Quick Pedal Review: Strymon Blue Sky
This blue (and now also black) box is probably known to everyone who is serious about reverb. Strymon Blue Sky and its bigger brother Big Sky have become modern classics. I haven't come across Blue Sky until now and maybe that's a good thing. The hype and GAS are long gone, so I'll write a rather casual account of my experience with it.
This might have happened to you too. You dream up a piece of equipment, you look at all the reviews and demos and you have a detailed plan in your head for how to integrate this or that piece of gear into your existing setup. You're saving hard, looking at second-hand shops and discounts, and then it happens. You get it. But sometimes, after the initial wiring, the result doesn't meet your expectations.
Is it really that great?
In this case, there were no unpleasant surprises. The reviewers didn't lie, I was thrilled. Blue Sky put a smile on my face as soon as I plugged it in and let it take me down the path of picturesque soundscapes to the heart of the mysterious realm known as AMBIENT.
Well, it seems that if most music nerds can agree on something, we can rely on it! But let's get down to business quickly before this turns into some kind of a silly essay.
Three reverbs, three smiles
Blue Sky offers three types of reverb. Plate, spring and room, i.e. room response. You can also choose between three modes for each of the reverbs. There's a reverb sound without any modulation, a modulated version and a shimmer that adds an upper octave (and, in Spring and Room modes, a fifth) to the reverb.
I must confess that I spent most of my time in the cosy Room and I had the Decay (reverb length) turned all the way to the right almost all the time. The length and dreamy quality of this reverb are really addictive.
But the effect works great in traditional positions as well and I wouldn't be afraid to call it a Swiss knife of reverbs. I've tried synths, acoustic instruments and electric guitar and Blue Sky handled every sound source with flying colours.
Thanks to its excellent flexibility and the possibility of stereo connection (L/R inputs simply directly on the rear panel), the Strymon Blue Sky can be used not only in pedalboards and sound experiments but also as a main reverb for the home studio.
The biggest advantage of this pedal is that you can't get a bad sound out of it and you can access the type of reverb you need really quickly thanks to its easy controls.
A totally versatile reverb suitable for live playing, experimentation and studio use. If you want to invest your precious money in a piece of equipment that will probably serve you well for years, this is the obvious choice.
And if you're into novelty, check out the new Blue Sky V2 or the plug-in version of the more advanced Big Sky.
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