Over the past decade or so, musicians have increasingly looked to cab sims, impulse responses and DIs to lighten their load in terms of weight and volume. The new Strymon Iridium ($399) offers a different take on these options for guitarists by giving them a fully-featured cab sim/IR loader that lives on their pedalboard.
Have you ever plugged your guitar directly into a full-range monitor with your favorite overdrive engaged? It sounds like a coffee can filled with hornets angrily buzzing around. With the Iridium placed after your overdrive and before the monitor, this transforms the can of bees into your favorite tube amp with the flick of a switch.
How does Iridium do it? Through years of R&D and the internal processing power of SHARC and ARM co-processors, Strymon puts a tool at that your feet that allows for control over three iconic amp tones, nine impulse response speaker cabinets, adjustable room ambience, and EQ options. Whether on stage or in the recording studio, its never been easier (or less heavy lifting) to dial in your ideal tone.
Watch our new demo video below to get a better understanding of everything that the Strymon Iridium is capable of adding to your guitar rig. Continue on afterwards to find out about the settings used in the video and learn more about the different amp tones and cab options included in the pedal.
In the demo above, I ran my pedalboard with the Strymon Iridium at the end of the chain straight into my Universal Audio Apollo Twin interface playing out of my studio monitors. The Iridium gives you the holy trinity of amp tones with Round (Fender), Chime (Vox) and Punch (Marshall) via the Amp toggle switch. My main pedal platform amp is a Music Man RD-50 112 so naturally I immediately gravitated to the Round, 6L6 sounding amp first.
What Strymon Says About The Iridium's Amp Settings:
Round Amp: Based on a Fender Deluxe Reverb. This amp is clean, bright, and mid-scooped with plenty of headroom.
Chime Amp: Based on the Brilliant channel of a Vox AC30. Strymon's model of the AC30 is jangly, bright, and chimey, providing air for subtle passages with a light touch, and bite when you want to dig in.
Punch Amp: Based on a Marshall Plexi (Super Lead model number 1959. This powerful amp is meatier, with higher gain that the other two amps, and has a powerful midrange.
From there, I moved over to the Cab toggle switch. This gives you three different speaker cab combinations depending on which Amp you have selected. In the video, I switch through the Cab settings for Round and I must say I loved how the 1x12 Deluxe Reverb sounded immediately.
What Strymon Says About The Iridium's Cab Settings:
Round A: Deluxe Reverb 1x12 with a 1978 CTS ceramic speaker.
Round B: Blues Junior 1x12 with a Jensen C12N speaker.
Round C: Vibrolux 2x10 with Jenson C10NS speakers from 1965.
Chime A: Vox AC30/6 open back fawn 2×12” combo with 2001 Celestion T0530 Blue AlNiCo speakers.
Chime B: AC30 with Celestion Blue Alnico speaker in a closed back 1×12” cab.
Chime C: AC30 with 4×12” Mesa Boogie “Halfback”, which is loaded (open back) with two Black Shadow MC-90 speakers from Celestion™ and two Black Shadow EVM12-L from ElectroVoice.
Punch A: Plexi with 1971 Marshall 1960B “basketweave” 4×12” cabinet.
Punch B: Plexi with Celestion Vintage 30 in an open back 2×12” cab.
Punch C: Plexi with a re-issue of the 1965 Marshall 8×12” full stack cabinet, loaded with Celestion T652 AlNiCo speakers.
The Iridium features a 3-band, treble, middle, bass EQ section to dial in exactly how you should be sitting in the mix.
If you want a little more air in your guitar tone, Iridium’s hybrid Room reverb control combines a 256 millisecond stereo impulse response with Strymon’s reverb tank algorithm for extended decay. This allows your amp and cab to exist within a natural room ambience (Secondary function: small, medium and large) for your guitar to open up and breathe.
After going through these features, I wanted to see what Iridium could offer as a standalone device so I plugged into the 1/8" headphone jack on the front of the pedal and started to explore driving the Chime and Punch amps in combination with the Room control. It’s scary how spot on the characteristics of these amps are and when you subtly add harmonics it becomes more and more noticeable.
First off, the built-in headphone amp sounds AMAZING and is such an incredible solution to silent playing and recording. We all know the importance of having a good headphone mix. While looking at the back panel of the Iridium, we see a three-way toggle for Mono, Stereo and Sum. I plugged in a stereo delay pedal and having those repeats dance around in the most perfect stereo image in my headphones with the Punch setting was utter bliss.
The Iridium comes with an onboard Favorite switch to save your go-to impulse response and in addition, has a 1/4” MIDI jack on the back to save up to 300 presets. But what if I’m more of a Silvertone or Hiwatt player and I’m looking to model those amps? It’s super easy to replace the pre-installed IRs with whatever your heart desires. Simply use the Strymon Impulse Manager software by connecting through the USB port on the back of the pedal to your computer.
If you're looking for a lightweight tone solution for the recording studio or live gigs, the Strymon Iridium is a powerful tool in a small package. With this pedal, you have three distinct amp tones at your feet and the ability to shape them however you like via a number of fantastic sounding settings.