Walrus Audio Fathom Reverb Review by Billy Saefong
Reverb pedals are interesting because not only do a lot of amps already have the effect built-in, but reverb itself is ubiquitous among guitar players. Just do a simple Google search for “must-have guitar effects” and reverb is consistently on those lists. Honestly, who doesn't use a reverb? Heck, there’s even an entire website called Reverb! With that being said, Walrus Audio had to do something with their brand-new 2018 Fathom Reverb to set it apart from a sea of other stomp boxes. Well, to start, it’s got four modes - one of which is out of this world - a modulation switch, true bypass and sustain.
Street Price: $199
Walrus Audio could have easily cranked out a simple reverb pedal but they decided to put four effects into a single, standard-sized box. Those who are trying to keep their boards from being overcrowded should take a look at the Fathom because it features both hall and plate reverb, alongside very fun lo-fi and sonar modes, which makes this a small, yet versatile pedal. The hall and plate reverbs are by far the most traditional settings on this pedal, but thanks to the wonderful set of knobs, you can really hone in on the desired effect.
The decay knob controls the length of the reverb, while dampen will darken or lighten the tone, and the mix knob controls how much of the effect you want to mix into the dry guitar signal. If you want all reverb, all the time, then turn that mix knob all the way to the right, or if you want to lengthen the reverb, you've got the decay setting to play with, too. But let’s not forget about the mysterious X knob.
The X knob changes with each mode. For example, when set to the hall or plate reverb, the X knob controls the pre-delay. Fair enough. When used with the lo-fi mode, the x knob controls the low end which can be used to recreate something that sounds like it's coming out of an old school AM radio. The sonar's x functionality adjusts the octave. For example, when set on sonar, turning the x knob counter-clockwise or vice versa will give the signal a high or low octave reverb. Last but not least, the mod switch gives players access to low, medium, or high levels of modulation. In combination with the x knob, the Fathom Reverb has the potential to create the most fluid and dreamy of tones.
The lo-fi mode acts as a filtered reverb which adds a bit of grit to the effect, while the sonar mode is a reverb that is reproduced using your guitar's high or low octave. The sonar mode is by far the wildest setting on the blue box and considering all of the knobs at your disposal, this effect can be tuned to be used to add a subtle layer of texture to your playing or if you crank it up with the mix knob, it can sound something like an organ or a synth.
You can achieve real ghostly tones with the mix, decay and dampen knobs, or if you want some David Gilmour-esque licks that go beyond the atmosphere, the sustain is the fastest way to get there. I imagine this pedal to be great for live shows, especially if you seek that airy type of tone.
The effects can be dialed to give you an incredible sound space reminiscent of something from Explosions in the Sky, or you can set it to give you that old school 60’s vibe. The pedal really comes into its own when you consider the three-way mod switch and sustain button. The bypass switch can give players a temporary reverb effect if pressed and held in the off position, which is great if you want to make sections of a solo sound even more epic.
If you're looking for a killer reverb pedal with some extra features, then look no further. The lush sounds that glide out of Walrus Audio's Fathom Reverb are as textured as a wave and as deep and layered as an ocean.
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