This review is of a pedal that I purchased myself with my own money, it wasn’t lent to me by anyone. This should be a good indication that I really liked this pedal, enough at least to buy it. As always I am honest in my opinions; if I don’t like something I will say so.
The sound clip is at the bottom of the review.
I really like the Specular. It is exactly what I wanted out of a reverb pedal. I genuinely believe that if could design and make a reverb perfectly to my needs, that it would be very close to this.
The Specular is primarily a hall reverb with other algorithms layered over this. Hall reverb tends to be the style that I use most of all, so the Specular has started out in the right place. The algorithms are very interesting, some more than others.
I have the feeling that this review is mainly going to consist of a few hundered words telling you how much I like this pedal. That is the shortened version of it.
The Specular has 8 presets that can easily be altered and selected on the fly. There are four knobs that alter different parameters and two soft touch foot switches to select the presets, save the presets and switch between the two banks of modes.
There is a selector switch to pick between the three modes on each bank (M, S, E for Modulated, Shimmer and Echo) on the first bank which is indicated by the LED. The two banks layer over the standard reverb to create some amazing atmospheric sounds. The modes are as follows:
Modulated, Shimmer, Echo, Tremble, Voices, and Infinity
I’m not sure if I can describe all of them fully. Shimmer is the one that I really wanted the Specular for. It can be so subtle and is perfect to thicken a sound. Equally it can be so full blown that it is like have a choir present in your bedroom. Tremble lends a subtle tremolo effect to the reverb and echo adds a delay, which when used with a delay makes a fantastic doubling effect.
I don’t know if you can tell but I really like the Specular 2. It has been really well designed. GFI packed an awful lot of features into a very small package. Its no larger in size than a Boss single foot switch pedal side ways on. It might be a little narrower. From the outset you may be thinking that there aren’t a lot of sounds to get out of it compared to something like the RV-6 but you would be wrong. Granted I have both on my board, and the RV-6 does technically have more algorithms, some that are very similar, but don’t sound quite as good as the Specular. The RV-6 has some reverbs that the Specular is unable to create; room, spring and plate at least. Which is why I have kept it since purchasing the Specular 2.
The algorithms housed within the Specular are much better than any other reverbs I’ve tried, and I am even placing it above the Neunaber Immerse, which was previously my favourite reverb pedal.
It is worth noting that the Specular has stereo ins and outs which I unfortunately haven’t had chance to use yet, I would imagine that it sounds even better in stereo. It is powered by a standard 9v adaptor needing 100mA. It also boasts a true analogue signal path for all those wanting true analogue sound.
Price wise the Specular can be a tad expensive. I believe it retailed for around £300 and second hand can be had for half of that. At full retail it is worth every penny, second hand it is a relative bargain. The Version 3 is £220 in the UK, with a few tweaks and a slightly different look to it, if you want to buy new get the V3. Or if £300 is affordable for you, the Tempus is a reverb and delay that looks absolutely fantastic. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on GFI Systems as if the Specular V2 is anything to go by they are going to be creating some fantastic pedals.
- Fantastic Reverb
- Small form factor
- 8 Presets
- Stereo I/O
- Soft press buttons
- The finish is some sort of sticker. I bought second hand and it had some marks.
- This has been remedied looking at the Tempus, as that is painted.
- Can be a bit confusing, reading through the instruction manual is a must.