MERIS MERCURY7 500 SERIES REVERB
Here at The Mill I’ve been playing with a new mono digital 24-bit reverb manufactured by a yet another boutique Californian pro audio company – Meris – who design and manufacture in Los Angeles.
The Mercury7 takes up a single space in a 500-series rack, delivering lush, somewhat old-school sounding reverbs (in mono) that can easily be pushed to sonic extremes, particularly when two are linked in stereo.
There’s an amazing amount of control on the unit, despite the small, unassuming single 500-series footprint. This is mainly thanks to an ‘Alt’ button which, when pressed and held, allows every other knob on the unit to perform a secondary function.
This adds things like pre-delay control to the decay time knob, and modulation speed control to the modulation depth control. Other features under the influence of the ‘Alt’ control are: echo density, vibrato depth, pitch vector mix (which controls the blend between pitch-shifted signals and normal reflections being emitted from the reverb tank), and swell envelope attack time.
Sonically, the Mercury 7 is incredibly powerful, particularly in stereo. Two units are linkable via a proprietary cable that joins the two cards together, although in mono it’s no slouch either.
Analogue knob twiddling quickly has this unit producing all kinds of mad, lush, pitch shifted or endless reverbs that are perfect for things like ambient productions and film sound effects. You can create everything from a very clean simple mono space for a vocal, to an enormously over-the-top decay for a guitar or piano that thunders and rolls on for the whole evening – time permitting.
But what makes this unit so fantastic is its inspiring immediacy. It allows you to revolutionise dry signals with giant beds of decay that build, swirl and shimmer like the sunset at the drop of a hat. The ‘Pitch Vector’ control in particular creates all kinds of extraordinary harmonies within the reverb response that act like instruments unto themselves.
In mono, I was very quickly impressed by the kind of dark reverberant tank sounds that you might associate with old reggae tracks, the decay on things like vocals sounding particularly amazing under the influence of a bit of astute EQ (which influences the nature of the reverb, not just its output tone).
Dialling in more ‘low’ control produces a more sensitivity and extension to the bottom end. More dialled in ‘high’ frequencies sets the unit shimmering on forever, while backing this control knob off cools things down dramatically, producing a far more natural – though still pretty kooky in mono – reverb response.
Functionally, the Mercury7 is pretty straightforward to use, although it took me couple of minutes to realise that an illuminated bypass signal light produces sound; extinguishing this light cuts the reverb. This is backwards logic in my book, and I presume it’s a fault with my unit. If they’re all like that it’s pretty counter intuitive.
There are two unique reverb algorithms onboard the Mecury7: Ultraplate and Cathedra. Both sound amazing, particularly under the influence of the modulation and pitch controls, but it’s the combination of all of them acting intuitively together that makes the Mecury7 module so very more-ish.
I cannot believe how quickly you can dial up something extraordinary to go with even the plainest of dry signals. The Mercury7 has the fantastic ability to reinvent sounds for you, allowing you to play with the knobs like the good old days and get you immersed in sounds you probably would never have thought to conjure up any other way.
I love this unit… so musical, so influential.
Price in Australia: $805
Studio Connections: (+613) 9416 8097 or studioconnections.com.au