Gear Review: Wonderful Audio Technology Ancient Echos

Okay, I’m a sucker for reverb pedals. Heck, I’m a sucker for reverb plugins too. I’m just all-in on reverb because I find it to be one of the most flexible and creative tools we have for writing and in the studio. It’s really amazing what you can do with reverb when used correctly (and incorrectly).  However, I must admit that many reverb pedals leave me a bit flat or perhaps at least a tad wanting.  They might get eighty percent of the way there for me, yet somehow fall short in the end. Such is not the case with the Wonderful Audio Technology Ancient Echos (that’s right, it’s Echos, not echoes).

The Ancient Echos is a beautiful, rich, and wide luscious reverb for sure but reverb isn’t worth its salt unless it’s deep, doesn’t have a ton of artifacts, and sounds “false” and is inspiring to play. Check, check and check. 

The Ancient Echos can get massive (and I mean REALLY massive) but also sounds terrific as a “normal” reverb in shorter delay and space settings.  It envelops your sound without killing your original tone and sort of “breathes” with you. It’s truly remarkable. It may be due to the fact that the Ancient Echos splits your signal in half: one part passes through to the output after hitting the input buffer and preamps while the other half of your signal passes through the rest of the circuit. Of course, the balance can be controlled via the level or mix knob so it never gets overwhelming but in that other part of the circuit lies the magic where it hits the reverb, gets filtered (I love filtered reverb!), gets split again where part of the signal hits a pre-delay, which builds space and adds ambiance. Then the modulation part of the pedal, where you control rate and depth to taste, and the entire affected part of the circuit hits the plate reverb. After that, it has a low pass filter applied before it combines back with the rest of the circuit.  Quite brilliant really and this whole process is part of its unique sound.

You control how much low pass is added via the dampen knob. To the left is brighter and clockwise is darker. A lot of the real flavor from this pedal comes from the interaction between the echo and resonance knobs. Echo is the pre-delay and resonance is the size of the room but at high resonance settings feedback is introduced to your signal thus creating some cool oscillating, modulated drones but use it judiciously or it can get out of hand quickly. The reflection knob controls the amount of feedback introduced and is very interactive with the resonance then obviously.

If that weren’t enough for you, Wonderful Audio Technology added a second switch called “summon,” which instantly turns the reflections knob to 100% full and really creates ambient madness. Awesome.  The Ancient Echos is true bypass, runs on 9v power, and also has an expression jack input that controls the reflections in real-time, sweeping between 0 to 100%. I’m extremely impressed if you couldn’t tell with not only the rich sound but thoughtful features and build quality. I bought one straight away from their Reverb shop.  It’s also very reasonably priced at $225.00 .

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