When Source Audio released its dual-engine Ventris reverb, one of the pedal’s main selling points for many guitarists was the veracity of its spring reverb model. (One Nashville touring guitarist likes it so much that he has four versions of its spring setting programmed into four preset slots.) This stellar reception encouraged the company to bring out the True Spring Reverb, a compact pedal that focuses on the effect in all its drippy glory, while throwing in the great sounds from the Source Audio Vertigo tremolo as a bonus.
On the surface, the True Spring offers three different types of reverb: Short, a taut sound with quick decay and smooth trails; Long, which provides lengthy, deep decays with some drip; and Tank, which emulates a vintage outboard tank with even more liquid attack. You can combine any reverb with any of three tremolo effects: Optical, with its distinct choppy character; Harmonic, based on a Fender’s phaser-like “brownface” amp tremolo; and Bias, known for smooth amplitude modulation with a mild overdrive.
Compactness has its price. To choose, activate and make changes to the tremolo on the pedal, you need to press and hold the control input button. While it’s held, the dwell knob controls the tremolo depth, the tone knob governs tremolo rate, and the toggle selects tremolo type. The tremolo is off by default and is turned on by increasing the depth. A Source Audio tap-tempo switch (available as a package with the True Spring) allows you to tap in the tremolo rate or engage and disengage the tremolo effects. As with all Source Audio effects, you can keep it simple, use the Neuro App and desktop editor to dive deep, or employ the Neuro Hub to go full MIDI.
If the spring sounds on the Ventris sounded great for a digital emulation, the True Spring’s tones should sound great too, right? In fact, they are inspiring — warmer, more analog, and so close to the real thing you’ll be afraid to kick the pedal lest you cause the kind of crash spring reverb users are all too familiar with. I’m not sure I would often use the Long setting, but Short and Tank alone are worth every penny of this pedal’s reasonable price.
I’ve always thought the Vertigo Tremolo was underrated, and its sounds here are just as good as in the original, and as good as many analog trems. My one quibble with the current True Spring is that the trem can’t be turned on and off without the additional switch. This will be corrected (possibly by the time you read this) through a firmware update that will allow users to program a preset with tremolo and turn it on and off simply by switching between preset and standard mode.
More and more, Americana and alt-country records feature lead guitars drenched in spring reverb and tremolo. By nailing the magic of a Fender reverb tank for almost a 10th of the cost, the True Spring earns an Editors’ Pick Award.
True Spring Reverb
PRICE $229 street; $249 with tap switch
CONTROLS Mix, level, dwell (tremolo depth), tone (tremolo rate), and 3-way toggle for reverb and trem types
FOOTSWITCH Click on/off mechanical, true bypass or buffered
POWER External adapter
DIMENSIONS 4.5" x 2.75" x 2"
KUDOS Incredibly accurate and inspiring spring reverb sounds
CONCERNS Can’t turn the tremolo on and off without the optional tap-tempo switch