Robert Keeley Caverns V2 Delay and Reverb Pedal
By Chris Loeffler |
Robert Keeley Caverns V2 Delay and Reverb Pedal
Hello, hello, ... hello!
by Chris Loeffler
When it comes to delay and reverb effects, most players choose between a one-trick pony or an expensive multi-effect, but Robert Keeley decided to create a middle-ground where players can get an affordable, versatile delay with modulation and a few of the most common reverb settings in a single pedal. The Keeley Caverns V2 is a rethink of the original Keeley Caverns; a dual-function, reverb and delay pedal featuring 650MS of delay with analog-voiced modulation along with three reverb modes in single enclosure. The Keeley Caverns V2 features four controls and a setting switch for both the delay and reverb effects, optional true-bypass or buffered bypass, rear-mounted input and output jacks and runs an a standard 9v adaptor (not included).
What You Need to Know
The Keeley Caverns V2 allows each of the two effects sides, Reverb and Delay, to be activated individually or in serial via independent footswitches set for either true-bypass for unaffected tone when not on or buffered bypass to allow the reverb and trails of the final delayed signal to decay naturally. This means you can have reverb, delay, or both on at any given time for three new effected tones available without tweaking a single knob.
The delay effect of the Keeley Caverns V2 features controls for Time, Repeats, Blend, and Rate, with Time, Repeats and Blend controlling the delays and the Rate selecting the speed of the optional modulation applied to the delay. The delay is voiced for a classic tape-echo tone, slightly darker than the original signal with slight saturation progressively added to subsequent repeats. It’s clean enough to do the rhythmic delay thing but warm enough to not get in the way of the direct signal for spacier passages. While it doesn’t have quite as much funk of some of the most stringent EP-2 tape-echo clones out there, it’s versatility is better off for it.
The delay’s modulation can be set for Light, Deep, or Off via the three-way toggle switch to go from a subtle liveliness in Light mode to a swampy, Leslie-like warble in Deep mode. The slowest modulation speeds are slower than the longest delay time and the highest speed setting bounces the modulation LFO multiple times per second… all tasteful and organic.
The delay in the Keeley Caverns forgoes the self-oscillation many players ask about but few actually use in exchange for delays that can be set to the edge of madness without ever losing control.
The Reverb side is controlled by Blend, Decay, Warmth and Rate controls and comes in three flavors selectable via a second three-way switch: Modulated, Spring, and Shimmer. The Shimmer mode produces a reverb effect that is an octave above the dry signal to introduce an ethereal aural halo to what’s being played, the Modulated reverb features a choral thickening LFO that goes from warm to sparkling depending on the Warmth setting, and the Spring mode gives classic Fender-style spring reverb jangle with a pulsing tremolo to the wet signal.
I found the Shimmer mode to hide a spacious Plate reverb behind it when the Shimmer was dialed back, and the octave itself is organic even at the highest settings, without the digital squeal and artifacts of lower resolution effects but soft enough not to sound like the 1-Up ping of a video game. The Spring setting is so faithful to my Princeton Reverb reissue tank that I was afraid if I kicked the pedal I’d cause it to rattle. The tremolo is subtle below noon on the Rate knob, but it's an authentic touch that I can't believe isn't more common. The Modulation mode is warm and thick with a touch of feedback swoosh that stands apart from the modulation on the delay side, so even though they each sound amazing on their own they don't get too soupy when used together.
There are hundreds of tones to be coaxed from this little white box, but you’re going to have to bend over and tweak knobs to select between them.
The Keeley Caverns V2 pairs together two fantastic space-spacing effects engines that go well together but can stand on their own. The flexibility of both the Delay and Reverb sides is likely to get players of any genre through diverse set lists, all for less than two hundred bones. Given his pedigree in the world of analog devices, it’s heartening to see how damned well the folks at Keeley have tackled DSP and how they keep it sounding and feeling analog. If a handful of tweakable good delay and reverb tones will get you where you need to go, then the Keeley Caverns V2 might just be the best way to get there! - HC -
Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer.