ELECTRO-HARMONIX HAS COME a long way since the LPB-1 and Big Muff, and they somehow just keep getting better and cooler with each passing year.The Cathedral ($290 retail/$217 street) is a stereo reverb pedal that does a whole lot more than just reverb. You get seven different reverbs as well as up to two seconds of Echo, with plenty of control over them all. Sonically, I am knocked out by the quality and vibe of these ’verbs. The Grail Spring is thick and rich, the Accu Spring—a new Accutronics emulation—is incredibly dimensional, the Hall and Plate are pristine, and the Reverse is spooky and evocative, just like it should be. The Grail Flerb, which is an expanded version of the Holy Grail’s flanged reverb, is a great flavor that remains very dynamic—the flange never overwhelms the original signal. Nice! The Cathedral comes with controls for Blend, Reverb Time, Damping/Tone, Feedback, and Pre-Delay, but the secret weapon for me is definitely the Damping knob. It takes the sounds from crystalline and bright to dark and lugubrious. Anything shy of 12 o’clock imparts a smoky, warm quality to the reverbs that is delicious and super musical.There is a Tap Tempo button that works for delay time on the Echo setting and the Pre-Delay on the reverbs.You can also smear the repeats on the Echo by turning up the Reverb Time knob—perfect for a slapback with a little Plate on it. If you hold the Tap button down you enter Infinite Reverb mode, an absolutely gorgeous sound that recalls synth pads or celestial choirs, and you can then play over that sustaining tone.For intros or breakdowns, this is an amazing and addictive feature.
The Cathedral will store eight presets (one per mode), making it easy to go from a big Hall with no pre-delay to a timed Echo with no reverb. The only weirdness came when I went from a preset in one mode to a different mode with no preset. The new mode “remembered” the settings from the preset until I re-tweaked all the knobs. No matter. This pedal is almost incapable of making bad sounds and I worship at its reverberant altar.
ELECTRO-HARMONIX CATHEDRAL STEREO REVERB
KUDOS Gorgeous reverbs. Intuitive and musical controls. Great deal.
CONCERNS Transition between preset and non-preset tones can be confusing.
CONTACT Electro-Harmonix, (718) 937-8300; ehx.com