Second Bite: Fender’s Tre-Verb Pedal

I bought one of these last year, and first time around, I didn’t get on with it at all. Although I planned to, I never actually sold it on. With the country in lockdown thanks to the 2020 pandemic, I’m not going to be selling it any time soon.

So, I dug it out and put it back on the board for a bit. Am I going to be just as disappointed second time around, or am I going to actually like it this time?

tl;dr

Plug into the “wrong” mono output jack, and suddenly the Tre-Verb is a hell of a lot easier to dial in.

The “63” reverb mode gets quite close to the sound and feel of the Anasound Elements. The differences between the two might be important to you. I still prefer the Anasound Elements.

It’s been so long since I played a plate reverb, I don’t have a reliable recollection of what they can sound like. I do like how the Tre-Verb’s plate reverb mode sounds, though.

Sadly, the “65” reverb mode isn’t for me. It’s pretty lifeless, and even with the “wrong” output jack trick, I’m still finding it impossible to dial in an amount of reverb that I like.

What Is It?

Fender’s Tre-Verb pedal aims to deliver the classic reverb and tremolo sounds from their 60s amplifiers. You also get a couple of modern options too.

I’ve no idea whether or not the Tre-Verb sounds like a reverb tank from 1963 or 1965. If that’s something you need to know, you’ll need to look elsewhere for the answer. Sorry!

What’s Different This Time Around?

There’s not much point trying the same pedal a second time unless something has changed in between.

In this case, what’s changed is that I’ve got a real analogue spring reverb unit – the Anasounds Element – to compare the Tre-Verb against. I’m absolutely smitten with the Element, and I’m going to use it to help dial in the sound of the Tre-Verb.

That made all the different.

Well, that, and using the input / output jacks correctly for mono.

Mono Input Is At The Bottom, Mono Output Is At The Top

The Tre-Verb has stereo input and output jacks. You can use it in mono by using just one input and output at a time. For some unknown reason, the mono input and output jacks aren’t the same on both sides of the pedal.

  • The mono input jack is the bottom input jack (the one nearest the footswitches)
  • The mono output jack is the top output jack (the one nearest the control knobs)

If you plug into the wrong input jack, then (to my ears) all you get is a very wet output signal. That’s a mistake I made first time around with this pedal.

If you plug into the wrong output jack, then (to my ears) you get a stronger pass-through signal. My guess is that there’s a slight delay on the signal from that output jack, to widen (or maybe even simply create) the stereo field.

That seems to be the key to making this pedal usable.

63 Mode Gets Very Close To The Anasounds Element

Last time, I focused mostly on the 65 reverb mode. This time, I spent more time on all the modes, and found that I actually prefer the sound of the 63 reverb mode.

With a lot of tweaking, I managed to get the Tre-Verb sounding pretty close to the Anasounds Element.

  • Mono input into the bottom input jack
  • Mono output into the bottom output jack (ie the “wrong” jack for mono use)
  • The Blend control just before 9 o’clock
  • The Tone control also just before 9 o’clock
  • The Dwell control just above 10 o’clock

Now, it’s not an identical sound by any means. But it’s very usable, and it’s a sound that some people might actually prefer.

There’s three key differences in sound between the Tre-Verb setup like this, and the Anasounds Element.

  1. I’m getting a lot more of the ‘dry’ signal out of the Tre-Verb, compared to the Element. The reverb sounds like it’s blended underneath. I believe this is caused by a slight pre-delay to the reverb on the ‘wrong’ output jack.
  2. There’s noticeably more bass and treble out of the Tre-Verb, because of the extra ‘dry’ signal. The Tre-Verb doesn’t seem to be colouring the signal at all. The Element blends the dry signal and reverb in a different way, resulting in a smoother sound.
  3. The signal out of the Tre-Verb is louder than the signal out of the Element. I can’t be certain, but to my ears the Tre-Verb is slightly boosting the output, while the Element is slightly reducing the output.

Personally, I still prefer the sound of the Element. There’s just something about the way it colours the sound that just sounds right to me. The Tre-Verb, though, does sound very good.

It’s nice to have the option of both sounds. I can definitely free up my Neunaber Slate for other duties now.

Plate Reverbs Need An EQ

I grew up with plate reverb from the venerable Boss RV-2 pedal. One of the things I loved about it was being able to turn the tone right down, to create a dark reverb sound. It’s been 25 years – maybe longer – since I last owned an RV-2. I’d love to have that sound available again.

I’m warming up to the Tre-Verb’s plate mode.

Without an RV-2 to compare against, it’s hard to say how well it does the dark plate reverb thing. To my ears, I wish the Tre-Verb’s Tone control went darker than it does, but who knows? Maybe it’s a much more accurate plate reverb emulation than the RV-2 ever was.

I think I need to find an old RV-2 to refresh my memory.

When would I choose the plate reverb mode over the 63 mode? Honestly, I don’t know. I need to spend a lot more time with the two modes, to work out when I prefer one over the other.

Where Does That Leave The 65 Mode?

I’m still not digging it.

Plugging into the “wrong” output jack partially solves the problem of being able to dial in the amount of reverb required, and turning down the Tone control solves the rest of it. I kinda wish that the Tone control didn’t affect the amount of reverb so much, but I imagine it’s more an accurate emulation this way.

Compared to the other two modes, I’m finding that it’s just lifeless. Turning down that Tone control kills it. If I turn it up, though, to inject some life, I can’t find a sweet spot. I end up back in the situation of a reverb that’s just too wet for my tastes.

One Final Complication

I was doing some research reading for this blog post, and as part of that I pulled up Fender’s online manual for the pedal. Only, it’s not the manual for the pedal that I bought.

I’ve got ‘Rev A’ of the pedal. That’s a manual for ‘Rev B’ of the pedal.

I have absolutely no idea what the differences are between the two. I can’t find anything online about it.

The two revisions probably won’t be all that different? It’s something to keep in mind if you decide to get a Tre-Verb of your own.

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