ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal Review

The Cetus Reverb Pedal by ALABS is a high-quality reverb guitar pedal with 9 different reverb types, unique modulations for each reverb, freeze mode, and an interesting automated mode.

In this review, I’ll walk through the main features, what the reverbs sound like with and without modulation, and how you can use this pedal.

ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal Features

The Cetus Reverb pedal is one of four debut pedals in the “Adam Adventures” series from ALABS. All four pedals pack a lot of features and selectable modes, which gives you a lot of flexibility over the effects.

Check out my reviews of the other pedals in this series here:

Here are the main features of the Cetus Reverb pedal:

  • 9 Reverb Types: Hall, Room, Church, Spring, Plate, Swell, Shimmer, Cloudy, Wave
  • Unique Modulation for each reverb type
  • 32-bit Digital Signal Processor
  • True Stereo Input and Output
  • 5 controllable parameters (decay, bright, mix, predelay, modulation)
  • Freeze function mode
  • Automated expression control mode
  • Selectable Analog Buffer Bypass or True Bypass Modes
  • Analog Dry-Through
  • External Power Supply Only (not included)
  • 250 mA power draw (9V)

Check out the current price and full details of the ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal here (link to Amazon).

ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal

ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal Ease of Use

There are quite a lot of features packed into all four of the “Adam Adventures” pedals, but if you’ve read my reviews on the other three pedals, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect here.

Reverb in general is quite an easy effect to use. You choose the type of reverb you want, then adjust the decay to set the amount of reverb ‘trails’ you hear. Then adjust the mix for the overall balance between wet and dry sound.

The Cetus Reverb has five knobs that can control the type of reverb plus another five parameters. That’s plenty of control for most guitarists. It’s not quite the same level of control as a pedal like the Strymon BigSky, but the Cetus is a fraction of the cost.

Reverb Types

There are nine reverb types you can select from the knob as shown below:

Cetus Reverb types

I demonstrate all nine reverbs as well as the modulation for each type later in this review.

Once you choose a reverb type, you can adjust the Decay, Bright, Mix, and PreDELAY/MOD knobs to dial in the exact settings you want.

I’ll explain the PreDELAY/MOD knob function as it’s the only thing that may confuse people at first glance.

There is a knob with two labels: PreDELAY, and MOD. This knob controls both parameters separately and the currently assigned parameter depends on the position of the toggle switch as shown below:

Cetus Reverb Pedal MOD knob

So if the toggle switch is in the down position, the knob will control the MOD parameter. If the toggle switch is in the upper position, the MOD knob will control the PreDELAY function. Whatever changes you make to either parameter will be saved when you flick the toggle switch.

If you just use the pedal like this and don’t dive into the advanced functions, the Cetus Reverb pedal is very simple to use. But it truly shines when you check out the Freeze and Creative modes.

Freeze Mode

Some of the higher-end reverb pedals have a freeze mode and it’s great to see it here on a more budget-friendly pedal.

The basic idea with the Freeze mode is that when you hold the footswitch down, the current sound you hear from the reverb will ‘freeze’ and continuously sound. The reverb won’t decay away.

Think of it like an infinite sustain setting for the reverb. As you play over the frozen reverb, no new reverb trails will be generated. The only reverb you will hear will be the frozen reverb.

It’s a great mode and something I wish more reverb pedals offered.

To enable this mode, you flick the toggle switch to the upper position with the snowflake icon. Then hold down the footswitch to freeze the reverb. The LED will turn blue when the Freeze mode is active, then when you release the footswitch, the LED will return to white (normal operation).

Creative ∞ Mode

The “∞” mode is a unique feature found on all four of the “Adam Adventures” series of pedals.

This mode lets the pedal memorize or “record” any changes you make to the Decay, Bright, Mix, and Mod knobs within 5 seconds. Then you can “playback” those exact changes at any time.

So for example, you can get the pedal to memorize gradually increasing the Decay from 0 to 100% over five seconds. Then when you activate the “playback”, you will hear the reverb decay gradually increase over the five seconds as you play your guitar.

If you like the idea of changing reverb settings on the fly and digging into trippy soundscapes, you may enjoy experimenting with this mode.

This mode takes this pedal from a simple pedal to use to something a bit more complicated that is hard to describe in text. But it’s an interesting feature you might want to experiment with if you like coming up with wild effects.

ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal Sound Quality

A good quality reverb pedal can significantly enhance your overall guitar tone. Different types of reverb can completely change the vibe of your playing.

In each audio clip in this review, I’ll first demonstrate the reverb type without any modulation, then I’ll play the same part again with modulation enabled.

I’ll play an arpeggio so you can hear how the reverb adds to the overall vibe of your playing, and then I’ll strum and mute the strings so you can clearly hear the reverb trail.

For best results, listen to the audio clips with headphones. You should be able to hear the full stereo effect.

Each reverb type can be tweaked and adjusted, but these audio clips will give you a basic idea of the sound quality of each reverb type.

Here is the Hall Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

The Hall reverb sounds great in full stereo – especially when the settings are adjusted to make it sound like a large concert hall.

Here is the Room Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

The obvious difference between this reverb and the Hall reverb is in the decay. The modulation is also far more subtle, but there is some room to turn it higher than what you can hear in this clip.

Here is the Church Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

Listen carefully to the reverb trails and you’ll notice the higher frequency wash compared to the Hall reverb. This reverb is meant to mimic the sound of a large cathedral with stained glass and you can hear a big difference in tone.

The included modulation works well with the way the reverb trail decays. Instead of having a flat wash slowly decay away, the reverb adds some interesting motion and variation.

Here is the Spring Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

When I first tried the Spring reverb with modulation, it instantly became my favorite option and I’ve spent quite a lot of time jamming with this option.

The modulation parameter controls the intensity of the reverb modulation and the amount of gain driving the springs (known as dwell). Many reverb pedals that include a spring reverb don’t have this level of control, so it’s a nice surprise to see a way to adjust dwell in the Cetus Reverb.

The arpeggio and chord in this clip don’t do this effect justice. But you can hear how the reverb in the second half of the clip has a slightly driven sound that enhances the reverb. There will be times when it makes sense to dial this down, but it’s great fun to jam with.

I should note that it doesn’t sound quite like a typical or authentic spring reverb compared to other pedals I’ve used, but I enjoy it for what it is. I’m not usually very interested in spring reverb, so for this one to grab my attention shows that there’s something unique about it.

Here is the Plate Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

Subtle plate reverbs have their place, but this reverb truly shines when cranked up to produce a big texture behind your playing.

Here is the Swell Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

This lush and atmospheric reverb sounds great when you want to experiment with ambient-style parts. The swirling motion and soft swells are very pad-like.

You may notice that the second half of the clip is subdued compared to the non-modulated clip. This is because the modulation parameter controls the duration of the reverb swell. Turning the MOD knob up will increase the swell duration.

Here is the Shimmer Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

A shimmer reverb adds in pitch-shifted harmonies (usually one or two octaves higher than normal) into the reverb trails. This shimmer reverb offers plenty of variation and the modulation can also drastically change the texture of the reverb.

I’m a big fan of shimmer reverbs and this one is great once you dial in the right settings that suit you. I enjoyed combining this reverb with the ALABS Timeslip Delay Pedal to add some shimmers to the delay trails.

Here is the Cloudy Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

As you can tell from the length of the above clip, this reverb works best when you want long and atmospheric reverb trails under your playing.

Even without the modulation, I enjoyed playing with this reverb on a stereo rig. The texture of the reverb and the very subtle variation over time sounds great.

Here is the Wave Reverb first without modulation, then with modulation:

Notice at the end of the second chord how the reverb breaks into a white noise-style sound. This sound is meant to mimic the sound of waves crashing on a beach. This is what makes the Wave reverb fun to play with. You can add this interesting texture to your playing by controlling how hard you pick the strings.

I haven’t played with a reverb like this one before and it didn’t take long to figure out licks and ideas to suit the reverb. If you’re a songwriter and are looking for inspiration, playing around with a reverb like this can help trigger new ideas in your playing.

32-bit Processing and Bypass Modes

This is a digital pedal, so the sound quality it produces relies heavily on the digital processor.

All four of the pedals in the “Adam Adventures” series uses a 32-bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor), which is fantastic to see on a budget pedal.

The pedal also allows you to choose between an analog buffered bypass and True Bypass (learn more about bypass modes here). Most guitarists will choose to use the buffered bypass, but it’s nice that the pedal gives you the option.

The Cetus Reverb pedal also uses analog dry-through, which will be important for some guitarists. Analog dry-through means that your dry guitar signal will not be converted to digital, and then back to analog as it passes through the pedal. It remains intact all the way and the wet reverb signal is mixed in with your analog signal.

Overall Impression of the ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal

The Cetus Reverb Pedal by ALABS is an incredibly high-quality pedal that sells for a great price.

I’ve always been a big fan of reverb in my sound and enjoy everything from subtle room reverbs all the way to heavily modulated and atmospheric reverbs. It’s impressive that the Cetus Reverb is able to cover a wide range of reverb and give you plenty of control over each one.

The modulations included with each reverb are far better than the typical modulations I’ve seen in other multi-reverb pedals. Each one feels well crafted and suitable for the type of reverb.

The Freeze mode is fantastic if you like jamming with ambient-style pads and soundscapes. It’s a very useful inclusion that I really enjoy using – especially with the heavily modulated reverbs.

I have been honestly impressed with all four of the “Adam Adventures” pedals from ALABS and the Cetus Reverb gets my support for anybody wanting to add reverb to their pedalboard (just make sure you sort out an appropriate power supply).

Check out the current price and full details of the ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal here (link to Amazon).

ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal Pros and Cons

Here are the main pros of the Cetus Reverb pedal:

  • Fantastic price
  • Excellent quality and variety of reverb types
  • High-quality modulations for each reverb type
  • Freeze mode is great fun to use
  • Great sounding stereo output
  • Analog dry-through
  • Able to get a wide range of reverb from subtle and basic to extremely atmospheric with soupy modulations

Here are the main cons of the Cetus Reverb pedal:

  • High power draw (check your power supply before connecting)
  • Doesn’t include a power supply and isn’t battery compatible

How to Get the Most Out of the ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal

Here are some tips to get the most out of the Cetus Reverb pedal:

Learn more about reverb and all other types of effects in my Guitar Effects Course. The course is designed to help you identify different effects by ear and combine them together. If you want to combine a reverb pedal with other effects, check out the course to learn more.

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ALABS Cetus Reverb Pedal