Review: Ebo Customs E-verb Studio

Thanks to a client list that includes Dan Auerbach, Tom Bukovac and Vince Gill, the glorious valve reverb tones of Ebo Customs may already have found their way into your record collection.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Ebo Customs E-verb Studio
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SUMMARY

For those who are serious about analogue reverb and can accept no substitute, this is as good as it gets.

Following a 20-year career as a Nashville-based session guitarist, in 2017 Eric Borash decided to indulge his design and electrical engineering passions by setting up Ebo Customs, with the goal of creating hand-built valve amplifiers utilising all-original designs and circuits. In addition to amps, the Ebo product line includes standalone reverb units, which have proved an instant hit with Nashville guitar luminaries.

The standard E-verb spring reverb unit ($1,650) features a pure valve signal path with two 12AX7 and one 6V6 tubes, with controls for reverb drive level, reverb tone, wet/dry mix and output gain, all housed in a road-ready amp-style head sleeve. However, requests for an E-verb optimised for studio use soon led to the development of the version we have on test. Is it worth the extra outlay?

Housed in a crisp white 3U rackmount chassis with backlit analogue meters and featuring custom Lundahl transformers, the E-verb Studio features the same all-valve signal path and spring reverb circuit as the standard E-verb but adds an additional balanced XLR line-level (+4dBu) input and output to the regular 1/4-inch unbalanced instrument-level (-10dBu) I/O, and a pre-reverberation series TRS insert point to facilitate external reverb signal processing. A footswitch can defeat the reverb if desired, but your guitar signal always travels through the all-valve circuitry. Switchable chassis and audio ground lifts are another welcome inclusion.

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Ebo Customs E-verb Studio

In use

We plug our rosewood-’board Strat into the E-verb Studio and then into our 1951 Fender Deluxe. Setting the gain control (which is more of an output level control) to match our bypassed signal level and nudging he rest of the controls up to 9 o’clock, we are absolutely floored at the rich harmonic detail of the preamp and the lush airy halo the spring reverb adds to our tone.

Upping the drive control shifts from subtle ambience to those classic sounds so beloved of surf-rockers and movie score writers, thankfully without the volume drop and additional background noise and that can plague vintage Fender outboard reverb units. The tone control situates the reverb trails perfectly in a mix, from dark and moody to bright and twangy, and everywhere in-between. That gain control, meanwhile, allows you to push the front of your end with a gloriously rich valve overdrive.

Ebo Customs E-verb Studio

How does it compare to a classic amp spring reverb circuit? Head-to-head with our 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb, the E-verb delivers a warmer and clearer reverb decay which is every bit as atmospheric but lacks the slightly metallic edge of the Fender. And if you want to get creative, try utilising the E-verb Studio’s XLR I/O to use it to add ambience to acoustic guitars, drums, keyboards or vocals – the results are exceptional.

There aren’t many things that can improve the combination of a great guitar into a vintage tweed amp, but the E-verb is one such special unit. as you’d expect from a piece of pro studio gear, the investment is significant, so unless you need the extra connectivity of this model, we’d thoroughly recommend the more gig-friendly standard E-verb unit. Regardless of form factor, the gorgeous valve warmth and lush reverb tones of the E-verb have enhanced the sonics of every one of our amps and guitars – we don’t intend to switch it off!

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Ebo Customs E-verb Studio

Key Features

  • PRICE $2,500
  • DESCRIPTION All-valve studio reverb unit, made in USA
  • CONTROLS Drive, tone, mix, gain
  • REAR PANEL Pre-reverberation series TRS insert point, footswitch input for remote switching, unbalanced 1/4” jack and balanced XLR mono input and output, switchable chassis and audio ground lifts
  • DIMENSIONS 483 x 225 x 135mm
  • CONTACT ebocustoms.com

Like this? Try these

  • Victoria Reverberato $1,899
  • Fender ’63 Tube Reverb reissue £800 approx (used)
  • Surfy Industries SurfyBear Compact £279
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