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Matthew Effects The Astronomer V2 Celestial Reverb

This pedal would make Carl Sagan smile...

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

 

 

Reverb has come a long way, and its migration from being the domain of the big dogs to smaller, more boutique companies is proof that as technology improves and gets cheaper, the days of unaffordable, studio-quality ‘verb are over. However, there is only so far a reverb effect can go; how many parameters are controllable, how high-resolution the sampling it, etc. That’s where the scrappiness of builders like Matthews Effects comes in to play, bringing forth a reworking of the Matthew Effects Astronomer with a v2 that adds an algorithm, extends the blend of dry and wet signals to 100%, reduces power consumption, and allows for tails or bypass modes.

 

The Matthew Effect Astronomer v2 is comprised of three reverb types selectable over two channels with multi-purpose controls to fine-tune each reverb. The all-analog dry signal path is married with the digital effect and can be set to true-bypass or buffered bypass so that reverb trails naturally fade once the effect is turned off. The pedal features top-located input/output jacks, runs on a standard 9v center-negative power supply, an onboard channel switching footswitch with an alternate input jack for external control of channel switching, and true-bypass.

 

What You Need to Know

 

The Matthews Effects Astronomer has three reverb modes; Canis Major, Orion, and Ursa Major. Each of the three modes use three controls- Mass (mix), Travel (reverb feedback), and Glow (shimmer/octave). Although the three reverb modes behave differently, the fundamental travel and scope of each control is the same.

 

The Canis Major mode is what Matthew Effects calls an EchoVerb and feels less like a traditional reverb effect that defines a physical space and more like an infinite trail. There is a subtle delay and swell to the effect that plays well against the direct signal. Canis Major has a very specific sound that you can just get more or less of, and it is perfect for shoegaze, ambient, and lofi musical applications where a wash of sound is required. It can do subtle perfectly well, but it is clearly meant to add a spacy haze. The octave effect in this mode has a bit more sparkly and effervescent than the Orion mode, shimmering forward as the treble decays in the reverb. 

 

The Orion mode is a hall reverb effect with a shimmer (octave) effect. The amount of hall reverb is set by a combination of the Mass and Travel controls and allows for anything from a slight presence grounding to massive, cavernous spatial diffusion. Compared to classic halls from TC, Eventide, and Stymon the Orion hall is bit warmer and interactive with the direct signal, although it isn’t necessarily darker. The octave effect in Orion is fuller and more present than the Canis Major mode and more closely represents a choir.

 

The Ursa Major mode is a chamber reverb effect at heart, expanding on the textures and perceived reflective pivots of the Canis Major mode for something darker, more textured, and complex. This mode lends itself better to single notes and simpler parts as the amount of space it fills quickly starts to muddy when met with complicated chords and dissonant notes. The octave effect in this mode feels more like a ping echo against the reverb despite being created pre-reverb. The result is the reverb picking up the octave as well for a subtler shimmer than the Orion.

 

The magic to having three great sounding reverbs come from two channels, selectable via a second footswitch, that allow for foot switching between two different modes (or settings within a mode). The three controls (Mass, Travel, and Glow) exist in both channels, with each channel driven by a three-setting toggle switch to select which effect you want.

 

As mentioned, the Matthew Effects Astronomer v2 includes a few tweaks to the original Astronomer, including improved algorithms, reduced power draw, an upgraded Mix control that goes full dry to 100% wet, and an entirely new reverb mode. I didn’t have an original to compare against, but the Astronomer v2 sounds very much like a mature product, comfortable in its own skin. 

 

Limitations

 

No stereo, no simultaneous channel use.

 

Conclusion

 

The Matthews Effects Astronomer v2 offers three sound-effect focused reverbs (no spring reverb here) for the same price of a stand-alone reverb. While there are reverbs out there that are more diverse in their modes (Strymon, Eventide) and reverbs that offer deeper tweaking within a single sound (Earthquaker), the Matthews Effects Astronomer offers a little bit of both… three non-traditional reverbs that are meant to be heard with simple controls and easy channel hopping. - HC -

 

Resources

 

Matthews Effects The Astronomer V2 Celestial Reverb Homepage

 

Buy the Matthews Effects The Astronomer at Amazon  ($199.99)

 

 

 

____________________________________________ 

 

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. 

 

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