Price paid: $ 120
Purchased from: Malekko
Ease of Use: The Malekko Chicklet Reverb has two very easy to use knobs, of which neither are overly sensitive or 'stiff'. The knob on the left controls the mix, while the knob of the right controls the dwell. The 'Mix' control is pretty self-explanatory; it determines how wet or dry the signal is, controlling the amount of reverb that is sent to the amp from the pedal. The 'Dwell' knob, then, functions almost like a depth control. It allows the user to dial in any levels of reverb, ranging from subtle sweetness, to self-oscillating lushness. Although there is strictly only one form of reverberation here, it is not a one-trick pony. Because of it's potential for both extreme wetness and calm serenity, it makes for a relatively versatile unit. Obviously, however, due to that same reason, it also can be frustratingly simple and limiting. But for the price and the size, you cannot ask for more. // 8
Sound: The majority of reverb pedals, including the Chicklet, work both in the FX loop of an amp and in front, alongside your dirt (overdrive/distortion/fuzz), tuner, etc. Placing it in the loop makes the sound clearer and more present, while placing it in front of the amp wields more interesting, organic results. Some musicians prefer a very comprehensive and clean sound (loop), while others prefer something a little more splashy and distorted (in front). Either way, the Chicklet really doesn't mind. However, because of it's potential for self-oscillation, strange noises and high-pitched squeals, the Chicklet may be a little more annoying and random to certain players. Malekko products tend to be like that; they rely on the more insane sounds, rather than the subtle ones. Of course that suits me down to the ground. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I very much trust Malekko and Josh, the builder and owner, but I have noticed a couple of issues with my particular Chicklet. Firstly, the small white knobs commonplace for Malekko products are quite loose and turn very easily. After calling Josh up, he did specify that those particular knobs were designed to move as freely as possible. But I still believe mine to be more 'free' than they should be - comparing it to my other Malekko pedals, that is.
There is also something else that I find slightly confusing with the Chicklet. This may be a 'quirk' that all reverb pedals have in common, I don't know, but either way, to explain what I mean: When I first stomp on the pedal, I am not greeted with a spacey echo. I am greeted with nothing but a pop. I have to kick the true-bypass button on and off a few times before the signal comes back to life, which is strange and could be an issue for a gigging musician who doesn't test his gear beforehand. I obviously checked my cables and the signal, and they are not to blame. Either way, as I said, this could happen with all reverb pedals. I'm not complaining. // 8
Overall Impression: For both subtle and extreme settings, the Chicklet Reverb is an excellent unit, particularly for the price. It suits many different genres, especially alternative/progressive rock, and can be used by a gigging musician who looks after and tests his gear regularly. Although I will probably be purchasing a more versatile and optional reverb in the future, this will stay on my board until then. And even at that point, I may decide to keep it for the self-oscillating, more extreme settings, or as a constantly-on background sound, as it does it so well. I personally suggest you use this pedal in the effects loop of your amp, if you have one, as it helps envelope your sound with more strength and clarity. As I said already, though, it feels very nice no matter where you put it. Experimentation is really the key with Malekko products. Put it wherever it sounds best to you. That is what Josh would say. // 8