Thursday, 3 September 2015

Comparison of the Strymon Bluesky and the Boss RV6 Reverb Pedals

Comparison of the Strymon Bluesky and the Boss RV6

Video Review

I started doing a short video overview / comparison of these two pedals and it just got more and more epic, ridiculously so.

So the video is linked to below...

Youtube Video - brief and simple comparison of the two pedals - 9 mins 51 secs

Longer (Unlisted) Video Review on Youtube - 32 mins!!

Short Comparison Review

However, for those who don't want to use (waste?!) 30 mins of their time, here's an overview...

Strymon Bluesky

This comes with three reverb types and three reverb modes. These can be mixed together. The reverb types are plate, room and spring. The three modes are normal, modulated and shimmer.

The Bluesky has controls for the decay time and the overall mix. There are additional controls for the pre-delay (amount of time before the reverb kicks in), a low damp knob (to control low-end in the reverb trail) and a high damp knob (controlling high-end in the reverb trail).

There is also a favourite setting, which you can set and click, then click again to recall. So effectively the pedal is like having 2 reverb pedals. The click buttons depress without those loud clicks from cheaper footswitches. Instead they're quiet and good quality to boot. Nice touch (no pun intended...)

The sheer amount of control on the pedal is awesome. You can also set the pedal to true bypass or analogue bypass (this means you can have reverb trails meaning the reverb persists when switching off the pedal). True bypass cuts the reverb when switched off. The pedal also offers stereo or mono.

The sound of this thing is incredible, going from very sensitive to absolutely epic with huge long reverb trails. The modulated sound (with plate) is very eerie and spacious, almost synth-like. The shimmer setting is lush and full of character - almost cathedral organ-esque. It's pretty unparalleled in the world of shimmer in this way.

The one thing I would say about the Bluesky  that many others have said is that it's almost a specialist pedal in the sense that it often doesn't quite fit into the mix. I find the sound not just bright, but slightly 'thin' generally. This stands in stark contrast to the Boss RV6.

Boss RV-6

The Boss RV6 is more like a reverb tank - your 'Honda engine' of reverb - doing many things well and very reliably. It doesn't have that epic edge like the Bluesky and its reverb trails don't come anywhere near as long but then again it is under half the price of the Bluesky!

The Boss has several modes - Modulate, Spring, Plate, Room, Hall, Dynamic (that adjusts the reverb to your playing, lighter you play the more the reverb stands out), shimmer and +Delay.

The controls are nice and simple and included the Effect Level, the Tone (adjusting the tone of the reverb) and the Time (decay).

The pedal is both mono and stereo and allows the addition of an expression pedal. The mono is very good but going stereo is where the RV6 excels.

OK, so the RV6 generally has a real Boss-sound to it. You know what you are getting and I doubt this will ever let you down. The sound is very full, almost a touch bass-heavy (certainly compared to the Bluesky). Where the Bluesky is epic, the RV6 is full of what I can only describe as 'presence'. It's a pedal that will more easily fit into a standard guitar rig in my view.

The Modulate is very nice but could do with longer trails for sure. The Shimmer is similar. The pre-delay of the shimmer on the RV6 is much shorter than on the Bluesky, meaning the shimmer kicks in much more quickly. It would be great to have a pre-delay button on this but hey, for £105 the RV6 is a bargain! (UK price on the Strymon is £249).


If you can bring yourself to sit through the long video (or sat least flick through), you'll hear the difference between the two pedals that really weren't made to compete with one another. They have different niches. The Bluesky is high quality, tweak able and completely epic. The RV6 is a killer pedal for a killer price and is your Swiss Army knife of reverb that supersedes the Hall Of Fame by some way in my view!

The choice is yours!

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