I was convinced by the demo videos on Youtube and decided to buy it. I was lucky to find one in a shop so I could try it beforehand. I’ve used it with an Epiphone LP with Seymour Duncan humbuckers, and a pedalboard with 90% true-bypass, analog effects, all linked to a 1990s Fender hybrid amp. Modulation pedals (including the Seraphim) are not in the fx loop.
Simple, light with a 9V DC (negative center) supply plug, a supply such as MXR’s Brick will largely be enough (the Seraphim exactly takes 100mA). Plugs seem standard-quality, there’s no battery cover so you have to unscrew the bottom. Power supply is on the upper side. The LED is soft (it doesn’t light the ceiling like a lot of MXR pedals do), so it’s not easy to see all settings with a dim light (so you’d better set it once and for all). The drawings are embossed and the box contains a sticker (which gets rarer these days!).
It provides 23 effects in a single pedal: first a reverb, simple and organic, very different from digital spring ones. Then the shimmer effect (with the same reverb) which gives more of an artificial tone but after spending some time to find the right balance you quickly get the settings (and sound) you’re after. It’s easy to differentiate both effects as the LED blinks for the shimmer effect while it does not for the reverb alone. You get from one to the other by keeping the switch pressed.
I personally can’t find any interest to it with a distorted signal – certainly a question of taste. But, it undeniably is an excellent effect for clean sounds. My advice is, put it just before a delay in your pedalboard: the shimmer starts at every delayed signal and you soon get from an angelic sound to total sonic mayhem.
Of course, chaining pedals is foremost a question of personal taste, here is mine.
Soundwise, a few things need mentioning. The guitar’s sound is not modified, or very little. The shimmer gives this impression that ut’s just next to your original guitar sound. However, when you play treby sounds (especially those very trebly ones you can get out of a Whammy), you’ll need to tweak your amp’s (or pedalboard’s) EQ. Even though it’s rare to not adjust it when you get a new pedal, I thought I’d mention it (the needed readjustment is not very consequent though).
I feel like the shimmer doesn’t react to the guitar’s grain, it seems to center on the frequency’s value and send the corresponding shimmer effect. So ther’s no difference depending on whether you play in chorus, vibe or phaser (please correct me if I’m wrong). I think the pickup used has very little incidence too.
Like many other famous effects (the Whammy for instance), the shimmer must be used moderately as too much shimmers undermines the shimmer!!
It’s one of the cons of the shimmer mode, playing sound alchemists is a bit limited and you soon get at risk of getting an awful sounding mashup. Btw, while the settings are simple I still find them quite sensitive.
The Boss RV #6 offers a shimmer, but I found it quite bad and this one is a much better choice! It is better, by far… But also more expensive. Before you buy it, try the RV #6, and if it suits you don’t spend so much for this one !
I personally consider the Seraphim to be worth its price. It’s not the kind of pedal you’ll want on all the time, but it works very well to give soul to some precise passages in a track. Associated with an analog delay, it’s a marvel! You can also set its depth to almost its max setting, ring the dominant note of your track then deactivate to play on this root with a delay: it sounds very nice, the shimmer effect prolounges even after being turned off. Of course, you’ll get as many shimmers as notes you’ve played… It’s quite subjective (or is it?), but the shimmer turns out better on long, distinct notes than on quick, crowded passages.
To conclude, the reverb on this pedal is not enough to my taste and I can’t wait to get the "Wet" (by Neunaber too) which seems very, very useable !
An important question which I can’t answer (hopefully others can and will) : i have no idea as to how the Seraphim reacts to a tremolo ? Is the shimmer continuous or not ?
. Made in the USA
. Standard power supply and pedalboard (MXR size)
. Clickless footswitch
. Lightweight and (very) sturdy
. Independant reverb functionality, for those without one
. Formerly only for synths, now available for guitars too
. The guitar’s sound is very well preserved son
. Can be used with a synth (no idea if it will work with a bass)
. True Bypass (at least, mine is : beware, it’s an optional feature !)
. Optional true bypass (otherwise it’s buffered bypass, I prefer to choose)
. Very demanding guitarists will have to readjust their EQ, or even affect the pedal to a dedicated EQ for some notes can get really trebly-sounding
. Little sound exploration as the effect remains the same whatever your guitar sound is (for the same Hz that is)
. Not many available in stores… Which is all the more a pity that you’d better try it "for real", in person !! You never know.