Viva Las Vegas: The Tone King checks out ModTone’s Coliseum Reverb Pedal

Viva Las Vegas: The Tone King checks out ModTone’s Coliseum Reverb Pedal

Marc Johnson for The Tone King

A lot of work went into the Roman Coliseum, and that’s easy to see. And, like the classic structure,ModTone put a lot of work into their new Coliseum Reverb pedal. They’re hoping that when players plug in, ModTone’s hard work will be easy to hear. With The Tone King’s ’30 Pedals in 30 Days,’ we had a chance to check out ModTone’s latest work of art.

The Coliseum Reverb pedal has three types of reverbs, leaving out the fluff and giving the player enough to get the job done. Rather than having a hundred different reverbs that players will probably never use, ModTone wanted to build a pedal that has the three basics that everybody needs: Room, Grand Hall, and Spring. Keeping it simple so that players will have more time to rock.

The controls are classic. A level knob lets you add or take away the effect; a tone knob muddies or brightens the reverb (not the guitar tone); a three-way toggle selects between three types of useable verb; and a switch that engages the effect. Encased in a straightforward metal chassis, ModTone concentrated on building one of the best sounding classic-style verbs out there.

As it turns out, ModTone spent countless hours putting their prototypes up against some of the most coveted reverbs on the market, paying particular attention to the spring reverbs to recreate that feel of the sound moving through the springs. All of their work may have paid off. Priding themselves on attention to detail, ModTone chose not to recreate the wheel but just to make a better ride.

The Room verb is intimate, like every plucked note is bouncing off of a shower tile. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Grand Hall, which can take “violin swells” to a whole new level. But, the star of this show is the Spring reverb. Modeled after vintage styles from some of our favorite classic amps, ModTone calls their Spring reverb “one of the most realistic spring reverb emulations on the market.”

It’s when we heard ModTone’s claim that we at lifted our heads. That’s a pretty bold claim to make. And, more importantly, it’s something that we’re always on the look out for. Every reputable amp builder will tell you that their focus is ‘on the circuit.’ Meaning that they’re going to keep the signal path in the amp as straight as possible. Basically, amps like Soldano / Jet City, select Carvin models, Vox Night Train 50 models, Blackstar’s 50 Series One are all great example amps that are BYOR (Bring Your Own Reverb), so a pedal like this thrown into the FX Loop is where it’s at. That’s where a pedal like the Coliseum can be priceless.

And, for what it’s worth, the amp companies that are still putting in on-board reverbs are also making the move toward non-spring tanks. Take a look at the Marshall Haze and Blackstar HT-5. Why are they doing this? Because, as much as everyone loves the sound of springs, they can be temperamental. The noises they make when your amp gets jostled are terrible. Besides, amp builders know that if they build reverb tanks that sound dull or overbearing, players wont dig it.

Then there’s the issue of control.

Most amps with reverb have a level knob and that’s it. With the Coliseum, players have three times more control. Versatile, more control, easy to use; considering all of that, ModTone’s Coliseum is definitely worth checking out.

When we first saw the pedal that ModTone sent us for ’30 Pedals in 30 Days,’ we thought to ourselves, “it looks like Vegas, man.” The pillars painted on the front of the pedal, give it that Cesar’s Palace kind of feel. Want a sound as big as Vegas’ own Cesar’s palace? Or The King’s own ‘30 Pedals in 30 Days’? Well, you can blast out your own version of “Viva Las Vegas” when you check out the Coliseum.

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Filed Under: FeaturedReviewsPedals

About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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