Spring reverb is the effect that defines the surf rock movement of the 60's and a bunch of other styles around that time. The Catalinbread Topanga is an honest replica of the old Fender 6G15 outboard reverb units that have been used in recordings for many years. In this new small shape though it is much easier to take with you rather than the big bulky original.
Simple Controls Brilliant Sound
Although the Fender 6G15 only had 3 controls the added control in this Topanga only adds more usability to this wonderful effect. To start off you have the dwell control which sets how hard your guitar signal is hitting the 'springs'. Although this does effect the length of the reverb the goal was to change the volume of the effect. The tone control is your simple high filter that gets rid of some of the harsher high end of the effect.
Next you have two controls that Catalinbread have been taking some liberties with. Such as the mix control which can take you from a 100% dry signal to a 100% wet signal when turned fully clockwise. The original pedal always had some of the dry signal in there but by getting rid of this limitation you can use this effect in a bunch more situations. Finally the volume control is actually a bit of a clean boost. When plugged into the front of a valve amp to get it working harder just turn up the volume control for a slight bit of grit.
Here's what Catalinbread say about the Topanga
The outboard Fender 6G15 spring reverb unit is the sound of Surf guitar, Spaghetti Western and many other great guitar sounds from the sixties. Part of its magic, and how it differs from the internal spring reverb found in most Fender-style amps, is that it is run *in front* of the amp, causing the reverb signal to distort and sound more intense. Because there were additional knobs on the outboard units, you also have more control over the reverb qualities. The Dwell knob controlled how hard the springs were getting hit by the guitar signal. The Tone knob allowed the treble to be dialed back to just the right degree of brightness. It was also essentially a tube preamp, so it would color the sound going into the amp. All this added up to a very distinctive reverb sound with a lot of attitude and complex non-linearities that are hard to replicate. But we here at Catalinbread did just that! Besides giving you the classic three knob control compliment of the original, we've also added a great discrete preamp that you can control via the Volume knob for a healthy amount of great clean boost when you want it.
Our goal was simple make a reverb pedal that functions just like a real deal outboard spring reverb unit. We felt that adding more knobs for the sake of adding knobs would take away from the experience, so we kept it down to the controls that were on the actual units. We only added or extended controls that contributed to the experience in a positive way. The DWELL knob controls how much signal is going into and driving reverb springs. As on the original unit, cranking this knob up can cause clipping on the wet side due to the signal crashing the springs. Though it seems to imply reverb length (and sort of functions this way), this control is quite literally a volume knob for the springs.
The TONE knob allows you to roll off just the right amount of high end from only your wet signal. Roll this knob back if you want the reverb to appear to more distant and out of the way of your dry sound.
We took liberties with the MIX knob extending beyond the original reverb tank units because we wanted you to be able to make the Topanga 100% wet. Otherwise it is much like the knob on the tanks, allows you to balance between your wet and dry signals.
Original spring tank units had a big feel to them that encourage a lot of attitude from the musician playing through them. We asked ourselves, "how can we make the Topanga even bigger sounding-!" The only answer to that question was add a VOLUME knob that pushes the entire circuit! This is a modification that we have actually performed on the big tube tank units!