Chase Bliss Audio Pedals and Collaborations are a little like London Buses these days - you get nothing for a while, and then all of a sudden a fully formed line of innovative pedals. Starting with the Dark World Reverb, Chase Bliss Audio very significantly dipped its toes in oddball Glitch-style effects last year with the trio of MOOD Micro Looper, then CBA Edition Cooper FX Generation Loss, and finally the long awaited Blooper Modifying Looper.
We all knew about and were eagerly awaiting the first of the new Atomatone plaform of pedals with presets and automated mechanical sliders - the Benson-Amp-Collaborated PreAmp MKII. Before that ever though properly sees the light of day we now have another variant in that same cool form factor.
Several people already called it when the preview teaser images were released, and the date in the name really gives the game away without you’re having to see any visuals. But when you put the two pedals side-by-side the influence is quite evident via the similarity of labelling - albeit of course there are significant differences too.
As an all-out studio box the Lexicon had rather more buttons to go with its 6 sliders - or 22 all told. While the CXM instead has 4 3-way LED-ring buttons which cover different Modes / Types - Room, Plate and Hall, then Diffusion - Low/Med/High, Tank Modulation - Low/Med/High and finally Clock Rate/Resolution - HiFi/MidFi/LoFi. It’s those 4 controls and their interplay / interaction with the 6 sliders which is obviously the magic secret sauce. We know Meris are masters of the Digital Reverb courtesy of their Mercury 7 Blade Runner -style ambient reverb - one that still remains on my wishlist, but based on my experience with the GFI Sytem Synesthesia, I’m sort of waiting on GFI to bring out a MKII version of their Specular Tempus in that format!
In any case the CXM 1978 looks like another exciting pedal collaboration and I look forward to seeing further demos of that - yet I remain to be convinced that this is as essential an acquisition for me as the PreAmp. This Reverb is due to ship just a month or so after the PreAmp - so will be interesting to see what the price points will be - and whether the high tag of $749 will be retained.
I don’t see myself getting a whole pedalboard of Automatone size boxes - but if their brilliance justifies acquisition, I am more than willing to give it ago. I am generally a fan of big box reverbs - so I remain open-minded about this proposition too.
Funnily enough launched in 1978 and featuring a sort of Cross Over Modulation - which is where I am guessing the CXM 1978 got its moniker from. It's wonderful to see that classic light taupe colouration which was so popular in the 1970's - in fact that whole look - the base colour, black buttons and red LEDs. I'm sure someone will do some sort of head-to-head closer to the release - I will of course follow-up then with some further thoughts, insights and recommendations!