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Strymon - Iridium

Sun Dec 27 2020
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small room
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The Strymon Iridium is the first amp modeler that I just unboxed, plugged in and it sounded great without much fiddling. The IR selection is great. The EQs for all amp models are very usable. The drives sound good on their own. The room reverb adds a bit of three-dimensionality and lubrication for the dryness of direct/ampless setups.

Chime

For my own purposes, I find myself using the Vox model (chime) most often. It has great clarity and stacks well with drive pedals when set pretty clean. For ambient clean sounds, it's perfect with the drive at 12 o'clock to just add a tiny bit of hair and weight to its chimeyness.

Round

Many people use the Fender model as their clean pedal platform. I think I lean towards the chime because of the awesome OwnHammer IR that's on cab "a" by default (AC30 2x12 AlNiCo).

I find it harder to dial in sounds with drive pedals in front of the Iridium when the drive is past noon for the Marshall (punch) and Vox models.

Punch

On it's own, I think the Marshall model set to crunchy (a bit above edge of breakup) sounds killer. For the chord progression in this demo, this one was the winner. It has a great chewy feel when playing. FYI, the gain stage of the Iridium is realized with an analog JFET circuit.

Room

The room reverb can be set to small, medium and large room by pressing down and holding then "on" switch and turning the room knob. The right LED will switch from green to orange to red. I tend to use subtle settings here, usually set the mix at 9 o'clock in a small room. It's just enough to make the amp sound more lively.

Middle

This is a special knob for the Fender and Vox models. On the Fender, with the middle knob at noon, you get a Blackface Fender (Deluxe or Twin Reverb) EQ response. Turn it down and scoop more mids. Turn it all the way up to emulate a more honky Tweed sound.

On the Vox, it acts as a treble cut. All the way down is maximum treble and all the way up cuts most of the treble.

Nothing special seems to be happening for the Marshall. It has a nice punchy midrange to begin with. I guess the special super power for the Marshall is the wide gain range, going from crystal clean to Plexi distortion and even above that so it's like a hot rodded version of the original.

Bonus Features

The Iridium has a lot more features than I can demo in this web-based demo. It can do stereo, load custom IRs, save presets, has a great headphone out, MIDI and expression control.

Verdict

For me, this is the best amp/cab modeler currently on the market. There is good competition like the HX Stomp and Two Notes Torpedo Cab M. But with its great default sounds and hands-on user interface, I play more guitar with the Iridium and spend less time fiddling with menus to get a good sound.

The only thing I would wish for considering the price: Good spring and plate reverb instead of the room reverb. We all know Strymon does these well and many amps have a built-in reverb.

Signal Chain

  • K'mo Memphis Std. (neck pickup)
  • Iridium
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • GarageBand

Links

  • Try a new one from Thomann and use their great 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee if it's not for you
  • Get a good deal on it on Reverb
  • Get detailed specs on Strymon's website

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