Gear Review: The Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb

BRAND: Mad Professor

MODEL: Silver Spring Reverb

COST: $195

WHAT IT IS: The SSR is a classic sounding “space” reverb. Space reverbs emulate the sound of reflections in a room, hall, church, cathedral or even bathroom tile. Spring reverb is essentially a “space” reverb but gets it’s own category because of the sonic quirks of mechanical spring tanks.

The short version is that the Silver Spring will emulate the sounds of an amp spring, a room/hall or studio (plate) reverb. The tone knob is really mislabeled. While it does affect tone, it really controls fidelity. Turned all the way to the left and you have a lofi “amp spring” sounding reverb. At noon, the tone knob makes a great room sound and all the way to the right you get a hifi plate/studio reverb.

PROS: The SSR sounds really, really good. All reverb colors tone, and this is where the SSR really shines. It really filled out thin sounding single coil pick ups and played very well with humbuckers.

While I really enjoyed the way it enhanced my clean tone, the SSR is designed work well with distortion. Since many great amps don’t come with reverb the SSR is designed to work well in front of a dirty or cranked amp, and equally well behind your gain pedals.

Lastly, being able to dial in different sounds just with a turn of a knob and being able to blend them a bit means that you have a reverb that covers a lot of ground, which is more important for church players than just about any other type of music.

CONS: The biggest negative for the SSR (and the reason I sold mine), is the true bypass “pop” sound that occurred every time I turned the pedal on or off. To be fair, I only played the one I bought and so it might’ve just been an issue with my pedal but it’s what brought me to sell it. The problem would be solved with a true bypass looper but that wasn’t where my rig was going at the time so it didn’t make sense for me.

Additionally, while the SSR can give you a wide range of sounds, it doesn’t do all them well, or on the fly. For example, while it has “spring” in its name, it doesn’t do that type of reverb particularly well. A best it sounds like a solid state driven spring reverb in an amp like a AC15 or lower end Fender. Not bad, but not great either. But don’t even think of getting a really “drippy” sound like with an outboard unit, because that’s not going to happen.

Also, there’s no possibility for presets, so if you want plate for one song and spring for another, you have to reach down and adjust the settings.

HOW WOULD YOU USE IT FOR WORSHIP?: The moment that stands out for me with this pedal is backing up another worship leader doing the “chunky” rhythm progression on Blessed Be Your Name (you know the one). It honestly never sounded better than with compression and the SSR into a clean amp, and it really made the song.

The SSR is not an ambient reverb like the Walrus Decent or the Mr. Black Supermoon. It’s a great “space” reverb for standard rhythm or lead work. If it’s a song where you aren’t needed or supposed to do much, the SSR will do a lot without doing too much. The SSR enhances your tone without getting in the way.

But you can’t ignore the true bypass “pop”. In most churches, stage noise and distraction are big no-no’s and that’s something to consider with this pedal.

FINAL VERDICT:

Buy the SSR if you’re looking for a great reverb that can give you a range of sounds but be easy to dial in and not get too crazy. Also buy it if you need a reverb to work well with an amp that doesn’t have one on board.

Don’t buy if the true bypass pop is an issue for you or if you need a reverb with more functions, options or ambience.

The Silver Spring Reverb is worth it’s $195 price tag, but it may not be the best reverb for the church player. If you’re playing out in a coverband on a Saturday night… that might be a whole other story.

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