How will this shimmery, octave, celestial reverb fit into my rig and pedalboard?
Overview & Cost: $199.00
My first ever Earthquaker Devices experience could not have been more cool. I was shopping around Chicago Music Exchange when I decided I was going to try out some real weird pedals. At home, none of the stores have a particularly exciting collection of pedals, so I figured this might be my only shot to try some EQD, Walrus, or crazy boutique stuff.
Well, I plugged into this and quickly knew I had to buy it. The Astral Destiny is not only incredibly versatile, packing 8 reverb types into the pedal, but it just sounds like The Unforgettable Fire in a box. Shimmery, octave reverbs with flexible modulation and an awesome stretch feature, how could anyone not like this? The second footswitch, the aforementioned stretch, doubles the tail of the reverb, providing an echo-like aura of sound around your guitar signal. Depth, rate, and tone work a lot like they would on any modulation pedal you know and love, with mix controlling the volume of the effect relative to your dry signal. There’s even an area to save multiple presets next to the reverb’s length control and the rotary of options.
Sound & Opinion:
It’s stupid how fun this pedal is. And trust me, I feel like I was a bit prejudice against it when it was released earlier in 2021. It seemed like just another boutique reverb for the P&W crew to swoon over that was no different than a Boss RV-6.
I was so wrong. My disdain for most boutique “trendy” guitar pedals is well known, but so far, I’ve been way more impressed by the Strymon, Walurs, Earthquaker, and Chase Bliss stuff than I ever expected to be. The Astral Destiny is no different. With a plethora of cool reverb options, I was able to dial in a more “normal” cathedral reverb that I like with the Abyss setting. Shimmer does everything you could want from a shimmer reverb and way more when you dial in the speed and depth controls to modulate it. But the other octave settings are where this really shined.
The Sub Shimmer (both upper and lower octave on reverb tail), and the Sub (lower octave on reverb tail) produce such unique but useable sounds. Dial in a subtle, barely modulated Sub reverb and you’ve got an amazing punk lead tone. Crank the Sub Shimmer mode for lush sounding chords and arpeggios that would make an indie guitarist blush. Considering there are even more, save-able options like a regenerating fifth (Cosmos), downward pitch bend (Descend), upward pitch bend (Ascend), and a regenerating dual octave (Astral) you will never need another reverb again.
Now this will NOT do your spring/plate, sort of more vintage reverb tones. But it will do just above everything else. So for me, the best thing would be to pair this with an amp with onboard reverb, like an old Vox or Fender-style combo. Or go crazy and pair it with another reverb, that would probably be awesome!
Conclusions & Final Ratings: 9.5 out of 10
When I first tried this at CME, right before I bought it, I was shocked to learn it was $199. I genuinely was expecting it to be $250+. This pedal is a phenomenal value in the sense that it can do so much, it can do so much well, and it plays really nicely with other pedals. In fact, one of my favorite applications for it is pairing it with a gritty overdrive to produce this synth-like sound that I came up with at the end of the demo video above.
It’s going to be all over my music in the future. This Astral Destiny replaced the RV-6 on my board, and has offered me inspiration for some new lo-fi, soundscapes that I like to incorporate into punk breakdowns and solos. For something a little different, but entirely useful and musical, the Earthquaker Devices Astral Destiny is a must-try pedal from 2021.