[review] Caline CP-26 Snake Bite - Reverb (by Bieke)

Caline has been around since 2010, and until now, this modest Asian company offers a full line of budget friendly pedals, their latest addition is the CP-30 Red Devil metal distortion. At the Musikmesse I stumbled into the Caline booth to check it out and I noticed the CP-26 Snake Bite reverb. I figured I’d give it a try. Well, first impression was that it sounded surprisingly good. First impressions can be misleading, so I did get another opportunity to give it another try. Here’s my review.

Caline Snake Bite ReverbThe looks

Well, Caline has this no nonsense standardized and uniform approach towards their line of pedals, low profile marketing, plain cardboard box, a uniform pedal housing, plain colors, classic knobs … Spartan looks.

The Snake Bite is a bit different, it still has the standard aluminum cast housing, and it’s a plain black pedal with white lettering, actually a stylish look, 2 rows of 3 controls each, white fluted knobs with black markers.  The pots feel solid, just enough stiffness for finetuning the controls.

9V DC adapter socket on top, in- and output on the sides. Status LED. 

It looks expensive.

Inside, it looks clean, jacks and pots are soldered onto the main PCB, whereas the switch is soldered onto a separate PCB, there is no battery clip.

The sound

It sounds expensive too.

Well, the Snake Bite is true bypass, so no interference from the pedal. With the effect on, there is no volume drop or audible noise. With Mix and Decay controls all the way up there is a bit of noise added, a subluminal hiss.

Let’s take a closer look at the controls:

  • RES : resonance : a rather subtle control, kind of simulates the room settings, like you can control the reverb with absorbing panels, turning this control up gives a more boingy, more splashy type reverb with a longer reverb roll off.
  • CFR : center frequency : is an effective tone control, goes from dark sounding reverb all the way up to bright and sparkly sounding reverb that cuts through nicely.
  • LPF :  low pass filter : a fairly uncommon control to have on a reverb, but quite useful and it adds a lot of flavor to the effect, it also is a kind of tone control based on reducing highs, this control lets you add warmth to the reverb effect and it goes all the way up to cold and sterile reverb sounds.
  • PRD : pre delay : to set the time between your signal and the reverb effect. The Snake Bite indeed has an ultra short delay effect, about 50 msecs of delay, just enough to get a short slapback echo type effect if you turn down the reverb, but it is actually meant to be used in conjunction with the reverb, adds a lot of ambience if you play chords
  • MIX : to adjust the amount of the reverb effect with your signal
  • DECAY :  to adjust the length reverb before it fades out. Now the Snake Bite has plenty of reverb on tap, there’s about 6 seconds of reverb.

The reverb effect itself sounds quite good actually. It can do subtle reverb sounds, small room type reverb, bathroom reverb, a convincing spring reverb.  Easy to tweak those and you just have to finetune the Mix and Decay controls. As soon as these controls pass the 10 o’clock mark, the reverb effect becomes less subtle and more prominent, and the Snake Bite turns into an ambient companion. Great for post rock and shoegaze.

All in all, a very cool reverb pedal indeed. Can do subtle reverbs, but it feels best in post rock or ambient styles. It does not do shimmer effect or fancy modulated or reverse reverb. But it’s easy to dial in an effective setting. 

The fanciest sound I got was that with a real long reverb decay, the RES and PRD all the way up and LPF set to taste you get a kind of tone shifting reverb repeat that is quite unique.

It sounds expensive.

The Verdict

The CP-26 Snake Bite is a decent digital reverb pedal. No frills, no nonsense, easy to use and easy to get a good reverb sound. Great price/quality ratio.

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