Love the drippy, Lo-Fi goodness of a beautiful spring reverb? In this video, we check out the brand new SurfyBear Reverb Studio Edition! This is the latest in the lineup of much acclaimed reverb units from the team over at Surfy Industries. Here, we walkthrough how it works, deep-dive into a bunch of sound samples, and look hooking everything up. Could this be your new desert-island reverb? Let's take a listen!
Howdy friend! You’re here in the studio with Luke from GuitarIQ.com. In today's video, I’ve got something pretty exciting planned. We’re going to check out a brand spanking new release from the team over at Surfy Industries. It’s the new SurfyBear Reverb Studio Edition. If you're not familiar with Surfy Industries, they’re responsible for some of the best —if not, the best—spring reverb pedals on the planet (in my opinion). And by “spring reverb,” I don't mean digital emulations of spring reverb. I mean actual analog spring reverb tanks that sit on your pedalboard. The SurfyBear studio is the latest evolution in the SurfyBear lineup and it offers some really unique features over their series of pedals. First of all, it's a 19” rack that can connect to your other pro audio gear with balanced line level XLR connections. It can process audio in stereo. And most importantly, it gives you more control over the sound and character of your spring reverb.
The eagle-eyed among you might be able to spy one of these units over my shoulder. The team from Surfy Industries kindly sent me one to check out. So in today's video, we're going to put this thing through its paces. We’re going to check out what all of the knobs do. We’re going to dive into a bunch of different sound samples. And we're going to have a chat about some of the different ways you might like to connect something like this up in your own home studio setup. So if that sounds interesting and/or useful to you, then please click on that like button to let me know (and to help show that YouTube algorithm a bit of love). As we go through the video, feel free to leave any thoughts comments questions or feedback in the comments section below. While you're there, be sure to check out the description. I’ve left timestamps for everything if you want to jump straight to the sound samples or if you want to revisit certain sections—feel free to do so. And finally, before we jump into the video, I warmly invite you to head over to GuitarIQ.com to check out some of the great books and other learning resources we have waiting for you over there—that’s GuitarIQ.com. And with that let's take a closer look!
Okay, so here we have the unit in question. This is the SurfyBear Reverb Studio Edition by Surfy Industries. Before we jump into a bunch of sound examples, I just wanted to give you a quick walkthrough the controls on the front panel. Just so you have some context for what you're looking at as I'm dialing in different sounds and twiddling knobs. First up here on the left, we have this dwell control. Now, on some reverb pedals, you might find the dwell control alters the size or sustain of the reverb tail. On this unit, the dwell control essentially decides how hard we're driving the reverb. You can think of this much like the input gain on a standard microphone preamp. To help dial this in, we have this handy little clipping LED up here. So the way I would set this as a starting point, is when I have signal playing through the unit, I’ll dial this up until the clipping LED starts to engage and then I'll just notch this back a little bit. The idea being that I want to get a nice strong signal coming from the reverb but I also want to maximize the amount of headroom and clarity I'm getting as well. Now, as per the manual it doesn't matter if the clipping LED is blinking occasionally as you're playing or a signal is passing through the unit. It’s just if this is continually blinking in and out, it means you're likely overloading things more than necessary.
So moving on, we have the threshold and decay controls. Now, I’m grouping these together because both of these controls really work in tandem. First up, the threshold controls the gate circuit within the SurfyBear Studio. If I dial this all the way to the left, the gate is switched off. Which means it's completely open and signal is being passed through the reverb. If I dial this all the way to the right, it means the gate is shut and you won't be hearing any signal coming from the reverb. So when this is set completely open, the decay control doesn't really do anything. You’re just hearing the default natural sound of the reverb tank. As we dial the sensitivity of that threshold up, now we can start to control how the reverb tail sustains out. And we can set the decay of that reverb tail anywhere from about 2 seconds all the way down to about 100 milliseconds. So if you're coming from the world of guitar pedals and you're not really sure what I'm talking about when I'm using terms like “thresholds” and “gates”—don’t worry. The rule of thumb is really simple: If you're wanting a big ambient sound, we dial the decay all the way up and we leave the threshold down or even entirely switched off. And if we're wanting a tighter more percussive reverb sound, we dial the decay all the way down and we dial the threshold all the way up to taste. And you'll hear examples of both of those things in a minute when I come to the sound samples.
Moving on, next we have the tone knob. This is fairly self-explanatory. As we dial this to the left, the tone gets darker. As we dial it to the right, the tone gets brighter. Personally, I prefer kind of darker, more muted sounding reverb tones generally. But certainly, it’s useful to be able to dial this up if you want to go for those brighter, more splashy, drippy, classic spring reverb sounds. It’s also worth noting the tone knob only affects the sound of the reverb so it won't affect your dry signal that's being passed through the unit. Speaking of your dry signal, next we move on to the mixer control. Again, this is fairly self-explanatory. When it's dialled all the way to the left, we're hearing 100% dry. When it's dialled all the way to the right, we're hearing 100% wet. And when it's set in-between we're hearing, of course, anywhere in-between.
Moving on to this width control, this is where things get a little more interesting. This knob is unique to the SurfyBear Studio. When we have this dialled all the way down, the sound of the reverb is essentially completely mono. And as we dial this up, the SurfyBear Studio begins to apply different filters to the left and right side of the reverb. So essentially, this is giving us a pseudo stereo-widening effect. Now, depending on the source, you might find that set at 100% this sounds a little bit extreme. But I found that anywhere from about 50% to 70% just adds a really nice width and space to the overall sound. So definitely a super-handy control that is a really welcome addition to the SurfyBear Studio.
Finally, we have the volume control which sets the overall output volume for both the wet and dry signals. And in addition to this, we have a bypass control here. And over to the far right, you can see the power switch. So now that you have some idea of what's going on let's jump into the sound samples. At the start of this video, you heard me using the SurfyBear Studio on electric guitar with a bit of help from the SurfyTrem Deluxe—which is Surfy Industries stereo tremolo pedal. But the great thing about having this in a rack format, is it makes it really easy to try this out on a bunch of different sources. We’re not limited to just using this on electric guitar. So that's really what I want to test out now. We’ll start with guitar and then we'll move to drums, and piano, and strings, and a few other instruments. Just to get a feel for what this unit is capable of on a bunch of different sources. I will start with most of these controls set to the obligatory “knobs-at-noon” setting and then I'll twiddle some knobs and dial things in and experiment with some of the sounds we can get. So I've made you wait long enough, let’s hear this thing in action!
So there you have it. That was a bunch of different sounds and settings using the SurfyBear Studio. Hopefully, that gave you a bit of an overview of some of the spring reverb goodness that this unit is capable of. Now, even though I was demonstrating this on a bunch of different tracks, I’m not necessarily suggesting that you should use spring reverb on absolutely every track in your mix. What I was hoping to demonstrate is that—even though spring reverb is a really unique industrial, Lo-Fi, metallic type of reverb—even within that, we have a huge amount of scope with how we can dial something like this in depending on the instruments we're using it with. And this might just be exactly what you're looking for when it comes to adding more vibe, or character, or life to particular tracks within your mix.
One last thing before we finish up. I just wanted to quickly cover the inputs and outputs on this unit and talk about some of the ways you might potentially incorporate something like this into your setup. So if I bring up a diagram of the back panel of this unit… You can see we have our power input, which is an external power supply. We also have a mono switch, you can see in red there. We basically set that depending on how we're going to use the unit. If you're intending to use this in a rack situation, like I've just been demonstrating, you would almost always just have this switch to the stereo mode. In addition to that, we have our line level inputs and outputs. First up, we have a set of stereo balanced XLR inputs and outputs—which I've been using for this demo. And as you can see, there’s also a set of stereo 1/4" unbalanced outputs as well. So that’s the types of connections you might expect to see with a rack unit like this. It’s when we come to the front panel of the unit that things get a little more interesting.
You can see on the left, we have an additional input. And on the right, we have two additional outputs. These are for instrument level signals. So essentially, you could plug your guitar, or even your entire pedalboard, into the front of this unit. And just use this like you would any other standard reverb pedal. You could run one of the outputs into the front end of your guitar amp. Or, use this in the effects loop of your guitar amp. Or, you could even run this out to two separate amplifiers. In addition to that, you could also run these stereo outputs into other guitar pedals for extra processing. For example, you could run the sound of this reverb into something like the SurfyTrem Deluxe stereo tremolo pedal you heard at the start of this video. Or, you could use this to run into the stereo inputs on a modeling pedal. Or, you could even set up independent processing on each side. For example, depending on how interesting, and crazy, and creative you want to get with processing the sound coming from the SurfyBear Studio, you could have something like a tremolo setup on the left side and a vibrato or a chorus set up on the right side. For a really interesting kind of dual mono setup. So a bunch of inputs and outputs. Stacks of options with how you might use something like this. All up, if you're wanting to get the sound of a genuine spring reverb tank into your studio, and you want to have a whole lot of control over the sound of that reverb, and you're looking for something that has a bunch of different connectivity options (in terms of inputs and outputs), then I'd certainly recommend checking this out. That was my look at the SurfyBear Reverb Studio Edition by Surfy Industries.
Well, we’re almost at the end of the video. Thank you for sticking around. As I mentioned earlier, this unit was sent to me to check out by Surfy Industries. But this wasn't a paid promotion or a sponsored advertisement. They had no say in this video content, all thoughts and opinions are my own—as always. If you would like to check it out, or any of their other lineup of pedals like the SurfyTrem Deluxe, then I'll leave a link to their website in the description. If you did like this video and you want to see more content like this, then please subscribe to the channel and hit that bell icon to be notified of future uploads. And finally, just another reminder to head over to GuitarIQ.com to check out some of the books and other learning resources we have waiting for you over there. On topics like fretboard memorization, and understanding chord theory, and warm-ups and workouts for guitar players, and a whole bunch more—that is GuitarIQ.com. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next video!