Alabs Cetus Reverb Pedal Hands-On Review: A Tone Game-Changer?

4.0 rating

When stepping into the world of electric guitar effects, you will quickly experience the magic of reverb pedals. They are the secret sauce to creating depth and ambiance, transforming the dry tones into a rich auditory experience that fills the room. Whether you’re a bedroom jammer or a stage performer, adding a reverb pedal will paint your musical canvas with more vibrant strokes.

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Among a sea of options, the Alabs Cetus Reverb Pedal stands out. With its nine distinct effects, it becomes a playground for creativity for beginner and advanced guitarists. The finesse of its adjustable modulation and the freeze function take your tones from ordinary to otherworldly realms. It’s more than just an effect; it’s an instrument in itself that enriches every note. And when you dive into its multi-expression controls, you’ll find the soundscapes you can create are nearly limitless.

ProsCons
Versatile with nine reverb effectsPower supply not included
Great value for the priceSome may find knobs too shiny
True bypass preserves signal integrity
Advanced audio algorithm for improved sound qualityThere is a learning curve 
Multi-expression control for dynamic performances

The Alabs Cetus Reverb Pedal, with its boatload of features, is an exciting addition to any guitarist’s gear. It doesn’t just replicate environment acoustics; it inspires with its versatility and sound quality. The Alabs Cetus is a great pedal if you want to elevate your playing with an inexpensive reverb pedal. I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

ALABS

Alabs is a Singapore-based company. Founded to make quality sound effects accessible for all musicians, Alabs started as an ambitious endeavor to bridge the gap between high-end sound and accessible pricing. The team’s dedication is rooted in a deep love for music and technology, ensuring that every pedal is crafted with care and precision.

Alabs Cetus Reverb Specification

Having run with the Cetus, I can confidently say it strikes a fine balance between versatility for seasoned guitarists and simplicity for those just starting. The sturdy, blue unit feels robust in hand, and even after frequent use, the true bypass maintains signal integrity. Let’s break down what makes this pedal a noteworthy contender in the realm of guitar effects.

Features:

  • Nine reverb Algorithms: Hall, Room, Church, Spring, Plate, Swell, Shimmer, Cloudy, Wave
  • True stereo I\O
  • Analog Dry Through
  • ALABS’ Wizard Audio Virtual Engine: 32-bit DSP
  • Automated Expression Parameter Control
  • Freeze mode functionality
  • Modulation: Adjustable for each effect
  • Bypass Mode: True bypass and trailing bypass
  • Power requirements: Standard 9V DC, minimum 250mA (not included)
  • Dimension: 4.8″ (12.1cm) L x 2.5″ (6.5cm) W x 1.4″ (3.5cm) H
  • Weight: 9.3 Oz (260g)

Nine Professional Reverb Effects

The Cetus comes loaded with a selection of nine rich reverb effects. These range from lush halls that breathe life into your solos to dense plates that add a shimmer to chords. What really sets these effects apart is their nuanced adjustability, allowing you to sculpt the reverb’s tail and brightness to fit right into your mix.

Unique Freeze Function

The “Freeze” function distinguishes the Cetus from the pack. This handy feature effectively holds your reverb tail indefinitely, creating an atmospheric backdrop over which you can layer other parts. A simple toe tap disengages the effect, bringing you back to the dry signal and offering a dynamic and expressive tool for live performances.

Innovative Automated Expression Control

Guitar pedals are often static in their effect parameters, but not this one. The Cetus provides an automated expression control that morphs your reverb settings in real-time. For those who love to experiment with their sound, this feature provides a hands-free way to add an evolving texture to your music.

Innovative Audio Algorithm Engine

At the heart of the Cetus is an advanced audio algorithm engine. This not only assures a high-fidelity reverb experience but also ensures your guitar’s analog dry signal is untouched. Whether you’re playing through expensive tube amplifiers or a more modest setup, the authenticity of your guitar’s tone will always shine through.

Alabs Cetus Reverb Manual

I highly recommend reading the manual before you start using the pedal.

Alabs Cetus Reverb Sound Quality

When you’re looking to color your guitar’s sound with some ambiance, the Alabs Cetus Reverb Pedal has quite a bit to offer. The pedal’s reputation for delivering high-quality reverb effects comes from its 32-bit DSP chip that brings you nine diverse and detailed reverb types. Each reverb mode on the Alabs Cetus has been crafted to provide a rich, layered sound that responds well to your playing dynamics.

  • Hall: Emulates the expansive echo of a concert hall, great for a grand, open sound.
  • Room: Offers the more contained acoustics of a smaller space.
  • Church: Captures the long, reflective reverberations of a large, sacred building.
  • Spring: Recreates the classic ’60s reverb effect found in vintage amplifiers.
  • Plate: Simulates the sound of a plate reverb popular in studio recordings.
  • Swell: Gradually increases the reverb for a crescendo effect.
  • Shimmer: Adds a high-pitched sparkle, often described as ethereal or angelic.
  • Cloudy: Produces a thick, diffuse reverb for a dreamy texture.
  • Wave: Delivers a modulated reverb with a sense of movement.

The modulation is adjustable, allowing you to fine-tune how much movement you want in your reverb tail – speed and depth are under your control. The pedal also includes a ‘Freeze’ function for sustaining your sound in a reverb-laden ambiance, adding to its versatility.

Alabs Cetus Reverb Is Perfect for Whom?

For musicians chasing after a comprehensive range of reverb sounds to elevate their electric guitar pieces, the Cetus pedal fits the bill splendidly. Whether you play in your garage, record tracks at a home studio, or perform live, these pedals cater to a variety of environments with nine high-quality effects. 

Tech-savvy guitarists will appreciate the pedal’s advanced audio algorithm and the Explore Mode, which offers a cinematic evolution of sound parameters during playback. This pedal is ideal for the creative musician who loves to experiment and push the boundaries of their sound.

It is a good pedal for beginners as well. Many effect choices and adjustability can seem overwhelming in the first few tries. But the pedal is relatively easy to use when you put in some effort. After a bit of a learning curve, beginners will appreciate the tonal versatility and have more fun playing with different reverb choices. But, if you want a more straightforward reverb pedal and do not want to put time into exploring different settings, maybe you should look for a simpler reverb gear.

What I Think About the Alabs Cetus Reverb

After testing and playing around with the Alabs Cetus Reverb Pedal, I must say the sonic versatility it adds to my guitar setup is amazing. With a variety of reverb effects, including the atmospheric Church and ethereal Shimmer, this compact pedal provides a wide range tailored for any guitarist looking to add depth to their sound. 

The Freeze function stands out by allowing you to sustain a reverb tail over which you can layer more playing—a feature that brings a new dimension to live performances.

The decision-making gets tough with the Multi-Expression Control. It’s refreshingly complex, giving you ample room to shape your guitar’s reverberation with changes in decay, modulation, and mix settings, all memorizable for playback.

But, as I like to experiment and play with the settings to explore different ranges of reverb, this versatility and high control it provides suits me very well. It does take a bit of time to get used to all the controls and learn the algorithm of the unit, but it is worth it in the end.

What I wasn’t too keen on were the reflecting knobs. While they look sleek, they can be challenging when you look at them and the light reflected towards your eyes. Even though this pedal is a bridge between beginner-friendly and pro-level gear, it sometimes feels like it’s leaning more toward the advanced user due to its wealth of features. But for those willing to explore, the Cetus can indeed take your sound to new heights without the high-end price tag.

3 Alabs Cetus Reverb Example Settings

The Alabs Cetus reverb pedal offers a variety of settings to customize your soundscapes. With nine different reverb algorithms, you can go from subtle ambiance to expansive atmospheric effects. Let’s look at three specific settings to help you explore the potential of the Alabs Cetus.

1. Classic Hall Reverb: This setting simulates the natural reverberations you hear in a large hall. Set your parameters as follows to achieve a wide, spacious sound:

  • Reverb Type: Hall
  • Pre-Delay: 15ms – Set around 9 o’clock
  • Decay: 60% – Set around 2 o’clock
  • Bright: Medium – Set at 12 o’clock
  • Mix: Adjust to taste

2. Shimmer Reverb This ethereal reverb adds an octave pitch shift to the reverb tail, creating a dreamy, celestial vibe.

  • Reverb Type: Shimmer
  • Pre-Delay: 30ms – Set around 10 o’clock
  • Decay: 75% – Set around 3 o’clock
  • Bright: High – Set around 3 o’clock
  • Mix: Moderate – Keep it below the dry signal for balance – anywhere lower than 1 o’clock.

3. Ambient Plate Reverb Modeled after the classic plate reverb, this setting provides a smooth and surreal echo, perfect for ambient textures.

  • Reverb Type: Plate
  • Pre-Delay: 10ms (Set around 8 o’clock)
  • Decay: Max it out for full effect
  • Tone: Low (Set around 9 o’clock)
  • Level: High (Ensure it sits well with your dry signal) – lower than 2 o’clock.
  • Additional: Add a slight modulation to the tail for a more dynamic sound.

Get creative and tweak these settings further to discover the range of reverberations you can craft with the Alabs Cetus pedal. Your guitar’s natural tone will also play a role in the final output, so consider this as you adjust the settings to your liking.

Top 3 Alternatives to the Alabs Cetus Reverb

EHX Oceans 11 Reverb

Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb Pedal
  • Tails switch. Select whether the reverb fades out naturally or stops...
  • Easy access to powerful “hidden” parameters thru Secondary Knob Mode
  • Able to produce infinite reverb you can play over in most settings
  • Power supply included

EHX Oceans 11 Reverb is a small reverb pedal with big features. It comes with 11 reverb types, including classic reverbs and modern ones, along with great functionality such as shimmer reverb, modulated reverb, reverse reverb, and more. It also has infinite reverb mode for freeze-type reverb effects. 

The versatility of the pedal goes over the roof with three variations for many reverb types, and it has hidden parameters for each type that are controlled with the second knob. If you want versatility and quality sound from your reverb pedal, EHX Oceans 11 Reverb is the right address.

TC Electronic HOF 2

TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal
  • New MASH footswitch and shimmer effect
  • Tone print- instant access to custom pedal-tweaks made by your idols!
  • Stereo in & out - added flexibility to fit any set-up
  • True bypass - Zero loss of tone

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame was one of the most popular reverb pedals with its customizability, great sound, and great price. The upgraded version comes with exactly the same features but with an innovative Mash footswitch and new shimmer reverb algorithms. The pressure-sensitive footswitch can act like an expression pedal to control the reverb parameters or simply tap it to turn the effect on or off. Also, you can customize your own reverb effects thanks to the three slots for TonePrint presets. So, in addition to 8 reverb modes, you have three custom ones, giving you high versatility.

Boss RV-6 Reverb

Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb
  • Mono or Stereo Operation
  • Expression Pedal Input
  • Compact and versatile reverb pedal with rich, expansive soundDial in...
  • Compact and versatile reverb pedal with rich, expansive sound

With eight sophisticated, highly musical reverb effects, Boss RV-6 Reverb is a great pedal in terms of versatility and ease of use. The pedal offers hall, room, and plate reverb algorithms as the standard effects, as well as vintage-style spring reverb along with some modern sounding effects like Delay, Dynamic, and Lush modes.  

The Shimmer Reverb mode is the star of the show with its gorgeous tone. Boss quality and craftsmanship added to the versatility and great tones, this is a great reverb pedal for the offered price.

Conclusion

After spending some time with the Cetus Reverb Pedal, its performance has solidly impressed me. The selection of nine reverb effects opens up a landscape of sound, allowing you to explore from subtle ambiance to expansive echoes. With true stereo output, your playing takes on a lifelike dimension that’s as immersive in headphones as it is through an amp. 

It’s also built like a tank that can endure stage use. While the shiny knobs can be a bit of an eyesore under stage lights, and the endless features might feel overwhelming at first, these are small trade-offs for such versatile sound-shaping ability. 

Whether you’re just starting with ambient sounds or you’re a seasoned pro looking to expand your sonic palette, the Cetus stands out as a valuable addition to your pedalboard. No need to just take my word for it—the collective voice of many users echoes the sentiment that this pedal is a sound investment.

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Last update on 2024-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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