Strymon Big Sky
Just like the Mobius and the Time Line, the Big Sky is a vast universe of sonic possibilities. In addition to all the reverb settings and controls available on the Blue Sky, the Big Sky boasts some unique reverb styles like its beautiful shimmer and magneto engines, albeit in a more complicated package. Those looking for the high quality Strymon has become known for, will be truly happy when they use this pedal. Get ready to blast off into deep dimension of reverb!
External Control: EXP/MIDI
The Big Sky Interface is a more complicated than its Blue Sky counterpart, largely in part to the greater quantity of reverb types and the Parameter 1 and Parameter 2 knobs. Depending on what reverb engine you are using, the Parameter knobs adjust different things. These knobs allow you to calibrate settings to extremely specific levels, but because the Big Sky has a small screen, it can be difficult to keep track of these settings. In addition, the use of an expression pedal can modify any combination of parameters within one particular reverb setting, which makes the possibilites of the Blue Sky almost infinite, and border on overwhelming. This is certainly not an interface for new pedal user, but experienced users will be able to find their way around the pedal just fine.
The big brother of the Blue Sky is an extremely versatile pedal. With twelve different reverb settings, and the almost unlimited manipulation and calibration that the Big Sky affords, we can safely say this is one of the most versatile reverb pedals on the market. And did we mention that it has 100 PRESETS?!
Quality of effect: 4.5/5
The Blue Sky is one of the highest quality and most customizable reverb pedals available. Each reverb type has its own unique personality, and never falls short in terms of the integrity of the reverb engine. This pedal achieves something very few pedals of its complexity and variability do: Most, if not all, of its reverb types and sounds are incredibly USABLE. If you want to dive even deeper into the Big Sky's sonic pools, try this pedal in Stereo and you just might lose your mind.
Live application: 4/5
This is a pedal where the applicability in a live setting depends greatly on the user. An inexperienced pedal user may have a difficult time using this pedal live, as it is quite complicated. The limited information available on its small screen can make it very difficult to manipulate on the fly and keep track of its many parameters. But, to an experienced pedal user, its live application is near unmatched. In general the more complicated Strymon pedals are very good with scrolling through presets, and if you are comfortable with remembering and accessing your presets, you can give the listener some of the most captivating and varied reverb landscapes out there.
The way we chose to demo the Big Sky differs a little from some other pedals. Because of its vast possibilities, we wanted to provide the listener with as many short clips of different presets as possible. In some cases, we recorded a short excerpt of the original preset shortly followed by the same preset with a couple parameters changed on the fly (in the same audio clip). We wanted to show the reader that even though the factory presets sound incredible, it is quite simple to tweak them to best fit your preferences.
In the first example we hear preset 5B - LOW TIDE. This is a great sounding "SWELL" reverb as is, but we wanted to accentuate the low end a little bit more so we turned it up using the Parameter 1 knob. The Big Sky makes it very easy to find where each parameter is originally set in any given preset. When you turn any knob, the light above the Preset B switch turns yellow. When you reach the original setting for that parameter within the specific preset, It will turn green.
Preset 8B - CARNEY HALL - True to its name, CARNEY HALL is a "HALL" reverb and that sounds amazing before any parameters are changed. In our opinion, the decay and mix were both a little too high for the trumpet sound, so we turned both of them down at the mid point of the recording and continued.
Preset 11B - PHASE REVERB - We wanted to choose an interesting example that pushes the boundaries of conventional reverb. This preset does just that by basically adding a phaser to the reverberations. It is like having two effects in one. We chose to turn the speed of the phaser down a little bit part of the way through the recording, so listen for that subtle difference.
Alto and Baritone Saxophone
When recording the saxophone examples, we wanted to highlight the Big Sky's versatility, not only in terms of its vast selection of settings, but in terms of its applicability in various scenarios. From conventional reverbs that would be useful in a pop setting, to more voluminous reverbs useful in ambient situations, to wild pitch shifting reverbs, we wanted to show the many different environments in which the Big Sky can excel.
Hand crafted, studio-class reverb algorithms deliver lush, gorgeous, and musically inspiring reverb experiences
Twelve reverb machines to choose from: Room, Hall, Plate, Spring, Swell, Bloom, Cloud, Chorale, Shimmer, Magneto, Nonlinear, Reflections
Seven front-panel tone shaping knobs: Decay, Pre-Delay, Mix, Tone, Mod, Param 1, Param 2 (Param knobs assignable per preset)
Additional menu parameters allow for easy customization of reverb sounds
300 easily accessible and namable presets
Press-and-hold Infinite Sustain and Freeze functions, saveable per preset
Spillover and Reverb Persist modes, saveable per preset
Selectable Speaker Cabinet emulation for direct-to-PA gigs or recording applications
Product info from the Strymon website