clockwise gives the sound an airy tone. The opposite direction tightens up the reflections. I found the shimmer setting inspiring in an introspective way—great for Bill Frisell textures. The hall mode sits somewhere between ambient and a retro room sound. Subtle mix levels were great for ’80s-style arpeggios worthy of Lifeson and Summers. Ultimately, Ocean’s vibe will pair well with players who dig mild and traditional reverb sounds and the ambient side of the effect.

Test gear: Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul, Truetone Route 66, Strymon Mobius, Fender Hot Rod DeVille ML 212

Ratings

Pros:
Wide range of tones. Engaging ambient sounds. Well-designed setup.

Cons:
The mix control could use some fine tuning. Expression functionality would be a bonus.

Street:
$250

Tsakalis Audio Works Ocean Reverb
tsakalisaudioworks.com

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