Electro Harmonix Cathedral

The EHX Cathedral is one of the most popular choices for reverb, due to its versatility and sound quality. It has 7 different types of reverb and an echo mode. You can also set one preset for each mode, so you can save all your favorite tones and recall them by pressing the mode knob.

You can read what other people say about the Cathedral here.

Enter the Cathedral and surround your music with the aria of divine presence

This is what Electro Harmonix says about this baby: Enter the Cathedral and surround your music with the aria of divine presence. True stereo reverbs reveal your inspirations while programmability recalls your spirit of creation. 

The Cathedral is the performer’s mantra creating the perfect space for your instrument or voice while offering an elegance that takes your music to a higher ground.

Something is clear with the Cathedral: it’s great not just because I think is great. Some of the most prestigious magazines definitely agree that this pedal is one of the best reverb pedals out there.

In fact, this pedal was chosen as the 2009 Stompbox of the year by musicradar.com, it was marked as “top gear” by Top Guitar Musician’s Magazine, and was also rewarded the Guitar Player Magazine Editor’s Pick award for outstanding sonic performance, among others.

Features and controls

The Cathedral has a 9V negative power supply, drawing a current of 200mA. It has true stereo input and output connectors, and it is true bypass. Thanks to its 24-bit ADCs, the effect of the pedal is totally transparent.

The EHX Cathedral has 7 controls: blend, reverb time, damping/tone, feedback, pre-delay, and mode. It also has 2 stomp switches, one for activating the pedal, and another one with tap/infinite features.

  • Blend is essentially the mix between dry and wet sounds.
  • Reverb time changes the length (decay) of the reverb.
  • Damping/Tone control makes the reverb to sound darker or brighter, and is available for each reverb mode.
  • Feedback controls the amount of reverb signal that is sent back to the input section.
  • Pre-delay adds a delay to the reverb sound. This control can be changed with the knob and with the tap tempo switch.
  • Mode allows you to change the type of the reverb. The modes are Grail Spring, which is the same sound as EHX’s Holy Grail reverb; Accu Spring, based on a 17″ Accutronics spring tank with 6 springs; Hall, Room, Plate, Reverse, which mimics the popular reverse reverb effect, Grail Flerb, a reverb combined with a flanger, again taken from the Holy Grail, and Echo, which turns the reverb into a digital echo/delay.

Sound

I love this pedal (it is on my pedalboard…)

It is very versatile thanks to the built-in reverb modes and its controls. However, it may result a bit difficult to make it sound great at the beginning, but you won’t be able to stop playing with it and will get its juice right away.

It added magic to my amp, and you will get amazed if connected it stereo. I enjoy every day playing with the knobs coming across new sounds.

Apart from the two Strymons (BigSky and blueSky) and Eventide Space Reverb, I haven’t heard such as 3D ambience in any other reverb pedal I’ve had the opportunity to play with.

Check out the videos in the playlist below to see how it sounds.

Should you buy this pedal?

First, you must decide if the Electro Harmonix Cathedral fits within your budget. You can check the best price here.

If you are reading this review is because you are thinking of buying a reverb pedal. Your amp doesn’t have a built-in reverb? Your amp has a built-in reverb but you want more versatility in your sound?

The Cathedral will be a good choice if you’re looking for a reverb pedal that allows you emulating different types of reverb with a lot of flexibility in its controls. Also consider this one if you want stereo-pristine reverb sounds without spending a fortune.

It is also a good election if you plan to use it with other instruments, or in your home studio. It is true stereo and nearly noiseless, so it’ll give you good results for synths, vocals and bass.

Don’t buy this pedal if you don’t like playing with knobs and want a straightforward sound. You’ll need some patience to get most out of it.

Alternatives to the Electro Harmonix Cathedral

You will find other alternatives to this pedal in this guide. Considering the versatility of this pedal and the high quality of its sound, it is hard to find great contenders.

If the budget is not an issue, you should check the two Strymons: the Stymon SkyVerb for the greatness of the best reverb pedal and the Strymon blueSky for another sidereal reverb, but with a few more features than its big brother.

Another pricy alternative is the Eventide Space, very similar to the Strymon SkyVerb. It has different features and is also full of features. You should like playing with knobs to get most of the Space too…

In a similar price range you will find the TC Electronic Hall of Fame. This is another great reverb pedal, and includes a cool feature: the Toneprint will allow you downloading (directly to the pedal) your favorite reverb sounds preset by your favorite guitarists.

Conclusion

Check out the pros and cons that summarize the Electro Harmonix Cathedral review:

PROS

  • Great versatility. Up to 8 reverb types very parametrizable with the knobs
  • Spring, Room and Hall reverbs sound very realistic
  • True stereo, very high sound quality (24-bit ADCs and DACs)
  • You can store a preset for each reverb mode
  • Power supply included, though you can use a standard low current 9V negative power supply

CONS

  • A little tricky at the beginning. You’ll have to play around with the knobs to get the best out of it
  • You can hear a little change in sound (it is slightly interrupted) when switching it off

My conclusion is that the Electro Harmonix Cathedral is a great device, one of the best reverb pedals out there. However, my opinion could be a little biased here, as I bought this pedal after my thorough research about reverb pedals.

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