Damage Control Glass Nexus Review & Demo
I usually try to be objective in my demo’s and reviews, but this time I failed; I knew how I was going to review this pedal before I even got it. How did I know? Because it has the word ‘glass’ in the name. In the ranking of gear characteristics that subject objectivity to subjectivity (yep…I definitely sat here for like a half hour thinking that phrase up…hmm…come to think of it, that was a very little payoff for a half an hour), the word ‘glass’ in the name of a piece of gear is like, just below or maybe even equal to wondrous blue and green led’s and jewel lamps. Just that word. ‘Glass’. Like, if I’m listening to someone play a pedal, and I just cannot stand the sound of it, but then they say, ‘Sounds kind of glassy, doesn’t it?’, I’m totally sunk. I will buy it. Every band I have ever been in, I have suggested the name ‘Glass Echo.’ None of my bands have been named ‘Glass Echo.’ Ya. I know. It kind of sounds like a song name from a Dream Theatre ripoff band. Maybe I’ll just stick to playing my guitar. I’m not sure what ‘Nexus’ means. But it reminds me of space. Wait……wasn’t there some movie where they like, talked into their ‘nexuses’ to communicate? Was it Galaxy Quest? I don’t remember. But that was a grand movie. And I’m definitely proud of myself for resisting putting a screenshot of that film in here right now.
But I have seriously been looking into trying this pedal ever since the delay from the Damage Control line just blew me away. If you haven’t seen my reviews on it, I bought it solely because it’s one of the few (possibly the only) multi-setting delay pedal that keeps the dry signal completely analog. But then when I tried it out, I could not believe how good it sounded! That ranks as one of the best gear moments of my life. It felt like sweet rain just started pouring over my……well, I’ll spare you the thoughts I have when I hear good tone or good music…because they’re frighteningly tender.
And the Glass Nexus is capable of some amazingly tender sounds. (Oh ya. You wish you thought of that transition! ) It’s a multi-effects modulation pedal. But for me, its interface is just completely built for ambiance. It’s got 8 modulation effects: phase, leslie, chorus, trem, vibe, flange, vibrato, and detune. These are all selectable one at a time. But it also has reverb and delay that can be used at the same time, and added to whatever modulation setting you’re on. Add on to that, that it also keeps your dry signal completely analog just like the Timeline does, that it’s tube-driven, and that with a single midi pedal you’ve got 128 instantly accessible presets, and the pedal, I admit, starts to look pretty good even before you’ve played a chord through it.
All the modulation effects sound really good. Bordering on surprisingly good. Because they’re all digital. And it’s not much of a secret that I am militant about ‘the integrity of the guitar signal’. And most digital units just kill that. Usually the only digital effects I’ll spring for will be delay and reverb, and only ones that keep the dry signal analog, and only because they’re capable of some features that just aren’t possible with analog. But this unit actually does very well; the mix knob on all the effects is crucial. Because you’re mixing the analog dry signal with the digital effect…which keeps things very warm and helps you maintain that ‘integrity of the guitar signal.’ The tubes also help with this. The effects still do not have the warmth of analog…I don’t know if digital will ever get there. Just by simple definition, I’m of the opinion that it never will. But this pedal does come very close. But here’s the thing. At least in my mind, you don’t buy a pedal like this to get an ‘analog flanger’ sound. Yes, you get some really good sounding effects all in one pedal. But this pedal is its own sound altogether. It’s the mixing of the effects that can yield some brilliant sounds. To add ambiance, to add just a touch on your decay, or to simply take over.
I guess what I’m saying is that, the effects are great on their own. Definitely one of the best multi-effects units out there. But taking the pedal as a whole unit, as one that produces sounds of its own, it becomes truly a great effect. Just my humble (hopefully) opinion.
So here’s the clips. As per request, I do switch between humbucker style guitars and single coil style guitars in these demo videos.
Robert Dixon Prairiewood Les Paul with Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups–>
Gerard Melancon Pro Artist Strat (chambered) with Lindy Fralin Blues–>
Damage Control Glass Nexus–>
Holland EL84-based head–>
65 Amps birch cab with Celestion Blue and Celestion G12H-30
And the Glass Nexus is connected to the Rocktron Midi Mate, which is only switching presets. It’s incapable of adding sounds. All the sounds are from the Glass Nexus.
So hopefully that gives just a small idea of what this pedal is capable of. I’ve only had it for a few days, and haven’t even played out with it yet. So I’m sure I haven’t even begun to stumble upon (how I usually tend to find sounds, unfortunately…hehe) all the things it can produce.
–As you can probably tell from the videos, as just a delay, this pedal would be great. Extremely full and spacious.
–The reverb maintains all the great decay qualities of a digital reverb.
–All the modulation effects sound very, very good, especially for digital effects. The cool thing is the cleanness that the digital gives to them. Really makes them pliable to be meshed in with the delay and reverb, giving this pedal a sound all its own.
–That own sound is where this pedal really seems to shine.
–True bypass switching, but with the ever-important spillover. It’s literally impossible for me to love that more. But you can switch it off if you like, on any given patch.
–128 presets with one midi pedal.
–All analog dry path, and the ability to mix to taste that analog signal in with the digital effects.
–Damage Control just updated this new batch to be switchable on the tap tempo. There’s a setting you can switch to make strum tempo control the modulation speed, and tap tempo control the delay time; or vice versa. Which is what originally turned me off to this pedal…the inability to set the delay on tap tempo. But that is now fixed, giving a huge boost to this thing’s versatility.
–Really, really good sound quality. This is a good pedal.
–Alright, it’s Damage Control, people. This pedal is huge. But if you’re looking into these, you gotta know that by know. It’s the trade-off you make to get the sound and versatility these pedals offer.
–Like the Timeline, it runs off of it’s own 2 amp adapter. That’s basically an amplifier right there. For me, I’m totally okay with that, as it allows the tubes to do their job. But I have to mention it to those who want to run it off a battery. Not gonna happen.
–To get to all the presets properly, you really do need to get an external midi pedal. Now, this might seem bad…but seriously…just one midi pedal and you get 128 presets. When I first got the Timeline, this feature turned me off a bit. Then I finally gave in and got a midi switching pedal. And worlds were opened. Actual worlds.
So, I’m pretty stoked with the sounds that can come out of this pedal. I mean, if it can do Vangelis and such, it’s okay in my book. I didn’t really like Blade Runner…it seemed to take itself just a little too seriously. Like, ‘This is artsy, and we know it. So suck it if you think this shot is painstakingly slow.’ I don’t know. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I saw it. But the score was just phenomenal!
And the Glass Nexus seems to just hearken those sounds. (Not Galaxy Quest sounds; Blade Runner. I enjoyed ‘Galaxy Quest more, but the score from Blade Runner might beat Galaxy Quest…just a bit. Overall, another really killer product from Damage Control. And one of the best things is that it kind of inspires you to be creative a bit. There are possibilities in this pedal that I haven’t even thought about yet. Same with the Timeline. Just awesome. And I have absolutely no room on my pedalboard for this. I’ll make some.