Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal review: is this analogue spring reverb reinvented?

The Latvian mavericks are back with a dauntingly chunky spring reverb pedal that also offers spacey tremolo and more. Time for some Light entertainment?

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal
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SUMMARY

A strange and complex machine that pushes the limits of analogue reverb.

The pressure is on for Gamechanger Audio to keep living up to its name – well, how many games are there left to change? – but its latest stompbox, a multi-mode spring reverb using infrared optical sensors, certainly looks radical enough.

The Light Pedal is actually a rather heavy pedal, weighing over 1kg, and at almost 20cm long it’s not about to sneak onto a little corner of anyone’s board, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from the people behind the hefty Plasma and Plus devices – not to mention that new digital Bigsby. What we’re really interested in here, though, is the big spangly window in the middle.

Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal

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Yep, there are three real springs in there, with transducers at either end just like a standard amp tank. But those funny little blobs ranged along the sides of the tank are the IR sensors, picking up the signal along different points of the springs. Why? To detect finer movements for longer decays and a wider frequency response – and, when they’re turned on and off in sequence, to open up the possibility of other effects beyond pure reverb.

That’s where the mode switch comes in, promising two flavours of tremolo plus a sort of lo-fi delay, self-oscillating feedback and even something akin to octave-up ‘shimmer’ produced by cranking the harmonics.

Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal

In use

This is one of those pedals where we start in sensible mode with the full expectation of not staying there for very long. But actually, if you are in the market for some spring ’verb simply because your favourite amp doesn’t have it, the Light Pedal will do you a solid job… albeit with a little added noise, even in bypass.

This is real spring reverb alright: loose and clangy, and prone to dramatic explosions if you accidentally kick it (there’s a switchable ‘shock sensor’ to stop this happening, but it didn’t seem to be working on our review unit). It’s not markedly different in tone with the optical sensors, but drier and more fine-grained; you can get some nice sounds with both outputs around noon, especially if you push the drive control to make things super-dense.

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But that’s enough of the straight stuff – it’s in ‘sweep’ and ‘trem’ modes that the Light Pedal really opens up its fun-hamper. Never mind the hypnotic way the lights bounce up and down the tank; the modulation itself, while only applied to the decay and not your dry signal, adds a real extra dimension of musical potential. We had a lot of fun with the sweep function at low-ish speeds, where you can really feel the asymmetrical back-and-forth of the sensors’ pulse.

Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal

‘Reflect’ mode turns the reverb into a kind of delay, though the haziness of the repeats limits its usefulness somewhat, while the last two modes let you go a bit mad with drone-y washes. There’s some nice ambient weirdness available here; just remember that, as everything this pedal does is based on wobbling springs rather than algorithms, there’s a certain uniformity of colour to its effects: you can never fully get away from that metallic jangle.

Gamechanger Audio Light Pedal

Key Features

  • PRICE €289
  • DESCRIPTION Multi-mode spring reverb pedal, made in Latvia
  • CONTROLS Dry, spring and optical reverb levels, reverb tone, six-way mode switch, mode-dependent control, drive, gate; switches for reverb trails on/off and latching on/off
  • FEATURES Expression pedal input, switchable off/soft/hard shock sensor, buffered bypass, powered by 9-volt mains supply only (500mA, not supplied)
  • DIMENSIONS 196 x 121 x 62mm
  • CONTACT gamechangeraudio.com

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