Strymon has announced their newest creation, the Iridium, the latest innovation in amp and cab modeling.
The idea of amp modeling is not new, there have been pedals, amps, rack units and software dedicated to this idea for decades. What is new is the format and sound quality brought by the Strymon Iridium. The Iridium is a modeling pedal capable of creating the sounds of three classic amplifiers and nine different cabs. The amps range from clean to heavily distorted and the cabs go from 2x10 to 8x12. As you can imagine, the tonal opportunities are vast. Strymon took a step forward with their Matrix Modeling technology and it is obvious that a lot time was taken to meticulously recreate these tried and true behemoths.
As the name suggests, Matrix Modeling is a process created by Strymon to realistically model amps and cabinets. The goal was to recreate the entire circuit of classic amps and quantify their qualities into algorithms. This required the engineering team to painstakingly evaluate each amp to not only recreate the gain stages, but to capture smaller details like treble bleed and power sag; the subtle things that make a tube amp a tube amp. In short, the engineering team at Strymon had their work cut out for them, but delivered on the goal of 24bit 96kHz 500ms impulse responses and a sound that truly captures these amps. This process takes power though, which is why the Strymon Iridium is powered by two processors capable of keeping up with the workload of delivering the amp models in real-time.
The Iridium comes with three amplifiers and nine cabinet models. Each amp model was chosen to fit a unique space where, between the three, you have a wide variety of choices.
The “Round Amp” model is based on a Fender Deluxe Reverb. This delivers on the Fender headroom and crisp clean tones that have always worked so well with effect pedals. Strymon added a slight twist with a midrange control, which gives you control over a normally fixed attribute of the Deluxe Reverb and the ability to scoop the mids or emulate some tweed tones.
The “Chime Amp” is the Vox signature chime in all of its glory. Based on an AC30, this model captures the full dynamic range from tight cleans to a cutting crunch. An added tweak keeps the low end tight when pushing the model further.
Turning a Plexi up to 10 and getting lost in the natural tube distortion is an ethereal experience. Luckily, you can save your ear drums and try out the “Punch Amp” model instead. This model is based on a Marshall Super Lead and it delivers on the bite they are known for. As a unique perk, the Punch Amp has an extra gain boost to get a really saturated distortion.
The Iridium also comes packed with nine individual cabs and the ability to create more on your own. That, matched with the room ambience, gives users the tools to craft a completely unique tone that isn’t just an off the shelf sound.
It has the technological attributes and the sound to boot, but how do you use it? The most obvious is in the studio or at home. With a headphone out you can play the Iridium in your living room while allowing your neighbors to sleep soundly. In the studio or at home on your interface, the full power of the Iridium can be fed into your favorite DAW and leveraged in countless ways. The Iridium can be used live as well, with no need for tubes or speakers. Show up to your next gig with your guitar and pedalboard and plug the Iridium into the PA System. With full control of your amp at your feet and the direct tone fed through the front of house, micing and monitoring become one less thing to worry about.
The best part of this article is that it barely scratches the surface. We haven’t hit on presents, MIDI Controls, Expression Pedal out, the tagalong Impulse software for custom cab creation and a host of other features that take the already feature-packed Iridium to swiss army knife status. If you are looking for a pedal that does wonders for creation at a fraction the size, then the Strymon Iridium should be a serious consideration for your pedalboard.