Fender Dual Marine Layer Review
Switching between contrasting reverb voices doubles the fun.
Smart, versatile, interactive and rangeful controls. Intuitive. Capable of great contrasts between A/B presets. Sturdy enclosure. Effective damping controls tame twee high-octave overtones.
Can’t switch reverb voices as you switch presets. Enclosure is big relative to depth of functionality. No-fun styling.
Fender Dual Marine Layer
Fender and reverb go together like gumbo and rice. Historically, the spring tanks in the company’s amplifiers and tube-driven outboard units have defined the Fender reverb sound. But in 2018, when Fender released the Marine Layer digital reverb, it did not include a spring reverb emulation. The new Dual Marine Layer doesn’t have a spring emulation either. Instead, it’s brimming with sounds and functions well-suited for less retro-reverb expressions, including thick chorus textures and shimmer reverb, and has a soft-relay sustain switch that enables momentary creation of ambient beds. It’s also capable of some very classy, subdued reverb colors, plus a few that can effectively stand in for spring and plate sounds in a pinch.
The Ring of Green
The Dual Marine Layer is clearly not a vintage design exercise. A switch on the pedal’s crown enables illumination of the LED position markers on the knobs—a real asset on dark stages. And like all new-generation Fender effects, the Dual Marine Layer comes in an anodized aluminum enclosure that bends (a bit too much, perhaps) to the tech-industry’s prevailing minimalist design ethos. And while the kelly green enclosure is more fun to look at than, say, an iPhone, it lacks the design inventiveness of an old Fender amp or one the company’s curvaceous, classic guitar designs.
Surprisingly, for a pedal of this size, the control layout and functions are pretty simple. The top row of knobs includes controls for damping (which darkens or brightens the reverb tails), reverb decay time, modulation intensity, and effect level, and is dedicated to reverb A. The second row of knobs, save for the sustain control, is identical and assigned to reverb B. A small 3-position toggle switch selects between hall, room, and shimmer reverb algorithms. The sustain knob controls the intensity of the reverb bed created by holding down the soft-relay momentary sustain footswitch.
Many players that turn to bigger stompboxes for deep functionality, programming capabilities, and scores of I/O and routing options may be puzzled by the size of the enclosure used here. There are no stereo I/O options, no MIDI or USB connectivity, no effects loop, and just three reverb modes. But in real-world performance and song-creation situations, the generous spacing between controls and switches—and the ease with which you can adjust and move between them without triggering something unintentionally—is invaluable. In this sense, the Dual Marine Layer is truly a performance-centric pedal.
More Space Than Surf
The Dual Marine Layer seems built primarily for contemporary reverb applications—the kind with extra-expansive, dramatic tendencies, replete with harmonic overtones. But while a dedicated spring reverb model is certainly missed here, there are many ways to extract mellow and more traditional textures.
The most conventional of the available voices—and perhaps the most forgiving—is the room reverb. It’s capable of very intimate, small-scale reverb sounds that don’t drown in harmonizing overtones and are less susceptible to digital artifacts. It’s also a great platform for exploring the Dual Marine Layer’s controls, which are sensitive, highly interactive, and capable of great nuance once you’re acquainted.
The generous spacing between controls and switches—and the ease with which you can adjust and move between them without triggering something unintentionally—is invaluable.
In room mode, setting the reverb time and effect level fairly high while keeping the dampening at brighter settings and the modulation to a minimum yields a pretty satisfactory approximation of vintage spring reverb. But if you use the damping control to darken the signal, take the level down, and reduce the delay time, you get a classy, subdued studio room reverb sound that’s a killer contrast with spring-style sounds in an A/B set up. Dial the modulation and the effect level back up again and you have a raft of chorus tones that a young Johnny Marr would love.
Hall mode’s expansiveness underscores the importance of the damping control. At darker damping settings, even long delay times and aggressive effect levels make the hall more evocative of a small but reflective chamber—lively, succinct, and a bit mysterious. Take the damping control to its brightest levels, however, and the little chamber becomes a jumbo jet hanger. The high-octave content in these extra-bright damping settings can make extreme reflections sound a bit too choral and twee at times. But the sensitivity and range of the time and level controls are such that middle-ground colors are abundant, varied, and easily transformed into chamber- and plate-style sounds.
Shimmer reverbs usually leave me cold. But here again, the range of the DML’s controls yield surprises. Dark damping settings and modest delay times de-emphasize the sometimes sizzling high overtones that can make shimmer verbs sound cheesy, yielding sounds like a long plate instead.
Once you get a hang of the Dual Marine Layer, it’s a pleasure to use. There are a few frustrating limitations considering the effect’s size. You can’t use different voices for reverbs A and B, for instance. And some prospective buyers will lament that Fender didn’t use the extra space to accommodate more presets or spring or reverse reverb emulations. On the other hand, the economical design makes the Dual Marine Layer extra easy to use and extra fun. And if you’re not obsessed with pedalboard space, you’ll find a trove of cool sounds to work with.
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Guitar Center Presents: Holiday Gift Guide
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Les Paul Desert Burst Satin
Fender Classic Series 5 Guitar Case Stand Tweed
Fender Holiday Guitar Cable Keychain
Fender Limited Edition Holiday Sweater
Harbinger MLS1000 Personal Line Array Speaker System
Sterling Audio P10 Dynamic Instrument Microphone
Sterling Audio Harmony H224 USB Audio Interface
Apogee BOOM 2x2 Audio Interface
Railhammer Reveals New Billy Corgan Z-One Pickups
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level of performance. Rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. Railhammer Pickups have outstanding tonal balance. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Mono Releases the M80 Vertigo Ultra Case
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
MONO Vertigo Ultra Electric Bass Gig Bag - Black
For more information, please visit monocreators.com.
Gibson Unveils the Generation Collection of Acoustics
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
Gibson Acoustic Generation Collection G-Bird Acoustic-electric Guitar - Natural
For more information, please visit gibson.com.