Digital solutions are taking up more and more space compared to traditional analog amplification. This, thanks to the enormous progress made in recent years. Multiple manufacturers now offer very complete products, including Strymon with Iridium, an all-in-one concept, designed for the most demanding guitarists. Presented at NAMM 2020, the Iridium is THE solution for all mobile musicians or for those looking for an ultra-portable, versatile system with formidable power. Years of development were needed to perfect this "game changer" which revolutionizes guitar amplification whether on stage, in the studio or at home.
For the Iridium, the brand has chosen its usual brushed aluminum chassis: indestructible, classy, with, as always, connectivity on the top. Inside, pure Strymon with high quality PCBs and selected components.
What is Strymon Iridium? Well it's a real amp in pedal format. With the Iridium you find the dynamics, compression and harmonic richness of a tube amp, but without the bulk, without the volume of horse and with a connection and extended possibilities of use. Place the Iridium on your pedalboard, press the footswitch, voilà! Are you ready! You have the pre-amp and the virtual power section, the cabinet and the natural reverb of the room integrated into this small chassis, with stereo connections to exploit your best reverbs, delays and others... as well as MIDI support total that allows you to integrate Iridium into any complex MIDI system, recalling up to 300 presets.
How it works?
You can use the Strymon Iridium in different ways:
- At home: it becomes your amp, which you can connect to a power amp, an amp head monitor, a full range cabinet, an audio interface to record yourself, or simply use the headphone output to play live quiet at home. So many possibilities!
- On stage: Connect the Iridium to a DI, and send the Iridium signal directly to a mixer, full range speakers or a sound system. You don't need any mic, you can adjust your amplified sound directly from your pedalboard and you can experience identical feedback to the amplified sound in your ears.
- In the Studio: Plug the Iridium directly into your audio interface, open a track, you're ready to record.
Your guitar in hand, you attack the Iridium through its analog JFET input stage, then choose one of the 3 available amps: Round (Fender Deluxe), Chime (Vox AC30), Punch (Marshall Plexi Super Lead). Matrix Modeling technology captures the essence of each of these legendary amps. Once you have chosen your amp, you can select a virtual ball from the 9 HP / Impulse Response simulations available. Note, you can modify these IRs via the Strymon software provided for this purpose and load any IR of your choice. Iridium allows the use of impulse responses that provide 24-bit resolution at 96 kHz stereo 500 milliseconds.
Iridium also includes a "Room" setting that allows you to adjust the natural reverberation of the room where the amp and cabinet you have selected are virtually placed. This reverb combines a stereo impulse response of 256 milliseconds with a spring reverb algorithm developed by the brand.
Where to place the Iridium?
Several choices are available to you. You can use the Iridium as a clean platform, putting it at the end of the chain on your pedalboard. Drive at 12:00, Level fully, for maximum headroom. You will be able to stack your pedals at best and benefit from a maximum of "reserve" of clean. You can also position it just before your Reverb and Delay, so you can use the Distortion of it, without impacting your delay / reverb. You have basically the equivalent of a post preamp effects loop.
Nothing prevents you, moreover, from placing a volume pedal just after the Iridium to manage the output volume while keeping the tails of reverbs and delays. But there is even better. You don't need a volume pedal. If you have an expression pedal, connect it directly to the EXP/MIDI input, you can transform it into a volume pedal and choose its pre or post Amp, Cab and Room positioning. Amazing?!
For management of the many possibilities, you can save up to 300 MIDI presets that you can save and recall. This stores the settings for each button, switch or assigned parameter. Finally, depending on your configuration, you can choose to bypass the pre-amplification stage, or the Cab Sim / IR part. Convenient if you want to use an external pre-amp and/or another HP simulator.
List of IRs included with purchase:
Deluxe Reverb® 1×12″ by OwnHammer
Impulse of a Fender® Deluxe Reverb 1×12″ open back combo with a 1978 Fender CTS ceramic 12″ HP.
Blues Junior® 1×12″ by cabIR
Impulse of a 1×12″ Blues Junior cabinet with an HP Jensen® C12N.
Vibrolux® 2×10″ by cabIR
Impulse of a 1965 Fender Vibrolux 2×10″ with Jensen C10NS speakers.
AC30 2×12″ AlNiCo by OwnHammer
Impulse of a Vox® AC30/6 open back 2×12″ combo with 2001 Celestion® T0530 Blue AlNiCo loudspeakers.
1×12″ AlNiCo by Celestion
Impulse of an HP Celestion Blue AlNiCo in a 1×12″ cab closed back cabinet.
Mesa® 4×12″ by Valhallir
Impulse of a 4×12″ Mesa Boogie halfback cabinet with two Celestion Black Shadow® MC-90 speakers and two ElectroVoice® Black Shadow EVM12-L.
GNR 4×12″ by OwnHammer
Impulse of a 1971 Marshall® 1960B “basketweave” 4×12″ cabinet with 1971 Celestion T1221 G12M-25 speakers.
2×12″ Vintage 30 by Celestion
Pulse of a Celestion Vintage 30 in a 2×12″ cab open back cabinet.
Marshall 8×12″ AlNiCo by cabIR
Impulse of a 1965 Marshall 8×12″ re-issue full stack cabinet, with Celestion T652 AlNiCo speakers.
And the sound in all this?
The 24bit 96kHz 500 milliseconds resolution allows the Iridium to deliver more detail than any other IR launcher of its kind. Every speaker resonance, speaker vibration, and reflections between speaker, mic, floor, and ceiling are recreated. All the tiny details that make all the difference when we play and that impact our feeling are recreated in great detail. All the dynamics, the harmonic complexity, the thickness of the notes typical of a tube amp are there. Each Tone Stack of available amps has been meticulously recreated for never-before-seen realism. The interaction with the EQ section is total and allows you to tailor the sound you have in your head.
The Strymon Iridium redistributes the cards of digital amplification by offering a unique experience in a format that can be transported absolutely anywhere. It's all there, the feel of the game and what you're used to hearing and expecting from a high-end amp. This makes it an ultra-qualitative alternative to conventional amplification and other digital solutions. A must, whether at home or on the biggest stages in the world.