Small but powerful (and deceptively simple-looking), this boutique Indonesian stomp takes some definite detours from modern reverb convention.
In terms of flexibility per square inch, few stompboxes are as ambitious as the deceptively simple-looking Specular Reverb from Indonesian outfit GFI. Specular packs seven 24-bit modes, stereo ins and outs, and eight presets into a box scarcely bigger than an old MXR. Reverb modes include “normal” (a pristine, Strymon-ish response) and six “atmospheric” variations: modulated, shimmer, echo, tremble (tremolo’d reverberations), voices (secondary unison, perfect-fifth, or octave reverberations), and infinity (essentially a footswitch-activated note-hold function).
Four knobs (whose parameters vary by mode) govern each sound, while access to the presets and modes—which are essentially arranged into three banks—is achieved via different tapping methods or different combinations of the two dual-function footswitches.
Specular’s sounds are lush, hi-fi, and can go from subtle to intriguingly out-there—though perhaps not out-there enough for bomb-throwing sonic provocateurs. Even so, for players who yearn for a variety of programmable stereo ’verbs in a menu-less stomp they can cram onto a crowded board, the Specular fills a decidedly unique niche.
Test Gear: Baritone Jazzmaster with Curtis Novak JM-WR pickups, Goodsell Valpreaux 21 w/ Weber Blue Dog and Silver Bell speakers, Jaguar HC50 w/ Weber Gray Wolf.Clip 1 — Bari JM - WR Middle - Echo Mode, Blend - Max, Reverb Level - 11 O'clock, Echo Time - Max, Echo Regen - 11 O'clock
Clip 2 — Bari JM - WR Middle - Modulated Mode, Blend - Noon, Decay - 1 O'clock, HF Damping - Max, Intensity - Noon
Clip 3 — Bari JM - WR Middle - Normal Mode, Blend - 3 O'clock, Decay - 1 O'clock, HF Damping - 3'oclock, Pre - Delay - 3 O'clock
Clip 4 — Bari JM - WR Middle - Shimmer Mode, Blend - Max, Decay - 1 O'clock, HF Damping - Noon, Intensity - Max
Clip 5 — Bari JM - WR Middle - Tremble Mode, Blend - Max, Decay - 1 Max, Speed - 1 O'clock, Intensity - Max
Clip 6 — Bari JM - WR Neck - Voices Mode, Blend - 1 O'clock, Decay - Noon, HF Damping - Min, Intensity - 11 O'clock