Equipped with powerful delay, modulation, and pitch-shifting abilities, Strymon’s new Cloudburst stretches its “Ambient Reverb” label by adding space and depth to the conventional effect. Beyond that, its orchestral pad creates a dramatic effect that takes it miles beyond standard reverb.
Ridiculously easy to use, working the Cloudburst starts with its Ensemble switch, which selects moderate or maximum orchestral sounds – or turns completely off, making it closer to a conventional reverb. Decay sets the length of the effect, Pre-Delay determines when the effect arrives, Tone dials in darkness or brightness, and Mod adds a chorus-y wiggle to the tail end of the note.
Perhaps the most important knob is Mix, which can add a dash of ambient pad behind your guitar or go full “shoegazer” magic, taking you to Neverland on a cloud of reverb. The latter is a grand-slam because you can play cosmic chords and arpeggios all night long and never get bored. The tones are delicate, gorgeous, and most importantly, organic. Nothing here sounds like a synthesizer or artificially filtered effect – it’s living, breathing guitar tone.
The instructions provide cool settings to experiment with; using the separately purchased mini switch lets you control several functions, such as if you want to “freeze” the ambient chord underneath as you continue to solo over top. Other Cloudburst goodies include mono/stereo operation, MIDI, USB-C connectivity, and 1/4″ jack for an expression pedal.
No matter how you set it, Strymon’s Cloudburst conjures a natural, ambient pad without latency. If you’re looking to add ethereal strings to your sound, it might put your guitar synthesizer and other celestial boxes out of business.
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.