Durham Electronics’ ReddVerb
Price: $219 (list)
Take it from Redd Volkaert; good reverb is hard to find. And that’s especially true if you’re gigging on the road and don’t want to lug an amp with a built-in spring reverb, let alone a stand-alone tank.
Enter Alan Durham. He not only designed the Durham Electronics Reddverb for Volkaert, he builds it (by hand) in the musical ground-zero that is Austin, Texas.
Volkaert’s Tele tone is renowned, of course. Compare it to good Texas barbecue – whether dry-rubbed or soaked in sauce, it’s always full-fat, never plain Jane. And, as Volkaert says about good Texas reverb, “Why would you ever turn it off? I want more or less, but never none!”
True to this credo, the first thing you’ll notice about the Reddverb is that the traditional, centrally located on/off footswitch has been replaced with a large Mix knob. Volkaert wants to control his mix on the fly, so the on/off switch is secondary. As usual, Mix blends dry and wet signal, and when you hear this pedal, you, like Volkaert, will largely ignore that bypass.
On the front side of the box, a Dwell knob increases the intensity of the reverb, while Mix Gain increases input signal. This control is key to the effect; reverb pedals/boxes have a tendency to reduce output, but the Reddverb has its own preamp, so it suffers little to no signal loss at unity gain, and you can dial-in boost up to 250 percent.
Tested with a Gretsch 6120 running into a Supro Coronado amp set for low gain, the reverb was lustrous – warm and rich. Whether playing single-note lines, double-stops, or chords, the sound was clear and beautifully defined.
Out of sheer perversity, we compared it to the tank-induced reverb of a Fender Vibro-King. While the renowned spring reverb had more depth than the Reddverb, the Fender also weighed 65 pounds.
Next, we toyed with that Mix Gain. Up to about 100 percent, the signal remained real and clean. At 150 percent, the preamp began to add some grunge and dirt, and at the limit, the pedal drove the sound with a snarl.
The Reddverb can run on a 9-volt battery, but its life is promised to be short, so Durham recommends a 9-volt DC power supply.
This article originally appeared in VGApril 2015 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.