Holy Grail Neo review

Discussion in 'Pedals' started by Leña_Costoso, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    Long story short - I built a nice 5F4 Super.
    [​IMG]

    Next "project" was the 6G15 Reverb ... but before I jumped in, I wanted to see how reverb sounded with the 5F4. I was afraid that putting reverb at the front end of the amp would sound weird when overdriven.

    And that's why I got the EHX Holy Grail Neo.

    [​IMG]

    I've used the original Holy Grail before... and the Holier Grail... which I thought were interesting sounding, not the real McCoy. So, here's what the HG Neo brought to mind.

    Like the current Holy Grail "Nano" very simple. One knob. One 3-position switch. Settings are: Spring, Hall, Plate. Sounds good so far. The other good thing is usable tones are achievable with these settings, but I think most players will have to work at it a bit. I had to work at it at least!

    Here's the issue. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that most players prefer that "little touch of reverb" just to add some sonic depth and dimension to their overall playing - especially in a small enclosed space - aka your home practice area, or a small venue if you're playing out. The biggest indoor place I've ever played was a high school cafeteria/auditorium. No need for any reverb there!

    With the HG Neo, all the "subtle" reverb effect is stacked into about 1/16 revolution of the dial. You have to be really... really... careful with the adjustment to add just enough reverb to give your playing some depth and ambiance. The dial will quickly turn into heavy surf, then over the top reverberation. The last 3/4 of the dials rotation are pretty much reserved for "weird" category. I suppose there are uses, but limited I'm sure.

    As for the tones you get when the HG Neo is dialed into that little sweet spot, they're not terrible. There is a very subtle difference between Spring and Plate. Depending on the dial setting, you're seeing variation in the attack of the effect, and the tonality, with the plate having a slightly softer attack and overall "fuller" tone. The Spring setting has more snap, more high end, and can be very surfy toned. The Hall setting is a different. There are hints of remnant Flerb in the tone. In other words, the "hall" in the Hall setting is ginormous! Big as in "just short of the Grand Canyon" in size. It sounds like multiple overlapping echos from distant vaulted ceilings and far off walls. It has an almost tunnel like tone. And therein is the issue. Those "repeats" are completely regular in their time base, no matter how its set. A sort of "slap slap slap...." effect. I don't care for it much, compared to other simulated hall settings. I'm sure it has its uses though.

    Its hard to describe how the dial works. Its not like you're hitting a plate or tank harder when you increase the dial's setting. Its not like a wet/dry mix control either. Its more like increments of each, that quickly go out into space someplace. I tried splitting the reverb off into the other channel of the 5F4 and using that as a "mix". That worked ok, but I've gone back to using the pedal without splitting off, and just being really careful with the dial's setting.

    Bottom line - do I like it? Yah its ok. Its not great. I didn't expect it to be great. I bought it as a test to see how the overdriven 5F4 would sound with reverb. It sounds great! So the 6G15 Reverb is on order! Am I down on the tones? No, it has three distinct settings of tone flavor, and I find the spring and plate are not bad at all. The dial is a bit edgy. I realize that one pedal must cater to the subtle crowd (aka me) and the "over the top" crowd too. Would have been nice to put more of the subtle effect into a bit wider section of the dial. Dunno if that's pot taper or digital programming in the pedals brain at fault.

    I'll probably gift this pedal to someone, once I've got the 6G15 all assembled (six week wait for cabinet to my spec from Mojotone).

    And thats about it.
     
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  2. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    My Tech 21 Boost RvB has a lot more 'tweakability', but the Mix knob behaves much the same. Suggested settings all have it sitting at noon, which is far too much for me.
     
  3. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    Sometimes I wonder if marketing people for the company who build effects rule the day with features. They probably have almost no contact or understanding of plain old everyday musicians. I think that comes with most effects.... It's probably why a ts808 is still pretty good at just giving a little crunch to your tone without having to go over the top.

    You know if they had something like a high low switch or pull boost switch for the effect things would be so much nicer
     
    northernguitarguy likes this.
  4. Les Paul Newb

    Les Paul Newb Senior Member

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    I just picked up a Holy Grail Plus for my AC4 1-12.

    I love it. Has spring, hall, room, and flerb (useless imo). I was pleasantly surprised at how realistic the spring setting is, and the fact the pedal doesn't color the tone or change the dynamics at all. It sounds just like the amp came with a spring reverb.

    Like you, I use reverb (or delay, or another pedal) simply to add something to the dry signal. Very subtle. I don't like to soak the natural sounds of the guitar & amp. The pedal has "blend" and "amount" knobs that really let you dial in your chosen setting.

    My choices were originally between the holy grail Plus & the hall of fame. The grail won out when I read a few reviews saying it had the most realistic spring reverb available.
     
  5. AussieDave

    AussieDave Member

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    Hey guys
    I just bought a Strymon Bluesky. I’m no expert as this is my first reverb pedal. It is terrific for both my lp and my acoustic. It’s pricey but has lots of options. Like many others I just add a bit to soften the dry signal. Give it a go.
    Cheers
    Dave
     
  6. Duane_the_tub

    Duane_the_tub Senior Member

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    I used to believe the same thing, but with the advent and popularity of all these "Super Reverbs" such as the Big Sky, it seems as though a lot of players can't get enough of it. I guess we can blame the whole ambient rock movement.
     

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