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This article was originally published in issue #57
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Grit adds saturation and a Lo-Fi filter to the Reverb sound for some very cool grungy sounds whilst Damp acts to soak up the tail of the reverb and dampen the high end, darkening the tone in a very cool and interesting way. Combining these controls can produce some truly unique reverbs not found in many other pedals.
Excellent Reverbs with some unique features for sound shaping
Very well built in the USA with quality components
Fully programmable with 128 presets
Firmware updates for future proofing
No analogue dry through signal path
2 x 1/4" Inputs and Outputs
128 Onboard Presets
9-18V DC power supply
Seymour Duncan Silver Lake
MSRP £429 (UK) $499 (US)
With a collection of eight beautifully crafted reverb algorithms, the Seymour Duncan Silver Lake is a fully programmable reverb workstation, combining high-quality reverb algorithms with unique dynamic control. Tom Quayle tells us more.
Reverb ‘workstation’ pedals are so common these days that it seems like all the big companies, and even a fair few little ones, have produced their own variant on the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ reverb pedal. To succeed in such an obviously crowded market one needs to differentiate their product from the next and with their Silver Lake Dynamic Reverb pedal, Seymour Duncan are aiming squarely at that goal post.
As with most pedals in this niche, you get a variety of different Reverb algorithms to choose from, selected from a dial on the top left of the pedal. All the usual suspects are here such as Room, Hall, Plate and Spring plus the more modern essentials such as Shimmer, Swell, Delay Verb and Gated Verbs to cover all bases. In total there are eight algorithms for sculpting your tones and each reverb can be dialled in with controls for Decay time, Pre-Delay, Mix and a handy Function dial that allows you to fine-tune the Modulation Depth and Rate and apply a Low and Hi-Pass filter to the wet signal.
The first unique aspects of the Silver Lake come from the remaining dials, controlling parameters called Grit and Damp. Grit adds saturation and a Lo-Fi filter to the Reverb sound for some very cool grungy sounds whilst Damp acts to soak up the tail of the reverb and dampen the high end, darkening the tone in a very cool and interesting way. Combining these controls can produce some truly unique reverbs not found in many other pedals.
The Silver Lake’s ‘piece de resistance’ however, is its Dynamic Expression section that allows you to control how the pedal reacts to your pick attack in real-time. The Mix, Modulation and Damp controls can all be mapped to this expression envelope filter with a separate control determining how the pedal reacts to your pick dynamics. In the Hard setting picking aggressively will produce more Reverb Mix or more modulation or damping in the wet signal, whilst the Soft setting will reverse this for greater effect whilst picking lightly. A threshold dial allows you to fine-tune the response and lights up to show you when the sound is being affected by your pick attack.
This unique feature allows you to produce dynamic reverbs that bloom and get louder when you reduce your pick attack but move into the background as you pick harder and faster for example. The creative possibilities are huge and require practice and experimentation to get the most from, but the potential for unique sounds is impressive.
With this many options available Seymour Duncan have made the Silver Lake fully programmable with up to 128 presets available and full Midi implementation – a superb addition for the growing number of guitar players looking for more sophistication and switching options from their pedal boards. A micro-USB port allows you to connect to a preset librarian or update the firmware for future additions and algorithm adjustments.
Ins and Outs are well catered for thanks to true stereo operation and 9-18v DC power capability. The sounds are all produced by a 24-bit/48kHz digital processor, although the manual and specs of the unit make no mention of analogue dry through, so if you’re very picky about your dry signal path you may want to research this a little more as it appears that the signal is sent through the A/D converters in its entirety – it still sounds great to our ears though!
The reverbs on offer are all fantastic, ranging from very natural and authentic room/space sounds to ambient soundscapes with modulated, never-ending repeats and everything in-between. The effects are easily on par with anything else at this price point on the market including the much-overused Shimmer effect that has become so de rigueur these days. The pedal is whisper quiet in operation and, compared to much of the competition, an absolute breeze to operate thanks to no submenus or secondary/hidden control assignments. The controls do what they say and only what they say! A small LED display shows you which preset you’re on and displays some basic info whilst editing some of the parameters. There is nothing here that is unnecessary.
Build quality is of the usual high Seymour Duncan standards and the pedal certainly feels like it would stand up to a rigorous gigging schedule thanks to solid components and high-quality jack and midi sockets throughout.
The Silver Lake is very easy to recommend – it’s cheaper than some of the competition, has a huge amount of power and tonal scope and some unique features that will very much appeal to certain types of players looking for a more interactive experience from their reverb pedal.