Written by Bobby
In this roundup I'm pulling together reverb pedals that include a shimmer mode. Since you can't really sort pedals by modes in the real world, this list keeps all of the shimmer mode reverbs in one spot, for easy browsing.
Note that on some of these pedals, there's a distinction being made between a mode and type of reverb.
In most cases, algorithms are treated as types while modes are treated as augmenting agents to each type.
Take the Strymon BlueSky, for example:
In the BlueSky, the Shimmer is a mode, which works in conjunction with three different reverb types.
However, in other reverb pedals - even the other Strymon reverb, the BigSky - Shimmer is treated like it's own algorithm:
I point this out simply to say, the semantics of shimmer reverb aren't always clearly defined. You might see it listed as any of the following:
Personally, I view the shimmer reverb as its own unique sound. After our list of reverb pedals with shimmer modes, we'll get into more about the sound of the shimmer effect and what characterizes it.
For now, we'll list the reverb pedals that include it, for easy browsing, as promised.
TC Electronic Fluorescence Shimmer Reverb
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
Boss RV-6 Reverb
Source Audio Collider Delay/Reverb
Strymon blueSky Reverberator
Keeley Caverns Reverb
EarthQuaker Devices Astral Destiny
Electro-Harmonix Ocean's 12
Source Audio Ventris Reverb
Meris Mercury7 Reverb
Boss RV-500 Reverb
EHX Ocean's 11 Reverb
Eventide Space Reverb
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2x4
Understanding Reverb Modes
As we've already alluded to, there are several terms you might hear used to describe reverb sounds in a given pedal. I'll list them again, here:
These three terms are used somewhat interchangeably by pedal manufacturers, though the most common term is "mode." A reverb mode is a type of reverb algorithm which is programmed into a digital reverb pedal.
Though in this example, you can see that Strymon is using the term "type" to refer to the reverb sounds available.
Types, modes, and algorithms all refer to the same thing: Different variations of the reverb effect. Some have longer trails, some are brighter, some are more (or less) ambient, and others have a more defined shape. There are a lot of properties of ambient sound that can be tweaked and adjusted to make different types of reverb sound effects.
This process is how you get pedals with multiple reverb modes and different variants of the same sound.
What does shimmer sound like?
The shimmer reverb effect creates a layer of ambience that's more distinctly beneath the dry sound, giving you a trailing ambient layer that feels more separate from the original notes.
It also has more of a sparkling, brightening quality, where the higher register sounds more pristine and clear.
Here's a link to a demo of the TC Electronic Fluorescence which does a great job of showcasing the shimmer reverb effect.
You can hear it especially when he turns the mix knob all the way up, meaning you're only hearing the wet signal, which in this case is the ambient reverb layer without the original (dry) notes.
How does shimmer reverb work?
In most reverb pedals you have a digital algorithm (as we mentioned earlier) that creates all the reverb sounds, including the shimmer effect. The details that go into these algorithms are fairly complicated, though they're only used on digital reverb pedals.
Analog reverb pedals work with a physical circuit, or what might be called a "spring tank" or transducer.
These are more rare, since digital reverb algorithms are easier to mass produce.
But the shimmer reverb is always going to work using one of these two methods, which take the dry electric guitar sound and process it to create the ambient trail.
Read more: How analog spring reverb works
The ambient trail is based on the dry notes, but it is a separate entity that trails off that original note, thus creating a time-based ambient effect.
All of these pedals have a shimmer reverb mode, though it's possible there are other reverb pedals out there that can produce the same effect. If you know of something I missed - whether it's analog or digital - feel free to leave it in the comments section below and I'll take a look.
With lists like these, I often rely on the community to help me keep them up-to-date and populated with the most recent guitar gear that fits the parameters.
In this case, it's any reverb pedal that can produce a shimmer reverb type.
If you've got something in mind, let me hear it.
We'll see you there.