Top critical review
Quick and dirty monitoring reverb, or low fi character reverb, but not for "nice" reverb.
24 February 2016
I can't fault this device as it does exactly what is described. I use it as monitoring reverb in the studio: if I'm recording a vocalist, I will set up a 2nd mic plugged into this, set to 100% wet, and fed into the vocalist's headphones. But I won't record its output.
One of the major problems is that is has a built in mic preamp, but no input level detector. And the gain knob is difficult to adjust. So it's very easy to clip the reverb effect for quite nasty (or cool!) digital clipping distortion. The other problem is that it has a line-level output, but with an XLR connector. And the manual completely fails to make this clear. Really, the first page of the manual should say: WARNING: THE XLR OUTPUT OF THIS DEVICE IS AT LINE LEVEL. DO NOT PLUG INTO A MIC PREAMP WITHOUT USING A DI BOX. I understand the reasoning behind this, as it means you only need XLR cables to chain a few of these (they do different versions with different FX) together. (With the input gain set to its lowest, the mic pre can accept line level input). But for less technically minded people, they might not realise this, and might try and plug the XLR output of this into ANOTHER mic preamp input on a mixing desk or audio interface, leading to massive distortion or impedance issues. So you need to be a bit careful.
As for the quality of the effect itself, it's a mixed bag. I have vast amount of experience using digital reverb plugins, and also own a Lexicon MX200 reverb rack (which for £200 is MUCH MUCH nicer sounding than this). Basically it's a mono reverb, not in stereo. It means that it completely lacks a sense of space or width. It's probably much worse than the digital reverb FX that now come built in to many cheap mixing desks these days. And certainly much worse than any built-in reverb plugin you would get with any DAW (cubase, logic, etc). It's extremely grainy (echoes are not "dense" enough). But it could sound extremely cool when overdriven into digital distortion. And its quality matters less if you are only using it for monitoring, and not for recording or live performance. The lack of stereo may not be an issue when performing live anyway - as many venues don't have good enough sound system to present a clear stereo image in the first place.
Anyway if this cost £30, or if it cost the same price but had input metering and STEREO TRS line outputs, it would be a good buy. But as it stands, it isn't, unless you REALLY need a reverb pedal.