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Review: TC Electronic Nova Reverb

The NR-1 cuts through the mud

TC Electronic''s NR-1I''ve always been a bit of a dinosaur with gear. I like primitive things that are somewhat uncontrollable and tend to break, like tubes and springs. Outside of the studio, I''ve never used anything other than spring reverb and could see no reason why I should – it''s the model that all ‘verbs try to duplicate...

I''ve gotten to the point where I rarely use reverb and when I do, it''s usually in very small portions unless I''m copping some weird surf guitar thing or old jazz. ‘Verb made my guitar get lost in a rocking mix; instead of making the guitar bigger, it seemed undefined and muddy. The NR-1 Nova Reverb forces me to rethink my ‘verb use because of its new DynaMix feature. TC describes it as, “a dynamic ducking effect that turns down the reverb while you’re playing and turns it back up again when you’re not playing. This prevents the sound from getting muddy – especially when using large hall reverb types – but will still give you that huge live venue effect while the notes decay."

The NR-1 Nova Reverb actually delivers on that promise and the DynaMix alone is worth the price of admission. DynaMix works like a tiny recording engineer living in your pedalboard, bringing a subtle effect increase only when you want it. Best of all, you don''t have to do anything – just play and it happens.

The NR-1 has most of the sounds you would find in a good studio plug-in, and they actually sound pretty much like studio plug-ins, which is great. The "Classic" setting worked best for my bag but I like to have many options even if I will probably use them rarely. The pedal sounds great in mono but best when bouncing between two amps.

Everything on the NR-1 is well-labeled and easy to run. The manual gives you all the info you need without a lot of geek talk to confuse you. Finally, the NR-1''s strong casing ensures no mechanical breakdowns on the road. It felt durable, like it could take many kicks and a few spilled drinks.

The NR-1 Nova Reverb is a great pedal. It seems silly to look to improve upon something that works so well, but for the NR-2 I have a suggestion. Space is always a concern in pedalboards, so it would be great if this pedal was a bit smaller. The NR-1 is about the same size as most of TC’s stuff, and it’s been my only major concern about their great gear. Granted, a tube reverb is gigantic by comparison, but mine tend to already be installed in my amp. Second, I''d love to be able to run the NR-1 off of my 9V DC power like the rest of my gear – I hate those big, clunky wall warts.
Buy if...
you find yourself frustrated with muddy verbs.
Skip if...
you will never, under any circumstances, use reverb on your rig.

MSRP $345 - TC Electronic -