Walrus Audio Descent – Review of Reverb / Octave Pedal

Overview

Guitar effects have been around for quite some time, giving guitar players an extra layer of depth to their instrument's tone or alter their sound completely. These effects may be applied in post-processing or through digital effects; but in general, guitar effects are obtained through devices referred to as pedals or stompboxes. These are analog circuits, meaning they are made of basic electronic components such as capacitors and resistors, to alter the instrument's signal coming through it before being sent to the amplifier.

Pedals can come in many different shapes and sizes and offer all sorts of effects that guitarists can use to make their tone more interesting or appealing for a specific song or a genre. Some of the usual effects that you can get as pedals include overdrive, distortion, boost, delay, reverb, chorus, filter, wah, flanger, and phaser. Over time, innovations were introduced to guitar effects pedals such as digital effects being made to create sounds that analog circuits cannot, or mimic analog pedals. 

Digital pedals were once unfavored by guitar players due to the artificial and robotic tones it gives, but as technology has progressed they have immensely improved in terms of getting more natural-sounding effects that resemble analog stompboxes while providing some qualities that can only be obtained from digital circuitry. These digital circuits were also eventually used to create multi-effects pedals to be able to provide guitar players with several effects in one stompbox, making them a bang for your buck and saving space on your pedalboard. Multi-effects pedals are a great way to test out different kinds of effects before looking to buy more expensive analog versions but they can also be used as an all-in-one pedal for gigs and performances.

The Walrus Audio Descent Reverb is a great digital multi-effects pedal that provides an amazing sound character that analog reverb and octave pedals won't be able to achieve. Walrus Audio has a great lineup of other multi-effects pedals with analog pedal aesthetics and great tonal characteristics to enhance your tone. However, due to the uncommon nature of a combination of reverb and octave in one pedal, in my opinion, the Walrus Audio Descent Reverb Octave is one of the best Walrus Audio pedals in their array of digital pedals.

With a variety of practical and convenient features, great build and sound quality, and versatility due to the numerous control knobs, the Walrus Descent Reverb Octave machine pedal is a great addition to any rig for a reliable source of digital reverb and customizable octave for added depth to your signal and tone. This Walrus Reverb pedal is a solid addition to your pedalboard and its hefty price is justified by the wide range of features and great quality that the brand has put into this pedal.

Should You Get It?

If you're looking for a reliable reverb pedal to keep on your pedalboard as well as an octave effect, the Walrus Audio Descent pedal is a perfect option. The Descent Reverb Octave machine combination is an interesting and unique one as well and is a great concept if you want an octave effect ready for any time you need it. You can use the Walrus Audio pedal's reverb as its main purpose as almost everyone uses reverb, and have an octave effect coming in handy - keeping you from having to spend money on a dedicated octave machine. If you've got the budget for it, this Walrus Audio reverb pedal is a must-try and great purchase for your rig.

Guitar

Pedal

Model

Price

Main

Walrus

Audio Descent

Walrus Audio Descent

PRO's & CON's of Walrus Audio Descent

Before we dive into our review, let's look at some of the pros and cons of the walrus Audio Descent:

Pros

  • An extreme level of versatility from control knobs and reverb octave combination
  • Great build quality and tonal characteristics
  • Allows for the storage of presets
  • Lets you control the mix of your dry signal with the pedal's effects
  • Features hall, reverse, and shimmer mode reverb effects
  • Allows you to adjust -1 or +1 octaves separately

Cons

  • Not the most affordable digital pedal and is quite expensive for most
  • The layout may seem overwhelming for some people

Features and Benefits

Features

The Walrus Audio Descent Reverb Octave machine has a lot of features for both versatility and tone. The pedal is also built well, with a strong chassis and a great aesthetic print on it for a little more artwork and design on your pedalboard. It has true bypass circuitry and the ability to store up to three presets, which is an added benefit from its digital circuitry and may even surprise some people because it looks like an analog stompbox. The Walrus Audio Descent Reverb Octave machine even allows you to adjust the mix of your dry signal with its effects which is great for leaning towards a more natural-sounding tone or the opposite with heavier and more intense effects. 

Among the three selectable reverb modes, the hall mode and reverse mode of the Descent are noticeably great sounding and stand out among other reverb pedals. The shimmer mode is also very useful for dreamy sounding reverb effects. Reverb pedals rarely make me feel inspired, but the versatility in controls of the Walrus Audio Descent Reverb Octave machine is useful and allows me full control over my sound. In terms of the octave, the Walrus Audio Descent Reverb Octave machine allows you to adjust the -1 or +1 octaves of the effect to adjust the volume of the lower and higher octaves separately. This adds even more versatility and tonal opportunities that other octave pedals don't have. Setting these to lower values add a subtle octave effect that goes well with the reverb effects of this pedal.

Furthermore, the Walrus Audio Descent Reverb Octave machine has stereo compatibility to split your signal to two amplifiers to fully appreciate the beautiful reverb effects of the stompbox. It can also be hooked to an external footswitch controller with its Remote port. It even has a port for an expression pedal for transitioning between settings. Some drawbacks to the pedal may include incompatibility with a battery and requirement of a 9V power source due to its slightly higher current draw, as well as its slightly overwhelming design which takes time to get familiar with. However, these are not deal breakers considering the pedal saves space on your pedalboard and offers extreme versatility and great sound quality.

Controls

The layout of the controls of the Descent may take some time to understand, and beginners or people unfamiliar with reverb and octave controls may be overwhelmed at first glance. However, the Walrus Audio Descent Reverb Octave machine becomes intuitive after taking some time playing around with its controls and learning the purpose of each knob. In this section, we will tackle the use of each control knob on the pedal.

First is the Dry Mix knob, which allows you to adjust the level or volume of the signal coming into the pedal without the effects from the Walrus Audio Descent being applied. Next to this is the Reverb Time to control how long the reverb effect lasts. The Diminish knob controls the feedback and other subtleties of the reverb depending on the mode selected - it controls the diffusion of the hall mode, the feedback of reverse mode, and the fade of shimmer reverb. The Tweak knob controls the filter for the hall, reverse reverb tone, and the diffusion for shimmer reverb. The last knob on the top row is the Wet Mix which adjusts the intensity or level of effects applied to your signal. Below these is the Dry Signal knob which lets you adjust how much of your pre-processed signal is affected by reverb. Next to this are the -1 knob and +1 knob to control the mix of the higher and lower octaves. Finally, there is a toggle switch on the left half of the pedal to select hall, reverse, and shimmer reverb modes.

Sound

In terms of sound, the Walrus Audio Descent justifies its hefty price tag. Getting familiar with the controls and dialing in your settings will yield you a beautiful and rich reverb with the ability to add some octave into the mix for more tonal layers in your playing. The reverb is distinct and has full character without drowning out your instrument's natural tone or the signal coming into the effect. Furthermore, the octave can be set so that it is not overpowering, which is a great feature if you're not very into heavy octaves but interested in trying it out. The hall mode is my favorite, as this pedal produces an authentic-sounding hall reverb that can enhance your riffs and solos. The stereo compatibility also allows you to get a more spatial effect by using two amplifiers. The Descent is a great sounding pedal and if you can afford one, it is a great addition to your rig to enhance your tone.

For a demonstration of the pedal, refer to this video:

In Conclusion

If you're a fan of digital reverb and you would like to have an octave effect come in handy at any time, whether it be heavy or subtle, the Descent is a perfect stompbox. It may not be for everyone due to its price and very situational combination of reverb and octave effects, but the sound quality makes it a sure must-buy for anyone who can afford it and in search of a more interesting tone.

You can check it out on Amazon and get one for yourself through this link:

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