Review: Walrus Audio Fathom Multi-Function Reverb
From tasteful to tripped out, boutique pedal supermos Walrus Audio’s latest, the Fathom, has your oceanic reverb needs covered – get in the sea.
Reverb pedals are often the last thing in the signal chain and possibly the last thing on a guitarist’s mind. It’s all too easy for many of us to find a single catch-all spring setting and leave it at that, without question. Every so often, however, a reverb pedal comes along that encourages us to savour the creative possibilities of exploring time and space. One such device is Walrus Audio’s Fathom, the company’s latest contribution to the sonic armoury of the well-heeled tone hound.
We’ve come to expect excellent build quality from Walrus Audio and the Fathom certainly doesn’t disappoint. Rugged construction, top-mounted jacks, smooth knobs and reassuringly heavy-duty footswitches all suggest a pedal that is built to last. With hand-wired construction throughout, we have every expectation that build quality will be indicative of sound quality.
True to what’s become a now-familiar control layout, the Fathom sports five knobs: Decay (reverb-tail length), Dampen (a treble roll-off), Mix (with a handy 50/50 indicator line), X (a common Walrus Audio feature, the mysterious X knob changes functionality according to the algorithm in use) and a Program knob selecting reverb type. We also have a mini-toggle switch controlling modulation intensity and a brace of footswitches (Bypass and Sustain) to play with.
There are four reverb algorithms to move between here. Hall and Plate will be familiar concepts to the majority of us, but the Fathom also offers two more exotic textures labelled Lo-fi (a filtered reverb giving you an AM radio vibe) and Sonar (a blendable +/- 1 octave harmonised reverb) respectively.
While the Fathom is certainly capable of a great deal on paper, without solid, high-quality standard settings, the frills are meaningless… and Walrus Audio certainly delivers here. Both the Hall and Plate voicings are very good indeed, with a beautiful organic feel to them. We find the Hall setting in particular works very well for solo acoustic guitar, as well as with electric.
In fact, these settings are arguably worth the price of admission on their own, especially with the modulation function giving your chords a loving wobble. The Program knob moves smoothly between the voices, allowing for some gorgeous in-between sounds, too.
The prospect of looming ambient mindscapes soon proves too much to resist and it doesn’t take long before we are enjoying the itchy, glitchy weirdness of the Lo-fi voice (in this case, the X knob gives you surgical control over the filter width) and getting oceanographic with the octave beeps and rumbles of the sonar setting. This is particularly pleasing when pressing and holding the bypass switch from ‘off’ for a momentary reverberant cascade, or even using the Sustain switch to encourage a spike in breeding patterns for the local cetacean population.
While not as somnambulant as Walrus Audio’s recently released Slö Multi-Textured Reverb, the Fathom covers the basics with style, while offering new and musical voices with its Lo-fi and Sonar options. Once you start to explore the depths with added distortion, fuzz or even an EBow… things get nothing short of majestic.
- PRICE £192
- DESCRIPTION Multi-voiced reverb pedal. Made in USA
- CONTROLS Decay, Dampen, Mix, X and Program knobs, three-way mini toggle for modulation intensity. Bypass footswitch with secondary functionality and sustain footswitch
- FEATURES Four reverb voices, each fully tweakable, which can be combined with three modulation intensities
- DIMENSIONS 64 x 52 x 120mm
- CONTACT Face Distribution face.be walrusaudio.com