When The Sun Ex­plodes Re­verb Pedal by Beau­ti­ful Noise Ef­fects

IT’S AN ANA­LOG-VOICED RE­VERB PEDAL, PACKED TO THE BRIM WITH FEA­TURES. BUT HOW WILL IT HOLD UP WHEN THE HEAT IS ON?

Australian Guitar - - Contents - BY MICHAEL RUS­SELL

When The Sun Ex­plodes is the fir st of­fer­ing from Nick Raf­faele of Beau­ti­ful Noise, a bou­tique pedal builder from New­cas­tle, NSW. Raf­faele has built a small, yet ded­i­cated fol­low­ing in the steel city, sling­ing cus­tom jobs and rein­ter­pre­ta­tions of clas­sic ped­als with his own twist. When The Sun Ex­plodes is just that: a homage to his lo ve of the dif­fer­ent. Grow­ing up in Tam­worth – Aus­tralia’s cap­i­tal of coun­try mu­sic – seems to have sparked Raf­faele’s fond­ness for the ab­surd. Upon un­box­ing the pedal, we see that it’s vis­ually drenched in post-apoc­a­lyp­tic im­agery with an ex­plod­ing sun and nu­clear fall­out waves stamp­ing its de­sign. The whole piece is fin­ished off with a taste­ful black en­clo­sure con­trasted with white knobs.

The lay­out fea­tures seven knobs and three switches, which seems a lit­tle daunt­ing at first. But with rel­a­tive ease, I quickly found a warm and spring-like re­verb not un­like that of Fen­der amps. Once I got com­fort­able and I started to ex­plore what this thing has to of­fer, its true value quickly be­came known. The man­ual is Spar­tan, writ­ten sim­ply and clear – it’s straight to the point and ex­plains this mam­moth pedal and its fea­tures well.

The Mas­ter knob is an out­put vol­ume con­trol, and the pedal op­er­ates best in this mode. The Dry/Wet knob af­fects the amount of re­verb sig­nal you get – turn­ing it counter-clock­wise will give you less, and vice versa. The Colour knob is a tone con­trol that reigns over both as­pects of the pedal – the feed­back and the reg­u­lar re­verb cir­cuit. The De­cay knob af­fects the amount of tail de­liv­ered to the re­verb.

Gain works as a dis­tor­tion con­trol on the out­put sig­nal of the pedal. Turn­ing it up half­way gives us a clean over­drive, but any­thing over leads to a wall of fuzzy mess. Feed­back con­trols the amount of re­verb go­ing through the looper – the wet­ter the re­verb, the more ex­treme this pedal gets. Fi­nally, we have a dip­switch that tog­gles the LFO tremolo on and off, and a Rate knob that con­trols the speed of the tremolo.

SWITCH IT UP

The By­pass switch is a sim­ple on/ off af­fair. The Feed­back switch is a mo­men­tary switch that al­lows you to cre­ate walls of drenched re­verb tails and let them dis­si­pate as soon as y our foot is off the pedal. The boost switch is what made this pedal re­ally stand out to me: en­gag­ing it in­stantly dou­bles the sig­nal, giv­ing a warm and swampy, al­most slap­back de­lay sound. By com­bin­ing the fea­tures of the dry/wet sig­nal and ad­just­ing to a short de­cay time, you can eas­ily achieve a clas­sic rock­a­billy tape echo. Al­ter­na­tively, by rock­ing on the feed­back switch, you can con­trol an in­stan­ta­neous wall of noise.

Hav­ing a tone knob on a re­verb is a bless­ing in dis­guise; it’s the kind of thing that you never re­alise you’re miss­ing un­til the ob­vi­ous is di­rectly

in front of you. By turn­ing the knob clock­wise, you get a glassy, brit­tle chime that in­stantly calls for coun­try licks and high-en­ergy chord voic­ings. If the song calls for somber voic­ings and a darker tone, just dial it back for a more brood­ing re­verb tone.

In cu­ri­ous ex­plo­ration, I dis­cov­ered that if you turn all the re­verb crazi­ness down and just use the gain and mas­ter set­tings, you’ll end up with a re­ally fizzy and trans­par­ent over­drive at your dis­posal. It’s a nice lit­tle op­tion to have.

THE ELE­PHANT BLOCK­ING THE SUN

This pedal is big – about the siz e of those in the Boss DD line, which may be a prob­lem for some seek­ing real es­tate value for their ped­al­board. But that shouldn’t be the case: I see it as a pedal you shape your board around – it be­longs at the front of your board, ready to use on a whim in a burst of cre­ativ­ity, in a solo or to fat­ten a rhythm with the boost switch. I also no­ticed a lack of a bat­tery com­part­ment, but that’s hardly a neg­a­tive these days with more and more com­pa­nies opt­ing out of adding bat­tery com­part­ments any­way. I was pleased to find that there were no sig­nal loss or noise floor is­sues when I tested it on all of my dif­fer­ent power sup­plies, in­clud­ing a board sup­ply.

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